in Ardmore, PA
Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry
General Dentistry Expertise
Many people think of metal braces when they hear the word orthodontics. What is orthodontics in the context of modern cosmetic dentistry? It is the treatment of an improper bite (malocclusion). At our Philadelphia dentistry office, Dr. Lindsey Marshall’s goal is to provide the most efficient orthodontic treatment available to meet your individual needs.
Orthodontic treatments can help you achieve maximum effectiveness in your jaw and teeth function. It can protect and improve your bite, and it can help provide you with a beautiful smile. Orthodontic procedures can be divided into three sub-categories:
- Aesthetic orthodontics – which treats a misaligned smile and straightens jawlines
- Restorative orthodontics – which treats malocclusion that interferes with eating and speech
- Physiologic orthodontics – which treats the alignment of the jaw joint
Isn’t orthodontic treatment just for kids?
This is a popular misconception. We often think of young children getting braces when we think of orthodontics. As a result, many adults don’t even ask about it.
The reality, however, is that adult orthodontics is a key component of modern dentistry.
Your bite position and jaw alignment might be perfectly acceptable when you’re young, only to present significant issues when you grow older. Philadelphia cosmetic dentist Dr. Lindsey Marshall has been offering dentistry services to adult patients since 1998, and she can craft a treatment program that is right for you.
What are the different types of Orthodontic treatments?
Dr. Marshall performs three specific types of orthodontic treatment.
Aesthetic treatments focus on the appearance of the smile. Teeth that are crooked, gapped, overlapping, or turned detract from the smile. To correct appearance, you can focus on cosmetics alone or the physical movement of teeth into proper alignment. Aesthetic improvement can be achieved with porcelain veneers, ultra-thin, custom-shaped sheets of durable porcelain that Dr. Marshall bonds to various teeth. To correct appearance and alignment, some patients choose to undergo Invisalign. This discreet system straightens teeth using orthodontic principles and invisible clear aligners that fit over the teeth.
If malocclusion interferes with eating and speech, teeth need to be moved into better alignment. They must butt-up to each other and fit well against opposing teeth for comfort and appearance to improve. Restorative Orthodontics typically involves Invisalign, though minor cases may be correctable with cosmetic reshaping and restorations like crowns. Dr. Marshall incorporates proven physiologic and cosmetic protocols learned through extensive training courses at the esteemed Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies to bring new life to her patients’ smiles.
The alignment of the jaw joint is integral to functional chewing and comfort. The jaw joints, called the temporomandibular joints, carry a great deal of stress because they are involved in every mouth movement. It is safe to say that these joints are overused. The near-constant work that the temporomandibular joints do can lead to inflammation and uncomfortable symptoms. Physiologic dentistry techniques address the tension and stress inflicted on the TMJs while also restoring proper bite alignment.
What are the benefits of Orthodontic treatment?
The improved confidence that comes from an attractive smile is an important reason to consider orthodontic treatment. The benefits of customized care go beyond aesthetics. Positive side-effects of orthodontic treatment include:
- Improved oral health
- Reduced risk of cavities and gum disease
- Easier oral care
- Improved chewing function
- Improved speech
- Reduction in grinding and clenching
- Reduced risk of injury from overlapping or protruding teeth
- Reduction in facial pain and headaches
Will I need metal braces? Won’t that be embarrassing at work?
Many adult patients are worried that their orthodontic treatments will require that they wear unsightly traditional metal braces. Fortunately, among the many dentistry services Dr. Marshall offers is Invisalign®. This is an excellent option if you need a bite or jaw alignment correction but don’t want to deal with metal braces.
Exciting innovations in modern dentistry, Invisalign aligners are clear and almost impossible to spot if you’re not looking for them. Dr. Marshall will have a set of aligners custom-made for your specific orthodontic needs.
Invisalign® aligners are simple, easy to use, and effective at giving you a healthier, more comfortable bite and jaw alignment.
What Is Invisalign?
Would you like to straighten your teeth without any braces? Invisalign is an alternative to braces that Dr. Marshall provides for adults who would like straighter and better-aligned teeth but dislike the idea of wearing metal braces.
Instead of brackets and wires, Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners, each pair being part of your overall orthodontic treatment. At the start of your Invisalign treatment, Dr. Marshall will give you the first aligners to take home. When you have finished wearing the last of those, you come in for Dr. Marshall to check on your progress and get the next few aligners. Each aligner or pair of aligners is worn for two weeks.
You can remove your Invisalign aligners at any time, and should remove them for eating and dental hygiene. For best results, they need to be in the mouth for about 22 hours each day.
Am I a candidate for Invisalign?
Many teens and adults are good candidates for Invisalign. A leading factor in candidacy is the discipline to wear aligners as directed. Aligners are removable, which can be beneficial as well as challenging. If they are left out too often or for too long, teeth may not move as expected.
Invisalign aligners are removed for brushing, flossing, eating, and drinking. While advantageous, this system carries a risk of losing or damaging aligners. Patients must be capable of developing habits that protect their aligners, such as always having a carrying case on hand in which to place aligners when they are removed.
Several orthodontic issues are correctable using Invisalign, including mild to a moderate overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open-bite. This system may be ideal for such issues, as well as minor overlapping, gaps, and other cosmetic or functional problems. Invisalign is not appropriate for severe malocclusion or the vertical repositioning of teeth.
Can you use orthodontics to treat my TMJ headaches?
As a doctor trained in physiologic dentistry, Dr. Marshall has several years of experience treating the temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD/TMJ. She understands that the headaches and pain that are symptoms of TMD can be debilitating.
Orthodontic treatments can relieve your symptoms, eliminate your pain and address the underlying issues that caused your TMD in the first place.
Physiologic dentistry diagnoses and treats Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) – misaligned jaw joints. In some cases, misaligned joints put the teeth out of alignment, and in other cases, the reverse happens. Dr. Marshall will perform a thorough mouth examination to determine if you have TMD. If she finds that you do, she will discuss treatment options with you.
Malocclusion (a bad bite) can be treated with dental work that corrects tooth shapes, positions, and relationships, and by re-training the jaw muscles.
Orthodontic Options for Adults
Many adults wish they had straighter teeth but do not want to have to wear braces. We understand the connotation that “braces are for kids.” Dr. Marshall has developed specific protocols to help her patients feel better about their smiles without undergoing lengthy orthodontic treatment. Invisalign and Instant Orthodontics are two of her primary services. Adults experiencing symptoms of TMJ Disorder may be good candidates for Physiologic Orthodontics, which may involve Invisalign or Instant Orthodontics along with unique joint-relaxing and restoring modalities that reduce stress on the TMJs.
Your smile has unique needs. To discover which type of adult orthodontics is right for you, consult with an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. Contact us to schedule your visit with Dr. Marshall.
Dr. Marshall offers several options for straighter smiles, including:
- Instant Orthodontics – With the use of porcelain veneers, Dr. Marshall can correct a number of cosmetic issues with your smile, as well as minor functional bite problems. This option is great for patients who have mild malocclusion and are seeking a quick solution to improve their smile’s appearance.
- Invisalign® – For mild to moderate bite problems, Invisalign® is an ideal choice. Invisalign® uses a series of clear plastic aligners to gently push your teeth into their optimal position in as few as 12 months.
Am I a Candidate for Instant Orthodontics?
Instant orthodontics quickly changes the appearance of the smile using veneers. This treatment technique enhances the smile by covering flaws like minor gaps and misalignment. Veneers also disguise chips, stains, and other imperfections. When veneers are used to create a straighter appearance, misalignment must be mild. If applied to severely misaligned teeth, veneers can crack or come off.
In addition to adequate alignment to sustain veneers, good candidates for this treatment have good oral health and practice consistent oral care that includes brushing and flossing. It is necessary to have sufficient tooth enamel, as well, because a small amount of reduction takes place to achieve the most natural appearance.
Veneer treatment may be affected by grinding, clenching, biting on fingernails or hard objects, and eating ice. Patients must be able to refrain from these habits to preserve the results of Instant Orthodontics.
How long do adult Orthodontic treatments take?
Orthodontic treatment can range from a few visits to several months. If you are a good candidate for veneers and this approach feels appropriate for your needs and preferences, you may have a straight new smile within 4 to 6 weeks, if not sooner. If you choose to correct misalignment or mild malocclusion using Invisalign, your treatment process may last from a few months to a couple of years. Dr. Marshall discusses treatment times after her thorough examination and evaluation of dental imaging. The advantage of Invisalign is that, even if your treatment takes years, you will see progressive improvement with each new set of aligners.
How can I care for my teeth while undergoing Orthodontic treatment?
Good oral care is critical during orthodontic treatment of any kind. Even though Invisalign aligners are removable, there is an increased risk of gum inflammation and tooth decay while undergoing treatment. The continual wear of aligners without proper oral care can result in plaque or tartar formation. To prevent plaque and tartar from accumulating, patients must brush twice a day for a full two minutes each time. Daily flossing is also necessary because it is the only way to clean debris and bacteria from in between teeth.
I don’t like going to the dentist. What can you do to make me more comfortable?
Many of our patients are worried about potential pain or discomfort during orthodontic treatment. Dental phobias are common. Fortunately, you can rest assured that Dr. Marshall has your comfort in mind at all times.
If you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your teeth and smile, orthodontic treatments may be a good solution. To learn more about orthodontics and Invisalign, please contact our dentistry office for a consultation with Dr. Marshall. We serve the area of Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and hope to meet with you soon.
Transform Your Smile
You deserve a strong, straight, and attractive smile. You also deserve to achieve this smile in the least invasive and most comfortable manner possible. During a comprehensive evaluation, Dr. Marshall will carefully evaluate the extent of your bite issues and tailor a treatment plan that meets your unique needs.