May 15th, 2019
The process by which teeth move is complicated, and many books have been written on the subject. However, there are a few general principles that will help you understand what is happening or will happen in your mouth. Both braces and Invisalign apply a very small, gentle push against crooked teeth which “wakes up” the cells in your jaw bones to make the roots around your crooked teeth start to straighten out.
There are two very important cells in your body that are mostly responsible for remodeling bone – an osteoclast and an osteoblast. The osteoclast is like a pac-man cell that eats bone. The osteoblast does the opposite – it builds bone. Together they work as a team to remodel the bone around the roots of your teeth. This is how an orthodontist changes your teeth from being crooked teeth to straight teeth.
By the way, teeth don’t know what is pushing against them. The “pushing” can be done by braces, Invisalign®, chewing on a pen, sucking on your thumb, or biting your nails. Things like braces and Invisalign® tend to push the teeth in the direction we want them to go (straight) while things like thumb sucking or constantly chewing on a pen tend to make teeth more crooked.
Now that you know more about how teeth move, you can focus on doing those things that will make your teeth straight and beautiful and avoid doing the things that will make them crooked.
May 14th, 2019
Braces have come a long way in the last 20 years. Pictures of patients with large, ugly metal rings on every tooth are now found in the history books. One of the more recent developments in orthodontic treatment, especially adult orthodontic treatment, that has caused a lot of excitement in recent years is Invisalign or clear aligners.
Invisalign is a series of clear aligners that straighten your teeth a little bit at a time. This reduces the discomfort felt from moving the teeth into alignment and allows patients to easily brush and floss their teeth because the aligners are removable. There are also no diet restrictions with Invisalign because the aligners are removed while you are eating. Not to mention, they are nearly invisible when placed on your teeth. Invisalign allows patients who would never consider traditional braces to be potential candidates for orthodontic treatment.
The other side of the coin with Invisalign is that removable aligners don’t work well if they are always being removed. You have to wear the aligners literally 22 hours/day for the treatment to be effective. There are also some limits to what Invisalign can do compared to traditional braces for certain bite problems. It is important to see an orthodontist who is an expert in orthodontic treatment as an “Invisalign Certification” can be acquired in one weekend and does not an expert make.
In our office we offer complimentary initial exams and can tell you whether or not you would be a good candidate for Invisalign treatment and answer any questions you might have. If you are interested, come and check it out! We look forward to meeting you.
April 24th, 2019
There are basically three ways an orthodontist can create the space needed to straighten crowded, crooked teeth. The most common is to widen and expand the smile to create a little more room for big teeth in a small jaw. Thankfully, this option will work for most patients. The second way is to “slenderize” the teeth by polishing them to make them a tiny bit smaller. As long as the reduction is minimal, there are generally no long-term negative consequences to this approach – and for people with really big teeth it can be a great option.
Occasionally, there is so much crowding that even a combination of widening and “slenderizing” just does not create enough room to fit in all the teeth with braces. In these few cases, it is better to have fewer teeth that fit in your mouth then it is to try and jam all the teeth into a small jaw. Trying to jam teeth into the bone when there isn't enough space can cause periodontal disease over the long term. If some teeth are removed (extracted), the remaining teeth and gums end up being healthier and they look better too. We can discuss all the available options with you to find out what is going to give you the smile you want and deserve. Please call our Scottsdale orthodontic office or our Phoenix orthodontic office location for a free consultation.
April 4th, 2019
This may be the most common question I am asked as an orthodontist. In the digital world that we live in, we have all become accustomed to having things the minute or even the second we want them. While the average length of orthodontic treatment has been significantly reduced as a result of developments in technology over the years, orthodontic treatment is still usually measured in months and sometimes years, not in days or weeks.
Asking how long braces will be on for is like asking how long it will take to drive to San Diego. Are you leaving from Philadelphia or from Phoenix? How long it takes to arrive at your destination depends a lot on where you are leaving from. The same is true for orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign. The severity of the bite problems that are in place at the beginning of treatment will significantly affect how long it takes to get to the end of treatment. Treatment can be as short as a few weeks or as long as a few years depending on the severity of the bite problem to begin with. We can drive a faster car to shave down the time we spend in the car, but no matter how fast the car is you still have to obey the speed limit and it is still going to take a while.
The “bottleneck” in orthodontic treatment is the rate at which the bone around the roots of the teeth remodels. Stimulating bone to remodel is how we move teeth with braces. While there are techniques to speed up this process, bone remodeling is still a relatively slow process. This is the same reason you have to have a cast on a broken arm for several weeks to allow the bone to set in the proper position. So hang in there and know that your braces will come off as soon as your smile is perfect. Good things come to those who wait! If you have questions about how long braces might take in your individual case, please contact our office at Budd Orthodontics for a free consultation.