Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is "malocclusion" which means "bad bite." The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances, such as braces or other appliances, to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and to achieve facial balance.Back to the Top
All orthodontic treatment is optional and elective in nature. There are however, millions of people who will tell you it greatly benefited their quality of life. Obviously, some severe bite problems are more destructive than others. While treatment of these problems may not be "necessary," it is certainly advisable.
Every child should see an orthodontist at an early age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends seeing patients at age 7 or earlier if you suspect a problem. By then, the 6-year molars have grown in behind the baby teeth, and the front teeth are erupting into place. An early consultation will allow Dr. Jarrell to determine the optimum time for treatment to begin. This does not mean that all children need treatment at this age, but it does allow the assessment of each individual case to determine who could benefit from early intervention. Many parents and some family dentists assume that they must wait until a child has all of his or her permanent teeth, only to find out that treatment would have been much easier if started earlier. Early treatment can eliminate the need for more drastic measures. In some cases, satisfactory results are unattainable once the face and jaws have finished growing. With proper timing, children may not have to endure years of embarrassment.
It is most important to examine your child's teeth as the permanent teeth grow in. Check the Seven Warning Signs for 7-Year-Olds. Although children mature at different rates, there are some averages for permanent tooth arrival.
All orthodontists are dentists, but only about 6 percent of dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists must first attend college, and then complete a four-year dental graduate program. They must then successfully complete an additional two- to three-year residency program of advanced education in orthodontics. Through this training, the orthodontist learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics). Teeth and many times faces are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment; therefore, it is very important that the treatment be done properly. An orthodontic specialist is well qualified to do the treatment properly and will give you maximum value for your money. You may even find that it is less expensive than you think to be treated by a trained and licensed specialist. Because specialists limit their practice to orthodontic treatment only, they can also treat their patients for the lowest possible cost. All active members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) are orthodontic specialists. They have met the educational requirements of the American Dental Association. Dr. Kevin Jarrell has received certification as an orthodontic specialist through university residency programs in orthodontics. In addition, Dr. Jarrell earned a Master's Degree.
You don't need a referral from your family dentist. Word of mouth recommendations from friends and families of existing patients is a wonderful way that Dr. Jarrell meets new patients. There is nothing that we like better than to meet friends and family of current or past patients!
No. The space available for the front teeth does not increase after the permanent 6 year molars erupt. In most people, the space available for the front teeth decreases with increasing age. That is one of the reasons it is important to wear retainers after braces.
Most malocclusions are inherited, but some are acquired. Inherited problems include crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth and a wide variety of other irregularities of the jaws, teeth and face.
Acquired malocclusions can be caused by trauma (accidents), thumb or finger sucking, airway obstruction by tonsils and adenoids or premature loss of primary (baby) or permanent teeth. Whether inherited or acquired, many of these problems affect not only alignment of the teeth but also facial development and appearance as well.
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This may contribute to conditions that cause not only tooth decay but also eventual gum disease and tooth loss. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function or misalignment of the jaw joints, which can result in chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck. Finally, poorly arranged teeth detract from your smile which is one of the more important features of your face.
Braces use steady, gentle pressure over time to move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets we place on your teeth and the main arch wire that connects them, are the two main components. The bracket is a piece of specially designed metal or ceramic material that is bonded to each tooth. Then we bend the arch wire to reflect your "ideal" bite. The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to actually move your teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces can slowly move teeth through their supporting bone to a new desirable position. Thanks to new materials and procedures, all this happens much more quickly than ever before.
Orthopedic appliances, such as bionator, activator and maxillary expansion appliances, use carefully directed forces to guide the growth and development of jaws in children and/or teenagers. For example, an upper jaw expansion appliance can dramatically widen a narrow upper jaw in a matter of months. Over the course of treatment, an activator appliance can dramatically reduce the protrusion of the upper four front teeth and correct the bite by repositioning the lower jaw.
The Invisalign technique is a new way of straightening your teeth without braces. Your teeth are straightened over time by wearing clear plastic Invisalign aligners. There are limitations to what can be treated with this method. We encourage you to refer to our Invisalign information page, the Invisalign website or contact our office for a free initial examination to see if this technique could work for you.
Generally, retainers don't do the same thing as braces. Braces move teeth into position. Retainers hold teeth in position. In certain circumstances, minor tooth movement can be achieved by using special retainers with springs to nudge teeth into better position or clear aligners to do the same.
Rubber bands or elastics contribute a lot to treatment results. They are marvels of physics. Attached to your braces, elastics exert the force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth in directions that the braces alone can't. It's important to wear your elastics as prescribed and change them every day so the force is constant, which the teeth like. A lack of consistency in wearing rubber bands can bring treatment to a standstill. Who wants to do that to themselves? As for bouncing an elastic off someone across the room, it will happen (don't worry, your aim will improve).
In our efforts to provide the best state-of-the-art treatment, we have recently began using "self-ligating" bracket systems for our braces. These braces do not use the rubber rings to hold the wire in place. The benefits of this new technology may include faster treatment times, more gentle treatment and fewer office visits. If you absolutely must have colors, they can still be used, but we discourage it because with the longer appointment intervals they will start to wear out and look bad. Once the braces are off, however, Retainer Color Choices are only limited by your imagination.
Braces may or may not improve jaw joint problems. More conservative approaches should be tried first. You would need to consult with Dr. Jarrell with your particular symptoms to find the best way address your specific needs.
Approximately 4 million people are in braces in the US at any one time.
No. Children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics, because healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age. If the bone and gum tissue around the teeth are healthy, age is not a factor. About 25% of orthodontic patients are adults. See our Adult Orthodontic Treatment page for more info!
You'll have to give up extremely hard and sticky foods. These foods can get caught on the braces and pull the braces or wires off. Soft foods are much easier on your braces. You'll have to spend a few extra minutes cleaning your braces after meals. But, for the most part, you'll find braces don't cramp your style. You'll still have fun. You'll still be able to sing, play your musical instrument, smile, play sports and, of course, kiss.
In general, active treatment with braces ranges from one to three years. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may only take a few months. The actual time depends on the growth of the patient's mouth and face, the cooperation of the patient and the severity of the problem. Mild problems usually require less time and some individuals respond faster to treatment than others. The better you are about wearing and taking care of your braces, the sooner your teeth will improve. Dr. Jarrell will let you know approximately how long they will be needed during your first consultation.
Only if there's not enough room for all your teeth. Don't worry, if you have teeth pulled, the spaces will be closed and no one will even notice. Dr. Jarrell always tries to treat cases without removing permanent teeth. He only extracts teeth when it will improve the appearance of the face, or cases where he is "camouflaging" a mismatch in jaw sizes.
Actually the cost for orthodontic treatment has held steady for many years. Compared to times in the past, now days you get a great deal of orthodontic value for your dollar. Dr. Jarrell bases his treatment fees on the severity of the problem. An initial examination, done at no charge, is the only real way of knowing how long you'll need braces. Not all cases require two years for treatment. Many patients who come to see Dr. Jarrell are pleasantly surprised that at his office their treatment will only require 14 - 18 months or even less. There are various payment plans available at Dr Jarrell's office. He also gives courtesies for payment in advance. Credit cards are another option and third party financing options are also available. Dr. Jarrell accepts most insurance assignment and files all claims for you including primary and secondary carriers. Our insurance coordinator will also assist you in the calculation and planning of a Flexible Spending Account. We always welcome second opinions and remember, there is no fee for your first visit. Well timed orthodontic treatment to correct a problem is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop years later.
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