Orthodontic Treatment in Scripps Ranch
Orthodontics is a subspecialty of dentistry that encompasses the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of malpositioned teeth. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to shift the teeth into the proper position and alignment. Straight, properly positioned teeth are not only aesthetically appealing, but also optimal for oral health and dental function. Dr. Jennifer Santoro works with teens and adults to find the orthodontic solution that is best for their specific needs.
Why Is the Spacing & Alignment of the Teeth Important?
The alignment and spacing of the teeth is critical for several reasons.
Shifting the teeth into the desired position and alignment helps the teeth and jaw work more effectively. It helps avoid abnormal wear on the teeth, jawbone and joints.
Straight, properly aligned teeth are easier to brush and floss, thus reducing the risk of tooth decay and periodontal problems. The gums are less likely to develop redness, inflammation and increased periodontal pockets. By improving the alignment of the teeth, the gums are healthier and better able to properly attach to the teeth, giving them a nice snug fit.
Straight teeth are also less likely to cause pain or problems biting or chewing. When your teeth are in proper alignment, they support normal dental function. Straight teeth are also less likely than protruding, crooked teeth to crack or fracture from an injury in the event of an accident.
The alignment of the teeth is also critical to the bite, which is the way the upper and lower teeth fit together when the mouth is closed. When the bite is off, it can cause jaw pain or pressure, and sometimes headaches and facial and neck pain. An abnormal bite also leads to irregular tooth wear and other complications, such as problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) causing temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
Finally, properly spaced and aligned teeth are cosmetically attractive and can increase self-image and confidence. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a beautiful smile and the confidence that comes with it!
Orthodontic Treatment Options
A common way to treat orthodontic problems and avoid complications associated with crooked or crowded teeth is by wearing traditional braces. Metal or tooth-colored brackets are bonded onto the teeth and connected with a series of wires; the system puts gentle pressure on the teeth to move the teeth into the proper position and alignment. Sometimes the brackets are bonded to the insides of the teeth so they aren’t as noticeable. Metal bracket orthodontics are done by an orthodontist, whom Dr. Santoro can refer you to.
Invisible Orthodontic Options
Although braces are a well-known form of orthodontics, they aren’t the only option. Nowadays, more patients are opting for “invisible orthodontic” systems like Invisalign and ClearCorrect. Instead of using brackets and wires to slowly move the teeth into the desired position, Invisalign and ClearCorrect rely on clear plastic aligners to gently shift the teeth. Patients wear a series of upper and lower aligners in a specific sequence until the teeth reach the optimal position and alignment. Though every case is different, many patients achieve their treatment goals quicker with Invisalign and Clear Correct, compared to traditional braces. Dr. Santoro loves working with these clear aligner cases and would be happy to evaluate your specific situation!
Frequently Asked Questions about Orthodontics
What are the Most Commonly Treated Orthodontic Problems?
- Tooth crowding – i.e., not enough room in between the teeth
- Abnormal spacing between the teeth – i.e., too much or uneven spacing between the teeth
- Underbite – the lower front teeth sit in front of the upper front teeth
- Overbite – the upper teeth extend out farther than the lower teeth (the lower teeth may bite into the roof of the mouth in severe cases)
- Open bite – the upper and lower teeth do not touch when closing the jaw
What Does Orthodontic Treatment Cost?
The cost of orthodontic treatment can vary greatly, depending on the type of orthodontic appliances or system used. Traditional metal braces will be priced differently than ClearCorrect or Invisalign. For pricing information, please set up a consultation with Village Center Dentistry.
Are There Financing Options for Orthodontic Treatment?
To inquire about financing orthodontic treatment, please give us a call or send an email today.
When Should I Choose Braces Over Invisalign or Clear Correct?
The type and severity of your orthodontic problem will factor into whether braces, Invisalign or ClearCorrect is right for you. It is best to consult with Dr. Santoro about your individual concerns and treatment goals and ask about her recommendations for your case.
Traditional braces may be a good option if you have a complex orthodontic problem, are worried about losing removable trays or do not want to change them out frequently.
How Long Will Orthodontic Treatment Take?
The timeframe of your treatment depends on the severity of your orthodontic problem as well as your age, oral health and the orthodontic system used. Most patients complete treatment in 12 to 36 months.
Do Braces Hurt?
Getting braces put on your teeth does not hurt, but you may have some temporary soreness or discomfort as your teeth and gums get used to them. You may also experience temporary soreness or discomfort after they are periodically tightened.
Do I Need to Have More Dental Visits with Braces/ Aligners?
Dr. Santoro will have specific recommendations about how often to schedule dental visits based on the nature of your treatment and your oral health. Some patients need to come in more frequently than others. Generally with the clear aligners, you have to see Dr. Santoro once a month for the first few months until everything is on track and minimal adjustments need to be made.
Will I Need to Change What I Eat with Braces/ Aligners?
With Invisalign, you remove your aligners to eat; therefore, you do not need to adjust your diet. With braces, very hard or sticky foods can break or get stuck in between the brackets and wires, causing problems. It is best to stay away from foods like raw carrots, whole apples, tough meats (e.g., beef jerky) and avoid chewing on ice or hard candy.
Are There Less Noticeable Braces?
Systems like Invisalign and ClearCorrect use clear, removeable aligners to gently shift the teeth into the desired position. These aligners are thin, clear and much more discreet than the metal brackets and wires used in traditional braces.
Will I Need to Wear Retainers After Braces or Invisalign?
Yes. Wearing a retainer after you complete orthodontic treatment is a necessity as your teeth will revert back to their original position. The retainer allows the teeth to stay in their newly improved position and spacing long-term.