At Orange County Pediatric Dental Group, we believe that having straight teeth isn't just about improving cosmetics, it's about improving your overall health.
Straighter teeth perform chewing, biting and speaking functions more effectively than crooked teeth. In addition, a straight smile boosts confidence, is esthetically pleasing, and can help prevent a variety of dental problems. Dr. Renzi and Dr. House believe that there must be a balance between function and esthetics. Teeth need to look beautiful and work together well after orthodontic treatment is completed. We also want out patients to finish their orthodontic treatment with healthy smiles, so oral hygiene is an important aspect of orthodontic care in our practice. Patients receive complimentary oral hygiene sports bottles loaded with oral hygiene goodies at the start of orthodontic treatment. Patients also receive complimentary Oral B electric toothbrush kits when they start their first comprehensive orthodontic treatment.
There are several types of malocclusion including "overbite", "underbite", crossbite, and crowding. Each of these negatively impacts the function and appearance of the teeth and the surrounding soft tissues. Over time, they can even affect your overall health.
Here is a brief overview of some problems associated with crooked teeth:
Gingivitis – Gingivitis or inflammation of the gums is due to inadequate oral hygiene. Crooked teeth are hard to clean effectively, so plaque gets left behind. Bacteria in plaque make toxins that irritate the gums, causing gums to become red and puffy. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease, where bone and even teeth are lost. Straight teeth are much easier to clean, which can help minimize gingivitis caused by difficult to reach areas .
Tooth injury – If there is a large discrepancy between the top and bottom jaws (commonly called an "overbite"), the upper front teeth are more likely to sustain a traumatic injury.
Uneven or excessive wear – Crooked teeth cause some of the teeth to work harder than others when biting and to chewing. Straight teeth share the workload evenly, meaning less risk of injury and an improved appearance. Also, if there is an increased "overbite", over time, the molars can wear down excessively as the jaw slides forward in biting functions. Straightening teeth and aligning the jaws can help decrease these negative effects.
What treatment is right for my child or teen?
After an evaluation and review of orthodontic records, Dr. Renzi or Dr. House will recommend treatment based on your child or teen's unique needs. This will be based on desired outcome, treatment needs, anticipated cooperation, as well as other factors unique to your child or teen.
Teeth can be straightened using either fixed or removable appliances. However, for some malocclusions (especially where the jaws need to be aligned), one type of treatment can show an obvious advantage in achieving the desired outcome. Orthodontic braces are usually affixed to the teeth for a set duration. The brackets (braces) and archwire are tightened regularly by the doctors and staff and removed when treatment is complete. Retainers are then worn to hold the teeth in their straightened position. Fixed braces can be placed on the front side of the teeth and can be effective for most types of malocclusions.
Removable appliances, such as clear aligning trays (Invisalign is an example) or active retainers, are fully removable. They are typically used when crooked teeth are much less severe and teeth need to move a shorter distance. Removable appliances can be effective in moving teeth when they are worn as prescribed by Dr. Renzi or Dr. House. Occasional wear will not achieve the desired results.
If you have questions about orthodontics and straightening teeth, please call our office to set up an appointment.