Here at Seabreeze Orthodontics, we know that finding an orthodontic practice you trust and feel comfortable with is an important part of successfully treating your smile. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing only the best, most individualized orthodontic experience for every patient we treat! The first step to a healthier, straighter smile begins with your free consultation. After Dr. Faja-Fernandez performs a thorough oral examination, he will design a treatment plan for you based on your particular orthodontic needs and what your goals are.
This exam will also determine if any special appliances will be necessary in order to create the perfect smile for you. While this won’t be applicable to everybody, and every recommendation we make is based on your individual specific case, these separate appliances can often speed up treatment times and improve overall results when used alone or in conjunction with braces.
To help you understand how this works, let’s take a closer look at some of these common orthodontic appliances and how our talented team uses them to produce beautifully aligned and fully functional smiles in Myrtle Beach and the surrounding communities!
The Herbst appliance, sometimes called a “miniscope,” is often used in patients whose lower jaw is underdeveloped lower. It can be used alone, with limited braces, or in conjunction with existing braces, and helps to bring the lower jaw into a more forward position. A Herbst appliance can also reduce the need for external apparatus like headgear, and has the potential to prevent future orthognathic surgery.
A Powerscope appliance can be used in conjunction with existing braces, and uses a continuous, gentle force to treat more serious Class II malocclusions. It is able to provide much-needed pressure and guidance while still allowing for a full range of motion. Powerscope appliances can also reduce the need for external apparatus like headgear, or the extraction of any permanent teeth.
Palatal expanders are a popular option for easing crowding issues by making more room for the top and bottom teeth to fit together properly. This is sometimes the first step we take to straighten a patient’s smile! Expanders work to widen the upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on the upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Specific instructions will be given to each patient on when and how to adjust the expander. Once the desired expansion is achieved, we will usually recommend the appliance be worn for another several months in order to solidify the widening and prevent any regression.
Braces or aligners are only the first, most active phase of orthodontic treatment. Once the teeth have been moved, they enter the “retention period.” This is a critical component of maintaining the long-term stability of a newly straightened smile! Retainers are custom-designed to hold a patient’s teeth in their new and improved positions until the bone, gums, and muscles can fully adapt. These appliances must be worn as directed or the teeth will drift back to their original positions over time.
There are three types of retainers available: removable, fixed, and Essix retainers, which look and work quite a bit like Invisalign aligners. Dr. Faja-Fernandez will determine what type of retainer is needed for each individual patient, as well as the length of time they will need to wear the retainer. In some cases, permanent retention may be necessary. In fact, modern orthodontic wisdom is that using some form of lifelong retention gives patients the most successful smiles. The good news is, with a little patience and practice, retainer use becomes just another part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or flossing.
Rubber bands (elastics)
These tiny elastic bands used with braces, and though they may seem incredibly simple, they’re actually one of the most important components of braces. That’s because they are the primary mechanism we use to move the teeth! The bands are attached using hooks that are part of the brackets or bands, and they can be worn in a variety of configurations. While the brackets give us a way to hold on to teeth, it is the rubber bands and wires that do the heavy work of moving them into the desired positions.
The rubber band phase of treatment is often the longest. As with everything else in the orthodontic process, compliance is key. It’s important it is for patients to follow all of our instructions during treatment, and in most cases, this will include wearing rubber bands consistently for a time. To add a touch of fun to treatment, we offer elastics in a wide variety of colors! For patients who prefer their bands to blend in with their natural smile, we also have clear or tooth-colored options available.
Separators look a little bit like tiny rubber doughnuts, and we use them in between the teeth to push them apart. This is usually a very temporary part of treatment, and any separators used will be removed before bands are placed at a subsequent appointment. Separators are attracted to sticky foods, toothpicks and floss, and can easily pop out with these materials, so patients should avoid these types of things while they have separators in.
TAD stands for Temporary Anchorage Devices. These miniature titanium anchors are positioned in the mouth as a method of achieving faster tooth movement with efficiency, comfort, and predictability. A TAD can eliminate the need for more intense appliances like headgear, and give orthodontists like Dr. Faja-Fernandez the opportunity to treat certain cases better and faster than ever before. The duration of the TAD implant treatment will differ from patient to patient, but in most cases, it will only be required for a short time, usually a period of a few months or so.
Creating beautifully aligned smiles with Seabreeze Orthodontics
The human mouth is very complex. Treating and correcting orthodontic issues successfully requires a great deal of skill and expertise. Fortunately, Dr. Faja-Fernandez has both! Together with the rest of our talented team, we are committed to providing families in our community with compassionate care, world-class treatment options, and beautiful, lasting results. For more information on orthodontic appliances and how they can benefit your oral health, get in touch with us today to schedule a free consultation!