What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. This specialty field of dentistry offers correction for people with an irregular or “bad” bite, also known as a malocclusion.
Orthodontic care involves the use of corrective appliances, usually braces. These corrective appliances can be used to:
Correct bite irregularities
Close unsightly gaps
Bring teeth and lips into proper alignment
They can also be used to help with procedures in other areas of dentistry,
such as cosmetic dentistry or implant dentistry.
In young children, orthodontic treatment also may guide proper jaw growth and permanent tooth eruption.
Contact Sunnyvale Dental Care today to discuss your dental treatment options.
Many people’s teeth have some irregularity, from slight crowding to uneven spacing. In fact, experts say many adults have a bite irregularity. Certain irregularities can cause cosmetic concerns, as well as functional problems, such as difficulty chewing or talking.
You may have inherited a bite irregularity, but not all bite problems are genetic. Other causes include:
Trauma — When teeth are fractured or knocked out and then replaced, they may fuse with the bone that surrounds them. This is called ankylosis or abnormal root fusion to the bone. If this happens in a growing child, the teeth will not be able to line up properly in the jaw, causing an irregular bite.
Prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use — These habits can cause a bite irregularity, such as a pronounced protrusion (extension) of your upper teeth over your lower teeth. A tongue-thrusting habit when you swallow can cause a similar problem.
Premature loss of primary (baby) teeth — If a primary (baby) tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth loses its guide and can drift or come into the mouth (erupt) incorrectly. In some cases, the permanent teeth may be crowded, or they may come in only partially. Sometimes the teeth next to the primary tooth that was lost too early can move or tilt into the space left by the missing tooth and prevent the permanent tooth from coming in.
Why Seek Orthodontic Care?
Whether to seek orthodontic care is an individual decision. Many people live with crowding, overbites or other types of alignment problems without the motivation to seek orthodontic treatment.
However, many people feel more comfortable and self-confident with properly aligned, attractive teeth, and orthodontic care can help improve appearance and build self-confidence.Sunnyvale dentist Dr. Antonious can help.
Unlike strictly cosmetic procedures, orthodontic care also can benefit long-term dental health. Straight, properly aligned teeth are easier to maintain with proper oral hygiene, such as flossing and brushing. This can help reduce the risk of tooth decay as well as gingivitis, an infection that damages gums, and occurs when bacteria cluster around the area where the teeth meet the gums.
In addition, people with bad bites may chew less efficiently. In severe cases (particularly when the jaws are not aligned correctly), this can result in nutritional deficiencies. Correcting bite irregularities can make it easier to chew and digest foods.
Improperly coordinated upper and lower front teeth also can create speech difficulties, which can be corrected through orthodontic treatment.
Finally, orthodontic treatment can help to prevent premature wear of back tooth surfaces. As you bite down, your teeth withstand a tremendous amount of force. If your front teeth don’t meet properly, it can cause your back teeth to wear more.
Who Can Benefit From Orthodontic Care?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7. By then, enough of the permanent teeth have emerged to identify potential problems. However, you shouldn’t wait until all the permanent teeth erupt in the mouth. Starting orthodontic treatment early in life offers many advantages. For example, while children are still growing, expansion devices can be used to modify the width of the palate, which can help teeth come in straighter. Such treatment is best done at an early age to maximize a patient’s orthodontic potential.
Many people undergo orthodontic treatment during adolescent and teenage years, when most of the permanent teeth have come in and treatment can be most effective. About 3 million teen-agers in the United States and Canada wear braces, and millions more would benefit from treatment.
An increasing number of adults now undergo orthodontic treatment, due to heightened dental awareness and the fact that more patients have all or most of their teeth. However, adult treatment can be more complicated and may require more than one dental professional to fully correct a problem. For example, adult patients may be more susceptible to gum problems and will need to address these, or they may have skeletal (jaw alignment) problems that require corrective jaw surgery. One of the biggest limitations in adult treatment is that adults are no longer growing.
Types of Bad Bites
An improper bite doesn’t look good, and that is usually the reason that most people seek an orthodontist for treatment. In addition, an improper bite causes difficulty chewing and can lead to more cavities (in people with crowded teeth). Treatment of these bite irregularities can improve your overall oral health and stabilize your bite.
Incorrect bites are grouped into categories. Common bite irregularities include:
- Here, the upper teeth seat significantly inside or outside the lower teeth. A crossbite often requires orthodontic treatment because this problem can make it difficult to bite or chew.
- If there is not enough room for the teeth, if the teeth are unusually large compared to the size of the dental arch or if the jaw is narrower than it should be, permanent teeth may not have enough space to move into the right position.
- This occurs when the upper front teeth (incisors) overlap excessively over the lower teeth. In some cases, the biting edges of the upper teeth touch the lower front gum tissue.
- A crossbites of the anterior front teeth is commonly referred to as an underbite where the lower teeth are ahead of the upper teeth.
- If your upper and lower front teeth don’t meet when you bite down, this is referred to as an open bite. Because the front teeth don’t share equally in the biting force, the back teeth may be subjected to too much pressure. This makes chewing less efficient and can lead to premature wear of the back teeth.
- Some people have missing teeth or unusually small teeth compared to the size of their dental arch. If the size of the jaw is normal, this can result in large spaces between the teeth. People who have lost one or multiple teeth may have uneven spacing because adjacent teeth may drift into the unoccupied areas.
Orthodontic Treatment: Braces and Retainers
Everyone has a slightly different bite, so treatment techniques vary. Braces, the most common approach, help to move the teeth slowly by applying precise amounts of light pressure over a long period of time.
At Sunnyvale Dental Care clinic most orthodontic treatments occur in two phases:
The active phase — This involves the use of braces or other appliances to move the teeth into proper alignment and correct the bite.
The retention phase — This involves the use of a retainer to hold the teeth in their new position for the long term.
In addition to braces, orthodontists use special appliances to direct the growth of the jaw in young children. These appliances are rarely used in adults.
You can choose between braces made of metal, ceramic or plastic. However, orthodontic treatment usually is done using stainless steel brackets. Ceramic or plastic brackets often are chosen for cosmetic reasons, but plastic brackets may stain and discolor by the end of treatment. Bands made of plastic or ceramic also have more friction between the wire and brackets, which can increase treatment time. At Sunnyvale Dental Care practice we will discuss your best treatment options which might include Invisalign Clear Braces.
The cost of braces varies, but expect to pay between $1,800 and $5,500. Some insurance companies may cover part of the cost of orthodontic treatment, whereas others will not cover it at all.
Braces work by applying continuous pressure to move teeth in a specific direction. Braces are worn for an average of one to three years. As treatment progresses, teeth change position, and the braces must be adjusted. A few decades ago, braces consisted of thick bands of steel wrapped around all of the teeth. With the advent of new, stronger bonding agents, smaller braces can be used, and orthodontic bands rarely have to be used on front teeth.
When applying braces, the orthodontist will attach tiny brackets to your teeth with special dental bonding agents. He or she will then place wires called arch wires through the brackets. The arch wires, which usually are made of a variety of alloys, act as tracks to create the “path of movement” that guides the teeth. Wires made of clear or tooth-colored materials are less visible than stainless steel wires but are more expensive. Tiny elastic bands called ligatures also can be used to hold the arch wires to the brackets, and patients can choose from a multitude of colors at each visit.
Expect to be uncomfortable for the first few days after getting braces. Your teeth may be sore, and the wires, brackets and bands may irritate your tongue, cheeks or lips. Most of the discomfort disappears within a week or two, although you may experience moderate pain when wires are changed or adjusted. Taking ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or other over-the-counter painkillers can help to ease any discomfort.
Wearing a Retainer
A retainer’s purpose is to maintain tooth positions after corrective orthodontic treatment. Once your bite has been corrected, bone and gums need additional time to stabilize around the teeth. The recommended length of time for wearing a retainer varies from orthodontist to orthodontist. Most children and teenagers wear retainers until their early to mid-20s, but your orthodontist’s recommendation should be followed strictly because he or she knows your treatment best.
Risks and Limitations of Orthodontic Care
There are few risks involved in orthodontic treatment. At our Sunnyvale Dental Care in rare cases, certain patients may have allergic reactions to the metal or latex. People with periodontal problems, such as people with type 1 diabetes, are more likely to have complications during orthodontic treatment because they may be predisposed toward the breakdown of gum and supporting tissue. In such people, there is an increased risk that orthodontic treatment may jeopardize the long-term integrity of affected teeth. Your orthodontist will discuss the risks of your particular treatment.
Achieving the desired results from orthodontic treatment often depends on the patient’s choices. Particularly with adults, an ideal treatment plan may require a multidisciplinary approach with periodontic and prosthodontic work or even corrective jaw surgeries. Many times, results are limited because the patient is not willing to undergo comprehensive treatment. However, acceptable treatment compromises often can be reached that improve a patient’s condition, even if not ideally. The treatment options and expected outcomes depend on the individual, and the orthodontist will review them fully with you before beginning treatment.
One of the good reasons Sunnyvale Dental Care is considered by many patients among the best local Invisalign (clear braces) provider near me in the Sunnyvale and surrounding areas is that it offers many dental services under one roof which makes it very convenient to our patients. Invisalign clear invisible braces is one of these services. With the recent popularity of financing companies that help patients with zero interest payment plans to be able to afford their Invisalign clear braces treatment, there is no reason for most patients to achieve their best desired smile and look at an affordable price. Our patients’ feedback on reviews from Google, Yelp, YouTube and Facebook are important to us. We learn from good reviews as well from bad ones. We will always thrive to improve our services to what the patient expects from us.
Sunnyvale Dental Care clinic enjoys quite a convenient location, right in the heart of Sunnyvale city, right on El Camino Real, which makes it easily reachable from all Sunnyvale zip codes 94085, 94086, 94087, 94088 and 94089. Prolonged treatment like Invisalign(clear braces) treatments could require many visits before completion. Certainly, patients who wish to have such treatments will benefit from such convenient location.
Dr. Antonious has negotiated special fee schedules with insurance companies and contracted with them as preferred PPO dental provider. Some of these companies are: Aetna, Ameritas, Assurant, Anthem BlueCross, Cigna, DenteMax, Geha Connection, Guardian, HealthNet, Humana, MetLife, Principal, United HealthCare, First Dental Health, Avesis, Dental Benefit Providers, Dentegra, and Maverest. Dr. Antonious is also a premier provider with Delta Dental.
Learn more when you visit Sunnyvale Dental Care. Call Sunnyvale dentist Dr. Antonious at 408-720-0900 to schedule a consultation today!
Invisalign & Clear Braces FAQ
What is Invisalign®?
Invisalign® is the invisible new way to straighten teeth without braces. Invisalign® uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth, without metal or wires.
Does Invisalign® really work?
Yes. In both clinical research and in orthodontic and dental practices nationwide, Invisalign® has been proven effective at straightening teeth.
How does Invisalign® work?
Invisalign® uses 3-D computer imaging technology to depict the complete treatment plan from the initial position to the final desired position from which a series of custom-made “Aligners” are produced. Each “Aligner” moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.
What are the primary benefits of Invisalign®?
There are four primary benefits of Invisalign®:
- Invisalign®is nearly invisible – you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing.
- Invisalign®is removable – you can eat and drink what you want during Invisalign treatment; you can also brush and floss normally to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Invisalign®is comfortable – there are no metal brackets or wires to cause mouth irritation; no metal or wires also means you spend less time in the dentist’s chair getting adjustments.
- Invisalign®allows you to view your own virtual treatment plan before you start – so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete.
What are aligners made of?
Aligners are made of clear, strong medical grade plastic that is virtually invisible when worn.
What do aligners look like?
Aligners are nearly invisible and look similar to clear tooth-whitening trays, but are custom-made for a better fit to move teeth. Some orthodontists and dentists have referred to them as “contact lenses for teeth.”
Does insurance cover Invisalign®?
Because dental benefits differ significantly from policy to policy, each patient should review their coverage. However, if a patient has orthodontic coverage, Invisalign® should be covered to the same extent as conventional braces.
Is this a new way to straighten teeth? How old is the company?
For years, orthodontists and dentists have used removable appliances for limited treatment. Today, with the application of computer technology, Invisalign® treats a broader range of cases with greater precision
How old is the Align Technology company?
Align Technology, Inc., the company that manufactures Invisalign®, was founded in 1997.
How old is this technology?
In 1945 Dr. H.D. Kesling envisioned that one day, modern technology would enable the use of a series of tooth positioners to produce the kinds of movements required for comprehensive orthodontic treatment. Align has made this vision a reality. Using advanced computer technology, Align generates Invisalign®, a series of customized appliances, called “Aligners”. Each Aligner is worn sequentially by the patient to produce extensive tooth movements in both upper and lower arches.
How many patients are being treated with Invisalign®?
Currently, dentists are treating more than 135,000 patients. The number grows daily.
Do doctors need special training in order to use Invisalign®?
While Invisalign® can be used with virtually any treatment philosophy, specific training is needed. All orthodontists and dentists interested in treating patients with Invisalign® must attend a workshop before cases will be accepted from their office.
How does Invisalign® effectively move teeth?
Like brackets and archwires, Invisalign® Aligners move teeth through the appropriate placement of controlled force on the teeth. The principal difference is that Invisalign® not only controls forces, but also controls the timing of the force application. At each stage, only certain teeth are allowed to move, and these movements are determined by the orthodontic treatment plan for that particular stage. This results in an efficient force delivery system.
Has the FDA cleared Invisalign®?
Yes, the FDA has reviewed our application and in August 1998 determined that Invisalign® is exempt from 510(k) pre-market notification.
How do I get started with Invisalign®?
Just make an appointment with our certified dentist for an initial consultation.
Can I go to any orthodontist or dentist to be treated with Invisalign®?
Specific training is needed to use Invisalign®; as a result, orthodontists and dentists are required to become Invisalign®-certified before they can begin treating patients with Invisalign®. Dr. Antonious is trained and certified by Invisalign®.
Is Invisalign® available outside the United States?
As with other types of orthodontic treatment, the cost of Invisalign® is heavily dependent on the complexity of a patient’s case. Please call our office at (408) 720-0900 to schedule your free Invisalign consultation appointment.
What is the minimum age of a patient that a doctor can treat with Invisalign®?
Dentists can use Invisalign to treat a vast majority of patients with fully-erupted molars.
Does the procedure work on overbites (overjets) and how?
An experienced dentist can use Invisalign® to treat a vast majority of adults & adolescents.
Have there been cases where a patient was treated for a case that is a little more severe than moderate crowding?
Yes, there are clinical studies, written by dentists citing the treatment of complex cases using Invisalign®.
Are there certain dental conditions that automatically exclude you from being an eligible patient?
Your dentist or orthodontist can best determine which treatment is best for you.
Are crowns a factor in Invisalign® treatment?
No, crowns are usually not a factor in Invisalign® treatment. However, sometimes small composites called attachments are bonded onto teeth to help achieve certain movements. In these cases, the location of crowns must be carefully evaluated by an Invisalign orthodontist or dentist. To find out if crowns will adversely impact your orthodontic treatment, consult an Invisalign® certified doctor.
Will TMJ affect Invisalign® treatment?
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular, or jaw, joint. Individuals can have a number of problems with the jaw joint, some of which can be aggravated by appliances and treatments like Invisalign®. To find out if your TMJ problem will adversely impact dental treatment, consult an Invisalign® -certified dentist.
Can Invisalign® close gaps (space closure)?
Yes. Spaces between teeth are generally easy to close with the Invisalign® System.
Are bridges a factor in Invisalign® treatment?
Because bridges firmly link two or more teeth together, they can offer significant resistance to tooth movement. Your dentist will be able to determine whether bridges will be a factor in your treatment.
Will the treatment be painful?
Most people experience temporary, minor discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment. This is normal and is typically described as a feeling of pressure. It is a sign that Invisalign® is working – sequentially moving your teeth to their final destination. This discomfort typically goes away a couple of days after you insert the new Aligner in the series.
Will wearing Invisalign® Aligners affect my speech?
Like all orthodontic treatments, Aligners may temporarily affect the speech of some people, and you may have a slight lisp for a day or two. However, as your tongue gets used to having Aligners in your mouth, any lisp or minor speech impediment caused by the Aligners should disappear.
Are there restrictions on what I can eat while in treatment?
No. Unlike traditional wires & brackets, you can eat whatever you desire while in treatment because you remove your Aligners to eat and drink. Thus, there is no need to restrict your consumption of any of your favorite foods and snacks, unless instructed otherwise by your dentist. Also, it is important that you brush your teeth after each meal and prior to re-inserting your Aligners to maintain proper hygiene.
Will smoking stain the aligners?
We discourage smoking while wearing Aligners because it is possible for the Aligners to become discolored.
Can I chew gum while wearing aligners?
No, gum will stick to the Aligners. We recommend removing your Aligners for all meals and snacks.
What’s the best way to clean my aligners?
The best way to clean your Aligners is by brushing and rinsing them in lukewarm water.
How often must I wear my aligners?
Aligners should be worn all day, except when eating, brushing and flossing.
Can patients use aligners for bleaching teeth while active tooth movement is occurring?
While we are aware that some patients are using Aligners for bleaching, Align has not examined the compatibility of currently available bleaching products with our Aligners, nor have we demonstrated efficacy in clinical studies. Align recommends that you consult your orthodontist or dentist for more information on whitening teeth.
How often must I see the orthodontist/dentist?
Your orthodontist/dentist will schedule regular appointments – usually about once every three to six weeks. This is the only way your dentist can be sure that the treatment is progressing as planned.
What happens after treatment to prevent my teeth from moving again?
This depends on the outcome of the treatment. Some patients might need a positioner, or conventional retainer.
Other patients might need a clear plastic retainer similar to the ones Invisalign® makes. Discuss these possibilities with Sunnyvale dentist Dr. Antonious. Every patient is different and outcomes vary.
Invisalign® Post-Operative Instructions
How often are Invisalign® aligners worn?
Invisalign® aligners should be worn around the clock except for those times when the patient is eating, drinking or brushing and flossing. For a person with normal habits, it is expected that they will be wearing their aligners on the order of 22 hours per day
Invisalign® aligners require cleaning just like your own teeth do.
One of the hallmark characteristics of the Invisalign® Orthodontic system, as opposed to conventional braces, is that the appliances used to straighten your teeth are removable. This means that throughout your months of treatment you will still be able to brush and floss your teeth in your normal fashion. Once you have begun wearing your aligners you’ll probably notice that the same debris (dental plaque and tartar) that tends to accumulate on your teeth will start to build up on your removable braces too. Over time this debris will not only start to show but also be the source of odor.
Of course the saving grace of Invisalign® treatment is that you move on to a new set of aligners every few weeks. So, even if you have failed in your cleaning efforts with one set you will soon get to start a new with another. Hopefully this time around your goal will be to keep your aligners clean so you don’t encounter the same problems. And fortunately, by utilizing just a little bit of knowledge and effort, it should be easy enough for you to learn how to keep your aligners fresh and clean for the entire duration that they are worn.
Invisalign® aligners Care
Taking care of Invisalign® clear aligners is very simple. Every time you brush your teeth you can brush your aligners as well. They can also be soaked and cleaned in a cleaning solution while you are busy eating. It is not advisable to remove them at night. Moreover, you will feel so comfortable wearing them that the thought of removing them at night may not even occur to you.
The Invisalign® Cleaning System.
There are a number of different techniques that can be used to keep your aligners clean, both commercial and homemade. For example, Align Technology, Inc., the makers of the Invisalign® system, sells a product they call the “Invisalign Cleaning System®.” This system is composed of a quantity of prepackaged “crystals” which, when added to water, make a soaking solution that Align Technology say will remove dental plaque from a patient’s aligners. The drawback with this system is that it’s a bit pricey. It costs on the order of a dollar a day, a factor that leads many Invisalign® patients to look for an alternative.
Is it necessary to use the Invisalign Cleaning System®?
When compared to other cleaning methods, the cost of the Invisalign® Cleaning System is a bit steep. Knowing this might make some people wonder how important it is for them to use this product. After all, Invisalign® treatment is already expensive enough. Is it really necessary for a patient to buy their expensive cleaner too?
Per the Invisalign® people, the answer to this question is as follows. They suggest that the use of other cleaners can cause surface damage to Invisalign® aligners that can cause them to become dull or cloudy and therefore more visible when they are worn. (Note that this stated damage is only cosmetic in nature, not damage that affects the aligners in a way that interferes with their function.) The question is “how accurate is this statement”? Do alternative cleaning methods exist? Dr Antonious believes that soaking the aligner in a gentle denture cleaning solution or a 50/50 solution of water and hydrogen peroxide will achieve good results.