May 24

What is an orthodontist ?

What is an orthodontist?

Orthodontists are qualified dentists, who after graduating from dental school, go on to additional full-time university-based education in an accredited orthodontic residency program supervised by orthodontists. That training lasts at least two to three academic years. By learning about tooth movement (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are the uniquely educated experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws.orthodontics

What happens at my first visit?

Dr. Westfallen will listen to your concerns and provide an orthodontic examination of your jaws and teeth. Dr. Westfallen will indicate whether or not treatment is needed and what the treatment will involve. Dr. Westfallen and her staff will also be able to discuss fees for orthodontic care and payment options.

Typical steps prior to beginning treatment include gathering orthodontic records to provide specific information to tailor a treatment plan for that patient. Orthodontic records include x-rays, photographs, and impressions or “molds” made of the teeth. These “molds” are used to develop models for closer examination of the teeth and how the upper and lower teeth relate to each other. X-rays are used to measure your teeth and jaws. Photographs help diagnose your problem.

When should I begin treatment?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age seven. Although only a few orthodontic problems need to be corrected at that age, an early exam allows Dr. Westfallen to offer advice and guidance as to when the appropriate age to start treatment would be. orthodontics san antonio

How long will my treatment take?

Generally, the length of orthodontic treatment can range from 18 months to 30 months. The length of treatment varies depending on the complexity of the orthodontic problem that requires correction, growth and tissue response to treatment as well as the level of patient cooperation during treatment. New techniques such as the self-ligating In-Ovation system and digital imaging make treatment faster and more comfortable than ever.

What will orthodontic treatment cost?
Fees for orthodontic care vary with the complexity of the treatment based upon each individual’s needs. At your first visit, Dr. Westfallen will discuss the anticipated treatment fees and payment options.

What is expected of me during treatment?
Like other types of health care, patient cooperation with the directions of our Doctor is key in determining the length of treatment and the quality of the outcome. In many instances, patient cooperation is needed to help make sure the bite is right. Your first few appointments will most likely be about a week or two apart. Once your appliances are placed, you’ll see the Doctor every 4-8 weeks. See “What To Expect” for more details regarding the sequence of treatment and appointment descriptions. In addition, you must continue to see your dentist at least every six months, or more often if recommended, for check-ups and professional cleanings.

Apr 17

The Herbst Appliance – San Antonio Orthodontist

The Herbst Appliance – San Antonio Orthodontist

One of the most common problems orthodontics treat is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower. Ordinarily, when we see a patient with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think that the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward; but, more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. With these patients, we would like to encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth. Corrective appliances, such as the Herbst® appliance, help this happen.san antonio Orthodontist

Patients prefer the Herbst® appliance because it makes more compliance-driven techniques, like headgear, a thing of the past.

Even though the Herbst® appliance prevents the lower jaw from moving backward, opening and closing movements still occur easily, and patients do not have any problems learning to chew their food with their lower jaw in this new position.

As with all kinds of braces, patients with Herbst® appliances need to be careful about what they eat. For instance, cold foods such as ice slushes, Popsicles and ice will freeze the cement and make the brace loosen. Sticky foods such as caramels, bubble gum and candy suckers will pull the brace away from the teeth. Hard foods like crisp vegetables and hard candies will bend and loosen the Herbst® appliance, too. So stay away from these foods during your orthodontic treatment.

Your Herbst® appliance will be checked and adjusted at your appointments. If, sometimes between appointments, you develop some sore areas on the inside of your cheeks, please do not try to adjust the appliance yourself. Call for an appointment so that the necessary adjustments can be made.orthodontist san antonio

Wearing an Herbst® Appliance

At first, your mouth will feel unusually full and speaking will be awkward. If you practice reading aloud, your ordinary speech will return quickly. You may also notice more saliva than normal, but this will decrease as you become accustomed to the appliance.

Apr 12

Invisalign clear Braces are they your Choice

Invisalign clear Braces

Invisalign invisible braces are a great alternative to traditional braces. These are a clear plastic retainer system used to align teeth. Teens and adults especially prefer them to the metal braces. Now there is a way to correct tooth alignment without the embarrassment that can go along with traditional braces. No one needs to know you have them. san antonio orthodontics

The orthodontist will take many pictures and do a bite impression of the teeth. Both of these are used to make a 3-D model of the mouth. A simulation is then done of the way the alignment will take place over time. Finally the custom fitted plastic retainer trays are created to follow the simulation and the position the teeth should be in.

How many trays are needed depends on how much correction and what type of correction of the teeth is required. On average 18 to 30 trays are made for each person. The trays are worn for two weeks then the next tray in the series is worn another two weeks. This will be done continuously until the teeth are in the correct position. The time these are used is the same as with the metal braces. They are worn 24 hours a day unless the person is eating or the teeth are being cleaned.

When the initial trays are in place there may be some discomfort and some time needed to get used to them being in the mouth. There will not be the pain that comes with metal brackets and wires in the mouth. Wax is often needed on them to keep them from making small tears is the soft tissue. The metal braces need special cleaning. The wires require periodic tightening by the dentist. Sports becomes dangerous without a special mouth guard.

The Invisalign braces have none of the problems of the traditional braces. These are made of smooth clear plastic with nothing to cause cuts or irritation. No painful adjustments need to be made. A dental checkup will be necessary to make sure the retainers are doing their job. Unlike with metal braces these can be removed whenever it is necessary.

There are no restricted foods with the Invisalign braces. All favorite foods are still on the menu. With traditional braces popcorn and gum are off limits. With Invisalign just remove the braces before it is time to eat. Clean the teeth and then replace the tray.invisalign retainers

Cleaning the teeth is so much easier with the clear retainer trays. With metal braces there is a chance of tooth decay and discoloration. A special tooth brush is needed as well. With the possibility of food being stuck in them there is the complaint of bad breath. Since the trays with Invisalign are removable the teeth can be brushed and flossed as usual.

Realistically the Invisalign invisible braces do cost more than traditional metal braces. But most insurance companies will cover them the same as the traditional ones. The final cost is really determined by how many trays are needed. Since they are invisible being able to continue smiling as usual with complete confidence is priceless. Visit our San Antonio Orthodontist today