What is Orthodontics? Orthodontics is the straightening of crooked, protruding, or misaligned teeth through the use of braces (wires and brackets) or appliances so that they can look, feel, and function better. Gentle pressure is placed on the teeth so that they slowly move into the right place over a number of months or years. If you are interested in finding out about orthodontics for yourself or your child, please call our office to set up a consultation visit with Dr. Shabier Shaboodien. If you are a good candidate for treatment, we can proceed with taking the appropriate models, x-rays, and photographs for you. Reasons Why You May Need Orthodontics Many adults and children choose to have orthodontic work done for aesthetics, they are just not happy with the appearance of their teeth. They may be experiencing crowding, crooked teeth, an over bite, an open bite, an under bite, or too much space in between teeth. A number of other factors may affect the size and position of your teeth and jaw and require orthodontic therapy to correct them: 1. Genetics Problems like crowded teeth may run in your family. 2. Habits You may have a habit that affects how your teeth have erupted in your mouth, such as thumb sucking or mouth breathing. 3. Missing Teeth You may have lost a tooth (or teeth) prematurely and as a result your teeth have moved or shifted out of their normal eruption pattern. Crowded or crooked teeth are harder to clean and tend to trap plaque and bacteria in between them. This causes cavities to develop, gum disease to worsen, and teeth to stain. Teeth that stick out or protrude are more likely to chip or break. When teeth do not line up properly, it makes biting and chewing your food more difficult, and can cause some teeth to wear down quickly. An improper bite can also contribute to muscle and jaw tension, and cause clicking, and sometimes painful joints. These are all reasons why straightening teeth is important. How is Orthodontic Therapy Done? Removable Appliances Removable appliances are not a precise as braces, which is why they are only used to move one tooth or a small group of teeth. We have used appliance therapy on many children and a few adults with minimal misalignment of their teeth. Patients are required to wear their appliance all the time during therapy and come in for regular observation and adjustment visits. Therapy can take anywhere from 6-18 months. Dr. Shabier Shaboodien can screen your child as early as age seven to see if they may require braces in the future. Sometimes he may choose to have your child wear an appliance before all the adult teeth come in to improve eruption patterns and jaw alignment. This is called "Interceptive Orthodontics". Children may or may not require braces after wearing the appliance; it just depends on the complexity of the case and the growth pattern of your child's teeth and jaw. Fixed Braces Most often the choice of treatment is braces. Treatment time lasts anywhere from 1-2 years, depending on what Dr. Shabier Shaboodien is treating. Prices of treatment vary depending on the complexity of the case and years that you will be in braces. Patients are required to come in for regular observation and adjustment visits and maintain excellent oral hygiene care at home. There are a variety of colors of brackets, wires, and elastics, and you can talk to Dr. Shabier Shaboodien about which ones are right for you. You may like glow in the dark, cosmetic ceramic, or bold gold. With the use of new copper NiTi wires, Dr. Shabier Shaboodien can move teeth in a more gentle manner than years ago. This means teeth are less sensitive after adjustments and while they are shifting position in your mouth. Retainers Retainers help keep teeth in the right place after you have completed braces or appliance therapy. Removable retainers are made of a pink colored acrylic material and attach to your teeth like an appliance would. Some patients are required to wear these all the time, while others only have to wear them at night while they sleep. Fixed retainers are a wire that is attached to the inside of your teeth permanently. Having a fixed wire, makes flossing difficult, and requires extra care and time with cleaning. Headgear Headgear is used to guide the direction of the tooth movement and/or jaw growth in someone who is still growing. Headgear may be worn before braces are applied, or during any part of orthodontic treatment. There are a few different types of headgear. The patient inserts the headgear themselves in most circumstances, wears it during the evening and at night. Modern advances sometimes allow special implants to be used instead of headgear. Oral Surgery Dr. Shabier Shaboodien may request that teeth be removed prior to starting orthodontics if they are crowded, badly out of position, or wisdom teeth. Jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) may be required when there are major differences in the size or position of your upper and lower jaws. It will help the upper and lower jaw to line up. You would need to be referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for these procedures. Considerations Orthodontic treatment does take time to complete, and in some cases, minor treatments may be needed later to correct small changes in tooth position. Treatment involves a time commitment from patients and in general, adults take longer to treat then children or teenagers. Treatment can range from 6 months to even 2 years in some cases. Patients are required to come in regularly for maintenance visits every 4-6 weeks. Brushing and flossing do take longer to complete, and are even more important because food gets stuck around the brackets and can cause decay and decalcification quickly. Patients should have professional cleanings done more frequently as well. Your diet needs to change too in order to prevent the brackets from breaking off. Patients are recommended to stay away from chewing ice cubes, nuts, chewing pens and pencils, sticky foods, foods high in sugar, gum, toffee, and beef jerky. Orthodontics is a big commitment, but it has a lifelong result!