Interested in a Beautiful, Straight Smile?
At Smiles @ Southcenter we offer orthodontic services for all ages as well as a variety of orthodontic treatment options including Invisalign. Our consultations are always free and we offer convenient hours to ensure you can get an appointment at a time that is convenient for you including Saturdays.
Orthodontics, Braces & Invisalign
Have you ever thought about straightening your smile?
Most people aren’t born with straight teeth, but thanks to orthodontics anyone can have straight teeth. Crooked, overlapping teeth, and poorly positioned bites open the door to a future of dental problems. Straight teeth not only look better, they function better, last longer, and can reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Thanks to today’s technology you now have more options when it comes to straightening teeth. While regular metal braces are still the most widely used orthodontic appliance, clear, removable aligners can provide an esthetic alternative for many people. The Invisalign and ClearCorrect systems are a series of clear removable overlays, called aligners, that have been generated by computer simulation to gradually move the teeth. These systems are available to teen and adult patients with certain orthodontic bite problems.
The Basics of Orthodontic Treatment
- All orthodontic treatments start with an evaluation or consultation. During this evaluation, we discuss the benefits of orthodontic treatment for you, as well as lifestyle factors and treatment needs that will influence the types of braces or clear aligners that are best for you.
- If you will be receiving traditional braces, we schedule an appointment during which they will be applied to your teeth. Patients using ClearCorrect or Invisalign will receive aligners custom-made to accomplish their treatment plan based on information such as X-rays and digital images.
- You will continue to visit us for progress appointments during your treatment to monitor the changes occurring in your smile. The frequency and duration of these appointments will depend on your treatment option—braces-wearers typically need more appointments because the braces need manually adjusted by our team as your teeth move into their ideal positions.
- Once your treatment is complete, your braces will be removed or you can stop wearing your aligners. You will be given a teeth retainer to wear at night to keep your teeth in their new positions for the rest of your life.
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean, are at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease, and cause extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome and neck, shoulder and back pain.
Teeth that are crooked or not in the right place can also detract from one’s appearance. The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?
Many different types of appliances, both fixed and removable, are used to help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The severity of your problem will determine which orthodontic treatment is likely to be the most effective.
Malocclusion is the dental term for teeth that don’t fit together properly. Literally malocclusion means “bad bite.” Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects malocclusions and brings your teeth into proper alignment.
The size of your teeth and how they fit into your jaw are inherited traits, and malocclusion can often affect several generations. Besides genetics, malocclusions can be caused by:
- Accidents or disease
- A missing tooth, allowing the teeth around the open space to shift
- Habits, such as thumb sucking, which can put pressure on teeth
There are many types of malocclusions. Your upper and lower jaw may be too far in or out. There may not be enough space in your mouth for your teeth to develop properly, leading to crowding. On the other hand, you might have too much space between your teeth, allowing them to shift, or your teeth may be in crossbite, which means that one or more of your upper teeth bite inside your lower teeth.
A malocclusion that isn’t corrected can affect your profile and appearance. Poorly aligned teeth can also contribute to tooth decay, bone destruction, loss of teeth, and jaw joint problems. These may in turn cause headaches, difficulty in opening and closing your mouth, clicking and popping sounds, and sore, painful jaw muscles. Correcting your bite through orthodontic treatment can improve your dental health and give you a terrific looking smile.
Fixed Appliances Include
The most common fixed appliances, braces consist of bands, wires, and/or brackets. Bands are fixed around the teeth or tooth and used as anchors for the appliance, while brackets are most often bonded to the front of the tooth. Arch wires are passed through the brackets and attached to the bands. Tightening the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to their proper position. Braces are usually adjusted monthly to bring about the desired results, which may be achieved within a few months to a few years. Today’s braces are smaller, lighter and show far less metal than in the past. They come in bright colors for kids as well as clear styles preferred by many adults.
Special fixed appliances
Used to control thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, these appliances are attached to the teeth by bands.
Fixed space maintainers
If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, a space maintainer is used to keep the space open until the permanent tooth erupts. A band is attached to the tooth next to the empty space, and a wire is extended to the tooth on the other side of the space.
Removable Appliances Include
An alternative to traditional braces for adults, serial aligners are used to move teeth in the same way that fixed appliances work, only without metal wires and brackets. Aligners are virtually invisible and are removed for eating, brushing and flossing.
Removable space maintainers
These devices serve the same function as fixed space maintainers. They’re made with an acrylic base that fits over the jaw, and have plastic or wire branches between specific teeth to keep the space between them open.
Jaw repositioning appliances
Also called splints, these devices are worn on either the upper or lower jaw, and help train the jaw to close in a more favorable position. They may be used for temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
Lip and cheek bumpers
These are designed to keep the lips or cheeks away from the teeth. Lip and cheek muscles can exert pressure on the teeth and these bumps help relieve that pressure.
A device used to widen the arch of the upper jaw. It is a plastic and metal plate that fits over the roof of the mouth. Outward pressure applied to the plate by screws force the joints in the bones of the palate to open lengthwise, widening the palatal area.
Worn on the roof of the mouth, these devices prevent shifting of the teeth to their previous position. They can also be modified and used to prevent thumb sucking.
With this device, a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a metal wire in front, or face bow. Headgear slows the growth of the upper jaw, and holds the back teeth where they are while the front teeth are pulled back.
If you’ve always wanted straight teeth, but don’t have time for braces, instant orthodontics may be an option. The truth is, Instant Orthodontics isn’t really orthodontics at all.
No braces or clear aligners are ever applied to the teeth. Instead, teeth are recontoured and straightened through the application of veneers or crowns. This can be a particularly good option when the teeth are discolored and mildly misaligned.
Dental Care During Orthodontic Treatment
Regardless of the type of braces you wear and the time it takes to change your smile, continuing to visit our practice for cleanings and checkups is important during orthodontic treatment. Wearing braces or clear aligners can slightly raise your risk of tooth decay and gum disease so regular dental appointments will monitor your dental health and treat any problems before they can become larger issues. Great dental health also means your smile will look its absolute best when your orthodontic treatment is complete, enhancing your results and ensuring you attain a smile you love.
Are you ready to discover how braces can change your smile for the better? We have been creating beautiful smiles for residents in Tukwila, Renton and Seattle for over 30 years!
Have a smile that gets noticed for the right reasons! Call 206-575-9150 for a free consultation today!
FINANCING ORTHODONTIC TREATMENTS
We offer convenient and affordable ways to afford Invisalign.
Flexible Monthly Payment Option
No initial payment
Low, affordable monthly payments
No interest charges if balance paid on time
No prepayment penalty
Fast, confidential service online at Care Credit or the Lending Club
All Major Credit Cards Accepted
5% Cash Discount when paid in full
Assignment of Insurance Benefits
S@S Dental Plan memberships available