What is Accelerated Orthodontics?

Accelerated orthodontics is a relatively new approach in orthodontics that works in pretty much the same way as your traditional braces, but requires much less time to produce the desired tooth movement. This new form of treatment is becoming increasingly popular in adults, as it promises to straighten teeth in just a couple of months instead of several years with regular orthodontics.

If you have crooked teeth and are suffering from the difficult consequence of such, then this speedier way of straightening your teeth may very well be the solution you’re looking for. Find out more about this treatment below.

Duration of Treatment

Traditional orthodontics requires a patient to wear braces for at least two years. With accelerated orthodontics, however, this period is shortened to as little as three months to a maximum of eight months. The end result is just the same – you get a more perfect smile and an overall improved dental health.

Dental Braces:

Just like traditional orthodontics, accelerated orthodontics also makes use of braces to force the teeth to shift into their desired position. There are three types of orthodontic braces – metal, ceramic, and lingual. Any one of these may be utilized in accelerated orthodontics.

Metal and ceramic braces tend to work better than lingual braces. Lingual braces, however, is the most esthetic of the three, as they are placed at the back of the teeth and thus hidden from plain view. Ceramic braces are not as esthetic as lingual braces, but it isn’t as noticeable as metal braces either.

Surgery Required:

While it has the upper hand when it comes to treatment duration, the main disadvantage of accelerated orthodontics is that it may require some minor surgical procedure. The surgery may be performed by the orthodontist himself, an oral surgeon, or a periodontist (a gum specialist). It is usually done in clinic setting, about a week after the braces are installed. It involves altering the bone and gum tissue that supports the teeth to be moved. Such alteration decreases the amount supporting bone, thus allowing the teeth to shift into their desired positions more quickly.

The surgery is done under local anesthesia, and causes just about the same level of discomfort as your typical dental cleaning. Some patients report an itching sensation because of the faster movement of the teeth.

Post-Treatment:

Once your teeth are in their desired alignment, you’ll also be required to use a retainer to prevent the teeth from moving back to their pre-treatment position.

Treatment Cost:

Although the duration of treatment is much shorter, the total cost for accelerated orthodontics is almost the same (or even higher) as that of traditional orthodontic treatment. This is because of the surgery required to produce faster tooth movement. Expect the price to be at least $2,000. This already includes the fee for the periodontist who will perform the surgery.

Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not cover accelerated orthodontics, but there are orthodontists who offer flexible payment terms.

To sum it up, accelerated orthodontics is a very promising option if you want to have your teeth straightened yet you dread the idea of wearing braces for several years.

To learn more about this treatment and find out if you are suitable for it, consult your orthodontist now for proper assessment.

Types of Orthodontic Retainers

An orthodontic retainer is an appliance that keeps your teeth in place after treatment with dental braces. For more information about orthodontic retainers, check out this article. In here, we will discuss the different types retainers your dentist may recommend and how each one work.

Removable Orthodontic Retainers

Retainers are classified as either removable or fixed. Which one work better depends on the wants, needs, and compliance of the patient.

Removable retainers are more commonly used. They usually consist of plastic or a combination of wire and acrylic material. The wire may run across the front or back surface of the teeth.

The main advantage of removable retainers is that they much easier to clean, owing to the fact that you can remove them from your teeth whenever you want to.

The disadvantage, however, is that it relies on patient compliance and there’s a chance that some patients won’t wear it as prescribed by their orthodontist. It also gets lost easily, especially you if leave it lying around and wrapped in a tissue. You can have it replaced, but you will have to spend as much as $300 for the new one.

There two most common popular examples of removable retainers are the Hawley and Essix retainers.

Hawley appliance is probably the most common type of retainer you see. It is a combination of acrylic and metal wires.

The wires are formed into clasps, which are then anchored to the acrylic body that sits on the palate. These clasps grasp the teeth to keep the retainer secured in place.

Hawley retainers are adjustable, and can thus be used to further improve the alignment of your teeth.

Essix retainers look pretty much like Invisalign aligners, and are therefore most suitable for those who have had that type of orthodontic treatment.

These retainers are made of clear plastic, and hence cannot be seen when worn. They are constructed by your orthodontist using a mold of your teeth and a vacuum appliance. Unlike Hawley retainers, Essix retainers are non-adjustable.

Fixed Orthodontic Retainers

Fixed retainers, on the other hand, are usually made of a thin wire that runs across the back of the teeth.

It is bonded or cemented in place using the same material applied on your brackets. Compared to removable retainers, fixed retainers are quite more difficult to clean, so special cleaning aids are prescribed to keep the both the retainer and your teeth free from plaque buildup.

But their biggest advantage is that they tend to produce better outcome because they hold your teeth in place 24/7.

In short, patient compliance is not a problem. Another advantage is that since the wire is at the back of the teeth, it will appear like you’re not wearing a retainer at all.

Regardless of the type of orthodontic retainer that you use, it is advised that you do routine dental visits to ensure periodic maintenance of the appliance and also to check if your retainer is working or you need another one.

Orthodontic Retainers: FAQs

If you have or have had dental braces, then like many people, one of the things that you very much look forward to is that day when your dentist finally gets them off. So you come to your dentist’s clinic for your de-bonding appointment and just like that, your teeth are perfect.

But before you can celebrate, you dentist suddenly ruins your perfectly happy moment by saying that you need to put on your retainers now.

Yes, we know the feeling, but don’t get disappointed yet because it is for your own good. Learn more about orthodontic retainers and how they can help your now perfect teeth stay that way.

What are Orthodontic Retainers?

Simply put, an orthodontic retainer, as its name suggests, is custom-made appliance that retains your teeth to their new position after the removal of your dental braces. There are different types of retainers, and you can learn more about them in this article.

Why would I need an Orthodontic Retainer?

Having your braces off doesn’t mean that the whole process of tooth movement is done. The forces that moved your teeth into their perfect alignment will take some time to stop.

If you don’t use retainers, then these forces will continue moving your teeth even after the braces are removed, causing them to be misaligned again.

Also, it may take a while for supporting structures (i.e. bone and periodontal ligament) to remember the new position of your teeth and adapt to other changes.

How do Orthodontic Retainers work?

Retainers prevent further tooth movement basically by acting as “brake” which stops the forces cause the movement. They signal the tooth roots to stay in place, which thereby preserve the correct alignment created by your dental braces.

How long do I have to wear an Orthodontic Retainer?

Orthodontists recommend wearing a retainer for at least six months after the removal of your dental braces. You must wear your retainer exactly as your orthodontist say especially during the first six months. This period is very critical because it is when tooth movement is still active.

Depending on the case, some patients are even required to wear their retainers for life after the critical period. But don’t worry, if you happen be one of them, you would only need to wear them at night.  You can walk around and spend your entire daytime without your retainers.

 How do I take care of my Orthodontic Retainer?

Your retainers should be cleaned every night by rinsing it with warm water, or with cleaners that are especially formulated for retainers. Denture cleaners also work. Some retainers can also be cleaned by brushing them using a soft-bristled toothbrush and tiny amount of toothpaste – ask your orthodontist if your retainer is suitable for this method.

If you wear your retainer 24/7, be sure to clean it every now and then to prevent bacterial buildup.

Wearing your retainers is a must, especially if you wouldn’t want your teeth to go back to their pre-treatment state. Majority of adults who need orthodontic treatment are actually patients whose condition has relapsed because they did not wear their retainers.

Always follow your orthodontist’s recommendations to make sure that all the time and resources you’ve spent for your orthodontic treatment will all be worth it.

Top 5 Misconceptions About Orthodontics

A lifetime of happy smiles begins by knowing what’s true and what’s not when it comes to dental treatment.

When patients are told about orthodontic treatment for the first time, it is not surprising that they have loads of questions.

Along with these questions are misconceptions about the treatment.

But of course, we want to make sure that you are fully informed, so read on as we dispel 5 most common myths about orthodontic treatment.

1. Orthodontic treatment can be done by any dentist.

Orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists.

An orthodontist is a certified specialist who had years of additional specialty training in orthodontics, which include both theoretical and clinical training.

Orthodontic treatment is a very particular dental service that must be done only by specialists.

General dentists have no specialty, they might have taken a few hours of orthodontic courses, but that doesn’t mean that they are already as qualified to do orthodontic treatment as orthodontists are – unless, it is a very simple case.

Orthodontists, on the other hand, are allowed to do everything that a general dentist can.

2. Orthodontic treatment is only for kids and teens.

Orthodontic treatment is for everyone – no one is too old for it.

While it is true that you see a lot of young kids when you visit an orthodontic clinic, you’ll also see teenagers, college students, and adults.

In fact, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in every five orthodontic patients is adult. Most of them avail of the Invisalign, or the invisible braces.

As long as your bite problem is indicated for orthodontic treatment and getting such treatment can make you feel better about yourself, then your orthodontist can render it no matter what your age is.

There are a lot of factors that can cause teeth alignment problems, so the need for orthodontic treatment at any age is entirely possible.

3. Orthodontic treatment takes many years.

Orthodontic treatment, in general, takes about two to three years only.

This can vary depending on the dental problem that needs to be corrected.

But with the major developments in the field of orthodontics, there are devices and appliances with allow for a much shorter treatment duration.

In the end, it is still your dentist who will determine the time frame, and always remember that no date is set in stone.

4. Orthodontic treatment may be continued by other orthodontists.

Switching to different doctors – or orthodontist for that matter – is well within your rights, but it is not recommended.

Each orthodontist handles their orthodontic cases somewhat differently, so it would be best for you and your smile to commit to just one and stick with them.

5. Orthodontic treatment is a permanent solution.

Unfortunately, orthodontic treatment is not a 100% permanent solution.

Teeth alignment is constantly influenced by natural forces that are ever-present throughout a patient’s life.

That’s why once the orthodontic treatment is completed, the orthodontist asks the patient to wear a retainer to keep the teeth in their corrected alignment.

The type of retainer can be fixed or removable, depending on the case. But regardless of the type, it is important that your wear your retainer exactly as instructed by your orthodontist.