Best Orlando Orthodontist

Summer is a great time to get braces and other types of orthodontic treatment. When you begin your quest for the perfect orthodontist, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. Take a look at some top tips for making sure that you find an Orlando orthodontist with experience, credibility, and a comfortable environment so that you can make the best of your treatment.

Find a Specialist

A common misconception is that an orthodontic specialist will have the same experience and credentials as a dentist who does orthodontic work. However, it’s important to make sure that you trust your oral health to the hands of a specialized orthodontist. Specialists in the field have graduated from one of several accredited orthodontic programs. You’ll also want to make sure that your orthodontist of choice belongs to the American Association of Orthodontists.

Do Your Research

When it comes to finding an Orlando orthodontist, you’ll have a number of options. Before you make your selection, be sure to do your research. Check with friends, family, and colleagues to see if they have any recommendations or past experiences. You can also perform research online to make sure that your top choices have trusted experience and positive reviews from past patients.

Visit the Office in Person

When you get orthodontic treatment, you’ll be visiting the office quite often from start to finish. That’s why it’s important to visit the office beforehand to make sure that it’s clean, friendly, and comfortable. Check for major warning signs such as dirty waiting rooms or bathrooms, unfriendly or inefficient staff and operations, and the overall feel of your visit.

Ask the Right Questions

During your consultation, it’s okay to ask as many questions as you need until you know what you’d like to know about the orthodontist and the office in general. Feel free to ask questions to staff members as well the orthodontist directly. A failure to get your questions answered in a timely manner can quate to a red flag.

Ask your potential orthodontist questions such as:
  • How long have you been practicing orthodontics?
  • What’s your level of experience?
  • May I see before and after photos of your past patients?
  • How advanced and varied are your treatment options?
  • What is your plan of action for getting the results I’m looking for?
  • What procedures do you have in place in case of emergencies?

To schedule an appointment with a qualified, experience, and trusted Orlando orthodontist, call us today.

Periodontal Procedures

Adjunctive treatment is additional treatment that is needed before or after orthodontic treatment in order to ensure the success of overall periodontic procedures. The goals of orthodontic treatment are to help patients achieve a functional bite and teeth that are esthetically appealing and free from abnormalities that make dental care difficult. When adjunctive treatment is needed, orthodontists may refer patients to dentists, periodontists, prosthodontists, or oral surgeons as needed. Orthodontists will typically work one on one with other professionals to ensure that all adjunctive treatments are geared towards achieving the same goals.

Adjunctive Surgical Procedures

Mild surgical procedures may be helpful in achieving optimal results when patients have issues such large frenums, highly rotated teeth, or excess gum tissue creating the look of a gummy smile. A frenectomy will remove or reposition a portion of the frenum to relieve pressure and help close gaps between the front teeth. A fiberotomy releases the elastic fibers that hold crooked teeth in place and help those teeth return to their original positions after orthodontic treatment. Gigivoplasty is a procedure done to sculpt the gum tissue to correct uneven gum heights or make a smile less gummy. These procedures may be performed before or after orthodontic treatment, depending on the case.

Prosthetics and Implant Procedures

If teeth are missing or must be removed due to decay, it may be helpful to use prosthetic teeth or to have dental implants put in before beginning orthodontic treatment. The implants or prosthetics may be necessary to hold the place where teeth were so that the remaining teeth can be adjusted to the desired positions. A dentist or a periodontist may be able to perform the procedure. Dental implants can help patients to achieve a healthier and more beautiful smile than would be possible with only the remaining teeth.

Periodontal Procedures and Medication

If patients have periodontal disease, it is important to treat the infection before placing braces or performing any other type of orthodontic treatment. Periodontists may treat the infection using antibiotics, which may be taken orally or placed directly into the gap between the gums and teeth. Patients will also have to take good care of teeth at home and possibly undergo root scaling to clear up periodontal infection. After the infection has been taken care of, it may sometimes be necessary to perform bone grafts before beginning orthodontic treatment.

Medications that may be prescribed to treat periodontal infections include:

  • Periostat
  • PerioChip
  • Atridox
  • Arestin

Orthodontic Expanders

Certain orthodontic techniques have shifted over the last several years, especially the increased introduction of orthodontic expanders. In the past, it was common to extract teeth in order to create space in the mouth. Now, orthodontists are trying to save healthy teeth by expanding the arches to correct crowding issues. Expanding the arches is successful in creating more space in the mouth in most cases, but it may cause large gaps to form between the teeth. This can be unnerving for patients and their families.

When to Use an Expander

The roof of the mouth contains two bones which are joined in the middle. When children are young, these bones are joined together by cartilage. At around the age of 14, this cartilage begins to be replaced by bone. If patients can be treated prior to this period of maturation, the roof of the mouth can actually be expanded to help avoid tooth crowding. It is important to treat patients long before the bones begin to permanently fuse.

Appearance of a Tooth Gap

When the expander begins to work, a large gap will typically appear between the top front teeth. This is a sign that the two bones of the palate have been separated. The gap will disappear after further orthodontic treatment. While it may be uncomfortable because of the altered appearance, patients should rest assured that this gap is temporary and necessary to effectively correct misalignments caused by crowding.

Stabilization Period

After the palate has been widened, orthodontists will leave the expander in for a few weeks to several months in order to allow the body to adjust to the newly expanded palate. New bone may form to accommodate the spacing. The teeth may begin to come back together because of the elasticity of the gums and the gap may diminish or disappear even before the expander is removed. This is also normal, but does not happen in every case. After the expander is removed, the palate may come back together slightly. Orthodontists typically anticipate this change by expanding the palate slightly more than needed.

Advantages of Using an Expander

An expander can help patients to avoid costly surgeries and treatments later. Crowding issues may cause teeth to become painful or to rot. An expander will help to naturally make space in the mouth. Expanders can be used even before a patient’s permanent teeth erupt so that the teeth can come in comfortably and free from complications.

Temporary Anchorage

Temporary anchorage devices, also known as TADs, help orthodontists to achieve tooth movement when it is necessary for orthodontic treatment. TADs are a relatively new development in orthodontics, having only been used widely for treatment since the 1990s. TADs can help orthodontists to avoid more painful and invasive treatment methods in some cases. TADs can also help orthodontists achieve more ideal results than may be possible using other means of treatment.

What Are TADs?

TADs are small titanium screws that are implanted into the bone of the upper or lower jaws. These titanium screws serve as an anchorage point in the mouth which springs and elastics can be attached to in order to move the teeth in the desired way. TADs range from 6 to 12 millimeters in length and 1.2 to 2 millimeters in diameter.

Placing TADs

TADs are most commonly placed between the roots of the teeth, but may be placed in the roof of the mouth as well. There is a special device that is used to place the devices directly into the bone. Placement does not hurt, as there are no nerve endings in the bone, so only a topical anesthetic is generally used. TAD placement is usually done by an orthodontist so that the TAD is in exactly the desired position for treatment.

Benefits of TADs

Orthodontic treatment time can be reduced by one third by using a TAD. Orthodontists may avoid jaw surgery by opting to place a TAD instead. Orthodontists may also avoid unwanted tooth movement that can occur when teeth are used to anchor the movement of other teeth. Orthodontists may also avoid using cumbersome headgear to achieve the same results which are attainable with TADs.

TAD Daily Care

TADs can cause infection and complication if not properly cleaned and cared for. Care is easy, though, as patients simply need to brush TADs twice a day or more with a soft bristle toothbrush. Patients should also avoid picking at or touching TADs, as orthodontists will need to perform adjustments if the device comes loose.

How long are TADs Needed?

TADs are only used for a short period of time through treatment, though the exact length of treatment may vary according to the specific needs of the patient. TADs are versatile and may be moved during treatment to achieve desired tooth movements. The site where TADs were placed typically heals very quickly with no adverse effects following removal.

Crooked Teeth

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. The disease causes gums to become inflamed and bleed, even in early stages. Nearly 50 percent of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease. Crooked teeth can contribute to the development of periodontal disease, so receiving orthodontic treatment may help to lower a patient’s risk of developing periodontal disease.

Dangers of Periodontal Disease

When gingivitis is not treated early enough and it advances to periodontal disease, or periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets which become infected. The body’s immune system attempts to fight off the bacteria, which lowers the body’s general immune resistance. As the body fights the infection in the gums, the tissue and bone is naturally broken down, which may eventually result in the teeth becoming loose and falling out or having to be removed.

Periodontal disease has also been linked to increased risk of:

  • Stroke
  • Blood sugar complications in diabetics
  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Premature birth

Periodontal Disease Prevention

Misaligned or crowded teeth can make it much harder for patients to properly clean the teeth. Food is more likely to stay trapped in hard to reach places, contributing to the build-up of plaque and tartar that causes periodontal disease. Receiving orthodontic treatment to correct misalignments and overcrowding can help prevent the development of periodontal disease. Avoiding smoking, excessive drinking, and an unbalanced diet will also help patients to avoid periodontal disease.

Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease

Unfortunately, some risk factors for periodontal disease are unavoidable. Patients may be genetically predisposed to periodontal disease, or may become more prone to the disease because of hormonal changes occurring during puberty or menopause. Diabetes may increase the risk of periodontal disease, especially if blood sugar is not controlled well. Certain medications that inhibit the body’s ability to produce saliva may also increase the risk of developing periodontal disease. When patients are at increased risk of developing periodontal disease due to the presence of these risk factors, patients can help to lower the risk by focusing on tooth care and taking preventative measures.

Periodontal Disease and Braces

Braces may correct misalignments and straighten crooked teeth, which can help to reduce the risk of periodontal disease. However, patients should have braces installed prior to the age of 30 and before there are any signs of periodontal disease for this measure to be most effective. If patients have already developed gum disease, gingivitis, or periodontal disease, orthodontists may be hesitant to recommend braces. Braces make it more difficult for patients to clean the gums thoroughly, so the disease may worsen after braces have been placed. It is much easier to prevent periodontal disease than it is to treat the disease after it has developed, so patients should focus on oral and orthodontic care early for best results.

Orthodontics Career

Orthodontists help patients correct improper bite patterns caused by jaw misalignments and tooth irregularities. Becoming an orthodontist takes work, but can be fulfilling and rewarding. Patients’ lives are forever enhanced when they are proud to show off a healthy and beautiful smile.

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

An orthodontist examines, diagnoses, and treats problems involving malocclusions. Orthodontists are skilled at using different devices and methods in order to move the teeth into a more desirable position. If needed, orthodontists may also use devices to guide facial development for young patients, in order to avoid future malocclusions. While some malocclusions may be corrected strictly for aesthetic purposes, many corrections help patients to avoid dental problems or make it easier for patients to talk, eat, and breathe.

What Does it Take to Become an Orthodontist?

To become an orthodontist, students must first complete a course in general dentistry. After a DDS, DBS, DMD, or equivalent has been obtained from an accredited school for dentistry, students must complete an additional two to five years of schooling in the science of orthodontics, accompanied by a two to three year residency in an ADA approved program.

Personal Traits

Besides formal training, orthodontists must possess certain skills and characteristics to be successful in the field. Orthodontists must truly love working with people and helping people in order for the field to be fulfilling. Orthodontists should be quick thinking and have an eye for details in order to be successful. If an orthodontist wishes to go into private practice, the orthodontist should also possess management and leadership skills.

What Options are Available for Certified Orthodontists?

Many certified orthodontists open up private practices on their own. However, some may choose to gain employment at existing offices, or may partner with other orthodontists to start an office. When offices are privately owned or are owned jointly, orthodontists can adapt the practice to suit their lifestyle. Since many patients are still in high school, remaining open on weekends may allow orthodontists to operate on more flexible schedules.

Orthodontist Salary Expectations

Orthodontist salaries fluctuate according to where the office is located and what skills are applicable, as with any profession. However, the mean orthodontist salary in the United States is about $140,850 annually. The middle 50 percent of orthodontists make between roughly $100,000 and $175,000 per year. In addition to this base salary, orthodontists may receive benefits, pension, and bonuses. When orthodontists are Board Certified, salary may be increased.

Kids Orthodontic Check-up

Many parents do not realize the importance of bringing children in for their first orthodontic appointment early. The American Board of Orthodontics recommends that all children have their first orthodontic screening by age seven. In some cases, dentists may spot potential problems and recommend that children by seen by an orthodontist even earlier.

Why Evaluate Children So Early?

At age seven, children’s permanent teeth have yet to erupt and the jaws are still growing and developing. If there are indications of problems with the way that a child’s mouth is growing and developing, orthodontists can begin treatment methods to help guide the jaws and teeth through this process. This may help to prevent problems that have not occurred yet. Early treatment of this nature can help parents save money and can make treatment much easier for children than after the teeth and jaws are fully developed.

What Can Early Treatment Do?

There are many potential problems that early treatment can help to correct. In many cases, orthodontists identify a lack of space in the mouth and help to create more space for when permanent teeth erupt. This can prevent crowding issues, reduce the likelihood of impactions, and eliminate or minimize the need for later extractions.

Early treatment can also correct thumb or finger sucking habits, reduce the risks of fracturing protruding front teeth, and eliminate or prevent problems with speech and swallowing. By correcting these problems early, children can have a healthy and beautiful smile for life. This can boost self esteem and even improve lifelong dental health.

Should All Children Receive Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Not all children are in need of early orthodontic treatment. Some children’s jaws and teeth grow and develop without complications naturally. Other children may have issues that are best addressed at later ages when jaw and tooth growth is more advanced or completed.

However, having an orthodontic evaluation at an early age can help orthodontists to spot problems that can be corrected early, making treatment easier and less costly. Having an evaluation done early can also help orthodontists spot potential complications and monitor growth and development regularly so that orthodontic treatment can be started at exactly the most optimal time.

Can Children Avoid Braces With Early Orthodontic Treatment?

In some cases, receiving orthodontic treatment while growing and developing can help children to avoid the need for braces and other treatments later. However, since early treatment occurs when all permanent teeth have not yet erupted, there may be some need to correct the final alignment of teeth. This phase is often shortened considerably when early treatment has been administered.

Tobacco Use Braces

Most adults are aware that tobacco use has an effect on oral health and can increase the risks of mouth cancers and other diseases. However, many are unaware that tobacco use may also decrease the effectiveness of orthodontic treatment. Additionally, tobacco use may increase the severity of existing oral issues, making orthodontic treatment more difficult and time consuming.

Tobacco Use and Gum Health

Tobacco use is one of the biggest factors in gum disease. Cigarette smoke deposits many different chemicals onto the teeth, which may cause build-up and make existing build-up harder to remove. Over time, this build-up may cause gum disease. One of the common symptoms of gum disease is bleeding gums, but this symptom may be prevented by vaso-constriction, preventing diagnosis of gum disease. Vaso-constriction occurs when the blood vessels in the gums constrict and prevent the inflammation that helps to alert dentists to the dangerous condition.

Tobacco Use and Tooth Movement

For orthodontic procedures to be successful, the teeth must move in a normal and predictable fashion. For the teeth to move properly, the gums and tissue of the mouth must be healthy. Regular use of tobacco products undermines the health of these tissues. This may delay the amount of time that teeth take to move, making it necessary for patients to wear braces or other orthodontic devices for a longer period of time than normal.

Tobacco Use and Healing

Tobacco use can cause complications with the body’s natural healing processes. The chemicals present in tobacco products impair the body’s ability to fight against bacteria in the mouth and can reduce the number of white blood vessels sent to combat toxins. For individuals that require tooth extractions, surgery, or other medical procedures that require the body to heal prior to orthodontic treatment, these healing problems can cause a delay in treatment.

Tooth Health and Appearance

Smokers must spend extra time on tooth care in order to prevent a yellowed appearance. When wearing braces, it may be more difficult to remove the chemicals that cause this discoloration from the areas of the teeth that are hidden by the braces. After braces are removed, the areas that were covered by the braces may appear yellowed or white. White spots are caused by demineralization of the teeth.

Other Dental Complications

Smoking may also cause cavities and receding gums. These complications may have an effect on the appearance of the teeth and overall oral health. When cavities form during orthodontic treatment, it may be necessary to have cavities filled, adding to the costs and time spent on tooth care.

Tongue thrusting, also known as orofacial muscular imbalance, is a condition in which the tongue protrudes from the mouth during swallowing and speaking. In some cases, the tongue will also protrude from the mouth when at rest. Tongue thrusting is common in children under age four, but can become a concern after that age. Tongue thrusting may affect speech and teeth alignment if not addressed.

Tongue Thrust Treatment

Causes of Tongue Thrusting

Children may be more prone to tongue thrusting due to hereditary factors. Certain types of artificial nipples and prolonged thumb sucking behaviors may also contribute to tongue thrusting. Allergies, nasal congestion, and other conditions affecting breathing may also increase the occurrence of tongue thrusting behaviors as individuals compensate for the obstruction by holding the tongue lower in the mouth.

Tongue Thrust Complications

Tongue thrust has been associated with movement of the teeth, and has been linked to the development of anterior open bites and other types of malocclusion. While tongue thrust during swallowing has shown to exert pressure on the teeth, tongue thrust while resting has been noted as an even larger contributor to orthodontic conditions. The misalignment caused by tongue thrusting can affect the way words are pronounced, causing a speech impediment. Malocclusions can also cause jaw pain, headaches, and ear pain. In addition to these complications, the misalignment and speech problems caused by tongue thrust can also affect an individual’s self esteem and relationships with others.

Tongue Thrust Treatment

Correcting bite patterns will sometimes correct the positioning of the tongue. This can be done using braces in some cases. Cases in which open bite patterns are more extreme may require the use of temporary anchorage devices, surgery, or tooth extractions. If jaw and tooth alignment is found to be correct, nighttime mouth guards and visits with an oral physiotherapist may be sufficient to correct tongue thrusting behaviors.

Follow-Up Treatment

If tongue thrusting behaviors are not addressed after bite patterns have been corrected, teeth will usually shift back to the original position. Follow up treatment for tongue thrusting may include visits with an oral physiotherapist and use of specific types of retainers. A wrap around retainer with a hole in the top often provides two types of support. The retainer serves to prevent teeth from shifting back to the original position, and the hole presents a diversion from the tongue which can prevent the tongue from falling between the teeth while at rest.

X-rays, also known as orthodontic radiographs, are an important tool for assessing a patient’s jaw, mouth, and bone health. There are several different types of X-rays used in dentistry and orthodontics. It may be necessary for orthodontists to use a few different types of X-rays in order to get a full picture of the patient’s mouth and facial structure before recommending treatment.

X-Rays for Orthodontists

How Do X-Rays Work?

When an X-Ray is being taken, a beam of radiation passes through the body and hits either a sensor or a piece of film. Dense tissue such as bone and teeth will not allow the radiation to pass through, so it shows as a white or light image on the film. Softer tissues and areas of lower density allow the radiation to pass through, so it shows as a darker image on the film. Analyzing the darker and lighter spots on an X-Ray gives orthodontists an idea of the tooth and bone health of a patient.

Types of X-Rays

There are two main types of X-rays used in general dentistry and orthodontics. Intraoral X-rays are taken of the inside of the mouth. Extraoral X-rays are taken outside of the mouth. There are several different types of X-rays that fall into these two categories that are used for different purposes in orthodontics and dentistry.

Intraoral X-Rays

Common types of intraoral X-rays which are used by orthodontists and dentists include:

  • Bite-wing X-rays show the upper and lower teeth from crown to bone in areas of the mouth
  • Occlusal X-rays show placement and development of full teeth and arch
  • Periapical X-rays show full teeth from crown to the end of the root inside of the jaw

Extraoral X-Rays

Common types of extraoral X-rays that orthodontists or dentists may order include:

  • Panoramic X-rays show the entire mouth in one X-ray
  • Cephalometric projections show one side of the head
  • Tomograms show one layer of the mouth while blocking other areas to provide a clear view
  • CT Scans show a three dimensional image of the head. These must be performed at a hospital
  • Sialography show the salivary glands through the use of a contrast medium

Use of X-Rays in Orthodontics

The primary use of X-rays in orthodontic applications is to help orthodontists diagnose problems like impactions, misalignments of the teeth, and asymmetries of the jaws. Comparing and analyzing different types of X-rays such as panoramic X-rays and periapical X-rays helps orthodontists get a well-rounded picture of the tooth and jaw structure so that proper treatment can be administered. X-rays can also be used throughout orthodontic treatment to evaluate progress and make corrections as needed. Although not a primary application, X-rays taken by orthodontists may also reveal health conditions such as abscesses and tumors in the head that can save patient’s lives.