Dental Braces, Invisalign, Orthodontics, Cosmetic Dentistry
Information About Orthodontics Treatments Dental Braces, Invisalign
Due to genetics, trauma or other factors, many patients suffer from poorly aligned jaws and malocclusions (bad bites) that can cause them discomfort and pain. In these instances, correcting crooked teeth not only improves aesthetics and confidence, but also overall dental health.
Patients who need orthodontic treatment often receive dental braces, or metal brackets adhered to the front of the teeth. The brackets are connected with metal wires, which are tightened or loosened to close gaps and straighten teeth. Dental braces gradually shift teeth and their roots over time to give patients well-aligned smiles.
Thanks to dental technologies, dental braces are more efficient, comfortable and aesthetically appealing than in the past. Tooth-colored dental braces are widely requested because they seamlessly blend with patients' natural smiles, making them feel more confident in their appearance during orthodontic treatment.
Others often wish to straighten their teeth with Invisalign teeth aligners, a set of clear, removable retainers that progressively adjust teeth over time. With Invisalign, patients can correct their smiles within the convenience of their schedules and the comfort of their homes. The total Invisalign cost ranges from $3,000 to $5,000, similar to the total cost of dental braces.
During an initial consultation, an orthodontist will use a variety of advanced dental technologies to determine the best treatment plan for the patient. Many orthodontists rely on X-rays, photographs, teeth and bite impressions, and oral examination to evaluate a patient's initial condition. Then, they determine the type and extent of treatment needed, as well as the total treatment time. Most patients are able to achieve straighter, beautiful smiles with orthodontics within two years, with additional maintenance care.
General dentists often refer patients with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ disorder, to orthodontists for treatment. TMJ disorder is a serious condition that affects patients' bites and jaw movement, which can eventually lead to pain, swelling, headaches, hearing problems or locked jaw. Patients may be born with TMJ disorder, or acquire the condition after trauma, aging or teeth grinding. To treat the symptoms of TMJ disorder, many patients use hot and cold packs, limit jaw movement, eat soft foods and take anti-inflammatory medication. In some situations, general dentists may prescribe a dental appliance, like a splint or mouth guard, to prevent further damage caused by teeth grinding or clenching. All of these methods only treat the symptoms of TMJ disorder, and not the cause.
Many patients who require TMJ treatments undergo orthodontics or restoration treatment. A few severe cases require surgical intervention. Orthodontists carefully realign the temporomandibular joint to bring relief to patients suffering from TMJ disorder. One of the most common treatments for TMJ disorder is occlusal equilibration, a procedure that reshapes the biting surfaces of the teeth to eliminate deflective interferences.
Treating TMJ disorder is a tedious process that requires a highly skilled dentist who has expertise in evaluating jaw-to-bite relationships and TMJ treatments. In many instances, TMJ treatment costs are covered by dental insurance, which can absorb 15 to 50 percent of the total cost. Patients should speak with their dental insurance representative before receiving TMJ treatment.
Additional Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Patients who straightened their teeth with orthodontic treatment, like dental braces or Invisalign, often wish to further improve their smiles. Many receive teeth whitening services to brighten their teeth and remove stubborn stains caused by diet and aging. Others speak to a cosmetic dentist about porcelain veneers to alter the size and shape of their teeth or a tooth implant to improve their overall facial aesthetics. Patients who would like to locate a qualified cosmetic dentist within their area should view the online directory at A Consumer's Guide to Dentistry.