About Orthodontics

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Why Orthodontics?

why Ahrens orthodontics For most people, achieving a healthy, beautiful smile is the reason for choosing to receive orthodontic care. If you’re self-conscious about your smile, having braces will greatly improve the way you look and feel.
When your treatment is complete, you will have the smile you’ve always dreamed of and the confidence to show it off! We also want you to feel comfortable and confident throughout your entire orthodontic experience and our practice is dedicated to making sure that you receive the quality care you deserve.

You can now choose from brackets that are clear or metallic, and in some cases, the color of your appliance. Wires are far less noticeable, and the latest materials are designed to move teeth faster with more comfort. Today, any age is a great age to wear braces!

Treatment time varies, and can last between one and three years, depending on several factors including age, treatment method, and how minor or severe your case is. A big factor in a successful treatment is you – the patient! The more involved and diligent you are, the quicker and more efficient your treatment will be. For children, receiving interceptive, or early treatment, can also help provide a quicker treatment time.

Orthodontics for Children

pediatric orthodontics louisville While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist by age seven. At this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to determine the most appropriate timing for treatment.

For some children, early treatment will allow the doctor to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery. Others will be placed on pre-orthodontic observation programs, and will be monitored until treatment is warranted. This allows Dr. Ahrens to monitor their dental and facial development and start treatment at the most ideal age to achieve the maximum benefit in the shortest time possible.

Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:

  • • Correct and guide the growth of your child's jaw so permanent teeth come in straight
  • • Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • • Create more space for crowded teeth
  • • Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
  • • Correct damaging oral habbits and help improve minor speech problems

For parents, it's not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment.

Signs your child may need to see an orthodontist:

  • • Early/late loss of baby teeth
  • • Your child has a hard time chewing or biting food
  • • Mouth breathing
  • • Finger or thumb sucking
  • • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • • Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
  • • Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
  • • Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
  • • Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8

Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.

Orthodontics for Adults:

Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for teens; in fact, the American Association of Orthodontists sites that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21! Many adults are choosing to receive treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining their health, and they want to feel better about their appearance. Adults everywhere are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive orthodontic care, and now you can too.

Common reasons why adults are considering orthodontic treatment:

  • • A bad bite, or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
  • • If the teeth are crowded or spaced apart, possibly causing tooth decay or gum disease
  • • Abnormal pain, or pressure, in the jaw that is caused by crooked teeth
  • • To have a healthier mouth and a more confident smile

Treatment options for adults

For many adults, the thought of having metal braces is enough to discourage them from receiving treatment. Today's orthodontic treatment options however, offer a variety of braces and appliances that are comfortable, aesthetic, and customized to meet your needs. Types of braces include:

  • • Clear (Ceramic) braces
  • • Self-ligating braces
  • • Lingual (behind the tooth) braces
  • • Invisible braces
  • • Traditional metal braces

The difference between adult orthodontics and orthodontics for children and teens:

There are actually not many differences between adult and child orthodontics; however, in children and teens the jawbones are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may mean the possibility of orthognathic surgery, in which the jawbones are surgically aligned. Other differences include:

  • Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Adults are more likely than children to experience gum recession or even bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Patients with straighter teeth are less likely to get gum disease.
  • Worn or missing teeth — Over time teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt creating a bad bite and the possibility of getting gum disease.
  • Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment. As an adult, they choose to complete their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.

Our practice also recognizes that adults and children have different needs, and require a different level of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatments, and that your needs are met with understanding, respect, and full commitment from us.

Why should you consider orthodontic treatment?

  • Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with flossing and brushing, and may help prevent other health problems.
  • A beautiful, straight smile builds confidence — Orthodontic treatment can help boost your self-confidence, giving you a better quality of life and the freedom to smile without holding back!
  • Mouths left untreated can get worse — Not receiving orthodontic treatment when it's needed can create long-term health issues, and end up costing you more in the end.
  • Need to align teeth to facilitate restorative treatment by your general dentist

To learn more about the benefits of adult orthodontics please contact our practice to schedule an appointment. We understand that you have a busy schedule, and we will work with you to make sure each office visit is as convenient as possible.

Orthodontic Dictionary

Parts of Braces

Appliance:
Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.
Archwire:
The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.
Band:
A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
Bond:
The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.
Bracket:
A metal or ceramic part cemented ("bonded") to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.
Coil Spring:
A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.
Elastic (Rubber Band):
A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.
Elastic Tie:
The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.
Headgear:
Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.
Headgear Tube:
A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.
Hook:
A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.
Ligature:
A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.
Lip Bumper:
A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.
Mouthguard:
A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.
Palatal Expander:
A device that makes your upper jaw wider.
Retainer:
An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.
Separator or Spacer:
A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.
Tie Wire:
A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.
Wax:
Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.

Orthodontic Procedures

Banding:
The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
Bonding:
The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.
Cephalometric X-ray:
An X-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.
Consultation:
A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.
Debanding:
The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.
Debonding:
The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.
Impressions:
The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.
Invisalign®
An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.
Ligation:
The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.
Panoramic X-ray:
An X-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.