The Benefits of Orthodontics

teens with braces smiling

The mouth and its surroundings comprise one of the most functionally complex and important parts of the human body. It might be described as the "crossroads", involved as it is in breathing, speaking, chewing, swallowing, and perhaps most importantly, emotional facial expressions such as smiling, laughing, etc. In the past, early loss of teeth because of decay and periodontal problems often compromised these valuable body functions but was considered a normal part of the aging process. Over the years, it has become recognized that straight teeth and a balanced bite can contribute, along with other advances in dental health care, to maintenance of the natural teeth for an entire lifetime. As a result, orthodontics has become an accepted preventive measure that offers substantial, lasting health benefits.

And then there is the known significant social advantage of having straight teeth, an attractive smile, and balanced facial appearance. Studies have proven that both males and females with these assets are judged by their peers to be more friendly, more desired as a friend, more admired, and more likely to be successful. As a result, many modern families place a high priority on orthodontic correction not only for its physical health benefits, but in order to take advantage of the opportunity to go through life with big, beautiful, bright smiles!

At Orthodontic Associates of Mercer island we offer a set of orthodontic options, from traditional systems to revolutionary new technology, to ensure that we have an orthodontic solution that will be perfect for you.

Straight to the Basics.

Both braces and Invisalign® straighten teeth. Which is right for you? How long is treatment? Which is more affordable? All your concerns and questions for an effective treatment plan are established during a consultation with one of our doctors.

Braces - 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.

Invisalign® - Invisalign® is an innovative, orthodontic appliance system that accomplishes bite correction and tooth alignment using 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 small amount of sequential tooth movement.

Invisalign - aligners
Invisalign - Straighten your teeth without wires

Invisalign® Provider.

Adult Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen™ treatment has been used, in the past, primarily for correction of relatively minor bite problems - times have changed.

Now, as a result of advances in technology and many years of experience using aligner systems, Dr. McCulloch confidently recommend Invisalign® for more complex bite problems. In some special situations aligner technology may be combined with conventional braces to take advantage of the positive attributes of both systems. Irrespective of the treatment method chosen, the goal is to always ensure the best possible outcome.

Vivera retainers - clear and virtually invisible

Vivera Retainers.

When you make an investment in your smile, it is necessary to "retain" the position of the teeth by holding them in place with a retainer. Vivera retainers are 3-dimensional retainers that hold the position of your teeth and retain their position when worn as directed.

Vivera retainers are a state of the art Invisalign product. They are composed of a proprietary thermoplastic material that is 30% stronger than other clear retainer materials.

Benefits of Vivera over traditional retainer options?

  • They are clean and clear. When you order Vivera retainers, you will receive 4 sets of retainers (top and bottom). This will give you the ability to access a new retainer when it becomes dull, dirty or cloudy over time.
  • The bottom Vivera retainer can fit right over top of your existing permanent lower wire retainer if you have one and this will protect the position of your lower front teeth in the event your wire breaks.
  • You will receive 4 sets of retainers instead of 1 set! This means that if you lose or break your retainer - you will have spare sets for replacement.
  • Vivera retainers do not cover the palate. This means that they are more comfortable than traditional retainers.
  • Vivera retainers are convenient. We take a digital model of your teeth. We can access the digital model at any time to order replacement sets. No more goopy impressions! We can even ship your new retainers to you if you are away from access to our office.
  • Wearing upper and lower retainers can protect against tooth wear and can, in some instances, replace the need for a night-guard.