You probably know by now that there are a number of orthodontic treatment options available these days. Whether you’ve always had crooked teeth and you’re ready to straighten them once and for all, or you’ve just recently noticed an issue, there is sure to be a treatment that can work for you. But because there are so many treatment options available, you may feel overwhelmed when it comes to deciding which method is best in your case. Should you get traditional metal braces and deal with a mouth full of metal? Should you opt for a more discreet treatment? Do you need some type of jaw surgery before and/or after your treatment? It all depends on your unique situation, which is one of the reasons why an initial evaluation is so important.
Popular Treatment Options
Regardless of the treatment you choose, the main goal is the same: to straighten the teeth and correct any issues with the bite. Some of the most common orthodontic treatment options include mini-metal braces, ceramic (clear) braces, self-ligating braces, and Invisalign®. We’ll break these down in more detail below.
These are smaller than traditional metal braces, making them more popular. Made of stainless steel, they work in the same way as traditional braces in order to move the teeth into the proper positions over time.
Ceramic braces are also known as clear braces and use clear or tooth-colored brackets and metal wires to work their magic. These brackets offer more discretion than traditional metal braces and mini-metal braces. As such, they are oftentimes used on the upper front teeth, since these teeth are the most visible in the mouth.
Rather than using elastics and rubber bands, these braces use a special wire and bracket system. The wire is tightened as needed to encourage the teeth to move to their correct positions. The brackets can be active or passive, and the wire thickness can be customized based on the amount of work that needs to be done and other factors.
Invisalign® offers the most discreet method of all the orthodontic treatment options. Using clear plastic aligners that are custom-made for the patient, the system gradually straightens the teeth without anyone having to know you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. The aligners are worn for a set amount of time each day and can be removed as needed. This leads to another benefit: convenience.
Invisalign® is convenient because it allows you to maintain optimal oral hygiene and still participate in your favorite activities and enjoy your favorite foods. When you’re ready to brush and floss, you can simply remove the aligners before doing so. Similarly, when it’s time to eat dinner and other meals, you can take the aligners out and enjoy the food as if you weren’t undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Do I Need to Wear a Retainer?
The goal of these custom-made appliances is to hold the position of your teeth, preventing them from shifting over time. This is important because the teeth still tend to shift with age. If you want the results of your treatment to last, it’s crucial to wear your retainer as instructed.
You should be happy to know that you have options when it comes to retainers as well. The types of retainers include:
- Hawley Retainers – These are the most common type and what most people imagine when they think about retainers
- Clear Retainers – These are clear appliances, making them more discreet than Hawley retainers
- Fixed Retainers – These are also known as bonded or permanent retainers and are attached directly to the back of the front teeth
Why Undergo Orthodontic Treatment?
The benefits of fixing orthodontic issues cannot be overstated. Although the most obvious benefit is improved appearance, orthodontic treatment can help you in a number of other ways that you might not have thought about.
If you’re considering undergoing orthodontic treatment, then you probably know all too well that when there’s something about your smile that you don’t like, it can negatively affect various aspects of your life. You may shy away from taking pictures, or perhaps you even cover your mouth whenever you smile. This can lead to very low levels of self-confidence.
The vast majority of those who take advantage of orthodontic services report higher levels of self-confidence after their treatment. This makes sense because when you look good, you feel good. You can enjoy everything that life has to offer instead of worrying what others think about your teeth.
Better Oral Hygiene
Many people don’t realize that orthodontic treatment can lead to better oral hygiene. But the correlation is clear when you consider how difficult it can be to effectively clean teeth that are crowded or overlapping. Orthodontic issues can get in the way of cleaning the teeth and mouth, leading to poor oral hygiene.
Once the teeth are straightened and any other issues are addressed, it will be much easier for you to brush and floss your teeth. Plus, you’ll be more motivated to maintain your new and improved smile by remembering to brush and floss multiple times daily and keep your regular dental appointments.
Although undergoing orthodontic treatment will not guarantee that you’ll get that big promotion you’re seeking, it can open the door to opportunities that might not have presented themselves if you still had crooked teeth. For example, after you’ve corrected your smile, your coworkers and employers may recognize your newfound sense of self-confidence and realize that you have the drive needed to take your career to the next level. The same is true in the dating arena. Others may notice your new and improved smile and be drawn to you.
We’d like to stress that we don’t recommend orthodontic treatment solely as a means to climb the corporate ladder or find your mate. However, you can see that having an attractive, healthy smile can really go a long way.
Orthodontic Treatment vs. Jaw Surgery
It’s important to understand that orthodontic treatment is not one-size-fits-all. It’s only during an in-office evaluation and consultation that we can determine if treatment is necessary in your case. Some treatment plans are more involved than others. For example, if you have functional problems, you may need orthodontics before and/or after jaw surgery with an oral maxillofacial surgeon (OMS). If this is the case, Dr. Davis is more than happy to work alongside your OMS to determine your candidacy for corrective jaw surgery.
The word “maxillofacial” refers to the jaws and face, while “oral” describes anything to do with the mouth. An oral maxillofacial surgeon is thus one who specializes in correcting defects and disorders of the face, jaws, and mouth. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is one of the nine recognized specialties within dentistry. An oral maxillofacial surgeon may perform any of the following procedures:
- Surgery to remove impacted teeth
- Dental implant surgery
- Bone grafting
- Diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain disorders
- Diagnosis and treatment cancers or tumors on the head or neck
- Diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
- Reconstructive surgery
Where Do I Go for Treatment?
If you’re interested in orthodontic treatment to improve your smile, you owe it to yourself to learn about all of your treatment options. But you may be wondering where to go for treatment. The best thing you can do is visit a qualified orthodontist. Part of why we say this is because a lot of people are excited to hear about Smile Direct Club, an online service that claims to help straighten teeth without visiting a professional. The ease and simplicity of Smile Direct Club attracts many to the service, but there are countless dangers involved in not working with a qualified orthodontist. It’s important to know about these risks and dangers and to not try to go the “online route” when it comes to straightening your teeth. If it seems too good to be true, you can be sure that it is.
So, when you’re in need of orthodontic treatment in the San Diego area, you are warmly invited to visit Dr. Davis at Davis Orthodontics. As a Board-Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. Davis promises to maintain the highest standards of clinical excellence in orthodontics. He is renowned in his field and affiliated with the following professional organizations:
- American Board of Orthodontics
- American Dental Association California
- San Diego County Dental Society
- California Association of Orthodontists
- Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists
But the exceptional care doesn’t stop there! When you visit Davis Orthodontics, you’ll be greeted by a team of caring and knowledgeable professionals who have your comfort and safety in mind throughout the entire process. Our staff has decades of experience in dentistry and orthodontics and is at the ready to assist you!
For your convenience, Davis Orthodontics has offices located in San Diego and Escondido. Contact us today to book an orthodontic appointment and get started. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you achieve your dream smile!