October is exciting. Thanksgiving. Halloween. And Orthodontic Health Month! Okay, maybe it’s not as exciting as the other holidays this month, but our Guelph Dentist Office believes that Orthodontic Health is important for patients of all ages.
What is Orthodontics?
The practice of Orthodontics helps patients correct their mouth bites and alignment, and prevents future problems. Dentists and Doctors of Orthodontics address can diagnose, assess, prevent and intervene with bite problems.
What Causes Bite Misalignments?
Well, naturally, as some people’s jaws form, there is misalignment in the way their mouth closes and how their teeth come together. This can result in jaw pain, speech impediments, eating difficulties, and breathing difficulties (in the most extreme cases). Bite misalignments can also be an aesthetic problem, causing discomfort in appearance.
The two most common misalignments are an underbite—when the bottom teeth overlap the top teeth when the mouth is closed, and an overbite—when the top teeth stick out and cover most of the bottom teeth. Typically, misalignments are noticeable from a young age, between 6 and 12 years of age, and children can begin Orthodontic treatments from as young as 8 years old. If alignment problems are not addressed in childhood, adults usually return to see their Dentist or Orthodontist to correct their bites.
In a lot cases, Orthodontic treatment is usually in the form of braces. At Stonegate Dental, we invite our patients in for a consultation to see if they are good candidates for braces. Dr. Nancy Wat will examine a patient’s mouth and take X-Rays to determine if braces are the most advisable treatment for their bite problem.
Our Guelph Dentist Office is proud to provide patients with Invisalign Braces, which are smooth, plastic aligners that when worn, appear invisible. In comparison to traditional, metal braces, Invisalign Braces are less of a visual distraction. It is also much easier to clean Invisalign Braces because the trays are removable, so food or plaque doesn’t get trapped in metal brackets.
Each patient that uses Invisalign Braces will have a customized Invisalign Tray system. Dr. Wat will take impressions of a patient’s mouth to send them off to an Invisalign laboratory. At the Invisalign lab, they will use 3D technology in addition to the impressions to create a complete system of trays. Invisalign Braces involve a series of Invisalign trays that the patient uses for two weeks, before moving on to the next tray in the system. Most Invisalign Braces Systems require a minimum of 20 weeks of treatment but can vary depending on how much the bite needs to be altered and how the teeth and jaw take to the Invisalign System. Braces and Invisalign Technology has come a long way since they first began, which means that a variety of alignment problems can be fixed with Invisalign Braces.
Unfortunately, for some bite problems, Invisalign Braces is not enough to correct the problem. In some cases, patients may need to wear headgear with metal braces. Headgear works with braces to move the jaw backwards or forwards to correct the bite. Braces must be worn with headgear that attaches using wires and straps, but can typically be done at night to avoid the discomfort of wearing a noticeable dental appliance throughout the day.
In scenarios when braces and headgear will not help the patient, Dr. Wat will make a recommendation for the patient to see an Orthodontist for further bite corrections. When the jaw doesn’t respond to braces, it there are structural problems that require more intensive treatments to get the desired results.
This can mean anything from getting a simple jaw-expanding appliance, to more severe cases where an oral and maxillofacial surgeon may need to perform jaw surgery. Jaw surgery is typically a last resort for correcting bite and alignment problems and should only be used if the alignment is causing problems with speaking, eating and breathing and cannot be solved with any other method.
Other Orthodontic Treatments
It is important to address bite problems at any age because it will help improve your overall oral health, your comfort levels, and any cosmetic concerns you have. Sometimes, if the bite problem is mild, cosmetic dentistry is the more ideal option. This is also the most preferable option of the bite is more of an aesthetic concern than a comfort and oral health concern. Our Guelph Dentist Office offers porcelain veneers on the upper teeth, which can help them rest more comfortably atop the lower teeth.
The first step in creating porcelain veneers for patients is to take an impression of their teeth. From here, Stonegate Dental will send the impressions off to the laboratory where porcelain veneers are created to fit to your mouth. When your veneer is ready, Dr. Wat will remove a thin layer of enamel from your existing tooth to create a surface that is ready to bond to your new porcelain veneer. The porcelain veneer is finally cemented to your existing tooth and shaped so that it fits naturally into your bite.
Dental Implants can also help with alignment problems, especially when they are used to fill in a gap. For whatever reason, sometimes when adult teeth grow in, there may be gaps or the tooth may never grow in at all. After taking X-Rays, Dr. Wat will determine if your bite can be improved with a Dental Implant to fill in the gap and complete your smile. Stonegate Dental uses the ASTRA Tech Implant System for Dental Implants. This system creates the most precise dental implants, which can be placed at any angle in the gum line, created in various sizes, and because they are made of titanium, are not rejected by the body. The Astra Tech Implant System also promotes healthy healing of the gum line, which allows patients to see the results in their smile much faster! Our Dental Implant procedure is done by our in-office specialist, Dr. Chan This means that follow up appointments and additional questions can be taken care of at Stonegate Dental instead of an external office.
Learn More About Orthodontic Health
If you are interested in learning about Orthodontic options including Invisalign Braces, Porcelain Veneers and Dental Implants, please don’t hesitate to contact our Guelph Dentist Office. During Orthodontics month, we would love to help as many patients as possible with bite or alignment problems on their way to a better smile!