Braces (Orthodontia)

 

Your first visit to Dr. Chapman's office promises to be a pleasant experience.  Many times patients are relieved to find out that their periodontal health is better than they thought it was!  Don't wait until it hurts.  The sooner you begin to get your mouth healthier, the better!  Gum disease frequently has no symtoms unless it is quite severe.

Making sound decisions about your dental care and oral health is an easy thing to do with the right preparation beforehand:

  • Make a list of questions to ask our office, so you don't forget anything on the day of your appointment. This includes any concerns you have, or oral problems you've been experiencing.

  • If you have dental insurance, remember to bring your insurance card with you.  Also, if your dentist has given you X-rays or a referral form, please bring them with you as well.

 

Periodontics is a dental specialty that involves the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues.

Who is a periodontist?

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease and in the placement of dental implants. A periodontist typically has had two to three years of additional training in diagnosing and treating gum disease and its associated problems. Periodontists are experts in the most successful techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. Additionally, periodontists can perform cosmetic periodontal procedures to improve your smile. Often, dentists refer their patients to a periodontist when their periodontal disease is advanced.

During your first visit, Dr. Chapman will review your medical and dental history, as well as any medications you may be taking. This will be followed by:

  • A complete oral and periodontal exam of your gums to check for gum bleeding and swelling, and gum recession; your jawbone, to help detect the breakdown of bone surrounding your teeth; and your teeth, to determine their proper alignment and if any are sensitive, loose and how they fit together when you bite.
  • An assessment of the depth of the spaces, known as periodontal pockets, between your teeth.
  • X-rays, to show the bone levels between your teeth to check for possible bone loss.
  • Once the exam is completed, Dr. Chapman will in most cases immediately discuss with you his diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. He will answer your questions and you will have a thorough understanding of what your situation is and what needs to be done for optimal health. 


Treatment choices include:

  • Root Planing and Scaling, which is one of the most effective ways to treat gum disease when it is caught in its early stage, before it has progressed to significant bone loss. This is a thorough cleaning and removal of the disease -causing deposits on your teeth called tartar and is done by a dental hygienist. 
  • Pocket Reduction Treatment  (PRT) is without a doubt the most successful and time tested treatment for moderate and advanced cases of periodontal disease available today!  PRT is so effective because it involves the complete removal of tartar and the recontouring of the bone that supports the teeth to bring it back to the healthy shape that it is supposed to have.   Pocket Reduction Treatment is very beneficial when pockets are 5mm or greater.  With PRT the diseased pockets are very predictably reduced by 50%!  This allows your toothbrush to keep the now healthy pockets clean and leads to long term periodontal health!
  • Bone Grafting/Bone Regeneration is a very valuable procedure done at the same time as Pocket Reduction Treatment where Dr. Chapman places a special material into indentations in the bone caused by periodontal disease that commonly occur next to teeth.  Bone grafting helps to re-build some of the bone that supports the teeth.
  • Soft Tissue Grafts including: Connective Tissue Grafts which help to cover up the exposed root surfaces of teeth and can be a cosmetic problem as well as cause sensitivity;  Free Gingival Grafts, which move healthy gum tissue from one part of the mouth to another, and Pedical Grafts, which shift gums to cover areas where healthy tissue is needed.
  • Implants  are the most natural, most functional, best looking replacements for lost teeth that dentistry has today!  Think of an implant as a man-made tooth root that your dentist places a crown (cap) on.  Alternatives include a bridge where your dentist drills down on the teeth next to a space and the bridge is glued onto those teeth replacing the lost tooth in between.  This can lead to tooth decay (cavities) on those teeth, and can also put too much pressure on those teeth in some cases leading to additional tooth loss.  Another option is a partial denture, an appliance that you take out at night and put back in in the morning.  Many patients find that partials are cumbersome and difficult to chew with, not to mention unsightly.
  • Ridge Preservation  is done to help decrease the natural loss of bone that will occur after a tooth has been extracted.  This is commonly done in an area where an implant is to be placed.
  • Ridge Augmentation may be recommended if the bone where an implant is to be placed is too narrow and needs to be widened.
  • Crown lengthening is the lowering of the gum around a tooth, most often done so that your dentist can gain access to a cavity or fracture below where the gumline was. 
  • Cosmetic surgery is done to help reveal a beautiful smile where patients have too much gum tissue covering their teeth giving the appearance of very small teeth.  This is a  simple procedure that can have a dramatic effect on a persons smile!
  • Frenectomy is another easy procedure where excess gum tissue is removed from between the upper two front teeth that may be causing a spece to exist.  This is usually requested by an orthodontist who is trying to straighten teeth and close gaps between them. 
  • Fiberotomy is the easiest of all procedures again done at the request of an orthodontist to assist in the long term maintenance of straighter teeth. 

  

Braces are applied to teeth for various reasons, including poorly aligned jaws, crooked, crowded and missing teeth, or a bad bite (also called malocclusion).

Various things can cause teeth to become crooked or jaws misaligned, including thumb-sucking or a traumatic injury. Some conditions are inherited.

Children between the ages of 7 and 14 are typical candidates for braces because their facial structures are still developing. Adult braces usually entail additional procedures because their faces have already fully developed.

About Braces

Orthodontics is a field of dentistry that deals with corrections involving jaw and teeth alignment.

Braces employ the use of wires and are usually one of three types:

  • Old-fashioned, conventional braces, which employ the use of metal strips, or bands.
  • Metal or plastic brackets that are cemented or bonded to teeth.
  • Brackets that attach to the back teeth (also called lingual braces).

Procedures

Orthodontic procedures, also called orthodontia, are complex processes.

In most cases, a dentist will need to make a plaster cast of the individual's teeth and perform full X-rays of the head and mouth.

After orthodontic appliances are placed, they need to be adjusted from time to time to ensure that they continue to move the teeth into their correct position.

Retainers are used following braces to ensure that teeth remain in position.

Aesthetic and Comfort Issues

Advances in technology have vastly improved appearance issues with orthodontia.

Braces today are made from extremely lightweight and natural-colored materials. The materials that braces attach to-brackets-are bonded to the surfaces of teeth but can be later removed.

People can expect to wear braces for about two years—less or more in some cases. Adults are usually required to wear braces for longer periods of time.

Because orthodontic appliances need to be adjusted from time to time to ensure they continue to move the teeth into their correct position, they can create pressure on the teeth and jaws. This mild discomfort usually subsides following each orthodontia adjustment.

Hygiene issues

People who wear braces must be diligent in ensuring that food particles and other debris do not get trapped in the network of brackets and wires. In addition, brackets can leave stains on enamel if the area surrounding them is not cleaned on a daily basis.

Daily oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing and rinsing are a necessity. Some people with orthodontic appliances can benefit from using water picks, which emit small pressurized bursts of water that can effectively rinse away such debris.

Another caveat: Braces and sticky foods don't mix. Crunchy snacks and chewy substances should be avoided at all costs because they can cause orthodontia to be loosened or damaged.

Space Maintainers

Space maintainers are helpful dental devices that can help teeth grow in normally following premature tooth loss, injury or other problems.

The devices can help ensure that proper spaces are maintained to allow future permanent teeth to erupt.

If your child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, his or her other teeth could shift and begin to fill the vacant space. When your child's permanent teeth emerge, there's not enough room for them. The result is crooked or crowded teeth and difficulties with chewing or speaking.