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orthodontics thousand oaks

Options for Straighter Teeth

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Options for Straighter Teeth

Orthodontics represent one of the most commonly performed dental procedures outside of cleaning and fillings. Every year, thousands of children, teens and adults begin treatment towards straighter teeth. Take a look at some of the considerations you will want to make in obtaining that perfect smile!

First and foremost, orthodontics should only be attempted under the supervision of a licensed dentist/orthodontist. No online guide or mail order kit will be able to bring the expertise of a professional in creating a perfect smile. Even something as simple as closing the gap between your two front teeth can cause irreparable damage. At the very least, you will be wasting time and money on "procedures" that get you nowhere. At the worst, you could end up losing a tooth (particularly true for the rubber band gap closers available online). 

Many younger patients will be best suited for traditional metal band and bracket braces. This treatment is predictable, easy to adjust and can straighten many different types of crooked teeth. Braces are usually worn for about 24 months and are overseen by an orthodontist. The hallmark of this treatment are the non-removable wire and brackets. Children (who typically have poor compliance) do not have the option of "not wearing" their appliance. Conversely, flossing and brushing around the wires can be difficult, making good oral hygiene a must while in braces. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum are clear aligners, like the always popular Invisalign appliance. This treatment is performed by general dentists and orthodontists alike to correct most types of spacing problems. Our office uses Invisalign to correct many mild to moderate orthodontic concerns. Because aligners are clear plastic and can be removed, they are often the choice for individuals with cosmetic requirements. Unfortunately, since the aligners are not physically attached to the teeth, some movements are simply not possible. Furthermore, this treatment relies on patient compliance- the retainers must be worn for 20+ hours a day!

In some specific circumstances, crowns and veneers can also fix gaps and crowding between the teeth. A common application would be placing crowns on the two front teeth to fix a gap by creating a more cosmetic contour. That said, orthodontics are usually the first choice if the only problem is spacing between teeth. If you would like to know more about your options to a straighter smile, please give our office a call!

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Invisalign Invisible Braces

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Invisalign Invisible Braces

One of our very satisfied Invisalign patients. Crowding was addressed on both the upper and lower arches, along with bleaching using the Invisalign trays. The total treatment took 17 aligners and 8.5 months. 

One of our very satisfied Invisalign patients. Crowding was addressed on both the upper and lower arches, along with bleaching using the Invisalign trays. The total treatment took 17 aligners and 8.5 months. 

Your smile is one of your most noticeable and forthcoming facial features. Naturally, you take great care of your teeth, brush and floss daily and possibly use whitening products. Still, there is one feature of smile and facial esthetics that cannot be addressed by home care: Orthodontics. If you are interested in having a straighter smile with minimal dental appointments, excellent predictability and discreet treatment, you may be a good candidate for Invisalign.

Invisalign is a system that uses dental impressions, advanced computer programs and clear plastic trays to provide virtually invisible orthodontics. The process is very simple. On your first appointment, we will take a series of impressions and pictures and send them to Invisalign’s headquarters. After that, a representative will send Dr. Kari a digital mockup of your smile, including the movements each tooth is predicted to make. After she approves and adjusts Invisalign’s plan, a set of aligner trays are shipped to our office.

You then return for your second appointment, where we use composites (same kind used in tooth colored fillings) and a special template tray to construct a series of tiny “buttons” on your teeth. These buttons allow the trays to latch and move teeth with extra torque, when necessary. This appointment lasts about 45 minutes and you leave with your very first set of trays!

From left to right: We use the blue trays to take a quick impression of your teeth, followed by a "bite impression" using the purple material in the applicator gun (called Regisil). After invisalign receives and processes your impressions, we receive your custom trays (pictured far right). 

From left to right: We use the blue trays to take a quick impression of your teeth, followed by a "bite impression" using the purple material in the applicator gun (called Regisil). After invisalign receives and processes your impressions, we receive your custom trays (pictured far right). 

Most Invisalign treatment plans last around 9 months to 2 years, with about 15-30 included trays. You will be expected to periodically return to our office to ensure your treatment is going as planned. While this timeframe may seem lengthy, remember that the trays are invisible, comfortable in the mouth and removable. Any time you need to eat, brush or whiten your teeth, you can remove your appliance in a matter of seconds.

While Invisalign is an extremely predictable and effective process, not everyone is a good candidate. Those who cannot devote the majority of their day (awake and asleep) to wearing trays will encounter a delayed or entirely ineffective orthodontic treatment. For this reason, we do not recommend Invisalign for children, as “patient compliance” is especially difficult to obtain. Furthermore, certain tooth movements are impossible without traditional wire-and-bracket braces. Being a removable piece of plastic, there are limitations to the directions that Invisalign can precisely realign teeth. To determine if you are a good candidate, or address your questions and concerns, please schedule a consultation with our office. 

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