Your Beautiful Smile

Smiles are a reflection of who we are. They reflect our emotions, confidence, and attitudes. Because we understand the vital role of your smile, we are excited to welcome you to our office. Orthodontic care can contribute to a lifetime of improved oral health, improved appearance, comfort, and enhanced personal confidence. Because we want you to understand more about orthodontics, we will discuss several of the most frequently asked questions below.

When should children be seen for an orthodontic examination?

An early orthodontic screening examination allows Dr. Hsiao to best determine the optimum time for orthodontic treatment to begin. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child�s initial examination should occur by the age of 7. Most children will not need treatment at this age, but it allows Dr. Hsiao to assess each person to determine who could benefit from early intervention. In some cases, early intervention can prevent the need for future treatment or at least reduce the complexity of future treatment, reduce the need for extractions, and gain a better overall treatment result. Please remember, however, that orthodontic treatment is not only limited to children, with adults constituting 25% of orthodontic patients nationally.

 

The Benefits of Early Diagnosis

Orthodontics can improve smiles at any age. Patients in our practice range from age 5 to 75. However, there is usually a best age for maximum results with a minimum investment of time and money. The earlier we see a patient, the more options we have to correct problems. With some patients, early treatment achieves results that are unattainable once the face and jaws have finished growing.

 

 

What is Phase I interceptive orthodontic treatment?

Phase I is preventative orthodontic treatment and may begin as early as 5 years of age. Phase I treatment may include space maintainers, appliances for the correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, and for harmful habits. Most children will not require preventative treatment, but a screening exam to determine this need is recommended.

Because they are growing rapidly, children can benefit enormously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment utilizing appliances that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaws. Thus, a good foundation can be established, providing adequate room for eruption of permanent teeth. This early correction may prevent later removal of permanent teeth to correct overcrowding and/or surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws. Leaving such a condition untreated until all permanent teeth erupt could result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to achieve ideal results with braces.

 

What is Phase II orthodontic treatment?

Phase II orthodontic treatment is considered later when most or all of the baby teeth have been lost. Phase II involves full braces, which give maximum control over the movement of teeth. Each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. They will stay healthy and look attractive. This is the goal of the second and final phase of treatment.

 

What are the advantages of two phase orthodontic treatment?

Two phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical facial changes. With the emphasis today on living longer, staying healthy and looking attractive requires optimum treatment results. The major advantage of a two phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, esthetic result that will remain stable. In addition, the need for tooth extractions is often eliminated when a patient has first phase treatment.

The disadvantage of waiting for complete eruption of permanent teeth and having only one phase treatment, for someone with a jaw discrepancy, is having to face the possibility of compromised results that may not be completely functionally healthy and may not remain stable.

 

What about adult orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and adults constitute about 25% of orthodontic patients nationally. The biological process involved in tooth movement is the same in both adults and children. The health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone is very important to the success of orthodontic treatment in adults as well as children. Because an adult's bones are no longer growing, certain extreme corrections involving the facial bones cannot be accomplished with braces alone. Sometimes, adult orthodontic treatment may have to be combined with the efforts of an oral surgeon to achieve the final result.

What is Invisalign?

The Invisalign System?is a breakthrough in orthodontics that straightens adult teeth using a series of clear, removable, nearly invisible plastic or medical-grade polymer appliances called "aligners."

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 about TMJ or Jaw Joint problems?

TMJ Dysfunction refers to a family of problems related to the jaw (temporomandibular or TM) joint. The structures that make it possible to open and close the mouth are very specialized and work together when you chew, speak and swallow. These structures include muscles, ligaments, bone and jaw joints. Any problem that prevents this complete system from working properly may result in a TMJ disorder. When muscles and joints do not work properly, the muscles may spasm or cramp. Consequently, this spasm can become part of a cycle that results in tissue damage, pain, muscle tenderness and more spasms.

Oral habits that are often associated with stress are most commonly factors that can cause dysfunction and pain of the jaw joint and its muscles. (About 90% of headaches result from tension.) TMJ problems may also be caused by jaw, head and neck injuries or by diseases such as arthritis. Some of the common signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include

If you have been experiencing these conditions, Dr. Hsiao will conduct a complete exam to properly diagnose the causes. Common methods for treatment of TMJ disorders include an orthotic splint, which sometimes will be followed by braces. Medication, biofeedback, physical therapy, and even surgery may be needed in severe cases. Dr. Hsiao will discuss your unique condition and possible treatment options with you.

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