There are many variations in the design of braces, each of which has specific attributes and purposes. At Orthodontic Associates of Mercer Island we recognize that no one system of braces will suit every patient’s treatment requirements. So rather than using just one type of orthodontic device we choose the system or combination of systems that will best address each patient’s unique bite problem. At Orthodontic Associates of Mercer Island, each patient can be assured of personalized orthodontic health care carried out through his or her own custom-designed treatment plan.
Invisalign® is a relatively new, innovative, orthodontic appliance system that employs a series of clear, virtually invisible, overlay templates called aligners. 3-D computer technology is employed to translate the orthodontist’s detailed treatment plan into a series of these aligners, each of which is designed to produce a finite amount of sequential tooth movement. Invisalign® is most effective when chosen for correction of relatively minor malocclusions or those of moderate complexity. In more complicated cases, Invisalign® may be combined with conventional fixed appliances in order to take advantage of the best attributes of both systems. As Invisalign Elite Preferred Providers, Orthodontic Associates of Mercer Island have extensive experience and unique expertise with this approach to orthodontic treatment. We would be pleased to evaluate your particular needs to determine if this orthodontic appliance system is an appropriate option for you to consider.
Orthodontic appliances usually consist of brackets attached to the surfaces of the teeth and a series of flexible wires that are adjusted periodically to gradually and gently move the teeth toward their intended positions. The brackets most commonly are made of metal. For some patients clear or tooth-colored ceramic brackets may be recommended. Metal brackets have the advantage of being sturdier, thus resisting breakage and permitting adjustments to be made with a high degree of precision. Ceramic brackets have the advantage of being less visually obvious, but because of their fragility, may make detailed tooth alignment and bite correction more difficult and more time consuming. At Orthodontic Associates of Mercer Island we use both types of brackets and will be pleased to discuss with you which design is most likely to meet your personal needs.
Certain types of tooth movement are most efficiently accomplished by a bracket design that minimizes friction between the bracket s and the arch wires. Damon brackets and Innovation brackets are two examples of self-ligating bracket designs. Drs. McNeill and McCulloch have extensive experience with self-ligating appliances and recommend them when their use is consistent with the goal of successfully completing orthodontic treatment in the least possible time.
HABIT CONTROL APPLIANCES
Finger sucking, thumb sucking, tongue thrust, and lip biting are oral habits that may cause a bite problem or may make an under-lying bite problem more complicated. Habit control appliances of different types are used as a means of assisting children with habit cessation. They are often used as a component of functional or facial orthopedic appliances. In addition habit control may be augmented by myofunctional/speech therapy directed at retraining altered oral muscle (tongue, lips, cheeks) posture and function. At Orthodontic Associates of Mercer Island we work closely with patients, parents, and when required, myofunctional therapists to ensure that persistent oral habits will have little or no impact on the achievement of a healthy bite and an attractive smile.
FUNCTIONAL or FACIAL ORTHOPEDIC APPLIANCES
These appliances, either removable or fixed, are typically used in younger patients and are often combined with partial or full braces attached to the teeth. They are employed to modify growth of the facial structures in order to create balance between upper and lower jaw size and position. Since their effectiveness is growth dependent, their use is limited to children and young adolescents. Drs. McNeill and McCulloch employ a variety of orthopedic devices such as expanders, Herbst appliances, headgears (night braces), bionators and twin-blocks. The choice of appliances is based on detailed diagnostic evaluation of each patient’s unique presenting condition, growth potential, and treatment requirements.
RAPID PALATAL EXPANDER
|Retainers are appliances used after orthodontic treatment to ensure that changes in bite relationship and tooth position will be minimized. Retainers may be either attached to the teeth or removable. Attached, or fixed, retainers generally consist of a fine wire that is bonded to the inner surface of the lower and/or upper front teeth with the intention that it will stay in place on a permanent basis. Drs. McNeill and McCulloch prescribe such fixed retainers when there is a high potential for the teeth to rebound toward their pre-treatment position. Removable retainers may occasionally be used for minor amounts of tooth movement but are, in most cases, designed to passively maintain correction after orthodontic treatment. Full-time retainer wear generally begins as soon as active treatment is completed and braces are removed. After careful monitoring of individual patient response, the amount of retainer wear may be progressively reduced as the teeth adapt to their new positions and the bite correction stabilizes.
To learn if Invisalign® or the other orthodontic appliance systems that we advocate can help you achieve the correct bite and attractive smile you and your family members have always wanted, we welcome you to call us at 206 232 9600 to make an EXAMINATION APPOINTMENT.