At Egger Orthodontics, many of our new patients come to us wanting to learn more about orthodontics and how this field of dentistry can help with their oral health. Not content to simply check on your teeth and keep them clean, the orthodontists at our office strive to go the extra mile. If you have ever felt concerned or self-conscious about irregular or crooked teeth, orthodontics is the area of dentistry that specializes in helping you to get that perfect alignment.
Where Did Orthodontics Come From?
Believe it or not, the quest for a “perfect smile” has been a project since the time of ancient Egyptians. When archaeologists unearthed Egyptian mummies, they found crude metal bands around their teeth, probably tied with catgut to provide the pressure needed to move each tooth into new positions. Ancient Roman writers also jotted down their thoughts on how to help adjust misaligned teeth. Pliny the Elder advised readers to use files to bring elongated teeth down to size. Celsus recommended regularly pushing teeth with your fingers in order to bring newly emerging teeth into the right position.
Bringing Orthodontics Into The Modern Era
Up until the 1970s, orthodontists kept brackets anchored to teeth by bringing wires around each tooth. However, once dental adhesives were invented, the practice became significantly easier. Orthodontists could now stick brackets to the surface of each tooth. The use of stainless steel made gold and silver a rarer choice, permitting braces to become much more affordable and easy to manage.
Lingual braces that run along the inside surface of your teeth let patients also address their aesthetic concerns. The development of more types of braces and removable aligners has helped our patients have more options when it comes to straightening their teeth, and every orthodontic procedure can now provide tools that are more effective, attractive, and durable than ever before.
How Do I Know If I Need An Orthodontist?
It can initially be hard for our patients to tell when they might need the services of one of our orthodontists. The simplest way to find out is to schedule an appointment with us to decide whether orthodontics are recommended. Our orthodontists look intently at the results of special X-rays, the data they can glean from plaster models of your teeth, a clinical exam, and your full dental and medical health history. A careful and thorough examination like this is what allows us to give you all the information you need to make the right choices about your dental health.
Common Issues That Would Recommend Orthodontics
There are multiple conditions you might have that would have our orthodontists recommend that you make an appointment with us. If you have an overbite or underbite, where the upper or lower teeth are too far forward or back, then you should see an orthodontist. A crossbite, where the upper teeth do not properly come down slightly in front of your lower teeth when you make a normal bite, can also be fixed through orthodontics. If you lack space for all your teeth to fit normally within your jaws, then you may suffer from crowding, which can be fixed by the displacement or rotation of some of your teeth.
When there are spaces or gaps between your teeth, our orthodontists are here to help. Some of our patients have also suffered from a misplaced midline, where the center of your upper or lower front teeth do not line up with each other. One more common issue that orthodontists can fix is when there is an unwanted space between the biting surfaces of your front or side teeth when your back teeth meet up during a bite. Our orthodontists are trained and prepared to deal with any of these conditions and, if you have any of them, you should make an appointment by calling us today at 425.270.1616.
What Tools Do Orthodontists Use?
No matter what tooth alignment problem you may have, our orthodontists have a tool or appliance that can help you fix it. Braces are the most common fixed appliance, consisting of wires, bands, and brackets. They are designed to gradually move your teeth into their proper position and are often adjusted monthly by us in order to give you the desired results. Fixed space maintainers are another type of fixed appliance and are used with children to keep spaces between teeth open so that their permanent teeth can rise into their proper position.
Removable appliances are also quite commonly used by our orthodontists. Removable retainers are placed on the roof of your mouth to prevent teeth from shifting back to an undesirable position. Lips and cheek bumpers can both help stop your lip and cheek muscles from exerting pressure on your teeth and prevent you from biting yourself. There are also alternatives to traditional bracers known as aligners that move teeth in a similar way while also being removable for brushing, flossing, and eating. Our orthodontists have access to instruments like these and more to help bring your teeth into the position best for you and your dental health.
What You Can Expect From Your First Orthodontic Appointment
It is very important to us at Egger Orthodontics that you feel comfortable and at ease while our orthodontists assist you with your dental health. We will attentively determine whether you need treatment at all by taking x-rays and photographs of your teeth so that our orthodontists can give you a proper and thorough diagnosis. If yes, we will then take impressions of your teeth so that we can determine the right treatment plan for you. We will discuss the appliances you can choose from to help address your tooth alignment issue. Lastly, you will be given an estimate of costs, the length of time required for the treatment, and frequency of appointments.
How Will Orthodontists Bring My Teeth Into Alignment?
Our orthodontists approach orthodontic treatment in three distinct stages. The first stage involves the use of appliances like palatal expanders to gain space in the mouth, assess what needs to be done, and to create room for instruments like aligners to be properly implemented. The active corrective stage is when a tool like braces are placed on the teeth over a while to adjust and straighten any alignment issues. The last stage is retention, where braces are removed, a removable or fixed retainer assigned, and the teeth monitored through routine visits to our office to maintain your newly straightened smile.
Braces And What They Can Do For You
Braces, the most commonly used appliance, are recommended by our orthodontists to fix most tooth alignment concerns. This involves brackets placed onto the front of your teeth, usually made of metal or ceramic. The brackets adhere to the teeth with a glue-like material, and metal bands are utilized for the back teeth. Wires are then inserted inside the brackets to apply constant pressure on the teeth. We adjust these wires periodically to make sure your teeth are guided over time into their proper positions. Once your teeth shift to their preferred spots, we can then remove the braces and give you a retainer to make sure that the teeth do not return to their original location.
Properly Maintaining Your Orthodontic Appliance
A regular and thorough brush and floss every morning and evening should be a standard routine to maintain your dental health, even before you seek orthodontic treatment. After you begin using braces, aligners, or retainers, this becomes even more important. Plaque and food debris can accumulate around brackets that can risk tooth decay if not regularly cleaned away. Plaque can also gather at the gum line, so brushing regularly along it can keep your gum tissue from becoming inflamed. If using a retainer, make sure to routinely clean it with warm water and keep it in a plastic container when it is not actively being used.
Orthodontics For Adults
The orthodontic field handles the dental health of adults and children differently for a variety of reasons. For example, there are many age-related considerations with adults that our orthodontists keep in mind as they plan treatment options. Adults have harder bones and this, along with the aging of tissue, can mean that it takes longer to shift teeth into new positions. Older patients also have more worn teeth that can make issues such as an overbite more acute. It is for reasons like these that our orthodontists typically seek to make an adult patient’s bite functional rather than perfect.
There are some other concerns that an adult patient can present that our orthodontists will be carefully tracking. Many adult patients have had teeth extracted in the past, and this can make the realignment of other teeth tricky. Old extraction sites may require a restoration of prosthetic bone before other teeth can move into the area. Adult bone also does not respond to pressure in the way that is growing bone can. This can make closing gaps between teeth, and keeping them closed, a more difficult proposition.
Orthodontics For Children
The American Association of Orthodontics now recommends that all children receive an orthodontic appraisal by the age of 7. As baby teeth transition into permanent teeth, this becomes the ideal time to see and prevent orthodontic problems. This is often known as interceptive orthodontics and can help make certain conditions easier to address. Advances in dental technology have also made it so that our orthodontists can resolve many issues before high school, which is when children are often more concerned about the effect that braces can have on their appearance.
Though it can be hard for children to put up with orthodontic instruments, our orthodontists have multiple ways to help them prepare for and cope with the treatment. Manufacturers provide brightly colored elastics of all kinds that can help younger patients feel more personally invested in their treatment. Present day braces are less visible and more comfortable than they used to be. However, tooth discomfort can still occur and may require pain relievers periodically. Our orthodontists also recommend the use of waxed floss with a floss threader to help younger patients get to difficult areas while they have braces in their mouth.
The Many Benefits Of Orthodontics
While the proper alignment of your teeth is the most significant problem that our orthodontists will help you fix, there are multiple benefits to your oral health that come with this. Obtaining a proper bite can help you avoid additional wear and tear on your teeth. Plaque, the bacteria and food particles that form in your mouth, can be incredibly difficult to remove if your teeth are not properly aligned. Once you have received orthodontic treatment, it becomes much easier to reach all the nooks and crannies of your mouth to guarantee that plaque will not cause further problems.
The Aesthetic Value of Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic treatment can not only correct tooth alignment issues, but it also can enable you to have a nice-looking smile. According to multiple studies, the appearance of a person’s bite can affect how their intelligence, personality, and attractiveness are viewed by other adults. Our orthodontists can help you to overcome unfair and negative perspectives of unusual bites by carefully aligning your teeth into their proper positions. This can both help with your dental health and possibly your visual self-esteem as well.
Whether the patient is an adult or a child, orthodontics is an invaluable field of dentistry that can help you address any number of tooth alignment problems. Through the use of fixed or removable appliances, our orthodontists are here to help give you the mouth and dental health that you need. With proper maintenance, routine brushing, and flossing, any orthodontist tool can help you obtain the perfect smile and tooth alignment. If you are interested and believe that an orthodontic appointment could be the right choice for you, call us today at 425.270.1616.
All of the staff members are consistently friendly and warm! They are wonderful with children (even the little sister that wanted to closely watch)! Dr. Egger and her staff are very gentle, knowledgeable and professional and spend quality time educating patients and family. We feel like we are getting excellent care!
- Kristina M.