mother and daughter hugging and laughingStraight teeth aren’t just beautiful teeth; they’re healthy teeth. When teeth are straight, they are easier to clean and less likely to get food stuck. This means you are less likely to have excess oral bacteria on your teeth, leading to cavities and gum disease. In fact, some studies suggest that people who use orthodontics to straighten their teeth might lower their risk of gum disease by nearly 50%. In addition, straight teeth are better at sharing the work of biting and chewing. You’ll not only have more effective biting and chewing, but you may also be less likely to experience chipped and cracked teeth.

Once you understand the benefits of orthodontics, you might be considering getting them for you or your child. The only difficulty now is understanding the options so that you can choose the best one to achieve your treatment goals.

Here are some of the orthodontic options we offer.

Early Orthodontic Treatment

Sometimes it’s best not to wait too long to get started on orthodontic treatment. Instead of waiting for teeth to come in crooked or crowded, you might want to start orthodontic treatment that lays the groundwork for your child’s healthy, straight smile.

In this case, we might recommend early orthodontic treatment, also called interceptive orthodontic treatment or early interceptive treatment. Early orthodontic treatment describes any orthodontic treatment that we perform while your child still has some baby teeth in their mouth. Instead of waiting for your child’s adult teeth to come in crooked and straighten them, we realign your child’s baby teeth so they can better guide in the adult teeth. We might also encourage the development of your child’s jaws, taking advantage of the body’s natural growth mechanisms to help it achieve optimal size, shape, and spacing for teeth.

This might include the use of fixed or removable appliances or sometimes the extraction of baby teeth.

Fixed and Removable Appliances

Appliances are the name for any orthodontic treatment tool placed in your mouth. Braces are the most common and well-known orthodontic appliance. Braces are fixed appliances because we bond them to the teeth, so you can’t remove them.

Removable appliances are the opposite: they are not bonded to teeth so that you or your child can remove them. Removable appliances make some tasks easier with orthodontics, like cleaning your teeth and eating. However, removable appliances require discipline: the wearer must use the appliance often enough to achieve the desired results. Usually, this means wearing your appliance as much as 22 hours a day.

There are many different types of appliances we offer. We’ll talk about some of them in more detail.

Space Maintainers

In an ideal situation, your child will lose their baby teeth when their adult teeth are ready to move into their place. In this situation, the adult tooth immediately takes the baby tooth’s place. It’s already able to hold the other teeth out of the way.

However, sometimes your child loses a baby tooth before the adult tooth is in a position to hold its own place. In that case, we use space maintainers to keep the space ready for the adult tooth.

Functional and Orthopedic Orthodontics

Functional orthodontics and orthopedic orthodontics are closely related in their goals and methods. Both seek to do more than just move teeth: they want to encourage the growth and development of your jaws. The goal isn’t just to make sure there’s enough room for straight teeth. With these types of orthodontics, we are also trying to change the size and shape of other structures, such as facial structures and the airway, to ensure proper jaw function and breathing.

If necessary, we’ll explain the differences in more detail when you are considering options to understand which one is best for you or your child.

Invisalign Clear Orthodontics

Invisalign is a type of removable orthodontic appliance. Instead of having brackets bonded to your teeth that hold a metal wire to encourage tooth movement, you will use clear plastic aligners.

After your initial exam, we will send your information to Invisalign, where advanced computer algorithms will design a precise sequence of tooth movements to get your smile from its current configuration into your desired straight alignment. Each step in the sequence is turned into a certain aligner that you will wear for a week or two until it accomplishes the necessary movement.

Invisalign offers many benefits over traditional orthodontics. However, it’s not right for every type of tooth movement, so you might not be a good candidate for this option in some cases.

Get the Best Orthodontics for You or Your Child in San Diego

If you are looking to straighten your teeth, improve your bite, or achieve other benefits for you or your child, let a San Diego cosmetic dentist at Irresistible Smiles help. We can evaluate your teeth or your child’s to determine the best approach to achieve your desired goals. Then we’ll either start treatment at our office or refer you to a trusted treatment partner.

Please call (858) 255-9689 or use our online form to request an appointment at our San Diego office.