Your smile is often the first thing that people notice, it is an announcement to the world. It is also a window to an essential part of your oral health – the alignment of your teeth. Unfortunately, not everyone is born with naturally well-aligned teeth.
People pursue orthodontic treatment for many reasons. For many, correcting functional bite issues can lead to improved oral health. Benefits of well-aligned teeth include more evenly distributed wear of teeth and an improved ability to access tooth surfaces for adequate cleaning. Others are primarily interested in an aesthetic correction to improve appearance. Orthodontics is both an art and science and form follows function. Typically, the correction of underlying bite and tooth alignment issues results in a great-looking smile -- a win/win!
Your Seattle Orthodontist, Dr. Nelson, will listen to your concerns and objectives and make it our mission to address them completely. Whether you are interested in a “tune-up” of the lower front teeth or a comprehensive correction of your bite, our objective is to explain your options clearly and then exceed your expectations by creating a healthy, radiant smile for life.
Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that addresses teeth and jaws that are incorrectly positioned. Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are more difficult to keep clean which may lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease. A misaligned bite or crooked teeth may cause extra stress on the muscles used for chewing and may lead to headaches and TMJ. Misaligned teeth can also detract from one's appearance.
Every patient is unique. The best time to begin treatment is knowing when upon completion will be the most efficient and give the best permanent results. For some patients, this may mean initiating treatment before all of the permanent teeth have erupted (interceptive treatment). For other patients, it is best to wait until all the permanent teeth have come in to begin treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an initial orthodontic evaluation by age seven. By completing an assessment at this age, a determination can be made about optimal treatment timing.What are the benefits of early (age seven) orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation allows timely detection of orthodontic problems for more efficient treatment. Timely intervention guides growth and development, which may prevent serious problems later. If orthodontic problems are diagnosed but treatment would be more adequately addressed at a later date, we will carefully monitor growth and development so that treatment recommendations can be made at the appropriate time.Why is age seven considered the optimal time for screening?
By age seven, the first molars and front incisors are usually coming in, giving valuable information regarding the front to back and side to side relationships of the teeth. At this age, information regarding crowding and bite relationships (overbites and underbites) can be assessed.What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Interceptive treatment means treatment that is initiated before all of the permanent teeth have come in. Following are some potential benefits of interceptive treatment:
The result of orthodontic treatment is an attractive smile with teeth in proper alignment. While the aesthetic benefit of treatment is evident, the functional benefits of correcting a poor fitting bite (malocclusion) are equally important even if less apparent. Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Having teeth in an ideal alignment will improve your ability to clean your teeth and also improve the way the teeth wear over time.Why should a malocclusion be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to brush properly and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile—it creates a healthier you.
Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. Options such as clear aligners and translucent, ceramic braces have caused a dramatic increase in the number of adults who are pursuing orthodontic treatment. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age, and many of our patients are adults.
Orthodontic treatment as an adult can dramatically improve your appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, and abnormal wear of tooth enamel.
Good news! Technological advances in techniques and appliances have decreased treatment time, as well as much of the discomfort associated with orthodontic treatment.
At your initial appointment, we will discuss concerns you have with your teeth and improvements you would like to see. For some, this might be an esthetic correction of front teeth that are crowded or have moved over time. For others, this might include correcting an underlying poor fitting bite (malocclusion). We will determine the best treatment for your individual needs. We will outline a treatment plan, estimate duration of therapy, and quote a fee for our services.
A large percentage of our patients are adults, and they agree that it’s never too late to improve their greatest asset—their smile.
The advantages of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, improved appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime. By creating a better bite, orthodontic treatment may decrease the risk of future and potentially costly dental problems. A malocclusion (poor bite) can cause:
Without treatment, these issues may become worse over time.