The Importance of Orthodontics


A girl smiling after receiving braces at Sawrie Orthodontics in Chattanooga, TNYour teeth are a critical component of your mouth. They enable you to bite and chew your food; They allow you to form a variety of words and sounds to communicate effectively. They help to contribute to the health of your jawbone. The teeth also play an integral role in the quality of your smile. The alignment of your teeth is essential for enabling you to perform all of these functions properly while smiling confidently. If your teeth are crooked, all of the roles of your teeth are affected. At Sawrie Orthodontics, we can provide you with the orthodontic treatment you need to improve the health of your mouth and the appearance of your smile.

Orthodontic Disorders


There are numerous orthodontic disorders that can impact the health of your mouth. Some of the most common types of orthodontic disorders include
•  Overcrowding. Overcrowding occurs when there are too many teeth and too little space in your jaw. When the teeth are overcrowded, it can lead to some teeth being pushed forward, backward, or to the sides. Overcrowding may also occur even if there is enough space in your jaw, but your teeth have grown in unevenly.
•  Spacing issues. In some instances, some of your teeth may be spaced too far apart. This can lead to overcrowding in certain areas of the mouth. It is also possible for all of your teeth to be spaced too widely apart.
•  Overbites. An overbite is a condition in which your upper jaw sticks out too far away from your lower jaw with no contact between your upper and lower teeth. This condition often occurs when the development of the upper and lower teeth is uneven, or the development of the supporting bone is uneven.
•  Underbites. An underbite occurs when the lower front teeth protrude out in front of the upper teeth.
•  Crossbites. A crossbite is a condition in which one or more of the upper teeth fall inside of the bottom teeth when you bite down. This can occur at the front of the mouth, or at the sides of the mouth.
•  Openbites. An openbite occurs when the front upper teeth do not overlap the front bottom teeth, leaving an open space between the biting surfaces when you bite down. The condition can occur as a result of tongue thrusting, thumb sucking, or developmental issues in the jaw.
•  Teeth growing at odd angles. In some cases, the teeth do not grow at the correct angles. They may protrude outward or tilt inward.

Effects of Crooked Teeth


Crooked teeth have many significant effects on your life. One of the most obvious effects of crooked teeth is the impact that they have on the quality of your smile. When your teeth are crooked, your smile is less than perfect. This can lead to self-consciousness as well as affect the impressions that you leave on those around you. Other effects of crooked teeth include
•  You are at an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Crooked teeth, overlapping teeth, and teeth that are spaced too widely all create ideal hiding places for plaque and bacteria, as they are more difficult to keep clean.
•  Your risk of tooth damage increases. When your teeth are poorly aligned, biting, and chewing pressures are uneven, leaving some teeth more susceptible to physical damage like chips and cracks.
•  Biting and chewing are made more difficult. If your teeth or jaws are poorly aligned, you may find it difficult to chew your food properly. Chewing is the first stage of digestion. It breaks down the foods you eat so that your body can more easily absorb the nutrients. If you cannot chew properly, your food is not properly broken down. The body has a harder time digesting what you eat, which can lead to malnutrition.
•  Bruxism. Misaligned teeth can lead to bruxism, or grinding and clenching. This condition can cause significant issues, including uneven tooth wear, gum recession, loose teeth, and TMJ disorder.

Early Orthodontics


The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, or AAPD, recommends that children undergo an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. By this age, the adult teeth have begun developing and may have begun to emerge. With an early orthodontic evaluation, we can determine orthodontic issues as well as predict the likelihood of future issues. This then allows us to take the necessary actions to provide children with the treatment they need to treat existing issues, reducing the need for more invasive orthodontic treatments later on. In some cases, treating orthodontic issues early can prevent the need for later orthodontic treatments altogether.

As a part of early orthodontics, we also focus on ensuring that the teeth and jaws of your child develop properly and that there is enough space in the jaw to accommodate all of their teeth. We can work with your child, and with you, to help them break certain habits like pacifier use and thumb sucking. If your child has lost a baby tooth prematurely, a space maintainer may be placed to hold the space open for the adult tooth developing underneath. We may also provide a palatal expander to gradually widen the jaw. Palatal expanders are often used in cases of overcrowding or crossbites.

Orthodontics in the Adolescent Years


When most people think about who gets orthodontic treatment, they tend to think about adolescents between the ages of 11 and 13. This age is an ideal time to undergo orthodontic treatment, particularly with braces. This is because by this age, all of the baby teeth have fallen out and all of the adult teeth, except the wisdom teeth, have grown in. At this time, we can focus on correcting a bad bite, spacing issues, and poor alignment. At this age, the jaw is still growing. Because it is still growing, the bone is more malleable, which makes treating different orthodontic issues easier.

There is also a social aspect to undergoing orthodontic treatment in adolescence. If your child needs orthodontic treatment, the chances are that they are not alone. Plenty of children undergo orthodontic treatment at this age. Your child will most likely have a few classmates going through the same process. There is not as much stigma on adolescents with braces or other orthodontic appliances. Instead, it is quite common.

Orthodontic Treatment for Adults


While orthodontic treatment is common in adolescents, older teens and even adults can undergo treatment as well. There are plenty of older teens and adults who have bite and alignment issues that are affecting their smile, their confidence, and their oral health. Perhaps they did not have the money to undergo orthodontic treatment in their younger years. Some adults have previously undergone orthodontic treatment, but their teeth have begun to shift out of alignment again. Some older teens and adults simply may want to improve the appearance of their smile for a new job. Even as an adult, you can still benefit from orthodontic treatment.

Undergoing orthodontic treatment as an adult is fairly similar to undergoing orthodontic treatment as an adolescent. The biggest difference is that, as an adult, the jawbone has stopped growing and has hardened. This can make tooth movement a bit more difficult. The jaw may not be as forgiving during orthodontic treatment for an adult as it would for a younger patient. Because of this, orthodontic treatment can take longer to complete.

Braces


Traditional braces have been used for decades to treat alignment issues with the teeth and jaws. It is a highly effective treatment and one that is still very common today. Braces consist of metal brackets and wires. The brackets are bonded to the front surfaces of your teeth with special dental cement. A wire, which spans the entire arch of teeth, is then affixed to each bracket using elastic O-rings called ligatures.

With traditional braces, the wires are responsible for a bulk of the work. As the wires are adjusted, they place pressure on your teeth, which then places pressure on your periodontal ligaments. The ligaments widen, loosening your teeth. The wires, then work to gradually guide the teeth into the correct positioning. Once there, the teeth are held in position while the periodontal ligaments and bone heal around them. It can take about three months for new tissue to begin forming and about a year for the teeth to stabilize in their new positions depending upon your needs, metal braces may also involve the use of rubber bands, springs, or headgear to help achieve the best results possible.

Today, in addition to traditional metal braces, we also offer the Damon system braces. Damon braces also use brackets and wires to move your teeth. However, instead of ligatures to hold the wire in place, the wire is attached using small doors on the brackets. The doors contain a sliding mechanism that makes Damon braces, self-litigating. This means that they do not need to be manually adjusted. Instead, they adjust on their own as your teeth move.

Clear Braces


While metal braces are highly effective, they are also highly visible. A mouth filled with shiny metal hardware can be quite embarrassing, particularly for older orthodontic patients. With Damon Clear, we can help to provide you with a more discreet, yet still very effective, treatment.

Damon Clear is a type of braces that still involves the use of brackets and wires. However, instead of metal brackets, the brackets are made from a ceramic or clear material. This enables them to blend in better with your natural tooth structure. The wire is typically still metal, although it can also be a white or clear material as well.

Damon Clear works similarly to the regular Damon braces. The brackets contain doors that hold your wire in place. They are also self-litigating, meaning that they tighten themselves as your teeth move. However, one of the downsides to clear braces is that the ceramic brackets are not as strong as metal ones. The brackets may chip or break under too much force. Additionally, clear braces tend to cost more than traditional metal braces.

Invisible Treatment with Invisalign


Invisalign is a revolutionary orthodontic treatment. Instead of brackets and wires to correct the alignment of your teeth, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners. The aligners, which are made from molds of your mouth, sit over your teeth much like sports mouth guards. Each set of aligners is slightly different from the one before it, enabling the gradual movement of your teeth into the proper alignment. Aligners are designed to be worn for two weeks at a time before switching to the next set.

One of the biggest advantages of Invisalign is that the aligners are clear. This renders them practically invisible when you set them in place in your mouth. No one will be able to tell that they are there. This makes Invisalign a great option for older patients who are concerned about the metal-mouth appearance that comes with traditional braces. Another major advantage is that Invisalign aligners are removable. While they should be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day for optimal results in the shortest timeframe, they can, and should, be removed to eat and to brush your teeth. Because they are removable, you can enjoy all of your favorite foods without having to worry if those foods will pop brackets loose or bend your wires. Removing your orthodontic appliances also makes oral care significantly easier. However, Invisalign may not be able to be used if you have significant orthodontic issues.

Maintaining Your Beautiful New Smile


No matter what type of orthodontic treatment you receive, you will receive a retainer once your treatment is complete. A retainer is a removable appliance that is worn over the teeth to help maintain the results, preventing your newly aligned teeth from shifting back out of place. It is important that you wear your retainer as directed to help ensure that your new smile remains healthy and beautiful.

The Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment


Orthodontic treatment provides several significant benefits.
•  The quality of your smile is improved. When your teeth are straight, your smile is enhanced. This can also help to provide you with a major boost in confidence.
•  Your oral health is improved. Straight teeth are easier to maintain. When you can properly clean your teeth, your risk for issues like cavities and gum disease decreases.
•  You can bite and chew food normally. Chewing properly helps you to break down the foods you eat, which aids in improving your digestion and your overall nutrition.
•  Treatment helps to ensure even biting and chewing pressure. This helps to reduce the risk of tooth damage.
•  Orthodontic treatment can help to eliminate bruxism. This can help to protect your teeth and your gums. It can also help to eliminate pain in your jaw and temporomandibular joints.

With orthodontic treatment, we can improve the health of your mouth, preventing potentially serious consequences. Orthodontics also allows us to help you achieve the smile you have always wanted. Call Sawrie Orthodontics at (423) 624-8217 to learn more and schedule your consultation today.

Accepting New Patients


We are conveniently located on Gunbarrel Road in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and on Taft Highway on Signal Mountain.

Chattanooga

(423) 624-8217
1612 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 100
Chattanooga, TN 37421

Signal Mountain

(423) 624-8217
1229 Taft Highway
Signal Mountain, TN 37377
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