If you think you child needs to receive orthodontic treatments, you may be wondering what can be done to fix their smile. Here are a few types of orthodontic treatments.
Orthodontic Treatments: How Braces Work
A lot of times, when patients come into the office they sort of wonder how orthodontics works. Interestingly, orthodontics works, not because of the braces on your teeth, but because of the wires we place within those braces. Elastics, or rubber bands, are typically used to pit one arch against another. By using elastics, we try to change the relationships between the upper and lower teeth. If they are not worn appropriately, the corrections we are trying to achieve will often fail to occur.
Also, inconsistent elastic wear will often lead to long-term soreness. Many times, when a patient comes into the office complaining of chronic pain while wearing rubber bands, it’s an indication to the orthodontist that they are not wearing them consistently. Elastics are critical to moving the teeth. I like to describe it by saying, “Braces are a nice car and the wires are the engine, but the rubber bands are the gas to make it go.”
Orthodontic Treatments: Extractions for Treatment
When sitting down to evaluate a patient, and determine how to treat them orthodontically, the orthodontist often faces the decision as to whether to extract teeth. Extractions are often necessary in cases of excessive crowding when there is no other way to unravel that crowding than structure removal to create the needed space. Other times, with adult, non-growing patients, extractions may be necessary to allow the teeth to move into a more favorable relationship because you don’t have the benefit of growth to help you as an orthodontist.
In one last scenario, extractions are sometimes indicated because the bony structures in which the teeth lie get in the way and prevent the teeth from moving in the directions they need to go. Because those movements are being prevented, the orthodontist must resort to alternative measures – which may include extractions – to allow corrections to be made. In our practice, we always look first at options from the standpoint of non-extraction and recommend extraction to the patient only as a last resort for his treatment.
Orthodontic Treatments: Temporary Anchorage Device
Many times, in orthodontics, extra tools are required to exert the leverage that enables us to move teeth more efficiently. A temporary anchorage device, or TAD, is a small implant that is temporarily placed into the bone – either between the roots of the teeth or in an area where no teeth are present – as a device to pull against. TADs facilitate movement in directions that are much more difficult to achieve orthodontically by using conventional wires alone.
In the past, if a patient were missing a lower second bicuspid, an orthodontist attempting to close the space would have encountered difficulty because of the coordination between the fit of the upper and the lower teeth. With that in mind, negative side effects can occur when trying to pull a lower molar forward, and a TAD enables us to pull those molars in the desired direction without taxing or pulling against the other teeth, allowing the orthodontist to maintain good relationships and avoid those negative side effects.
At the end of the treatment, the temporary anchorage device is easily removed because these types of implants do not Osseo integrate as traditional dental implants do. Osseointegration is the process through which the implant becomes fused to the bone; however, a TAD is not an Osseo integrated implant.
If you have any questions about orthodontic treatments, please call our Buffalo office to schedule a free screening.