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All Posts Tagged: Orthodontic treatment

Model Teeth

What Is Malocclusion?

Braces and Invisalign are both orthodontic appliances used by an orthodontist to fix malocclusion. Some fast facts about malocclusion: it is both diagnosed and treated by a medical professional, and is incredibly common (just in the United States alone, there are about 200,000 cases per year). This term started with Edward Angle, better known as the “father of modern orthodontics.”

What is malocclusion, exactly?

Malocclusion is misalignment of the upper and lower teeth when your jaw is closed. This is also known as the “incorrect” or “imperfect” relation of the dental arches as well. There are different types, or classes of malocclusion:

  • Class I: crowding/spacing/over eruption/under eruption or neutrocclusion
  • Class II: overjet/overbite or distocclusion/retrognathism
  • Class III: underbite or mesiocclusion/prognathism

More generally speaking, any kind of bite problem, crowding, or spacing is considered a kind of malocclusion.

Why should malocclusion be treated?

When your teeth are crooked, or misaligned, it can subsequently lead to much more serious oral health problems – like tooth decay or gum disease! You may also have some more “minor” problems that are associated with misaligned teeth. These problems can include: mild discomfort when eating, speech problems, such as a lisp, breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, and even the alteration of your face!

How does it happen?

Believe it or not, you can actually inherit crooked teeth (thanks mom and dad!). The traits that you can inherit can be jaw size and tooth size. An example would be small teeth in a large jaw. You may also inherit traits like missing or transposed teeth. A more rare condition would be a severely underdeveloped upper or lower jaw, or a cleft palate. More minor causes range from thumb-sucking to tooth loss to impacted teeth. even having a filling or crown that does not fit correctly can cause teeth misalignment!

What are treatments for misaligned teeth?

If you have been recommended by a dental professional or believe you would benefit from orthodontic treatment, come in to see us for a complimentary consultation! Orthodontic care from Dr. Hickory will treat any kind of crooked teeth you may have. In addition to treating any kind of health issue associated with malocclusion, having a straight smile has been proven to boost confidence.

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Invisalign facts (fact #1, they're invisible!)

Facts About Invisalign!

There is so much to know about Invisalign – we thought we would share the facts!

  • Invisalign is manufactured by Align Technology, Inc.
  • Invisalign was “born” in 1997 and founded by Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth.
  • Chishti was an orthodontic patient himself, and while using his retainer post-treatment, he realized that a similar approach could be used for the entire orthodontic treatment!
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Invisalign in 1998.
  • In 2000 Align Technology spent $31 million dollars in an aggressive television advertising campaign (New York Times called it “the most aggressive consumer advertising plan the dental profession has ever seen”)!!
  • Invisalign went public in 2001.
  • In 2005 The Harvard School of Dental Medicine began requiring its ortho grad students to complete Invisalign certification prior to graduating.
  • Invisalign is a series of thermoplastic, clear, BPA-free aligners used in orthodontic treatment as an alternative to braces.
  • The aligners are custom-made for the patient (you!).
  • In order to create the aligners made specifically for the patient, x-rays, pictures, and impressions will need to be taken.
  • All orthodontic diagnosis for Invisalign is done digitally.
  • Aligners are worn for about 14 days, or 2 weeks, at a time.
  • There are no wires or metal brackets with Invisalign.
  • Invisalign corrects many orthodontic problems including crowding, underbite, overbite, spacing, and deep bite (all ranges of malocclusion).
  • Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces.
  • Aligners need to be work for at least 22 hours a day.
  • If you have an important event, such as a date, an interview, a photoshoot, or whatever else, you can remove your aligners for a short amount of time for that!
  • Total treatment time in Invisalign is generally one year.
  • Invisalign aligners are clear, which makes them invisible to the eye!
  • It is easier to keep your teeth clean with Invisalign (in comparison to metal braces).
  • There are no restrictions on what you can eat or drink with Invisalign.
  • Teens wear their Invisalign aligners more diligently than adults patients!
  • More than 3 MILLION patients have been treated with Invisalign.

Whew. If you want to know more about Invisalign after reading all of these interesting facts, contact us! We can set you up for a complimentary consultation or just talk to you.

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Young Person with Traditional Braces

History of Orthodontics

You may think orthodontics is a modern branch of the dental field, but really, did you know the idea of straight and perfect smile has been around for centuries (thousands of years, even!)? The history of orthodontics goes back 50,000 years! While exactly how people throughout the years have tried to straighten their smile varies, the concept has remained the same: a perfect smile is something everyone wants!

History Lesson: Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans

Orthodontists today use braces and Invisalign to straighten teeth, and while Invisalign is a bit too advanced for the Ancient Egyptians, they did try braces! Archaeologists have found a type of wiring system on Egyptian mummies. Want to know what archaeologists think Egyptians used to put pressure on the teeth? Catgut (coincidentally, this is made of dried “guts” and intestines of horses or sheep, not cats!).

A gold wiring band has been known to be used on Etruscan women after their death to keep the positioning of their teeth. This looked similar to a mouthguard, and was found uniquely only in Etruscan women! This signified the need to have straight teeth as a vain or cosmetic procedure. In Ancient Rome, a writer named Aulus Cornelius Celsus, told people to “push” on new teeth regularly to bring them to a proper position. Census spent his whole life researching and finding out new medical procedures.

The 1800s

While orthodontics seem to have hit the pause button after Ancient times, there was a huge push for orthodontic development and research in the 1800s. The Father of Dentistry, Pierre Fauchard, created a dental appliance called a bandeau. This was a U-shaped piece of metal that had holes to fit around teeth to move them! Fauchard wrote a book in 1728 called “The Surgeon Dentist.”

United States and Orthodontics

There was significant increase in orthodontics in the United States – J.S. Gunnels made something called the occipital anchorage (a kind of early, crude headgear) in 1822, Chapin A. Harris wrote the first book on dentistry “The Dental Art” in 1840, and E.G. Tucker (an American Dentist) used rubber in orthodontics in 1846.

The Father of Modern Orthodontics

Edward Hartley Angle is credited with identifying what really classifies misalignment of teeth (malocclusion) and identified orthodontic appliances that would truly straighten teeth in 1880.

Braces As We Know Them Today

Orthodontists used to wrap wire around each tooth to secure the bracket to the tooth, but in the 1970s orthodontists discovered they could use adhesives to place the bracket directly onto the tooth. Also during this time, orthodontists stopped using gold and silver for wiring and instead started using stainless steel! This caused the pricing of braces and orthodontic work to be much lower (go figure, right?).

Lingual braces were also invented during this time because people were interested in discreet treatment. They would have to wait 20+ years for…

Invisible braces!

In the 1990s a man named Zia Chishti saw that when he didn’t wear his plastic retainer for a few days, his teeth would shift back. Chishti went to Kelsey Wirth and the two of them created a way to use 3D computer technology to make plastic retainers. Chishti and Wirth went on to cofound Align Technology, the company known to make Invisalign. In 2000 their process was available to the public, and the rest?

Is history!

If you are interested in getting either braces or Invisalign, contact us!

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Do I Need Orthodontic Treatment?

Do I Need Orthodontic Treatment?

Have you ever wondered whether you need orthodontic treatment or not?

Maybe you’re feeling self-conscious about your bite or the alignment of your teeth. Even if your teeth are straight, you may have underlying issues such as discomfort or pain when you chew. There are many reasons why you might be looking into different orthodontic treatment options. As a DC-based orthodontist with over 25 years of experience in the field, I’ve treated tens of thousands of patients and seen many types of cases. Here are some of the most common reasons why I believe people go to their orthodontist for a professional evaluation.

Aesthetics and Confidence

Oftentimes, crowding, spacing, and protrusion make people feel insecure about their teeth. They are embarrassed to smile in photographs and in front of others. Fortunately, orthodontic treatment can help correct these aesthetic imperfections and give you the confidence and pride that come with straight teeth and a great smile.

Orthodontic Relapse

Many of the patients that come to our practice had braces as children. Unfortunately, teeth have a natural tendency to return to their original positions if retainers are not diligently worn. Orthodontic relapse is a condition where teeth slowly fall out of alignment following treatment. This usually compels people to return to a practice for another round of orthodontic treatment to correct it. At Embassy Row Orthodontics, we make sure that after our patients have finished their treatment, they understand the importance of wearing retainers to minimize the risk of relapse. We also help patients create healthy dental habits and give them valuable tips on how to maintain their new beautiful smile.

Pain, Tooth Decay, and Gum Disease

Due to misalignment, teeth can overlap and create tight spaces that are hard for toothbrushes and floss to reach. Consequentially, plaque and bacteria can accumulate, leading to dental problems like tooth decay, gum recession, and gum disease. Through proper orthodontic treatment, your teeth will be spaced and aligned correctly, allowing you to brush and floss your teeth more effectively. In addition, there will be less stress and wear on your teeth and on your jaw joints (TMJ).

Early Treatment

Since most orthodontic problems can now be treated with Invisalign, adults and children of all ages are finding orthodontic treatment is easier than they had ever imagined. For children, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a consultation at age 7. Some children, typically in the 7 to 9 year-old age range, benefit from an early phase of orthodontics while there are still primary (baby) teeth. If there is crowding, space can be made to allow for the normal eruption of teeth. If there is a jaw relation problem (such as crossbite, overbite, under-bite, open bite or deep bite) orthopedic appliances can be used to harmonize jaw growth. We encourage early screening visits to address orthodontic problems before they worsen.

To learn more about whether orthodontic treatment is right for you or your child, contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation appointment. We will perform a digital 3-D scan of your mouth, share the results with you, and if appropriate, put together a treatment plan customized specifically to your needs.

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