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Orthodontic treatment is highly predictable and immensely successful. Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry focused on the proper positioning of the jaws and the straightening of misaligned teeth. There are many benefits to correcting misaligned teeth. Although straight teeth improve the appearance, greatly boosting confidence and self-esteem, our dentist and team know there is much more to orthodontics than a pleasing smile. Certainly, appearance is one very important reason to undergo orthodontic treatment. More importantly, properly aligned teeth enhance the biting, chewing, and speaking functions of the jaw. Call Premier Dental Care today if you want to learn more about our orthodontics in Indianapolis, Indiana.

There are several types of occlusion irregularities, including:

  • Overbite—The upper teeth protrude further than the lower teeth, sometimes covering them completely.
  • Underbite—The lower teeth protrude further than the upper teeth, causing the chin to look prominent.
  • Crossbite—Some of the upper teeth may close inside of the lower teeth rather than on the outside.
  • Overcrowding—Insufficient room on the arch causes some adult teeth to erupt incorrectly and become rotated.
  • Uneven Bite—Can cause related health problems such as headaches dizziness, ear symptoms, neck discomfort, and temporomandibular joint disorders.

Functional Orthopedic Orthodontics
Dr. Marla Wilson integrates orthodontics with facial orthopedics, which is the branch of medical science concerned with bones, muscles, and supporting tissues. With functional orthopedic orthodontics, we focus on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental-facial irregularities. We involve the guidance of facial growth and development, align the teeth and jaw to optimize structural alignment, and minimize destructive forces on the teeth, jaw joints, and the spine. The proper alignment of the head, neck, and jaw can allow for better breathing patterns, open up the nasal cavities, and decrease allergies and sinus infections.

Orthopedic orthodontics can minimize the changes of losing permanent teeth, including wisdom teeth. They can also minimize jaw and tooth pain, abscessed teeth, gum disease, headaches, and back pain over the life of the patient. They also aid in the correction of improper jaw relationships, usually excessive vertical growth, lack of horizontal growth, twists in the bite, overbites, speech problems, crooked or crowded teeth, and swallow patterns. The key to a stable bite is a proper swallow, where the tongue acts as a retainer to maintain proper jaw width. In fact, an improper tongue thrust can be the cause of protruding, crowded, or crooked teeth. Such adverse growth has both an esthetic and a functional impact on the patient. It produces longer, narrower, flatter faces with larger noses and sagging tissue later in life, and without lack of proper forward growth of the face, the airway may be compromised. New evidence shows that in growing children, adequate airway flow plays a crucial role in somatic, cognitive, and behavior development.

Functional orthopedic orthodontic treatment develops better facial features and wider airways. We are not only concerned with the teeth, but also the jaw bones, the temporomandibular jaw joints, supportive ligaments, and the chewing muscles. It incorporates more face-centered development that tooth-centered development. Orthodontics impact our overall health and well-being too. Self-concept is closely tied to our facial proportions, and straight teeth can positively affect our self-esteem. Orthodontic correction is an excellent way to correct a bad bite while maintaining and optimizing your natural teeth.

Functional Orthopedic Appliances
The use of functional appliances is one of the newer developments in orthodontics. They are used to bring the teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance, stabilization of the TMJ, and an open airway. In many cases, functional appliances can even be used to alter the growth of the jaw bone itself. Functional orthopedic appliances are treatments that make use of the forces created by the head and neck musculature and bring about the desired dental facial and functional changes. They can be removable or fixed (cemented) appliances that alter the posture of the mandible (lower jaw) and transmit the forces created by the resulting stretch of the muscles and soft tissues and by the change in the neuromuscular environment to the dental and skeletal tissue to produce movement of the teeth and modification to the growth of the jaws and lower face. The use of functional appliances is to correct the jaw, palate, and teeth. When your bite is uneven, the muscles and jaw joint components must compensate. In these cases, the chewing muscles have to work harder and inappropriately to bring the teeth together. Muscle fatigue and strain eventually become quite uncomfortable. This can cause problems in your face, head, neck, ears, and jaw region. We want to establish a correct, solid bite that is in harmony with the jaw muscles as well as head and neck posture.

The ideal age for the use of functional appliances is between the ages of 7 and 11, when the cooperation level is the highest. However, functional appliances can be utilized as early as the age of 4, especially if the upper jaw is too narrow and has a negative effect on the child’s breathing and speech. These appliances work with the muscles, tissues, and surrounding structures to correct a variety of conditions. Because living bone tissue is constantly being repaired and regenerated throughout life, there is no age limit for orthodontics. Arch development appliances can be used in adults to develop the arch to a more normal shape and size before applying braces.

The use of functional appliances can reduce the time a child must wear fixed braces as well as the need for the extraction of permanent teeth. Functional appliances develop the dental arches so all the permanent teeth can erupt, which will ensure an outstanding facial profile, a broad smile, and healthy jaw joints. Functional appliances are not used for every patient. We utilize a passive self-ligating bracket that eliminates the need for elastic or metal ties, and we utilize high-technology wires that can move your teeth faster and with fewer adjustments.

Treatment time is typically shorter than that of conventional braces. The unique slide mechanism reduces the pressure on your teeth and allows them to move more comfortably to their correct positions. This ensures greater comfort throughout treatment. Treatment time will largely depend on the classification of the malocclusion, type of functional orthopedic appliances used to correct it, and the perseverance of the patient.

Mixed Dentition Interceptive Orthopedic Orthodontics
This phase of treatment means diagnosing and treating malocclusions (misalignments or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches when they approach each other as the jaws close) as soon as they are detected. In the past, most orthodontic treatments didn’t begin until a patient was around the age of 12-14. The AAO (American Academy of Orthodontics) now says all children should have an orthodontic assessment no later than the age of 7. It is to be understood that with interceptive orthodontics, there is usually more than one phase of treatment. Starting early and going through phases of treatment allow for more affordable treatment and phases shorter in duration. Sometimes, interceptive orthodontics are required to correct problems related to skeletal development or an oral habit. Harmful habits such as tongue thrust and thumb sucking are best corrected early to prevent open bites and misshapen jaws. Treatment of overcrowding may involve regaining or preserving space and guiding the eruption of permanent teeth into favorable positions. Orthopedic forces can often be used to correct crossbite, establish proper functioning of teeth, improve facial profile, and possibly prevent the need for future surgery. There are many benefit of interceptive orthodontics.

Phases of Functional Orthopedic Orthodontics

The Planning Phase

The planning phase allows us to make an exact diagnosis so that we can realign the teeth in the most effective and expedient way possible. The first several visits may comprise of some of the following evaluations:

  • Medical and dental evaluations – Dental and physical problems tend to go hand to hand. Problems in the oral cavity can lead to (or be caused by) medical problems. The goal of this evaluation is to ensure that prior medical and dental issues are completely under control before treatment begins. This could mean an evaluation with an ear, nose, and throat specialist or an allergist.
  • Study Models and Bite Impressions – The patient will have a tray filled with material that hardens around the teeth. The trays are removed and filled with plaster to create models of the patient’s teeth. We may use our scanning device to send images to a lab. The models and images enable us to scrutinize the position of each tooth and how it relates to the other teeth.
  • 3D Scan/Panoramic Image/Cephalometric Image – These are fantastic tools for viewing potential complications or pre-existing damage to the jaw joints. These tools allow us to see the exact position of each tooth and its corresponding roots.
  • Computer Generated Images – These images allow us to examine how specific treatments may affect the shape of the face and symmetry of the jaw. This will allow us to form a treatment plan.
  • Photographs – Our dentist takes before, during, and after photographs of the teeth and face to study, plan, and assess how treatment is progressing and the impact the treatment is having on the patient’s facial growth.

Phase 1
Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. Planning now can save your child’s smile later. Children benefit tremendously from early-phase treatment.

The goal of Phase 1 Treatment is to establish a good skeletal base upon which the teeth can develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. It can develop additional space for crowded teeth. Managing these early can correct teeth that are developing into the wrong position as well as minimize or diminish the effects which may lead to crowding, impactions, or future extractions. Phase 1 Treatment can also eliminate etiological factors such as a tongue thrust and lip entrapment.

Using the diagnosing tools we utilized in the planning stage, we will diagnose and develop the customized treatment plan for the patient. Based on your specific case, we will recommend an orthodontic device(s) that will gently move the teeth into proper alignment. These appliances may be fixed or removable. Phase 1 Treatment can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

Resting Phase
At the end of the first phase of treatment, we will monitor the teeth and jaws and determine a resting period and/or a second phase of treatment. Your teeth may not be in their final positions. A retaining device may be left in and/or fabricated. This allows the existing permanent teeth some freedom to move. A successful first phase will have created enough room for the remaining permanent teeth to find an eruption path.

Phase 2
Phase 2 Treatment is the alignment phase. This phase focuses on bite correction, space closure, tooth positioning, root paralleling, and other important refinements. Our goal will be to make sure the tooth is in the correct location in the mouth. We will ensure that the teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue are in harmony. When this is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase 2 Treatment generally involves full arch upper and lower bracketing. This phase can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on your unique treatment plan.

Retention Phase
Retainers will be work after Phase 2 Treatment to ensure that you retain your beautiful, functional smile and that your teeth do not begin to shift back to their original positions. Retainers will be worn for a specified amount of time per day and for a specified amount of time. During the retention phase, the jawbone will reform around the realigned teeth to fully stabilize