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General Orthodontics Procedures

If you are looking to straighten your teeth or improve your bite, traditional metal bracket-and-wire braces are no longer your only option. The team at Kirkwood Family Dental is excited to be able to offer clear aligners to our patients interested in orthodontics. These clear aligner trays work by slowly and accurately moving teeth into a new position with each new tray. Often, small tooth-colored composite attachments are bonded onto select teeth in order to help the trays apply pressure to the teeth. The trays are meant to be worn 22 hours per day while in treatment, and retainers are fabricated at the end. Usually, patients who are treated with clear aligners at Kirkwood Family Dental are finished with treatment in less than a year.

Patients looking to improve their smile with Veneers or Crowns, would often benefit for aligning and straightening their teeth prior to preparing the teeth. This allows us to be minimally invasive with the grinding/preparing of the teeth.

The process begins with a consultation with an orthodontist to determine if the patient is a good candidate for aligners. Impressions, photos, and X-rays are taken of the teeth and mouth. Using a 3D computer imaging system, the orthodontist will create a treatment plan, which involves predicting how each set of aligners will redirect the movement of teeth. Afterward, a series of aligners are custom-made and given to the patient to wear in order to move their teeth into a more desirable position.

Throughout treatment, the patient is expected to wear the aligners for 20-22 hours per day for optimal efficacy. The aligners are removed for eating and brushing teeth. Patients typically change aligners every two weeks, although this timeframe may vary depending on the individual treatment plan. Patients may experience some discomfort and pressure when wearing new aligners, but these symptoms typically resolve within a few days. With proper compliance, the orthodontic aligners treatment is an effective alternative to traditional braces and can help achieve a straight, confident smile.