Nothing beats a friendly, warm smile early in the morning or any other time, whether from someone close to a stranger or us. There is something about warm smiles that makes us feel calm, accepted, and loved. But when you have dental issues such as misaligned teeth or crowded teeth, it may dim your confidence, making you smile less. Fortunately, with the advancement in dental technology, your dental problems can be easily assessed and fixed. Orthodontists are specialized in fixing dental issues such as misaligned teeth, ensuring that you get back the confidence to reveal your beautiful smile. At Ganji Dental, we take precautionary measures to ensure that our clients are well-informed about our orthodontic services and other dental services. In turn, providing you with the knowledge to make informed decisions on which dental care options to seek.

Ganji Dental is the go-to place for all dental needs. We offer a wide array of dental care services, such as special services like orthodontics, dental implants, free dental exams, and tooth canal treatments. Our services are available to residents of Hawthorne and nearby areas. Our staff performs services with up to date, high-quality equipment ensuring quality procedures for all our treatments. Reach out to us for more information about our services and a professional dental consultation.

What are Orthodontic Services?

Orthodontics is a dentistry branch that corrects teeth or jaws that are misaligned. A specialist in this field is known as an orthodontist.  Orthodontic services entail services such as straightening teeth, correction of problems with the bite, aligning of lips and teeth properly, and closure of gaps between teeth. Mostly orthodontic services are done on children, teens, or young adults. However, this does not mean that older adults cannot get these services; as long as they have healthy gum and jaws that can withstand these pressures, they are good to go.

Treatment at orthodontists usually involves braces, small metal, or plastic pieces glued to teeth and chained together to straighten or align the patient's crooked teeth. These appliances are customized to fit your teeth.

Types of Dental Issues Treated by Orthodontics

A visit to your dentist can help you determine if orthodontic services are the right solution for you. Dentists and orthodontists assess your suitability for orthodontic procedures by running analytic tests such as x-rays, full medical and dental history, plaster models of your teeth, and clinical exams. If you have any of the following, orthodontic processes may be suitable for you:

  • Overbite (buck teeth): The upper front teeth lie too far forward, sticking out over the lower teeth.
  • Open Bite - An open bite is the space between the front or side teeth' biting surfaces when the back teeth bite together.
  • Misplaced Midline - It is where the center of your upper teeth does not line up with the center of your lower teeth.
  • Spacing- it is space between teeth caused by missing teeth or teeth not filling up the mouth.
  • Crowding- this is where you have too many teeth than the dental ridge can accommodate.
  • Crossbite - it occurs when your upper teeth fail to come down slightly in front of the lower teeth as biting together usually.
  • Underbite - it is when your upper teeth are too far back, or your lower teeth are too forward.

Treatment Options

Orthodontists employ several appliances to help move teeth, affect the growth of the jaws and retrain muscles. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The nature of your problem will determine which devices your orthodontist will use. Orthodontic appliances are divided into two types, removable and fixed appliances. Removable appliances can be taken off as you eat, brush, or floss, while your orthodontist can only take off fixed appliances once the treatment comes to an end. 

Removable Appliances

1. Aligners

Orthodontists have increasingly moved from using traditional braces to move teeth and are now employing aligners as an alternative. Aligners move teeth the same way in which fixed appliances work. Moreover, aligners are virtually invisible and are removed after you eat, for brushing and floss.

2. Jaw Repositioning Appliances

These appliances are also known as splints, and they are used to help train the jaw to close in a more favorable position. They are worn on either your top or lower jaw. They are also commonly used for TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders).

3. Lip and Cheek Bumpers

These appliances are used to keep the cheek or lips away from the teeth. Lip and cheek muscles can exert pressure on the teeth, and therefore these bumpers help relieve that pressure.

4. Removable Retainers

These devices are used to prevent teeth from shifting to their previous position. Removable retainers are worn on the roof of the mouth.

5. Headgear

A headgear is used to slow the growth of the upper jaw. It also holds the back teeth at their position while the front teeth are pulled back.

6. Palatal Expander

A palatal expander is used to widen the arch of the upper jaw. The device is a plastic plate that fits over the roof of the mouth. The outward pressure applied to the plate by screws forces the joints in the palate's bones to open lengthwise; this, in turn, widens the palatal area.

It is employed when a baby loses a tooth prematurely; therefore, it keeps the space open until a permanent tooth grows. A band is attached to the tooth next to the space. A wire is then extended onto the tooth on the other side of the gap.

Fixed Appliances

1. Special Fixed Appliances

These appliances are used to prevent thumb sucking or thrusting of the tongue. However, they are very uncomfortable and should be employed only when there is no other suitable alternative.

2. Braces

Braces are the most common orthodontic fixtures. They consist of bands, wires, and brackets. The bars are used as anchors for the appliance and are fixed around the teeth or tooth; Archwires are passed through the brackets and attached to them. The tightening of the archwire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to the proper position.

The desired result may take from a few months or a few years to take effect. The braces are adjusted twice per month or as often as your orthodontist deems appropriate. There is a wide variety of braces from which you can choose. Consult your orthodontist or dentist to know which options are suitable for you or your loved one/ family.

Importance of Braces

Correcting improperly positioned teeth is essential since it makes it easier to clean them, reducing the risk of tooth decay and periodontal diseases. Well-positioned teeth will prevent stress on the chewing muscles hence reducing the risk of headaches, TMJ syndrome, and neck or shoulder pain. Orthodontic services ensure you have a cleaner and healthier mouth and a pleasing appearance.

Types of Braces

Invisalign

Invisalign are types of aligners that are transparent and made of plastic. You can take them off with ease easily when you would like to eat or brush your teeth. Your orthodontist will issue you with new aligners after every two weeks to ensure your teeth are straightening and your jaw is shifting into position. Invisalign can be used to treat both complicated and straightforward alignment problems.

Metal Braces

Metal braces are permanently attached to your teeth. You cannot take them off yourself; an orthodontist can only take them out once the treatment process is over. In the treatment course, the orthodontist adjusts the braces tightening them as required to help shift the teeth. Your orthodontist will advise you to refrain from taking particular foods and drinks during the treatment process. The period you will be required to wear metal braces depends on the type of treatment you are undergoing and how you respond to it; the time range is around a few months to around four years. Metal braces can treat most bite and alignment dental issues.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are installed on your teeth; therefore, they are not visible to people around you. They are similar in make to traditional braces. However, they are more hidden than traditional braces since they are positioned on your teeth's backside. If you have deep overbites, these types of braces will not be a suitable option for you. The overbite might expose the brackets to too much pressure, therefore leading to the brackets falling off.

Due to their positioning at the back of your teeth, it becomes difficult cleaning the area the braces are installed. Patients are also likely to experience slight difficulty in speech when the braces are first installed, but this reduces as you get used to them. Occasionally, you may experience a little soreness of the tongue when your tongue touches against the brackets.

Ceramic Braces

They are similar to metal braces, but instead of metal, they are made of ceramics. The ceramic braces are the same color as your teeth; hence are barely noticeable. However, you will need to avoid particular food and drinks that may stain the ceramic.

Retainers

Almost all patients who undergo orthodontic treatment end it with the use of retainers. Retainers are usually worn after your braces are taken off. They are meant to hold the shifted and aligned teeth in place, preventing them from moving back to their original position. Retainers are worn for at least six months on your top or bottom jaw. In cases where the patient has minor alignment issues, retainers can be used as the mode of treatment in place of braces; this way, you will not have braces installed.

Orthodontic Surgery

There are surgical options for orthodontic services for those who would like quicker orthodontic treatments. Surgery to straighten teeth is a suitable option for you if you have an overbite, jaw misalignment, or underbite. However, if you only have a minor case of crooked teeth or a few, surgery would not be necessary.

Surgery entails shifting the gum and bones holding the teeth in place. Even though it is a minor surgery, it can still have slight risks of complications. These risks can include bleeding, swelling, pain, and infection.

Your orthodontist can recommend orthognathic surgery if your crooked teeth result from your jaw being misaligned. The corrective surgery will correct any skeletal malformations to straighten your jaw; it employs surgical plates or screws and wires in corrective dental procedures. This procedure must take place in a hospital.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they require immediate medical attention when they occur, they may lead to severe dental damages. Dental emergencies are any injuries that can potentially damage your teeth, gum, and jaws or mouth if not treated. The major ones include an injury or trauma to the mouth, swollen or infected gums, or any other infection or any severe swelling of the face and severe throbbing pain in the mouth or face. Ensure you reach out to your orthodontist or dentist as soon as possible if you have a dental emergency.

General Overview of Orthodontic Treatment Process

Orthodontic services take around six to thirty months to be complete. The time it takes for your teeth problems to be fixed depends on the nature of your issue, the method used to correct it, and the patient's tolerance. The orthodontic treatment process takes place in three steps, the planning stage, active stage, and retention stage.

Planning Stage

Firstly, your orthodontist must make medical and dental evaluations to determine where the problem lies and the suitable procedures to correct it. Preciseness is critical at this stage as it will ensure adequate planning and, consequently, successful operations. Some methods used to make these evaluations are:

Digital Photographs- your orthodontist will likely take a digital photograph of your face before, during, and after the orthodontic procedures. It will help him keep track of how the treatment is progressing and its impact on you.

Panoramic X-rays- X-rays help the orthodontist to view the specific area where the problem lies. They are great tools since they show the whole structure of the tooth, including the roots.

Medical and Dental Evaluations- often, certain medical conditions can trigger deterioration of dental health and dental problems and lead to medical issues. Consequently, your orthodontist must ascertain that you are physically fit before continuing with orthodontic procedures. The goal of the evaluation is to ensure prior medical or dental problems are controlled before treatment begins. This way, the risk of complications arising from the treatment is reduced.

Digital Study Models- your teeth are scanned using a digital scanner and their models created. The models help your orthodontist analyze each tooth and how it is aligned and how each tooth's positioning relates to the other. It helps create braces or devices that fit your teeth's proportions.

Computer-generated Images- these tools help the orthodontist try out different treatments virtually on a computer screen and see how they will affect the jaw's face and symmetry.

Active Stage

Next is the stage of actual orthodontic treatment. From the results of the evaluations, the orthodontist will recommend the suitable procedures you can undergo. Orthodontic appliances will be used to gently realign teeth, jaw, or bones in the right position. Fixed or removable devices will be employed depending on which one is suitable for your condition.

Whichever appliance is used, the orthodontist will continually adjust it to ensure enough pressure is applied to the teeth. You will be designated interval visits for these adjustments. It is crucial to keep up with the appointments so as not to slow down the progress. You can also visit your orthodontist if part of the device used breaks or becomes damaged.

Retention Stage

After a successful realignment of the jaw or teeth, the fixed or removable devices will be removed, and the treatment is discontinued. Your orthodontist then creates a retainer for you. It ensures that the teeth do not shift to their original positions but remain in the correct place. For the retainers to function successfully, you will be required to wear them on for a specified time each day. The retention stage ensures that the jaw bone is reformed along the realigned teeth to stabilize the correct alignment. Therefore, you must meet the specified period; you must have your retainers if your teeth and jaw retain the proper alignment permanently.

The Best Age to get Orthodontic Services.

The best overall age for orthodontic corrective services is in children's early years when they are shedding milk teeth and growing permanent teeth. Starting orthodontic treatment early on helps keep progressive dental issues at bay. Starting the dental assessments early on does not mean the child will immediately have to wear braces. It may take up to five years to get them installed.

However, with the continuous inventions of new methods to correct dental issues, practically patients from all age brackets can have orthodontic services. It, therefore, means that you can still wear braces even as an adult. There is no age limit to corrective orthodontic treatment.

Benefits of Getting Orthodontic Services

  1. Reduced wear and tear of your teeth- an unhealthy biting relationship of teeth causes them to wear off over time due to the force and stress during chewing. Correcting this problem early on through orthodontics will save your teeth from wear, ensuring you have healthy teeth and gums.
  2. It prepares for successful restorative treatment- taking care of your teeth or jaw's primary alignment issues paves the way for more corrective procedures.
  3. The alignment of your jaw and teeth improves your ability to chew. In turn, it reduces some side effects of poor chewings, such as headaches or toothaches, enhancing overall body wellness.
  4. Healthier gums and teeth- fixing crooked teeth and aligning them in straight positions makes it easier to reach teeth while brushing. In turn, it will promote cleaner teeth and gums as you will be able to brush every angle of the teeth.
  5. Positive psychological effects- orthodontic services generally improve your appearance giving you an aesthetic smile. It, in turn, boosts your self-esteem and how you feel about yourself. Therefore you will be more confident with your appearance, which shines onto other aspects of your life.

Dental Insurance

If you are prospecting on getting orthodontic services, it is good to decide on a financial coverage plan. Not all dental insurance plans include coverage for orthodontic services. Therefore, you must read the terms of your insurance plan and ensure it will cover orthodontic services. Also, check if the plan covers only you as an individual or includes your family. Some insurance plans can also cover braces or other orthodontic services for children but not cover for adults.

You can get dental insurance cover in one of two ways. The first is by buying your health insurance package that offers family and individual dental insurance plans. The second way is if you have an employer who provides dental insurance coverage, you can choose orthodontic services to be included in dental insurance as part of your benefits.

Choosing the Best Dental Plan Cover for Orthodontic Care

The first step you should take is to determine whether the dental insurance plan you are considering covers orthodontic services. Reviewing the plan's materials will help determine what is covered and what services are limited from the insurance plan. Some insurance companies may not cover services such as braces.

Secondly, ensure that if there is a specific orthodontist you would like to see, they can perform within your plan's network. Most dental healthcare plans come with a network of dental providers. Staying in the network will save you money than if you outsource outside.

You should then check the limitations of the coverage. These limitations may include the amount of money you can spend annually on orthodontics, the required spacing between one treatment and the next, or a lifetime maximum to orthodontic treatment. The latter meaning the possible number of times the plan can cover you.

Finally, if you find that a plan you already have does not cover orthodontic services, you can consider other discounts eligible for these services. These discounts may require you to have the services performed by an orthodontist within the network. Contacting your insurance provider beforehand will help you be better informed on your dental health insurance plan coverage.

Find Orthodontic Services Near Me

At Ganji Dental, we pride ourselves on providing quality and comprehensive dental health services to our clients. Our friendly and professional staff will handle your teeth with care ensuring you are comfortable and relaxed. We also offer a wide array of payment options, accepting major dental insurance plans and credit cards to ensure we accommodate our clients. Reach out to us for cosmetic dentistry, family dentistry, emergency dentistry, and any dental issues. You can book a consultation or visit our branches for more information. We would love to help you start the journey to a great smile and better oral health. Contact our practice in Hawthorne by dialing 310-643-8045 for more information or to book an appointment.