Dr. Laprade and his staff are dedicated to providing you with the orthodontic care you expect and deserve. If you are considering treatment for yourself or a family member, now’s the time to come in for a free complimentary examination and learn how orthodontics might benefit you. In the meantime, the following information will fill you in on some general information.
Why consider braces?
Don’t get hung up on the stereotypes you may have heard about orthodontic treatment. Braces are more comfortable and discreet than ever before, with many exciting options available to improve your smile. There are many reasons patients schedule a consultation with Dr. Laprade to see if braces might help. One of them is malocclusion, which is a misalignment of teeth between the upper and lower arches. This problem is commonly referred to as an overbite or underbite. There are three categories to consider:
- Class I – an ideal relationship between your arches, with your molars in perfect alignment, but there are teeth crowding or spacing problems
- Class II – the upper jaw extends too far forward or lower jaw too far back (protrusion and overbite)
- Class III – the lower jaw extends too far forward or upper jaw to far back (underbite)
If crowding exists, that means there isn’t enough room in your mouth to accommodate all your teeth. They may overlap, rotate, or grow into the wrong spot or even become impacted. Spacing problems occur when there is too much space in your mouth, which can result from a large jaw or small teeth.
If you have these types of orthodontic problems and don’t pursue braces, you can experience conditions like:
- Tooth decay and gum disease
- Difficulty chewing and eating
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Speech impairments
- Sleep apnea and snoring
- Jaw pain or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
What is early orthodontics?
Children should have their first orthodontic appointment by age 7 according to the American Association of Orthodontists. At this age, teeth and jaws are still growing but it can be easier to treat certain conditions before development is complete. Permanent teeth may be guided into better positions as they come in, or a palatal expander may be used to help widen the palate so that the upper arch is sized more appropriately. Sometimes partial braces or space maintainers are recommended to prevent tooth crowding, and headgear can be beneficial to correct a misaligned jaw. However, many young patients do not require intervention at all. Dr. Laprade will perform diagnostic tests like X-rays to determine the ideal time for treatment, which may be in the teen years or not at all.
What are traditional braces?
Braces that have metal brackets, bands, and wires securely attached to teeth throughout treatment is the traditional kind of braces. Small elastic bands hold the wire in place so that it can be used to gradually shift teeth as desired. Some patients, especially younger ones, enjoy choosing fun colors for the elastics to personalize their smiles. You must come into Pawtucket Orthodontics every 4 to 6 weeks for the wire to be adjusted so that progress continues. Treatment time varies, but typically lasts between 1 to 3 years. Traditional braces are especially effective for complicated issues that might not be handled as successfully with other methods. Also, these braces are cemented in your mouth so there’s no losing them or not wearing them enough. Some discomfort is to be expected, usually only lasting a few days, when the wire is tightened and your teeth move into new positions. If traditional braces are best for you, follow these guidelines:
- Adhere to Dr. Laprade’s list of foods to avoid while wearing braces. Chewy, hard, or sticky foods can damage your braces and promote tooth decay.
- Carefully perform oral hygiene tasks, including brushing and flossing. This can be tricky with braces, but is imperative for good oral health.
- Keep all your scheduled appointments so that you maintain your treatment timeline and have the greatest chance for success.
What are Clear Ceramic Braces?
These are clear braces, which are nearly invisible in your smile and will not discolor or stain. Our clear braces are comfortable and low maintenance. Many of our adult patients choose this option.
What are clear aligners?
Adult patients especially love this alternative! Made of clear plastic, aligners are created from advanced images and impressions so that they fit each patient exactly. The customized aligners gradually move teeth into better positions. Aligners are worn for about two weeks and then switched to another set in the series. The entire process takes between 6 to 18 months according to patient conditions. Visits to Pawtucket Orthodontics are only needed every four weeks or so, and there are no uncomfortable adjustments. One of the most appealing things about aligners is that they are removeable for eating and cleaning, so there are no diet restrictions and no need to alter your normal dental hygiene routine. Aligners should be worn at least 22 hours a day for best results.
What happens after braces or Aligners?
After any kind of orthodontic treatment, wearing a retainer is an important step in maintaining the results of treatment. Otherwise, your teeth will slowly move out of place. Two common types of retainers are used by Dr. Laprade:
- Removable Hawley– a customized acrylic mold is made from impressions of your mouth that fits into your palate. The acrylic piece attaches to hooks that go around the back of your teeth and there’s a wire across the front. On your lower arch, the acrylic portion is U-shaped due to your tongue. You should wear your retainers all the time for the first six months after braces, and then only at night if your teeth are not shifting. For ideal results, Dr. Laprade suggests you wear your retainers at night indefinitely.
- Clear plastic retainers – a thin clear all plastic retainer is formed from impressions of your mouth and snaps into place over your teeth. These retainers are similar to clear aligners but hold teeth in their proper position rather than moving them. The main benefit is that they are nearly invisible when worn.
Periodic maintenance is necessary with both types of retainers. Regular dental checkups and cleanings help with hygiene to ensure the best oral health. With proper retainer wear, you can enjoy your new smile forever.