Common Orthodontic Treatment - Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

Common Orthodontic Treatment

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Orthodontic Treatment

Learn more about the common orthodontic treatment options and conditions Dr. Hardy offers and treats so you can better understand what Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics can do for you and what Dr. Hardy is referring to during your treatment-planning session. The more informed you are, the better able you are to contribute to your care and healthy progress. Understanding common orthodontic treatments and conditions can also help you know when you have an issue that needs to be addressed. The health of your mouth and smile are our number one priority!


What is Orthodontics?

The word orthodontics comes from the Greek orthos which means “straight, perfect or proper” and “dontos” which means teeth.  Before the field was called orthodontics it was called orthodontia. Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on teeth or jaws that are not aligned properly. Orthodontists differ from dentists because they receive an additional two or more years of education and training beyond their four years of dental school training from an accredited orthodontic training program.  


Why Choose Dr. T.C. Hardy?

Dr. T.C. Hardy earned his dental degree from an accredited orthodontic training program at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. He went on to receive his Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) from Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, before returning to Tufts University where he completed his Certificate of Orthodontics and served as the President of his graduating class. Board Certified by the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. T.C. Hardy is the recipient of The Everett Shapiro Award in Orthodontics, as well as the Dr. Harold Berk Endowed Prize Fund for Excellence in Research. He has published and presented his research both nationally and internationally.


Why is Orthodontics Needed?

Straightening your teeth and aligning your jaw is not simply a cosmetic treatment for a more attractive smile. Teeth that are crooked and jaws that are misaligned can cause a wide variety of problems.  Teeth that aren’t aligned properly can affect the shape of your face and can lead to improper wear/trauma to your teeth leading to early tooth loss or breakage.  Misaligned jaws and teeth can also affect oral function–the way you eat and the way you speak. Crooked teeth that don’t fit properly are harder to clean and are more apt to decay. Food that gets trapped between teeth that are crooked can lead to gum disease, or the more serious form of gum disease, periodontal disease which can lead to tooth loss.

Periodontal disease is also associated with your systemic health and is linked to several serious bodily conditions. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, periodontal disease is linked to diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, chronic inflammatory diseases, respiratory diseases and cancer. The statistics show that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.  Research findings also have shown that bacteria grown in the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lungs causing respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.  Beyond these more serious systemic conditions, misaligned jaws can also lead to issues like chronic headaches, TMJ syndrome, neck pain, shoulder pain, and back pain due to the extra stress on your chewing muscles.


What Conditions Necessitate Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontics treat a variety of issues with your mouth. Often, orthodontic treatment is working on multiple issues at once that are present. When reviewing the following conditions, take note if you notice that you have any of these conditions.  If you do, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics today for a free consultation.  Some of the most common issues that orthodontists are trained to treat are:

  • Misplaced midline.  When the center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth.
  • Spacing.  Irregular gaps, or spaces, between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or extra space in the mouth.
  • Crowding.  When teeth have settled in too closely together or there are too many teeth for your mouth to handle.
  • Overbite. Where the upper front teeth lie too far forward over the lower teeth.
  • Underbite.  Where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth sit too far back.
  • Crossbite.  When the upper teeth do not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth–as they should–when biting together normally.
  • Open bite. When space exists between the biting surfaces of the front and/or side teeth when you bite down with your back teeth.  


What Orthodontic Treatments Help Common Conditions?

Orthodontics is a growing and evolving field. As more and more time passes, and as science and technology continues to grow and expand, so do your orthodontic treatment options and the efficacy of your treatment. There never was a better time than today for orthodontic medicine! Orthodontics treats your conditions with both fixed and removable appliances that are used to guide your teeth into their proper position. Appliances apply gentle pressure on your teeth and jaws to retrain the muscles of your mouth and encourage proper growth of your jaws. No mouth is the same so treatment needs, methods, and timeframes all vary. To better understand your orthodontic treatment options, we group the appliance offerings into two groups: removable and fixed appliances:  


Fixed Appliances

  • Braces.  Braces are the most common type of orthodontic appliance used in orthodontic treatment. (While the majority of your options for braces are fixed, there is a removable option available now called Invisalign which uses clear, removable trays that are rotated periodically to shift your teeth position.) Traditional braces use a bracket system with wires and archwires that gently put pressure on your teeth through regular orthodontic adjustments to move your teeth.  Learn more about the many types of braces that you can benefit from today! From lingual braces, clear ceramic braces, traditional braces, and Invisalign–you have options!
  • Custom-fixed appliances.  Orthodontics also offers patients habit devices to help treat children who need help with a thumb-sucking, or tongue-thrusting habit.  These fixed appliances (palatal crib and bluegrass) are attached to the back molars by bands and take away the pleasure found from thumb-sucking.
  • Fixed space maintainers. These appliances are used to help keep space open between teeth if a primary tooth is lost early.
  • Fixed Retainers. While most retainers are removable appliances, you can also have fixed retainers placed behind your teeth to keep teeth in position after orthodontic work is completed.


Removable Appliances 

  • Retainers. One of the most common removable appliances that orthodontists prescribe are retainers.  These appliances work to keep your teeth in the proper position and to keep them from returning to their previous, improper placement following orthodontic treatment.  
  • Palatal expanders.  Some patients need help widening their upper jaw so that the bottom and upper teeth can fit together properly.  To do this, an expander–plastic plate that fits over the roof of the mouth–is installed in the mouth that can be adjusted to help the joints in the bones of the palate to open lengthwise, widening the palatal area.
  • Space maintainers.  Removable space maintainers serve the same purpose as fixed space maintainers to keep space open between teeth that doesn’t currently occupy a tooth.  
  • Invisalign Braces. As referred to earlier, Invisalign braces offer a removable, clear approach to orthodontics that use a series of clear aligners to move teeth in the same way that fixed appliances work, only without metal wires and brackets.  Invisalign aligners are almost invisible and must be removed for eating, brushing and flossing. Invisalign does not work for all patients.  (Teeth that are rotated too much, tipped or that have large gaps can’t be treated with Invisalign. Also, severe malocclusion cases cannot be treated with Invisalign appliances. Dr. Hardy can conduct an evaluation of your treatment needs and determine if you are a candidate for Invisalign treatment.)
  • Jaw repositioning appliances.  These appliances are used to help your jaw to close in the proper position and are worn on either the top or lower jaw.  Sometimes called “splints” these appliances can help with TMJ syndrome and with Sleep Apnea disorders.
  • Lip and cheek bumpers. Lip bumpers are used for patients that have teeth crowding and need more room.  The lip bumper is a wire on the lower jaw that extends from one molar to another and keeps your lips and cheeks from touching your teeth. When you move your mouth or speak, your lips and cheeks push on the bumper, and the bumper applies pressure to the teeth. This pressure pushes the molars back, creating more space for overcrowded teeth.
  • Headgear.  Headgear is used to help slow the growth of your upper jaw by holding the back teeth in place and pulling the front teeth back.  This appliance is composed of a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a metal wire in front, or face bow.


Call for an Orthodontic Treatment Consultation Today!

Schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Hardy to discuss your orthodontic treatment options and your smile goals to achieve your best experience with treatment. Our mission at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics is to improve your smile in a timely and effective manner. We are dedicated to helping you obtain a healthy, functional, attractive smile. To learn more about our treatments or to schedule an appointment, call our Erie office today at 720-887-6003.