Treatments & Resources

why braces?

Your dentist may have discussed with you the benefits of having healthy teeth and proper jaw alignment. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This can result in tooth decay, worsen gum disease and lead to tooth loss. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints. These can lead to chronic headaches and face or neck pain. Treatment by an orthodontist can be less costly than the additional care required to treat dental problems arising as a result of orthodontic problems. For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you’ll feel more self-confident.

children

children

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children see an orthodontist no later than age 7. Although most children do not need early treatment and can wait to have braces until all their adult teeth are in (about age 11-12), it is best to see an orthodontist early to evaluate their orthodontic needs. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early detection and intervention of some dental problems can prevent more difficult and lengthier treatment in the future.

At the complimentary consultation, Dr. Crawford will thoroughly evaluate facial balance and any orthodontic needs your child may have, including an extensive TMJ (temporomandibular joint) evaluation. He will then determine if orthodontic treatment is indicated and when the best time to begin treatment would be.

Dr. Crawford will explain what the orthodontic concerns are, how they can be treated, and the approximate length of treatment time needed to give your child the best possible smile and result. Dr. Crawford’s friendly staff will give an estimate of how much your orthodontic investment will be and also check your insurance benefits if needed.

two-phase treatment

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children see an orthodontist no later than age 7. Although it is usually best to wait for all of the permanent teeth to come in before starting orthodontic treatment, there are a few occasions when early treatment is needed. Early intervention can help prevent abnormal wear of teeth, injury to protruding teeth, and some disproportionate growth of the jaws. Underbites, overbites, crossbites, and excessive crowding are also main concerns that can be evaluated during your child’s first visit. Also, teasing from peers and poor esteem can dictate early treatment. Dr. Crawford can make sure your child is treated at the most appropriate age.

At the complimentary consultation, Dr. Crawford will thoroughly evaluate facial balance and any orthodontic needs your child may have. He will also conduct an extensive TMJ (temporomandibular joint) evaluation. He can then determine if orthodontic treatment is indicated and when the best time to begin treatment would be.

phase1

phase I treatment

If early treatment is indicated then treatment will consist of fixing the immediate and serious problems with appliances and/or braces. Phase 1 treatment usually last 12-18 months. After the significant problems are solved the child will be placed in a resting period.

rest-period

resting period

In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may promote proper eruption of permanent teeth during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six-month basis. In other words, the first phase of treatment facilitates appropriate tooth position, but a second phase of treatment is necessary to finalize the bite and smile after all permanent teeth are present.

phase2

phase II treatment

The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Braces are usually needed for an average of 24 months in this phase. Retainers are worn after braces are removed in order to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.

Adult Orthodontics

There is no age limit to when you can give yourself a beautiful, confident smile. One of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. With new technologies such as Invisalign and porcelain braces, more adults are receiving orthodontic treatment now than ever before. If you have concerns about your teeth or facial balance, you can have your questions answered at your complimentary consultation.

adult-ortho

At your initial examination, Dr. Crawford will thoroughly evaluate facial balance and any orthodontic needs you may have, including an extensive TMJ (temporomandibular joint) evaluation. Dr. Crawford will then determine if orthodontic treatment is indicated and give treatment options that would benefit you the most.

Jaw surgery is more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are not growing. Adults also may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth and may require periodontal treatment before, during, and/or after orthodontic treatment. We require our adult patients to have cleanings at least 3 times a year. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable.

Dr. Crawford will explain what the orthodontic concerns are, how they can be treated, and the approximate length of treatment time needed to give you the best possible smile and result. Our friendly staff will give an estimate of how much your orthodontic investment will be and also check on your insurance benefits if needed.

Surgical Orthodontics

Just as orthodontics repositions teeth, surgical orthodontics (also known as orthognathic surgery) corrects jaw irregularities to improve the patients ability to chew, speak, and breathe and for improved facial appearances. In other words, surgical orthodontics straightens your jaw. Moving the jaws also moves the teeth, so braces are always performed in conjunction with jaw correction. This helps make sure teeth are in their proper positions after surgery.

Your orthodontist will consider surgical orthodontic treatment for non-growing adult patients with improper bites and those with facial esthetic concerns. Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16 for girls and 18 for boys. All growth must be completed before jaw surgery can be performed. However the pre-surgical tooth movements can begin one to two years prior to these ages.

During your orthodontic treatment, which usually lasts 6-18 months, you wear braces and will visit your orthodontist for scheduled adjustments to your braces. As your teeth move with the braces, you may think that your bite is getting worse rather than better. However, when your jaws are placed into proper alignment during orthognathic surgery, the teeth will then fit into their proper positions.

Surgery is performed in the hospital with an oral surgeon, and can take several hours, depending on the amount and type of surgery needed. In lower jaw surgery, the jawbone behind the teeth is separated and the tooth-bearing portion is moved forward or backward, as needed. In upper jaw surgery, the jaw can be repositioned forward or backward, or the jaw can be raised or lowered. Certain movements may require the jaws to be separated, with bone added/removed to achieve the proper alignment and stability. Other facial bones that contribute to alignment may also be repositioned or augmented.

When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within two weeks. After the necessary healing time (about 4-8 weeks), your orthodontist “fine-tunes” your bite. In most cases, braces are removed within 6 to 12 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to maintain your beautiful new smile.