Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the alignment of your teeth, jaw and bite. Our orthodontists in Oregon, Washington and Massachusetts perform multiple orthodontic treatments, including traditional orthodontic teeth braces, clear aligners, headgear, expanders and corrective jaw surgery.
Orthodontic treatments prevent unnecessary wear on teeth and gums by treating an improper bite, straightening teeth or closing wide gaps between teeth. They can also enhance smiles and improve speech.
Ideally, your teeth should fit in your mouth without any crowding or spacing. They should not be rotated or twisted. Malocclusion, the imperfect positioning of teeth when the jaw is closed, affects the shape of your face, speech, chewing abilities and can increase your chances of tooth decay and gum disease in the future if not properly addressed.
One of the most common orthodontic treatments is dental braces, also known as teeth braces. Braces can be made from nickel, stainless steel, plated gold and clear ceramic; clear teeth aligners, such as Invisalign®, are an alternative to traditional braces. Your orthodontic team will explain what options are available and which may be the best choice for treatment.
It is important to follow oral health daily best practices while wearing braces, which will be provided by the orthodontist in order to maintain successful treatment. The doctor might recommend the following changes to a patient’s daily routine:
- Take all rubber bands out before brushing or flossing
- Brush teeth after every meal to remove leftover food debris
- Use fluorinated or sensitive toothpaste
- Use a proxabrush, or “Christmas tree brush,” to clean in between brace brackets
- Floss or use a water pick regularly
How Long do People Wear Braces?
The length of treatment will depend on several factors, including the severity of the misalignment of the teeth, age, type of braces and the overall oral health of the person receiving treatment. Most treatments last around 18 months.
Wearing Retainers After Teeth Braces are Removed
Similar to how it is important to develop good oral health habits while wearing teeth braces, patients must continue to put an emphasis on oral health best practices after braces are removed to maintain results.
For example, even though dental braces might be removed, teeth can revert back closer to their original position. The orthodontist might suggest patients get fitted for a retainer. There are permanent and removable retainer options. If the orthodontist decides a removable retainer is the best choice for a patient, it should be worn for a minimum of 12 months after the braces come off for optimal treatment results.
We recommend that patients clean their retainers each day. The best way to clean retainers is to remove them when brushing teeth. Do brush the retainer, but do not use toothpaste on it. Instead, disinfect the retainer by soaking it in denture cleanser. Follow the directions suggested by the cleanser brand and rinse thoroughly before use.
Occlusal Mouthguard and Nightguard Fitting
Mouthguards can be helpful for a wide variety of dental conditions as well as preventive care. Our orthodontists fit patients with dental mouthguards that can be used to correct malocclusion and alignment issues, nightguards to prevent teeth grinding during sleep and sport mouthguards to protect dental health during contact sports.
Treatment for Malocclusions
Our providers offer treatment plans for multiple types of malocclusions. Signs of malocclusion that may signify the need for orthodontic treatment include crowded teeth and misaligned jaw (cross-bite, over-bite, under-bite or open-bite). These conditions can produce the following symptoms:
- Improper alignment of teeth
- Frequent biting of lips, inner cheeks or tongue
- Discomfort when chewing food
- Speech complications or the development of a lisp
Malocclusion is usually a hereditary condition. Conditions or habits that can cause malocclusion include cleft lip or palate, pacifier use after three years old, prolonged bottle-feeding, thumb sucking, facial injuries, tumors in the face, mouth or jaw and atypical shaped or impacted teeth.
Conditions our Orthodontists Treat
Our orthodontists can correct a number of dental conditions, including:
- Speech impediments
- Jaw or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain
- Difficulty chewing and eating
- Sleep apnea
- Gum disease and tooth decay
Types of Braces
Nickel, stainless steel, plated gold, clear ceramic, and Invisalign are all different types of braces to choose from. Your orthodontic team will tell you what options are available and which may be the best choice for your treatment.
How Long Will You Have to Wear Braces?
The length of treatment will depend on several factors, including the severity of the misalignment of the teeth, age, type of braces, and the overall oral health of the person receiving treatment. Most treatments last around 18 months.
Best Oral Health Practices After Braces are Removed
- There are permanent and removable retainer options. If you and your orthodontist decide a removable retainer is the best choice for you, it is very important that the custom retainers be worn for a minimum of 12 month after the braces come off for sustainable treatment results.
- Every time you brush your teeth, brush your retainer as well but do not use toothpaste.
- A few times a week, disinfect the retainer by soaking it in denture cleanser, such as Polident, or another brand name solution. Follow the directions suggested by the cleanser brand, and rinse thoroughly before use.