Who Is a Candidate for Treatment?

Common Problems

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Front Teeth Protrusion

The appearance and function of your teeth are impacted by this type of bite. It is characterized by the upper teeth extending too far forward or the lower teeth not extending far enough forward.

 

Overbite

The upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth, sometimes causing the lower front teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth.

 

Crossbite

The upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, which may cause tooth stratification and misaligned jaw growth.

 

Openbite

Proper chewing is impacted by this type of bite, in which the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. Openbite may cause a number of unwanted habits, such as tongue thrusting.

 

Crowding

Crowding occurs when teeth have insufficient room to erupt from the gum. Crowding can often be corrected by expansion, and many times, tooth removal can be avoided.

 

Spacing

Spacing problems may be caused by missing teeth, or they may only be a cosmetic or aesthetic issue.

 

Dental Midlines not Matched

This type of problem is caused when the back bite does not fit and match appropriately, which may negatively impact jaw and proper dental function.

Early Treatment

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When is the best time to begin orthodontics?

Though Dr. Munk can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening? 

By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.

 

Direct Results of Early Treatment

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What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?

Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth

  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth

  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth

  • Reserving space for unerupted teeth

  • Reducing the need for tooth removal

  • Reducing treatment time with braces

  • Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.

Why should malocclusions 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 properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or 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.

 

Adolescent Treatment

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The most common time for orthodontic treatment occurs between the ages of 11 and 15. By the age of 12, most if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted and are in place, and crooked teeth, gaps and bad bites can easily be detected. These problems will rarely correct themselves, so this is when most parents decide to seek orthodontic treatment.

This is also a good time for orthodontic treatment because most children are influenced by their peers, and braces are extremely popular for this age range. Besides the benefits of fitting in with their friends, children at this age are growing rapidly, and Munk Orthodontics can usually take advantage of these growth spurts to help shape the bite and teeth correctly. Teeth tend to move more quickly in growing adolescents, which can help shorten overall treatment time and reduce the discomfort of orthodontic treatment.

 

Adult Treatment

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Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. A new smile can begin today.

Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal 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, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ/TMD) pain.

Good news! The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time and may allow you to choose from several options. Your options may include metal braces, translucent braces or transparent aligners that can be worn at night to improve mild cases of misaligned teeth.

During the initial examination, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your individual needs. During this initial examination, we can outline the treatment plan, time of treatment expected and the approximate cost.

A large percentage of our patients are adults, and they agree that it’s never too late to improve their greatest asset - their smile.

 

Orthognathic Surgery

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Corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) treats and corrects abnormalities of the facial bones, specifically the jaws and the teeth. Often, these abnormalities cause difficulty associated with chewing, talking, sleeping and other routine activities. Orthognathic surgery corrects these problems and, in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, will improve the overall appearance of the facial profile.

Using the latest in digital imaging technology, we will demonstrate the overall functional and aesthetic benefits of orthognathic surgery. Computerized treatment planning minimizes treatment times, recovery periods and the overall efficacy of your surgery. State-of-the-art materials such as titanium plates and miniature screws provide stability, strength and predictability to your treatment. These advances in technology, procedures and equipment reduce post-surgical recovery time, thus allowing patients to return to their normal routines soon after the surgery.

Orthognathic surgery may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatment can correct the problem. With the latest advances in orthodontics, this is sometimes the case. We will determine if orthognathic surgery is the correct treatment option for you.

 

When You Finish Treatment

 

Completed orthodontic treatment does not guarantee perfectly straight teeth for the rest of your life. You will need to wear retainers to protect your investment in a beautiful smile!

You must wear your retainers as instructed or teeth may relapse (shift), in addition to other adverse effects. Regular retainer wear is often necessary for several years following orthodontic treatment. However, changes after that time can occur due to natural causes, including habits such as tongue thrusting, mouth breathing, and growth and maturation that continue throughout life. Most people will experience some minor settling of the teeth over time; this is completely normal.

Your correction can be retained with good retainer wear. We will supervise the first 12 months of your retention, and these visits are included in the original treatment fee. Working together, we can get the maximum lifetime benefits from your investment of time, money and effort.

Hawley Retainer

The Hawley retainer, one of the most common type of retainers, is a removable retainer made of a combination of metal wires and sturdy acrylic. It is designed to keep your teeth in place, and can be adjusted to correct some very minor spacing. This retainer is specially made from impressions or scans of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while any wire or acrylic framing keeps your teeth in perfect position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors and/or patterns.

Clear (Essix) Retainer

The Essix retainer is a clear, removable retainer that covers the teeth to hold them in place. It can be especially useful for patients that may clench or grind their teeth. This retainer is specially made from impressions or scans of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in your mouth.

Bonded Lingual Retainer

Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surfaces of your lower front teeth. This is a great way to prevent your lower teeth from shifting as it is bonded into place. However, some patients may not be candidates for this type of retainer. Patients with bonded lingual retainers must be careful when eating hard or crunchy foods as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause teeth to shift quickly. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep them clean. Along with brushing, flossing is an essential component in maintaining a bonded lingual retainer to make sure the inside of your lower teeth as well as the wire stay clean.

Foods to Avoid

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Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:

  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)

  • Licorice

  • Sugar Daddies

  • Toffee

  • Tootsie Rolls

  • Caramels

  • Starburst

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:

  • Ice

  • Nuts

  • Hard taco shells

  • French bread crust/rolls

  • Corn on the cob

  • Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)

  • Bagels

  • Chips

  • Jolly Ranchers

  • Pizza crust

  • Uncooked carrots (unless cut)

Minimize Sugary Foods Like:

  • Cake

  • Ice Cream

  • Cookies

  • Pie

  • Candy

Only Once a Day (at most):

  • Soda

  • Sweetened tea

  • Gatorade

  • Kool-Aid

  • Drinks with sugar

It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately at 248-625-0880 to arrange an appointment for repair.

 

Oral Hygiene

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The best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile is brushing and flossing. Food particles can accumulate on teeth and in braces, and over time, turn into plaque. The bacteria that results from this accumulation can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even loss of teeth. To avoid these problems while you are in orthodontic treatment, take special care of your braces, teeth and gums to ensure you will have the best possible result.

Brushing

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.

Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:

  • In the morning after breakfast

  • After lunch or right after school

  • After supper

  • At bedtime

You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash and fluoride treatment throughout your orthodontic treatment and beyond for optimal oral hygiene.

Flossing

For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day.

Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your clean teeth. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums.

If you are flossing without the floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.

Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.