Everybody loves a beautiful, warm, and flawless smile with well-aligned teeth. A beautiful smile boosts your confidence, making you feel accepted, loved, and relaxed. Nevertheless, you will feel embarrassed about your smile and general appearance when you have misaligned or crooked teeth. Also, cleaning crooked teeth is a big challenge because it enables plaque and tartar buildup, resulting in bacterial infections, decay, and periodontitis. At Washington Dental in Lomita, we provide orthodontic services to people with crooked teeth for a radiant smile.

Orthodontic Services at a Glance

Orthodontics is a dentistry speciality that corrects misaligned or crooked jaws or teeth. You should seek this treatment early because misaligned teeth are difficult to clean, increasing the risk of periodontitis or decay. Misaligned teeth also put uneven pressure on the jawbone when chewing, causing neck pains, shoulder pains, back pains, headaches, and TMJ syndrome. Crooked teeth mess with your overall facial appearance, taking a toll on your self-esteem.

Orthodontic services are provided by an orthodontist with four years of training after orthodontic school and an ADA-sanctioned program. These dental professionals are the ones who will conduct an oral examination and advise on whether an orthodontic procedure is necessary. If you are a candidate for the treatment, the dentist will recommend various orthodontic procedures like gap closure, teeth straightening, correction of bite issues, and lips aligning. The typical candidates for the treatment are children, teenagers, or young adults. Nevertheless, this does not exclude senior citizens and adults if they have strong jawbones that can withstand the pressure.

Orthodontic treatments have evolved considerably from conventional techniques like metal brackets to the most advanced procedures that are becoming popular among people with dental alignment issues. With the efficacy of the latest orthodontic treatments, you should consider teeth alignment if you struggle with oral problems due to crooked teeth. At Washington Dental, we decide on the right treatment plan after the following:

  • Evaluating your oral and medical record background.
  • Conducting clinical evaluations.
  • Taking teeth and mouth plaster impressions.
  • Taking specialized pictures and X-rays.

Once these evaluations are complete, our orthodontist will analyze the results and suggest the proper treatment. You should visit us for an assessment if you experience an overbite, meaning the upper front teeth lie far away or protrude from your bottom front teeth.

Again, when your bottom teeth protrude more than the upper teeth, it results in an underbite, and you need to contact our orthodontist for specialized treatment. Further, you should schedule an appointment for an overbite, crowding, open bites, or spacing.

Orthodontic Services Types

Your orthodontic needs are unique to your misalignment. For this reason, we offer various orthodontic services at Washington Dental, enabling you to choose a comfortable, realistic, and systematic treatment. Orthodontic services you will find in our facility are highlighted below.

Metal Braces Procedure

Metal braces, or "traditional braces," were the first to treat crooked teeth and jaws. Even today, the treatment remains widely used by patients seeking to realign their teeth or jaws. When you visit us for the procedure, our orthodontist will adjust the braces to apply pressure on the teeth so that they can change their position into the requisite spot, changing the general alignment of your teeth.

The treatment is gradual, so you should expect it to continue for a long time, ranging from 18 to 36 months. Nevertheless, the treatment duration for each patient is unique because of the varying dental structures. Some patients will take the shortest time for the teeth to align, while others will wait longer.

Oral Solutions Provided by Our Metal BracesTreatment

A metal braces procedure can correct several dental problems because of its flexibility. Using their knowledge of braces, your dentist will precisely position the braces to restore your teeth's alignment. Therefore, you should not hesitate to speak to an orthodontist if you struggle with tooth spacing, overbites, underbites, crowded, or crooked teeth.

The condition of your teeth determines how your dental professional will place and adjust the metal braces for optimal results. Therefore, spare time to learn the various parts of metal brackets or braces and their functionality.

The foundation of the whole metal brace structure is the bracket, which is made of titanium to withstand the harsh conditions in the mouth, like trauma and chewing hard foods, and maintains the same shape. The braces provide a grasp and a passage where the metal wire can be attached. The metal wire is flexible to allow for adjustment during various stages of treatment until your teeth find the correct position.

Finally, the flexible metal wire placed on the bracket is held firmly by an elastic band winding around the braces to prevent the cord from breaking the bracket. Doing so ensures the procedure goes as planned, awaiting the next appointment. The advantage of conventional metal braces is a personalized look whenever you schedule an adjustment meeting to modify the elastic bands’ color. You can bespeak your appearance with metal braces by exploring various elastic bands.

Also, you can opt for self-ligating brackets or braces with an adjustable snap feature on the metal bracket that allows your orthodontist to snap them to grip the metal cord instead of relying on elastic bands. The advantage of the new metal brackets is that they are smaller, giving you a more attractive look.

Similarly, the self-ligating braces apply mild pressure to the metal braces while offering the force necessary to shift the crooked teeth into the proper position. Therefore, with the new appliance, you will attain the same results with less tooth soreness whenever you have a brace adjustment appointment.

Moreover, the self-ligating braces have a unique mechanism that enables them to realign your teeth without prolonged wire adjustment. Additionally, you will save time because regular appointments for the brace treatment are unnecessary. So, if you travel a lot or are busy at work and cannot manage the frequent appointments required in a metal brace treatment, you can opt for self-ligating braces for fewer adjustment visits.

Preparation for a Metal Brace Procedure

Before we can perform a metal braces procedure on your misaligned teeth, you must undergo a thorough physical examination to understand your alignment and how teeth are placed in your mouth. Also, the dentist will photograph the teeth to guide them on the appropriate treatment.

After you have been declared a candidate for traditional braces, your dentist will place some special dental clay on a mouthpiece and press it against your teeth to acquire an impression. The mouthpiece is placed separately on the upper and lower jaws to obtain your tooth structure. The dental expert then gives the clay some time to solidify, after which they will have an impression of your teeth. These models help us identify the oral problems we can remedy using traditional braces or brackets and the best place to place the braces.

Additionally, the orthodontist we have assigned your case to will order an x-ray or 3D imaging to obtain clear images of your internal tooth placement and spot any baseline conditions relating to your jawbone. Again, if teeth are yet to emerge from the jawbone, the orthodontist will identify them and decide what to do with them if they interfere with the braces treatment.

After creating an impression of your teeth and evaluating several images of your mouth’s interior, our orthodontist can choose to extract the tooth or teeth that could interfere with the treatment. Nevertheless, tooth removal is unnecessary if you do not have overcrowded teeth.

Placement of the Metal Braces 

The procedure for metal braces is virtually painless and lasts for a short time. Nevertheless, your treatment expectations depend on the plan you choose with your dentist. When you walk in for the procedure, your dentist will first remove the plaque or dirt buildup in the teeth. Once the tooth surface is clean, the orthodontist will rub a protective liquid on the tooth enamel and an adhesive liquid on the metal brace to be attached. The bracket then attaches over the tooth surfaces, and once it is in the right spot, ultraviolet light is used to dry the adhesive liquid, firmly securing the braces to your teeth. The dentist repeats the same procedure with all the teeth.

The next step involves fixing the adjustable wires and securing them using self-ligating bracket clicks or elastic bands, depending on your braces. Once the wire connects all braces, the procedure will be done, and you should start seeing changes. The treatment is gradual. Therefore, you should expect several visits to your orthodontist to adjust the wires and attain the desired goal. The entire procedure will cost you $2,000 to $7,000.

Invisalign Orthodontic Procedure

Orthodontics services have significantly evolved with an enhanced treatment offering several benefits over metal braces known as Invisalign. Invisalign orthodontics applies pressure to crooked or misaligned teeth to straighten them into the appropriate spot.

Invisalign appliances are composed of rigid plastic that fits into the mouth, offering an additional transparent layer. Nevertheless, these appliances do not sit perfectly on the teeth’ structure. Instead, they leave margins that make room for the necessary force to push the misaligned teeth to their rightful position. If these margins are close, your dental expert will be satisfied that the teeth have shifted to a new spot. The dentist repeats this until the teeth align or move to the appropriate position.

Invisalign orthodontic treatment, like metal brackets, corrects overbites, underbites, or crossbites. All the dentist needs is your jawbone to have extra space for teeth adjustment to the right position.

  1. Preparations for an Invisalign Procedure  

Every orthodontic service offered in our Lomita facility starts with studying X-ray pictures and impressions of your teeth. Therefore, when you choose us for the procedure, you should expect to make a few physical appointments to evaluate your teeth.

The preparations required for Invisalign treatment are identical to those for metal braces. Our dentist will start by taking an impression of your teeth to determine their shape, size, and overall structure. X-ray photos will also be required to check your jawbone and teeth’ internal structure and provide accurate measurements that ensure that Invisalign plastic trays are formulated for an effective treatment plan. So, once you have submitted the necessary information to plan the treatment, you will come in again for the actual treatment.

Invisalign is a removable appliance, so the placement process is short. Nevertheless, our orthodontists will spare time to explain how to put on and remove the trays. Once you have understood the instructions, the procedure commences, with the plastic trays moving your teeth at a distance of 0.3 mm in two-week intervals.

The treatment is slow, meaning you will have several appointments. The meetings are not to adjust the appliances like other orthodontic treatments but to replace the older arch of plastic trays with a new one. Ensure you attend all your appointments, however many there are, for optimal results.

  1. Benefits of Invisalign Aligners Over Braces

Invisalign has become more popular than braces, with most patients with misaligned teeth opting for this orthodontic service. Many patients prefer Invisalign because they can remove them whenever they want to eat crispy food or drink a brightly colored beverage. However, after eating, you should return the appliances so that the realignment can proceed. When you fail to wear the devices per the orthodontist’s instructions, the removable feature of these appliances will become a disadvantage because the treatment will fail or take longer than expected, costing you more money.

Similarly, when looking for a discreet orthodontic procedure, Invisalign is the way to go because it is transparent. You will retain the average color of your teeth and not draw any unwarranted attention to your appearance.

Also, Invisalign treatment offers a shorter realignment duration than other orthodontic treatments like braces. Instead of receiving treatment for up to three years, you will only have to wear Invisalign appliances for twelve months, and the results will be visible. Again, the accuracy and effectiveness of the treatment make it difficult for the teeth to revert to their usual position after treatment.

If you are considering Invisalign treatment, be ready to part with $3,000 to $8,000, depending on your choice of plastic material.

Ceramic Braces Treatment

Ceramic braces are the same as conventional metal braces only because they are ceramic. We recommend these braces to patients who do not want to attract attention to orthodontic appliances because ceramic braces resemble the color of your teeth. No one will notice them even when you smile because the flexible wire on the brackets has a ceramic coating, enabling you to maintain a discreet look.

The wires and brackets used are made of composite and ceramic materials. Therefore, you should be cautious of what you drink to avoid staining the ceramic. Besides, these orthodontic appliances are fragile, so you should avoid chewing hard foods that require the application of extreme force because they will break. Therefore, be cautious with what you eat to avoid additional costs for repairing and replacing the braces.

Lastly, the treatment will go on for an extended duration because of the brittle nature of ceramics, which prevents your orthodontist from applying a lot of force during adjustments. The minimal tooth movement is disadvantageous. However, reduced soreness and a discreet appearance should encourage you to undergo the treatment.

On the issue of cost, ceramics are more expensive than other orthodontic treatment plans because you must part with approximately $2,000 to $8,500.

Lingual Braces Treatment

Lingual brackets or braces are like traditional braces, but they are more hidden on the back of the teeth, hence the name. They are not noticeable or visible to the people around you, as they are opposite the tongue. The brackets always contact the tongue, so your orthodontist should ensure no hooks or corners can cause bruising on your tongue.

With this orthodontic service, our dentists follow the same preparations as with other metal-braces procedures.

Once you are ready, the dentist will place a dental tool in your mouth to keep it open because the brackets will be very close to the gums. The next step involves attaching the brackets or braces to your teeth using adhesive glue.

After placing all the brackets, the treatment will be complete. You will feel uncomfortable immediately after the treatment because of the foreign appliances in your mouth and the pressure to move your teeth into the proper position. Nevertheless, the discomfort will go away after some time. To avoid abrasion on the tongue when speaking, the dentist will cover the brackets with dental wax. The procedure lasts twenty-four to thirty-six months and will cost approximately $5,000 to $13,000.

The Appropriate Age for Orthodontic Services

The best age for orthodontic services is when a child turns seven. This is the age when they shed milk teeth and develop permanent molars and incisors. You can prevent other progressive oral conditions when you commence orthodontic treatment early. An orthodontist can use braces to determine jawbone growth and the position of other teeth. The newly erupting teeth stay in the right spot, avoiding dental issues like overcrowding. If a child has tooth alignment issues, starting treatment early for a beautiful and radiant smile is best.

Even though orthodontics is mainly performed on children and teenagers, adults over 21 can also receive the treatment. With the recent advancements in dentistry, adults can comfortably undergo orthodontics to obtain beautiful smiles and avoid oral issues that stem from misaligned teeth like tooth decay and periodontal disease. Adults can rely on invisible aligners for discreet orthodontic treatment.

Dental Insurance

Planning for orthodontic services requires choosing a financing plan you can afford. Not all dental insurers offer coverage for orthodontic services. So, talk to your insurer about the orthodontic service you seek and determine if they provide coverage. Also, you must decide if your coverage applies to you and your family members because some insurers will only pay for braces treatment on children, not adults.

If you do not have dental insurance coverage, you can purchase a policy within two days. Nevertheless, you must buy one that provides you and your family coverage. Alternatively, if an employer offers dental insurance, you should talk to them about including orthodontic services in your insurance benefits.

Picking the Appropriate Dental Plan for Orthodontic Services

To purchase a dental plan for your treatment, you must check if it covers orthodontic procedures. You should review the policy and see what it covers and the limited services. Most insurers do not provide coverage for braces treatment.

Similarly, you should check the limitations of your coverage. The restrictions include annual capitation, intervals between treatments, and the number of treatments the coverage can provide for the rest of your life. Some orthodontic procedures require several adjustment appointments. Therefore, when your policy limits the number of times you can visit a dentist annually, it could force you to pay out-of-pocket for treatment if you exhaust the provided limit.

Do not give up on the treatment when you realize your plan does not cover orthodontic services. Talk to the orthodontist you are considering for the procedure and find out if they have discounts or payment plans to help make the treatment affordable.

At Washington Dental, we understand that even though our orthodontic services are affordable, it is challenging to pay upfront. Therefore, we can squeeze you into a payment scheme that matches your needs. Before you start treatment, discuss the payment issue with your orthodontist for a reasonable plan.

You can rely on your medical care insurance coverage to pay part of the fees to ease your financial burden. Talk to your health insurer for authorization, and we will begin treatment.

Find the Right Orthodontist Near Me

Aligned jaws and teeth save you many dental health problems. Therefore, orthodontic services can help give you a beautiful, healthy, and functional smile if you are dealing with misaligned, crooked, or crowded teeth. If you wish to align your teeth or jawbone in Lomita, call Washington Dental today at 310-326-5183 for a no-obligation consultation.