Do you dream of having a smile you can proudly show off? With crowded, crooked, or misaligned teeth, many people feel self-conscious about their appearance and hesitate to smile fully. At Dental Arts of Boston, our Boston, MA, dentist, Dr. George Stevens provides orthodontic treatments to not only improve smile appearance but ensure proper bites.
What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting tooth alignment abnormalities and malocclusions. It treats dental issues like inadequate alignment, overbite, occlusion, and overcrowding.
When you undergo orthodontic therapy, you can straighten or reposition teeth to improve their look and function. It can also help to maintain the long-term health of your teeth, gums, and jaw joints by distributing biting pressure evenly over all of your teeth.
When Is Orthodontic Treatment Necessary?
Several conditions indicate when orthodontics is beneficial:
- Overbite: Upper front teeth appear to protrude over the lower teeth.
- Underbite: Lower teeth look too far forward, while the upper teeth appear too far back.
- Crossbite: Upper teeth fit behind your lower teeth when your mouth is closed or biting.
- Open Bite: Some have a vertical gap between their front lower and upper teeth when biting.
- Crowding: When the dental bridge in your mouth does not have enough room for all of your teeth.
Advantages of Orthodontic Treatment
Benefits of orthodontics include:
- Enhancing oral functions like chewing and speaking.
- Making cleaning and maintenance easier.
- Preventing and treating headaches, neck/back pain, and TMJ issues.
- Boosting self-esteem.
- Protecting dental health by preventing decay, gum disease, and bone loss.
How Is Orthodontic Treatment Performed?
Orthodontics uses metal, ceramic, and plastic materials like fixed brackets or removable aligners. These devices gradually shift teeth into the proper position by applying steady, moderate, regulated force.
Your treatment choice depends on individual preferences and needs. The main considerations are cost and cosmetic goals when choosing teeth straightening treatments. Traditional braces are less expensive but more visible. Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible but cost more. In addition, new materials help teeth shift faster and more comfortably.
Types of Orthodontic Treatments Provided at Dental Arts
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the "classic" orthodontic method that many think of. Metal brackets are glued to each tooth and connected with an archwire that applies gentle pressure to shift teeth into proper alignment. Dr. George Stevens uses elastic bands called ligatures to hold the archwire into the metal brackets.
Metal braces provide precision control and can correct even complex alignment issues by enabling a wide range of tooth movements. They’re also relatively inexpensive orthodontic treatments. The downsides are that metal braces are very noticeable in the mouth, can irritate cheeks and gums, require dietary restrictions on sticky and hard foods, and make brushing and flossing more difficult. Monthly orthodontic adjustments are needed with traditional braces.
Invisalign Clear Aligners
Invisalign revolutionized orthodontics by offering an alternative to conspicuous metal braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable plastic aligners that are custom-fitted to a patient's teeth. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks before being replaced by the next in the series, gradually shifting teeth step by step until the desired alignment is achieved.
Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible during wear and more comfortable than metal braces. Patients can remove aligners to eat, brush, and floss normally. There are no dietary restrictions and fewer monthly orthodontic adjustments. However, Invisalign may not work as well for complex alignment issues. Treatment can take longer than metal braces since force is applied more gently to teeth. Patients must also be diligent about wearing aligners 22+ hours per day or it could impede progress.
Clear Correct Aligners
Clear Correct is a popular alternative to traditional braces for straightening teeth. Like Invisalign, Clear Correct uses a series of custom-fitted, removable plastic aligners that incrementally move teeth into the proper position over time. Clear Correct aligners are made specifically for each patient using dental impressions. Patients switch to a new aligner every one to two weeks for an average treatment length of nine to 15 months. Clear Correct aligners must be worn 20-22 hours daily for optimal effectiveness.
Compared to metal braces, these aligners are virtually invisible, removable, and allow for normal eating and brushing. However, aligners may not work as well for complex cases. They also cost more than traditional braces. Speaking can be temporarily impacted when adjusting to new aligners. Overall, Clear Correct effectively and discreetly improves mild to moderate alignment issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
At what age should someone consider orthodontic treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. Treatments can begin early in childhood through the teenage years and even into adulthood. Receiving early treatment may prevent more extensive treatment later.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment times vary based on factors like the severity of the issues being corrected, the devices used, and how diligently patients follow care instructions. Most treatments last between one to three years.
How often will I need orthodontic adjustments?
Traditional metal brace adjustments are usually needed every four to eight weeks. Invisalign and Clear Correct aligners are changed every one to two weeks. Your dentist or orthodontist will monitor your progress to determine needed adjustments.
Does insurance cover orthodontic treatment?
Many dental insurance plans provide some level of orthodontic coverage, but benefits vary. Check with your specific insurance provider about the percentage covered and any lifetime maximums for orthodontia. You can also ask your dentist or orthodontist if their dental office provides any in-house financing plans to help with your payments.
Get the Smile You've Always Wanted
If you live in the Boston area and want to improve your smile through orthodontic treatment, Dental Arts of Boston is here to help. If you have any queries or concerns about orthodontics, don't hesitate to contact Dental Arts Of Boston. To schedule an appointment, call us at (617) 266-0441 or visit our office at 126 Marlborough St, Boston, MA 02116.
You can also request an appointment right here online and schedule a consultation with our dentist, Dr. Stevens. We proudly serve the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Revere, MA, and the surrounding metro area.