These are the most common form of braces used in orthodontics. They consist of a bracket, most commonly made of stainless steel, that is attached directly to a tooth, and one or more wires are engaged in the bracket to bring the tooth into an ideal position.
Interesting Fact: Each bracket is individualized for each tooth, and each bracket can be purchased with different angles built in, depending on the orthodontist’s preferences. Each orthodontist has a particular combination of brackets and wires that works for him or her. Every orthodontist has his or her preferences, when it comes to selecting brackets and wires for a treatment plan.
Clear Traditional Braces
These brackets have similar characteristics of stainless-steel brackets, except they are made of clear or tooth-colored materials. At McDonald Orthodontics, we use the Clarity™ Ceramic Brackets by 3M Oral Care. Because these brackets are made of porcelain, they do not stain like clear brackets made of plastic, used by some orthodontists.
Invisalign and Other Clear Aligner Treatments
Clear aligner treatment is characterized by a series of individualized, computer-facilitated clear, plastic aligners that incrementally move teeth into the desired position.
Retainers are designed to hold teeth in position once braces are removed. There are two major types of retainers. Clear plastic retainers cover teeth like an Invisalign aligner would and traditional plastic and wire retainers. We use both in our office, but we prefer the plastic and wire retainers because they allow a more natural settling of the bite and they are built to last.
Story: Dr. McDonald has had several people come in with retainers they’ve worn faithfully for 25 years (nights only), to have them adjusted for various reasons. This just goes to show the strength and durability of plastic and wire retainers!
Palatal expansion refers to the gentle widening of the upper jaw using a device that’s placed on the palate and attached to the upper teeth. The palatal expander pushes on teeth to mimic the natural pressures that occur in facial growth. Palatial expansion makes more room for teeth, but the main purpose is to match the upper jaw to the lower jaw, for good occlusion.
Interesting Fact: Palatal expansion is best done when the patient is as young as possible (between 6-11 years old). It can be done in older children, but bone density limits the amount and effectiveness of the expansion that can be achieved.
Myofunctional ortho is a term used to define a treatment that focuses almost exclusively on muscles and their contribution to developing orthodontic problems. For instance, tongue thrust, cheek biting, and tongue tie are examples of issues treatable with myofunctional ortho. While there is always a muscular component to most orthodontic problems, exclusively focusing on muscles can cause a doctor to overlook other, more common features of bad bites.
At McDonald Orthodontics, we look at muscles, underlying bone structure, genetics, family history, and jaw structures to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan that does not miss or overstate any aspect of a patient’s orthodontic diagnosis.
Note for Parents: Some practitioners who exclusively provide myofunctional orthodontic treatment can recommend surgeries of the muscles of the tongue and mouth in very young patients. This approach has shown some interesting possibilities, but in Dr. John’s mind, it has not been proven to be worth the risk and trauma to the patient. If oral surgery of a myofunctional nature has been prescribed for your child, please take advantage of our no-cost, comprehensive exam to get a second opinion before subjecting your child to surgical treatment.
This refers to any type of treatment that occurs prior to eruption of all the permanent teeth. Phase I Orthodontics has three primary purposes:
- One, to create an environment for permanent teeth to erupt in a normal manner.
- Two, to better align the jaws at a young age, when they are more readily manipulated.
- Three, to adjust permanent teeth that have come in, to make adequate room for remaining teeth.
Phase II or Comprehensive Orthodontics
This refers to orthodontic treatment involving all the permanent teeth, to achieve the best possible final result. Talk with Dr. John about options for the hardware used in this phase.
Spring Aligner Appliances
A spring aligner looks like a traditional retainer, but it is built with flexibility, both behind and in front of the teeth. These features along with digital scanning and virtual alignment of teeth allow for minor tooth movement and correction of teeth that have moved slightly, years after braces have come off. This treatment provides Invisalign-type results at a substantially lower cost.
Advanced Orthodontic Applications
Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs)
TADs are small titanium pins, like micro versions of traditional dental implants. These are used in specific situations to provide the ability to do orthodontic movements that would otherwise only be possible with surgery or more cumbersome devices.
Mini Implant Supported Expanders, or MSE devices, allow expansion of the upper jaw in patients who are too old for a traditional palatal expander. The MSE device allows upper jaw expansion in patients as old as 50 and beyond.
These are multiple TAD-engaged attachments used specifically for the correction of large underbites. Before the advent of Bollard plates, jaw surgery was the only option for these patients. Dr. John is one of the leading providers of Bollard plates in the United States and is a recognized leader in the treatment of underbite or Class III type treatments.
Refers to orthodontic treatment that involves both braces and surgical lengthening or shortening of either the upper or lower jaw. Many severe orthodontic problems, that would require surgical orthodontics to achieve a perfect result, can be treated non-surgically to obtain a successful and functional result.