Minor Orthodontic Treatment

Sometimes the need for minor movement is required. We can do that right here in the office. During your examination, if we feel you need minor tooth movement, we can set up a consultation free of charge to discuss this with you.

Thumb/Finger Sucking and Tongue Thrust Correction

Many young patients have oral habits that can be harmful to the bite or alignment of teeth. The two most common are a thumb or finger habit and a tongue-thrusting habit. If a thumb is constantly in the mouth and sucked on with some force, the upper front teeth will be raised, spaced, and flared. The lower teeth will be tipped back and crowded and the back teeth will become narrow on top causing a crossbite. If the tongue is thrust forward or just postured forward against the front teeth, both the upper and lower teeth can be spaced and flared and pushed apart so no bite exists in the front of the mouth (open bite).

The habit appliances are usually fixed or cemented on the upper first permanent molars. Bands on these molars have wires soldered to them that run across the roof of the mouth near the back of the upper front teeth. The thumb appliance has a wire screen that prevents the thumb or finger from resting on the roof of the mouth where it can create suction and feel good. If the “pleasure” of the habit is gone, it can be easily stopped. The tongue appliance has protrusions that will poke the tongue when it comes forward and this directs the tip of the tongue up to the roof of the mouth where it is supposed to be in resting and swallowing. The tongue may be sore the first day but after that, the patient avoids the spurs and keeps the tongue in the ideal place.

Habit appliances need no adjustments and have no active force on the teeth. In many cases, the teeth will start to get straighter on their own since the tongue or thumb is no longer involved. Braces are still needed at some point to totally recover from the harmful effects of the habit. The habit appliances are left in place for six months to make sure the habit is gone and then removed with no retainer.

If you think your child has either of these habits, don’t delay. Call us today for an appointment.

Removable Retainer Therapy

There are two types of retainers. Both are removable devices with a plastic plate in the roof or floor of the mouth and a wire, which rests against the outside the six front teeth. It can be made for the upper or lower jaw and has clasps on the side, which help hold it in place.

When used as a retainer, it is passive with no force on the front wire or behind the teeth. It is merely a holding device to prevent the teeth from heading back to their original position. Typically, when braces are removed, the retainer is placed as soon as possible and worn all the time for six weeks or longer. Then it can be worn 8 – 12 hours for the next two years. In truth, if you don’t want your teeth to revert to their former position, you should wear your retainer every night.

The Active Retainer is made to move a few front teeth that need to go forward or backward or twist a slight amount. The retainer usually has little springs that push against the teeth to acquire movement while the outside wire can exert a force backward against these same teeth. An active retainer must be worn all the time for four to eight months to move the teeth. Once the teeth are straight, it can be worn at night as a retainer.

Minor Orthodontic Services

Once a tooth is removed, the adjacent teeth want to “close the space.” So, in time a molar will appear “tipped” in the direction of the next available tooth. Sometimes, this is so severe that it is impossible to restore the missing space without first uprighting the molar into a suitable position to partner with its mate above. We can achieve this correction using bands and orthodontic wire. This will require about an hour appointment to place the brackets and then regular adjustment of the wire on the arch. Depending on the severity of the tilt, we can correct this in a 6-12 month period of time.

Another minor service we offer is minor cross-bite relationship correction. This involves cementation of bands on opposing arches of the cross-bite (one bracket on the inside of one tooth and the opposing tooth bracket on the outside) and the use of orthodontic rubber bands. This may take 3-6 months depending upon the patient’s diligence with the use of rubber bands as the elastics must be in place most of the time to accomplish movement.

If I see the need for any orthodontic treatment that is beyond my expertise, I will refer you to one of the best orthodontists I know for your treatment.

If you wonder if I can treat any “crooked” teeth in your mouth, call today.