Orthodontics

Advancing with new technology and practices, orthodontics brings teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment. Straight teeth function better, are easier to clean, and are more likely to last your lifetime. Remember when you went to the orthodontist because it was time to turn a gnarly teenage smile into a perfect set of pearly whites? Today’s orthodontists are taking a more proactive stance in order to detect any potential problems and correct them earlier, before they become too severe.

Straight Teeth Function Better

By Barbara Bowen

When should my child see the orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a child be evaluated by an orthodontist around age seven. As the first permanent teeth are coming in, the orthodontist can detect problems such as an overbite or crossbite, severe crowding, or impacted teeth that have no space to come in. Early orthodontic intervention can address these issues at an earlier age and may reduce the need for further treatment.

What should I know about transparent alternatives to braces?

For minor alignment of teeth there are several products such as Invisalign® and Clear Correct™. A series of clear, plastic trays are molded for a custom fit over the teeth and designed to gradually move crooked teeth into alignment. They are not braces and do not utilize wires or brackets, so it can be difficult to correct complex orthodontic cases with aligner therapy.

The key to good results is the commitment from the patient to wear the aligners full time. They are removed only when eating, drinking and for daily dental care. Both adolescents and adults are potential candidates for clear plastic aligners.

What is the Damon® System?

The Damon System utilizes advances in wire technology and bracket design to straighten teeth in the most efficient manner possible. Damon braces use a sliding gate to hold the wire instead of traditional elastic ties, thereby greatly reducing any binding friction that would impede or slow down tooth movement. With the absence of friction, lighter forces can be used to move teeth in a shorter time with less discomfort to the patient. Also, the need for permanent extractions for orthodontic therapy has been greatly reduced when utilizing this system.

Remember, straight teeth function better, are easier to clean, and are more likely to last your lifetime.

Barbara Bowen is a Chattanooga resident with a mass communications degree from Middle Tennessee State University. She serves on the PTSA board for Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute. Barbara and her husband have four children and four grandchildren.