An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The practice of orthodontics involves the design, application and control of braces and corrective appliances that are used to treat and correct these problems so that optimum dental function, stability and facial esthetics are achieved. An Orthodontist is required to first attend college, then complete a four year graduate dental program and finally complete an additional two or three year orthodontic post-graduate program. Only about 6% of dentists have these qualifications.

The practice of orthodontics has changed and improved dramatically since the early years of metal braces. Modern technology allows for treatments that are more comfortable, less noticeable and more efficient.

More than just providing a smile that dazzles, orthodontic treatment also corrects malocclusions ( the term for crooked, crowded or protruding teeth ) or bad bites. This occurs when the teeth are not lined up properly. Malocclusions can affect the way a person chews, talks, smiles and in some cases, can affect the jaws causing pain and discomfort.

By gradually straightening your teeth, your jaw and lips will align better making it easier to clean your teeth and improve your dental health.

Overall, treatment times are shorter, there are fewer required appointments and you have more choices. Of course, the best improvement will be your beautiful new smile.

The American Association of Orthodontists, AAO, recommends that all children visit the Orthodontist by age 7.0 years. For most children orthodontic treatment is not needed until all or most of their permanent teeth have come into the mouth. In my office early treatment is used to intercept and correct the following problems:

  1. Crowding: most Orthodontists will use a palatal expander to treat crowding. We do not use palatal expanders to eliminate crowding in the mixed dentition. We use a simple and gentle approach made available by the Damon System called the d-gainer or Dr. Damon space gaining appliance. Six braces are placed on the top teeth, two in the back and four in the front. Over a period of 8 - 10 months the crowding is resolved gently and predictably. Please view the pictures below and the patients shown in the Damon results section.
    Before   After
  2. Front dental cross bites where one or more of the top front teeth is locked behind the bottom front teeth. If not corrected early, this can cause the bottom front teeth to be pushed forward too far and cause gum problems.
  3. Back cross bites that are skeletal in nature. This means the upper jaw bone is too narrow for the lower jaw bone and the back top teeth are contacting the bottom back teeth improperly on one or both sides.
  4. Front cross bites that are skeletal in nature. This means that the top jaw is too short or in a retruded position, the bottom jaw is too long or in a protruded position, or a combination of the above. Early treatment is most important here to hopefully prevent a surgical procedure in the late teen years.
  5. Ectopic permanent teeth. This means that one or more of the unerupted permanent teeth is moving in the wrong direction as it continues on its eruption path. These teeth can become impacted requiring later surgical intervention if undiscovered.
  6. Thumb or finger sucking habits. It is very important for these habits to be stopped as the permanent top front teeth begin to erupt at about age 6.0 to 8.0 years. If the habit is allowed to persist, severe front open bites and back cross bites can develop which result in the need for extensive orthodontic

At your first visit we perform a comprehensive examination including complimentary photographs and a panoramic radiograph. Sometimes a three dimensional or cone beam image is also obtained. These are used to determine if orthodontic treatment is needed and to present the findings to you that same day. If further dental development is needed before treatment should begin, your child will be placed in our recall system. In our recall system your child will be reexamined in at 3,6 or 12 month intervals. Photographs are retaken at every visit and appropriate radiographic images are obtained as needed.   These visits are complimentary.

If you or your child is ready to begin orthodontic treatment I and the treatment coordinator will explain the recommended treatment plan, show you the Damon braces and other appliances that might be needed for treating your particular case, review the estimated length of treatment, provide a cost estimate and work with you to customize a payment plan that best fits your needs. An appointment will also be scheduled to start your treatment.

This is a very important question. There are several types of orthodontic bracket styles. Over the years I have used the most common ones. Currently, we use the Damon System exclusively for our fixed orthodontic treatment. We also are pleased to offer ClearCorrect, a series of removable clear plastic trays used to align the teeth.

The Damon system allows me to accomplish treatment objectives that I was previously unable to obtain with traditional braces. These objectives are obtained in less time and with less discomfort. My patients’ smiles have never been more beautiful!

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