Orthodontic treatment for adults is about to change for the better, no matter what your age. It can give you the confidence and pride that come with straight teeth and a great smile. But we have another equally important treatment goal – to improve the health of your teeth and gums.
The fact is, when left untreated, many orthodontic problems may become worse (especially as adults). When you have a malocclusion (another way of saying “bad bite”), your teeth may be crowded, spaced, or may not fit together correctly. Crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. Given time, crowding may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. Bad bites also can result in abnormal wearing of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and damage to supporting bone and gum tissue. Poor tooth alignment can contribute to pain in your jaw joints.
Even as an adult, you’ll be pleased to learn that braces will work with your current lifestyle. You can do almost anything with braces, sing, play a musical instrument, dine out, kiss, and even have your picture taken. Today’s technology makes people wearing braces feel better about how they look. Metal brackets are much smaller than they used to be. Even less noticeable are adult braces made of ceramic or plastic. And, lingual braces (ones that go behind your teeth) may be appropriate in some cases. We will tell you which of these options is best for you. No matter what type of braces you wear, you’ll have to make a few adjustments to treatment. But, if you’re like the vast majority of adult patients, you’ll adjust quickly.
Chewing ice and certain treats, such as caramels and peanut brittle, will be off-limits. Also, your mouth and teeth may be a little tender after adjustments. And, of course, it will be especially important that you visit your family dentist for regular check-ups.
The good news is that the new techniques and materials that Dr. Gittess uses today have made wearing braces more comfortable for adults and teens.
A consultation is the best way to determine if you can benefit from orthodontic treatment. For adults, the condition of your teeth, gums and supporting bone is the most important factor in determining the potential for improving your smile and dental health. Remember, the biological process involved in tooth movement is the same in both adults and children. After an initial examination, we will be able to tell you what your treatment will involve and its approximate cost. If you decide to proceed, we will usually make diagnostic records of your mouth. These may include molds of your teeth and special x-rays and photographs. Every person’s malocclusion is different. After carefully analyzing the nature of your needed correction, we will recommend the best course of treatment for improving your smile.
The cost of orthodontic treatment will depend on many factors, including the severity of the problem, its complexity and length of treatment. We will be glad to discuss the cost with you before treatment begins. Patients are finding that adult braces are more affordable today than ever. We have a variety of convenient payment plans. In addition, many dental insurance plans now include orthodontic benefits. Dollar for dollar, when you consider the lifetime benefits of braces, they are truly a great value.
The decision to have orthodontic treatment is a major one. Once you decide to have treatment, choosing who will provide it is very important. Dr. Gittess is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. All orthodontists are dentists, but only about six percent of dentists are orthodontists. Admission to orthodontic programs is extremely competitive and selective.It takes many years to become an orthodontist and the educational requirements are demanding.An orthodontist must complete college requirements before starting a 3-5 year graduate program at a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). After dental school, at least two or three academic years of advanced specialty education in an ADA-accredited orthodontic program are required to be an orthodontist. The program includes advanced education in biomedical, behavioral and basic sciences. The orthodontic student learns the complex skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).
Only dentists who have successfully completed these advanced specialty education programs may call themselves orthodontists. To specialize in adult orthodontic care takes years of experience. As adults, you’re no longer growing and treatment plans have to be planned more extensively. To have the best experience, you want to work with a dentist that specializes in adult orthodontics.
Achieving healthy, beautiful smiles is a team effort that involves the orthodontist, the family dentist, the patient, and (if needed) other dental specialists. Dr. Gittess provides the expertise, the treatment plan and the techniques to straighten teeth and align the jaws. The family dentist helps make sure the teeth and gums stay clean and healthy. The patient must cooperate by following the dentist’s and the orthodontist’s instructions carefully so that the teeth and jaws move in the way desired and on the prescribed schedule. Because dental hygiene is so important, regular visits to the family dentist should continue every six months during orthodontic treatment (or more often, if recommended). It is essential that the patient avoid foods which may damage orthodontic appliances. The patient must also maintain a healthy, nutritional diet to achieve the best possible results from treatment. A good diet provides essential nutrients to bones and tissues undergoing change during orthodontic treatment.