Your first visit at our office is very important in establishing your orthodontic baseline. Dr. Weeman will perform a complete oral examination which includes an analysis of your malocclusion and a thorough examination of your teeth, oral musculature and skeletal deformity. We will also perform a thorough radiographic analysis of panoramic and cephalometric x-rays as well as a photographic analysis. Any etiological factors such as poor oral habits will also be evaluated.
Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because our practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray technology in our office. Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to 90% less radiation than with traditional X-ray technology.
Historically, most patients did not commence orthodontic treatment until all of their permanent teeth had erupted and then had a malocclusion diagnosed and addressed at the age of about 12-14. Waiting this long often necessitated the extraction of several permanent teeth in order to create space for orthodontic movement. More extensive movement necessitated the use of headgear and other orthodontic appliances. It was noted that teen cooperation in wearing such appliances was often problematic.
Interceptive orthodontics is a technique and philosophy which was developed to address certain orthodontic problems between the ages of 7-11.This early intervention can result in fewer extracted teeth and better patient compliance.
Some of the techniques used in interceptive orthodontics include arch expansion which allows more room for permanent teeth and orthopedic growth appliances which enhance jaw growth and make orthodontic treatment much simpler.
These early interventions often make orthodontic treatment much less complex and can hasten the completion of orthodontic care. We, therefore, recommend that orthodontic consultations be performed at earlier ages and intervention, if necessary, be taken even when the child has a mixed dentition of “baby” and permanent teeth.
The goal of orthodontics is to correct a malocclusion – a bad bite. Teeth may be crowded or crooked or the upper and lower jaws may be out of alignment. Occasionally, even when teeth appear straight, the patient may have a bite which is not even and which may be causing further dental problems.
Malocclusions may be inherited familialy, may be developmental or may be caused by poor oral habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.
Orthodontic treatment seeks to address any or all of these problems. The goal of orthodontic treatment is not only to create an attractive smile, but to develop a bite which can promote oral health. Straight, uncrowded teeth are a lot easier to keep clean. Crooked, crowded teeth are much more difficult to maintain and can lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Orthodontics utilizes physics to slowly move teeth into the proper position. This is performed by using corrective appliances, including braces and retainers. Brackets are placed on the teeth using bonding technology. Arch wires are then threaded through these brackets . The tension and tightness of these wires determines the individual movement of each tooth. Orthodontics applies constant pressure on each tooth in a desired direction. By making adjustment to the pressure at follow up visits, an orthodontist can control the slow movement of the teeth until the malocclusion is corrected. Generally speaking, orthodontic treatment can last from one to three years or longer depending on the patient's age and severity of the malocclusion. Retainers are often worn to help ensure teeth remain in their new position after braces have been removed.
Invisalign® is a form of orthodontic treatment that works to correct many different types of malocclusions through the use of a series of clear plastic trays called aligners. Invisalign® was developed to eliminate the use of unsightly metal brackets and wires and allow orthodontic treatment to occur almost "invisibly".
How Does Invisalign® Work?
After an evaluation visit to determine whether a patient is a candidate for invisalign®, the orthodontist will take dental impressions, radiographs and pictures. Using these, invisalign® will use its unique computer imaging system to create a series of invisalign® aligners, which are clear and which will replace the standard bracket and wires of conventional orthodontics. The first in the series of clear retainers will fit the patient's teeth as they exist at the beginning of treatment. Each successive retainer will exert forces which will move teeth to the position where the next retainer can take over.
The patient must wear each removable retainer for approximately two weeks. They must be worn at all times – 24 hours a day - except during meals.
The number of aligners will vary from patient to patient depending on the severity of the malocclusion. The overall length of treatment generally approximates the time needed for standard orthodontics.
Among the most common complaints when dealing with orthodontic treatment is that braces are unaesthetic and unattractive. In order to address this issue, Dr. Weeman can in many cases place ceramic braces which are much less noticeable. In addition, in some cases, Dr. Weeman may place the braces on the lingual (inner side) of the teeth so that they are nearly invisible. Please speak with Dr. Weeman to find out if either of these techniques can be used in your case.
Malocclusion is defined as the irregular contact of opposing teeth in the upper and lower jaw. There are two types of malocclusion:
Dental – a misalignment of the teeth themselves.
Skeletal – a misalignment of the upper and lower jaw.
While most dental malocclusions are treatable by standard orthodontic means, skeletal malocclusions are often not amenable to treatment by standard orthodontic techniques. Skeletal Malocclusions can often be treated by performing corrective jaw or orthognathic surgery. These procedures are treatment planned and performed by Dr. Weeman in conjunction with a specialized oral surgical team. While the patient's appearance may be dramatically enhanced as a result of orthognathic surgery, these procedures also correct functional problems such as chewing speaking and breathing. If you have been told that standard orthodontic techniques cannot correct problems that you may have, Dr. Weeman and his staff are highly experienced and are on the forefront of offering you the option of orthognathic procedures.