What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is one of many dental specialties.  The word “orthodontics” is derived from the Greek words orthos, meaning proper or straight and odons meaning teeth.  Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and irregularity in the jaw area.  Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but these days around 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.

There are many advantages to well-aligned teeth, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene, clearer speech and a more pleasant smile.  Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Dental Association suggests that an orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven.  The earlier orthodontic treatment begins, the more quickly the problem can be successfully resolved.

What problems can be treated with orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a versatile branch of dentistry that can be used alone, or in combination with maxillofacial or cosmetic dentistry.

Here are some of the common conditions treated with orthodontics:

  • Anteroposterior deviations – The discrepancy between a pair of closed jaws is known as an anteroposterior discrepancy or deviation.  An example of such a discrepancy would be an overbite (where the upper teeth are further forward than the lower teeth), or an underbite (where the lower teeth are further forward then the upper teeth).

  • Overcrowding – Overcrowding is a common orthodontic problem.  It occurs when there is an insufficient space for the normal growth and development of adult teeth.

  • Aesthetic problems – A beautiful straight smile may be marred by a single misaligned tooth. This tooth can be realigned with ease and accuracy by the orthodontist.  Alternatively, orthodontists can also work to reshape and restructure the lips, jaw or the face.

Orthodontic Solutions

Orthodontics is a technologically advanced field which offers many sophisticated solutions to malocclusions and other cosmetic problems.  The orthodontist will generally perform a visual examination, panoramic X-rays, and study models (bite impressions) in order to assess the exact nature of the discrepancy.

When a diagnosis has been made, there are a variety of orthodontic treatment options available.

Here is an overview of some of the most common treatments:

  • Fixed orthodontic braces – A metal or ceramic dental base is affixed to each tooth, and a dental wire is inserted through each base.  The orthodontist is able to gradually train the teeth into proper alignment by regularly adjusting the wire.  When the desired results are achieved, the fixed dental braces are completely removed.
  • MEAW (Multiloop Edgewise Archwire) Technique - Have you been told that you need surgery to correct an open bite, and under bite, or a asymmetric bite?  If so, you are likely to be a great candidate for for the MEAW (Multiloop Edgewire Archwire) Technique.  It is also indicated for younger patients who wilsh to correct their bite and restore normal growth patterns.  Emphasis is placed on function.  The goal is to align the teeth and the jaws to support ideal function and aesthetics.

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontics, please contact our office.

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Testimonials

Dr. Herrera and her staff are the best. Appointments are always on time. She is thorough, professional and just a neat person. I visit her office about 4 times a year for cleanings and checkups. The reason I mention this is that she has had the same great hygenist, Terri, for the entire time I have been a patient. My prior dentist had different hygenist every time I visited. Good example of how well this office is run. Don't have any fears seeing this dentist. Gentle, understanding and never rushed!

Jim S.

Dr. Herrera has been my dentist since mine retired many years ago. Dr. Herrera and her staff are highly skilled, and professional. Their equipment is top notch and the environment is relaxing. The hygienist (Teri) is very thorough and is simply excellent. Awhile back, I came in with a broken tooth, I expected a 2 or 3 visit repair over a course of at least a week. Dr. Herrera figured out the best repair, took the measurements, matched the tooth color, milled a porcelain crown, fitted and bonded it perfectly. I had a porcelain crown in one visit! The crown has been trouble free for years, and it still looks perfect. I have a fantastic dentist and hygienist. It does not get any better.

Kevin M.

Love Dr Herrera and all of the staff! Always courteous, friendly and fun when I visit. They are all very gentle when working on your teeth, so if you have a phobia of the dentist, fear no more! Not only are they easy on your mouth, but they have television screens you can watch while receiving treatment and even massaging chairs! I will continue to refer friends, family and clients to them for great dental care.

Lauren H.

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