Orthodontics for Every Smile!
Getting Started With Orthodontic Treatment
Before braces are placed, patients must visit a dentist for an exam and have any necessary fillings. Patients should visit the dentist every 6 months for a thorough examination and cleaning. Before each orthodontic appointment, patients are encouraged to brush their teeth
Your appointments are scheduled to fit your busy lifestyle. Our staff makes every effort to accommodate each patient’s schedule. In order to help us continue to schedule efficiently, a 24 hour notice is required to cancel an orthodontic appointment.
Orthodontic treatment may last from 18 to 36 months, though this will vary depending on your individual case. Appointments are typically scheduled 6 to 8 weeks apart. Your cooperation in keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments, maintaining proper hygiene and taking care of your braces may allow you to finish your orthodontic treatment early.
We encourage patients to ask questions about their orthodontic treatment. At a patient’s first visit, we will inform patients and/or parents about important treatment details.
Types of Braces
Orthodontists use a variety of products that are “bonded” to the teeth. The combination of brackets, bands and wires are called “braces.” The two most important ingredients are the brackets and the wires. Both brackets and wires are available in a multitude of shapes, sizes and materials. Once a bracket type is chosen, we are able to strategically and accurately bond them to each tooth so the teeth move in favorable directions with predictable results.
Although traditional metal brackets are our most popular, we do offer and utilize the latest technological advances in the industry, which are self-ligating brackets. For those individuals who want braces but don’t want their braces seen, we have ceramic or tooth-colored brackets and wires that may interest you.
Regardless of the bracket type, they are all teamed up with a combination of high-tech super elastic arch wires made of nickel titanium. These wires create a low constant force over a longer period of time. This allows the teeth to move faster while creating less discomfort for the patient. Lastly, these wires truly maximize the clinical efficiency of all bracket types.
Metal braces are the most common type. They are made of high-grade stainless steel. Today’s metal braces are smaller, more comfortable and more attractive.
Self-ligating brackets utilize a “sliding-door” technology that allows the wire to slide back and forth within the bracket. No elastics or steel ties are used with the system. This technology creates less friction and results in greater comfort for the patient. In addition, this system often reduces both treatment time and the number of adjustments that are usually performed.
Ceramic braces are made of a translucent (clear) material. They are most popular with adult patients due to their cosmetic appeal. They are difficult to see on the teeth unless you are very close to the individual, especially if using tooth-colored wires. While remarkably translucent, they are also very difficult to discolor. They go on easily and are removed just like ordinary metal appliances. They are ultra smooth, providing excellent sliding mechanics and are as strong as metal slot appliances.
Dr. Cooper and specific members of his team are certified Invisalign® providers. The Invisalign® system is a series of clear overlay templates called aligners, which have been generated by computer simulation to gradually move the teeth. This system is available to patients who have fully erupted permanent teeth with certain orthodontic bite problems. Ask us if you are a candidate for the Invisalign® system or click here to learn more about Invisalign.
Life With Braces
Your braces will be attached quickly and easily to your teeth, but a full day is necessary for the bands to completely affix. It is a good idea to wait several hours after getting braces before eating solid food. You may find it easier to eat soft foods for the first couple of days while you are becoming accustomed to eating with your new braces.
The braces may feel a little awkward at first and the teeth may be tender or sensitive to pressure. This is completely normal and will go away soon. It may feel as though the braces are “sticking out,” but this sensation will also soon pass. Small pieces of orthodontic wax may be used if the brackets irritate cheek tissues. Our office always has extra wax in case you run out so call us if you need more.
Many patients will experience some discomfort at first, but the soreness will go away within the first few days or even hours of getting braces. It is impossible to predict exactly when the tenderness will end. Some patients choose to take over-the-counter pain relievers the first day of treatment to lessen the discomfort. To ensure the best result take the medications before your appointment.
Braces and eating habits
Braces are attached to your teeth with a strong adhesive, but may become loose as a result of eating certain foods. It is also possible that wires could become bent or broken without proper care. Since it is best to achieve orthodontic treatment goals with as few disruptions as possible, a well-balanced diet is important to ensure a healthy environment for your teeth.
Patients should avoid foods that are sticky, hard or chewy. They should also avoid any food and drinks that are known to cause cavities. Patients should brush, floss and rinse their mouth regularly between meals.
The foods below are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances and are examples of what NOT to eat while wearing braces:
Eating restricted foods and lack of care for orthodontic appliances may cause problems which will result in extra visits and repairs that will ultimately extend the length of orthodontic treatment. You will have plenty of time to enjoy these restricted foods after completing your treatment. Any specific braces questions about food choices should be directed to Dr. Cooper and the staff.
Congratulations! The active phase or “wearing braces” is finally over and we hope that you are extremely pleased with your result. We now enter the retention phase or “wearing retainers.” Retainers are very important because it does just as it says; it retains or holds your teeth in their new position.
There are a variety of different retainers on the market today. Dr. Cooper will recommend the type of retainer(s) that best suits your finished case.
As we get older no matter our age, our bodies change and teeth are no exception to the rule. By wearing your retainers as you are instructed, you not only protect your investment, but also minimize the amount of movement greatly. Neglecting your teeth by not wearing, losing and/or constantly breaking your retainers can be quite expensive.
Retainer Instructions to follow
If you follow these instructions, you should be very successful at protecting your wonderful orthodontic smile.
Elastics are very important to the progress of your treatment. They provide the force or “pull” needed to move your teeth into a proper alignment to achieve a good bite. Before you leave our office, make sure you clearly understand where to place your elastics. You may need to use a mirror at first, but you will soon be able to change them without a mirror and with very little effort.
The rules for wearing elastics
For elastics to be effective, they are to be worn 24 hours per day unless instructed otherwise. Constant wear of your elastics is essential. If you forget to wear them one day, the progress that you achieved for the last two days may be lost.
Nighttime elastic wear alone will not move your teeth. You must be true to yourself about wearing elastics so your elastics will be true to you. Remember, this is ultimately your responsibility; we are here to coach you through this process. Your final result greatly depends on how well you wear your elastics.
For maximum benefit, elastics are also to be changed 4 times per day; morning, noon, afternoon, and at night before going to bed.
You should take your elastics off only to eat and to brush your teeth. When you remove them, put them on your little finger as a reminder to put them back on. Some patients choose to eat with their elastics on and are rewarded with getting their braces off sooner.
For the first few days of using elastics, your teeth will probably be sore. This is normal. As soon as your teeth get used to the new pressure, the soreness will disappear. A pain reliever such as Tylenol, Aleve or Motrin might be helpful. As long as you continue to wear your elastics, the teeth will not be sore again. However, if you take a long break from your elastics, you may go through days of soreness again.Make sure you have enough elastics before you leave the office; usually 1 or 2 packs is enough until your next visit. If you run out or lose them, come in and pick some up or call our office and we will drop some in the mail to you.
If you follow these basic instructions that we have given you and wear your elastics all day and all night, your treatment will progress as planned and you will be on your way to a beautiful and healthy smile.
Diagonal UR3 – LL3
Class II 36
Class II 37
Class II Vertical
Class III 63
Class III 73
Class III Vertical
Research has shown that the part of the body most prone to sports injury is the mouth. In fact, there are more than 5 million teeth knocked out or “avulsed” each year due to injuries related to sports. An athlete is 60x more likely to damage their teeth if they are not wearing a mouthguard. Every athlete involved in contact sports has about a 10% chance per season of suffering an oral facial injury. During an athletic career, there is a 35-56% chance of sustaining such an injury. The results of a dental injury can be painful, costly and permanent.
According to the American Dental Association, more than 200,000 mouth related injuries are prevented annually in this country by athletes wearing mouthguards. Custom fitted mouthguards, specifically, are crucial in preventing such injuries. The American Dental Association recommends wearing mouthguard protection for the following sports:
Other sports that should seriously consider proper mouth protection would include:
There are three different types of mouthguards on the market today
The Stock Mouthguard are preformed and comes ready to wear. The are inexpensive and can be purchased at any sporting goods store. They usually come in general sizes that you or your child must conform to. In addition, there is little to no adjustment for fit and they are a bit bulky. This makes it difficult to breath and talk with while playing your sport. Furthermore, these mouthguards provide little to no protection.
The Boil and Bite Mouthguard can also be purchased at any sporting goods store and is typically made of a thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then put in the mouth and shaped around the teeth by biting and conforming with fingers and tongue pressure. These mouthguards provide minimum to moderated protection.
The Custom Fitted Mouthguard works differently and is by far the most highly recommended type by the Academy of Sports Dentistry. This mouthguard actually conforms to your upper teeth, mouth and lips which significantly reduces the risk of dental and other head related injuries. These mouthguards are specifically designed and fabricated by a Dentist or Orthodontist to ensure the proper fit. This custom fitting provides the best protection due to its close fit, comfort, and cushioning (shock absorption) effect.
What are the major benefits of using a custom mouthguard?
How is a custom mouthguard made?
First, we take an impression or “mold” of your teeth and surrounding structures.
We then make a cast stone model from the impression.
We examine the size, shape, and number or teeth before selecting the proper thickness of material. We also take into consideration the type of sport you or your athlete is playing.
We fabricate the mouthguard by using a special machine that heats up the EVA laminate material and uses pressure up to 90 psi to accurately compress and conform the material to the cast model. This method is known as a “pressure-laminated” technique which produces superior qualities in fit and protectiveness.
Once the cooling process is finished, our lab technician will cut, trim, and detail the mouthguard so it fits you and only you.
After wearing it for a time or two, you’re hooked. Your custom mouthguard becomes a part of your game, so use it to your advantage!
How do I get one made?
Great Question! If you are a current patient of ours, just ask a team member and we’ll be more than happy to assist you. If you are not a patient of record, please call us at 1-888-75-BRACES and we will kindly schedule an appointment for you and your child to discuss our custom mouthguards.
Dr. Cooper has been making custom mouthguards for many years and for all levels of competition. He knows first hand the importance of these mouthguards with children, family members, and friends that compete in sports from the AAU level all the way to the professional level. In fact, he is a proud sponsor of the Metrolina Havoc Basketball Club and encourages all players to protect themselves while practicing and playing their prospective sport.
How do I take care of my mouthguard?
Taking proper care of your custom mouthguard is very important. This will help with the overall durability and fit as your season goes on. Following these instructions and helpful tips will make your investment worthwhile:
As you can see, Custom Fitted Mouthguards are a big deal to us. We also highly recommend a new mouthguard for each athletic season to accommodate for growth, wear and orthodontic treatment.
So, if you’re really interested in the best protection while playing your sport, we’re here to help by making a Custom Fitted Mouthguard specifically for you. It’s that simple!
Lastly, it’s important to realize that a small investment up front for proper mouth protection is much better than the cost and pain of a serious injury later.
The Herbst appliance is a non-removable orthodontic appliance that is used for the treatment of an overbite. This appliance, developed by Dr. Herbst, holds the lower jaw forward in a normal biting position by means of telescoping metal rods. The appliance creates a desirable facial change immediately and, even though the muscles of the face may appear tense at first, these muscles will soon relax.
Typically, the rods are worn 12-18 months with adjustments every six to eight weeks to accomplish the forward movement of the jaw. The last two months can actually create an underbite as the teeth may be over corrected in anticipation of some relapse when the rods are removed.
At first, the lips, cheeks and teeth may become sore. An over-the-counter pain reliever such as Tylenol, Aleve or Motrin will help to relieve this discomfort. Since the upper and lower teeth do not usually fit together for the first two to four weeks, a softer diet is recommended for the adjustment period. Wax may be placed over any part that is irritating the cheeks. Attempt to dry off the area thoroughly with tissue before applying the wax. If the wax does not stay on, consider trying some moldable silicone earplugs available at any drug store. The silicone can be used in place of wax and is much more resilient.
Please avoid hard, sweet and sticky foods. Brush your teeth and gums, the appliance and the areas around the appliance carefully and often. It is possible, in some cases, for the rods to disengage by opening the mouth too wide. This can be corrected by opening wide and reinserting the rods in the sheaths, which we have demonstrated to you.
We truly appreciate and understand the difficulty you might have adjusting to the Herbst appliance. Once you have become accustomed to the appliance, we feel that you will be very pleased with the rapid results. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call.
The purpose of orthognathic surgery is to correct functional and esthetic problems that are due to underlying skeletal deformities. Corrective jaw surgery is needed if a patient has a skeletal problem or discrepancy that is not likely to be corrected by orthodontic tooth movement alone. These are abnormalities of the facial bones, specifically the jaws and associated teeth.
Jaw discrepancies can be corrected by the following ways:
Based on malocclusion (bad bite) studies, approximately 5% of the most severe malocclusions would require orthognathic surgery. This indicated that there are over 1 million people in the United States with one or more skeletal problems.
These skeletal problems include:
These severe malocclusions may cause many functional problems such as the inability to chew food properly, speaking problems, sleeping and breathing problems and facial muscle dysfunctions such as headaches and joint (TMJ) pain.
Orthognathic surgery provides us with that opportunity to improve both functional and cosmetic problems at the same time. Our goal is to create a harmonious relationship of the jaws and teeth and most importantly, create pleasing soft tissue esthetics and an overall improvement in one’s facial profile.
The success of orthognathic surgery is formulated by a team approach. This would include your orthodontist, your dentist and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. It is important for our team to listen to the patient’s request, their concerns and expectations and know their level of motivation for treatment.
Diagnostic records are extremely important in the surgical decision process. Orthodontic records (cephalometric radiograph, panoramic radiograph, study models and facial and intraoral photographics) in conjunction with computerized digital imaging are used to evaluate existing problems and to establish an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.