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Orthodontics

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion,” which means bad bite.

Pediatric dentists have extensive training in growth and development. Orthodontic treatment completed at our office allows our doctors to follow your child’s complete dental care. Some children may be referred to an orthodontist depending on their specific needs. However, most children can complete treatment here.

The results of orthodontic treatment can be dramatic — beautiful smiles, improved dental health, and an enhanced quality of life for people of all ages. Orthodontic problems must be diagnosed before treatment begins. Proper diagnosis involves careful study of photographs, x-rays, and dental impressions.

Treatment typically lasts from 6-36 months, depending on age, and the severity of the orthodontic problem. Outstanding results are also highly dependent on maximum cooperation and coordination of care between you and our practice. We are committed to delivering the best possible service in order for you to achieve your orthodontic goals.

IMPACTED TEETH

What’s the right age for orthodontic treatment?

In our office, your child will receive an orthodontic evaluation at each semi-annual check-up by our pediatric dental specialists. This allows early identification of potential problems. Certain orthodontic conditions are also best treated at an early age, somewhere between the ages of 7-9 years old. Full braces are placed after most of the permanent teeth erupt, generally age 10-13.

The timing of your child’s treatment is VERY important. Our highly trained Specialists will inform you when your child is ready for orthodontic treatment. Please contact our office if you have any questions.

How do braces work?

There are two main components of braces, brackets (which are bonded directly to the tooth or cement with the use of a band) and arch wires that connect the brackets. Contrary to what most people think, it is the arch wire that actually moves the teeth. The brackets serve only as “handles”. The arch wire generates a steady gentle pressure to move the teeth into their proper position.

Like moving a stick through sand, as the tooth moves, the bone gives way on one side, and fills in on the other. Elastics (rubber bands) are used to make the upper and lower teeth bite together properly.

Separators

SEPARATORS

Teeth sit very close together at the gum line. Separators, donut shaped elastics, are placed between your teeth to separate them slightly so that orthodontic bands can be fitted comfortably. Separators are usually placed 3-7 days prior to fitting the bands.

Separators may come out by themselves when:

If your separator comes out, it may just mean that the separator has done its job! You can do a little test to see if there is now adequate space for your orthodontic bands:

Headgear

Orthodontic headgear is a very important part of the treatment for some patients. Headgear creates a force that guides the growth of the face and jaws. It also is moves teeth into better positions or to prevent teeth from moving.

Consistent wear of the headgear is necessary to achieve the best results. If our instructions are not followed, treatment will take longer or the treatment plan may have to be changed.

Always be careful when removing your headgear. If the headgear is removed carelessly, the part that fits in your mouth and attaches to your teeth could injure your lips, cheeks, face, and possibly your eyes.

Take your headgear with you to every appointment. If it becomes soiled, the doctors will show you how to clean it.

Your teeth may be tender for the first few days of wearing your headgear. This tenderness will disappear as you adjust to the new pressures. Let us know if you continue to be uncomfortable for more than a few days. Wearing headgear is necessary for your treatment. Follow the instructions exactly, and you will complete your treatment on time, without changes in the treatment plan.

Removable Appliances

Removable appliances may be used to move selected teeth, to hold selected teeth in place and to influence tooth eruption. They may be used in conjunction with fixed appliances.

Removable appliances cannot be used to treat all orthodontic problems. It takes skill and experience to recognize conditions that can be successfully treated with removable appliances.

Because the patient can easily remove the appliance, good compliance is required to achieve the desired outcome.

Retainers

Once the teeth are moved into their correct position, the braces are removed. The next step is to use retainers to hold the teeth in the desired position. Retainers must be worn as instructed or the teeth WILL move back toward their original positions.

Remember; wear them in your mouth, not in your pocket. Retainers work when you follow our instructions.

Clean your retainers! After meals, clean all parts of the retainer with a tooth brush.

Handle your retainers with care. Retainers are easy to lose. If you take your retainers out, always place them in your retainer case for safety.

Elastics

ELASTICS

Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed every day. Any time missed in wearing your elastics will only make your treatment take longer, so remember these things:

If your elastics break frequently, a wire or band loosens, or a hook breaks off — call our office immediately. Don’t wait until your next appointment. These problems need to be corrected as soon as possible!

“The information on this site is provided for educational or informative purposes only; it is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, recommendations or treatment”.

 

Pediatric Dentists Dr. Thomas, Dr. Hawkinson & Dr. Lopez provide Children's Dentistry
including orthodontic treatments, cavity prevention, gum disease prevention, thumb sucking
and tooth brushing tips to Leawood, Lee's Summit, Kansas City North & the Country Club Plaza.
Orthodontist Dr. Crist provides orthodontic treatment to Leawood.

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