Posts for: February, 2016
Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.
He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”
Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.
There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.
The Science Behind the Magic
There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.
The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.
How’s that for a disappearing act?!
If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
Most of us are quite familiar with what traditional braces look like. But occasionally we see more complex-looking devices being worn by young orthodontic patients: thicker wires that extend outside the mouth, with straps that may go behind the neck or over the chin. What are these devices, and why are they sometimes needed?
In general, orthodontic appliances with external parts braced by the head, neck or chin are referred to as “headgear.” These devices may be used to handle a number of particular orthodontic situations, but they all have one thing in common: They provide the additional anchorage needed to move teeth into better positions.
It may come as a surprise that teeth, which seem so solid, can actually be moved fairly easily over time. This is because teeth are not fixed directly into bone, but are instead held in place by a hammock-like structure called the periodontal ligament. Using a light, controlled force — such as the force of springy wires and elastics in traditional braces — teeth can be moved slowly through the jaw bone, like a stick being pulled through sand.
Of course, to pull a stick through sand, you need a firm anchorage — your legs, for example, bracing against a rock. Most of the time, the back teeth, with their large, multiple roots, provide plenty of support. But sometimes, the back teeth alone aren’t enough to do the job.
If a very large space between teeth is being closed, for example, the back teeth might be pulled forward as the front teeth are pulled back; this could result in poor alignment and bite problems. In other cases, the front teeth may need to be pulled forward instead of back. The back teeth can’t help here; this is a job for headgear.
Some types of headgear have a strap that goes behind the head or neck; they use the entire head as an anchorage. Other types, called “reverse pull” headgear, have a strap that comes over the chin or the forehead; they can pull teeth forward. Headgear can even influence the proper growth of facial structures — that’s why it is usually seen on preteens, whose growth isn’t yet complete.
Headgear is usually worn for 12 hours per day, for a limited period of time. In some cases, rather than headgear, appliances called “temporary anchorage devices” (TADS) may be recommended. These are tiny screws that are implanted into the jawbone in a minimally invasive procedure, and serve a similar function.
While it may not look pretty, orthodontic headgear is capable of moving teeth into their proper positions in a relatively short period of time — and ending up with a great-looking smile is what orthodontics is all about.
Learn more about implant dentistry and how it can rebuild a damaged smile.
There is a reason dental implants have become such a popular treatment option for many patients of Boca Raton dentist Dr. Alfred Huber. Dental implants in Boca Raton offer a look and feel that is as similar to natural teeth as you can get. If you have been interested in implants now is the time you learned more about them.
Q. What is a dental implant?
A. An implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed into the jawbone where it will fuse with the bone and tissue to create a permanent foundation from which to hold a dental crown or other dental restoration.
Q. How long do they last?
A. What makes implants so appealing is that they are designed to last a lifetime if you care for them properly. So once the implant has completely fused with the jawbone it can last the rest of your life if you maintain good oral hygiene and continue to see your dentist in Boca Raton for regular checkups.
Q. Is getting a dental implant in Boca Raton painful?
A. You’ll be relieved to hear that getting implants isn’t painful. Your procedures will be performed under local anesthesia so the area will be numb prior to treatment. You shouldn’t feel a thing once the anesthesia takes affect. Of course, there may be some soreness or discomfort after your procedure, but the effects should be minimal.
Q. How long will it take to get a dental implant?
A. The process usually takes several months to complete, depending on the treatment plan we have mapped out for you. The first major step to getting an implant is having it naturally fuse together with the bone. The second step is to attach the dental restoration (e.g. crown) to the implant. This can take between two to nine months, but may also take longer.
Q. Is it possible that my body could reject a dental implant?
A. Because implants are made from a biocompatible material (e.g. titanium) this means that it’s rare for an implant to fail. Smokers are more likely than non-smokers to deal with implant failure, where the implant doesn’t successfully meld with bone.
Q. Who is a good candidate for this cosmetic procedure?
A. Anyone looking for a long-term solution to replacing one or more missing teeth could benefit from implants. Ideal candidates with be healthy and not dealing with cavities, gum disease or uncontrolled chronic diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Implants are also only an option for adults and are not suitable for children or teens.
Have questions of your own regarding this treatment? No problem! Your restorative dentist in Boca Raton is here to help. Schedule an implant consultation today with Reserve Dental Group and get all your questions answered.