Orthodontics – Improving Smiles For All Ages

Teeth straightening is more than just cosmetic. It can affect your overall oral health. Depending on a patient’s age and lifestyle, there are various options that we offer to achieve the smile you are looking for.

When we think of orthodontics we think of braces. Can you describe the other products and procedures available?

Dr. Anthony Bielkie: There’s often a lot of different confusion about the different options that people can for straightening teeth. Like you said previously, braces with traditional brackets and wires but we can also use clear aligner therapy and I know that many of your listeners would be familiar with Invisalign or Clear Correct, OrthoCAD. There’s also other affixed retainers. There’s multiple clear aligners that can be used to straighten teeth. Frequently we can also use different kind of finger springs and holly appliances. There’s multiple ways that your health care provider can help you getting that youthful smile that you’d like.

Besides straightening teeth, what are the other benefits and purposes of orthodontics?

Dr. Anthony Bielkie: Obviously the main reason for most people is aesthetics but having mal-aligned teeth can cause more difficult cleaning. More likely they get cavities. If the bite is improper sometimes people can develop wear facets or have problems with chipping or wearing teeth. There’s also a very functional, more practical reason to do braces. We can close spaces of missing teeth, stop other problems from happening, possible food impactions. In some cases if people are having problems with their bite issues, we can change the way their teeth bite together and help them with problems with their jaw, their temporomandibular joint and headaches as well as other things.

At what age do you start considering orthodontics for children?

Dr. Anthony Bielkie: You know, that’s a great question. A lot of times people will come in and they’ll think well, you know, my child doesn’t have all their permanent teeth yet so it’s too early to start braces. And that’s not necessarily the case. Frequently a lot of the appliances we uses in orthodontics are orthopedic appliances or promoting the size of the jaw. If we see that a child is going to have an underbite or an overbite, instead of watching the problem continue to get worse, we can frequently use some functional appliances that can help promote growth in the direction that we want, perhaps prevent future surgery and/or having to remove permanent teeth.

The earlier we see the patients the better and it really depends on the particular case. If the bite is in great shape we may wait until all the permanent teeth are in and we may just straighten the teeth. We could wait sometimes for some people as late as 13 or 14. Frequently, we like to see the kids about 5 to 7 years old. We would fix any functional cross bites and certain things. It’s always good to be screened by the person who is going to do your orthodontics. Once you choose the person that you want to do your work, then they may say, “You know what? In this particular case we’ll see you in six months or come back in 18 months or let’s start soon because of this or that.” We don’t want to allow certain teeth to get impacted if we can correct that problem earlier.

Why would an older adult consider getting orthodontics and what are the most common type?

Dr. Anthony Bielkie: Frequently people will come in and they’ll hear commercials for instant orthodontics and it sounds great, “Two weeks and we’ll straighten your teeth.” In some cases that is people’s best option where we would do porcelain laminates or porcelain crowns and physically do manipulating of the tooth to make the teeth look pretty. Often if the shape and the color and there’s minimal fillings in the teeth, we can more preventatively do orthodontics and make somebody’s smile look pretty. Frequently people had braces when they were young and they wore the retainers for a while and then stopped. They can have some minor relapse. It’s very frequent that we will do some braces for adults. Sometimes we’ll do that prior to doing some restoration work but frequently it’s for cosmetics. You’re never too old to have the beautiful smile.

What is the average length of time that people have to wear braces?

Dr. Anthony Bielkie: Again that will vary very much by the significant problem. Most people we try to take care of within a year to 18 months. Again, sometimes there is two-phase treatment so they say, “Oh, they started braces and then they’re going to do more braces later. Let’s just wait and do it later.” Again, back as we spoke earlier, frequently we can correct certain problems earlier and get kids through those impressionable years and prepare the jaw to allow things to get better. Sometimes you’ll hear, “Well, I’ve had braces for five years.” That could be because they had a couple different phases and in many cases that’s still the best treatment. It really is very specific on the individual person. Once the teeth are in and we just have to do some minor rotations, most treatment can be done within a year to 18 months.

Learn More

To learn more about Stoneridge Dental and orthodontics, visit www.stoneridgedental.com or call 586-739-6400 to schedule an appointment.

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