Orthodontics is the study and treatment of dental displacement and malocclusions. In other words — crooked teeth and misaligned jaws. As an expert in both of these issues, Dr. Hines provides orthodontics services for both children and adults who want to straighten their teeth, align their jaw, or both.

Orthodontia is a complex field, with specialties that focus on treating either children or adults, or dentofacial orthopedics — an area of orthodontic care that involves using surgical elements to correct issues with the jaw or face. At the end of the day, however, all orthodontics is about treating the position of teeth and the jaw and even changing the overall shape and appearance of a patient’s face. At Premier Dental Care, we find that many of our patients are pleasantly surprised by how dramatically different they look once their orthodontic treatment is complete.

In order to become an orthodontist, Dr. Hines completed additional schooling beyond dental school. Much like the way a surgeon furthers their education in order to become a specialist, an orthodontist continues to train until they become a true expert at straightening teeth and aligning the jaw. This ensures dependable and reliable results for patients seeking orthodontic care. If you live in the Washington area and are considering straightening your teeth, we invite you to call (202) 723-2400 and schedule a consultation to meet with Dr. Hines and discuss your goals along with the treatment options that are available to you.

Why Orthodontics is Necessary

One of the most common reasons children may need orthodontics is overcrowding. It often happens as a result of losing baby teeth before they’re ready to come out, whether due to an accident or a lack of oral hygiene. When a baby tooth falls out prematurely, the teeth around it can move into the open space and cause the shape of the palate to change. When the adult tooth is ready to come in, there is no room for it. In the past, many people had their teeth pulled in order to make space for all of their teeth where now, we can create a space using a variety of treatment methods.

At Premier Dental Care, we also treat patients who also need orthodontics due to their jaw being out of place. When the bite is off, many people find simple daily activities like speaking, chewing, and even opening their mouth, uncomfortable and seek treatment.
In still other cases, we provide solutions for teeth that have grown in crookedly — even if there was enough space for them. Fortunately, orthodontic treatment can resolve all of these issues.

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Orthodontic Procedures

Teeth cannot be forced into place immediately; rather, there must be slow and consistent pressure in order to ensure that they move without being damaged. Pressure is not applied to all of the teeth at the same time — instead, specific teeth are targeted for movement in a certain order. Once the first teeth are in place, an adjustment is made to apply additional force to a different tooth or teeth, while holding the first ones in place. Using this technique, each tooth moves into the appropriate position.

During orthodontic treatment, continued oral health care is more important than ever. We recommend that patients do a thorough job of brushing and flossing their teeth while using orthodontics, as well as continue their professional teeth-cleaning regimen. Regular care will decrease the risk of cavities and gum disease while receiving orthodontic care.

Once the procedure is complete and the teeth are aligned, most patients are required to wear a retainer. Children who straighten their teeth typically only need to wear a retainer for a couple of years, but adults often find themselves wearing a retainer for life. Ongoing retention ensures that teeth do not move back into their previous position – a risk with any orthodontics treatment.

Treatment Options

At Premier Dental Care, we are proud to help patients throughout the District of Columbia straighten their teeth and love their smile. There are multiple ways to move teeth into position, many of which we offer at our office. Orthodontic solutions include:

Spacers and Expanders

Most often, spacers and expanders are used either prior to, or in conjunction with, wearing braces. When a patient suffers from overcrowding issues, these solutions can make space for the other teeth — with nowhere to go, teeth can’t move and the perfect smile can’t be achieved. At times, children will wear an expander years before actually getting braces. This can help teeth to grow into the proper position, or close to it.

Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are still an excellent way to straighten teeth, and technology has helped reduce the size of the brackets and wires to make them more comfortable and less conspicuous at the same time. Smaller brackets also mean fewer opportunities for food to become stuck or for awkward photos. Braces are the best solution for children, and at Premier Dental Care we recommend considering orthodontics as early as seven (though the actual start time depends on the child and their teeth.)

Clear Aligners

We also work with patients who are interested in straightening their teeth but do not like the look or feel of traditional braces. For teens and adults, clear aligners can accomplish the same or similar goals without making it obvious that they’re having work done. Both Invisalign® and ClearCorrect® use aligners to straighten teeth and with consistent pressure, teeth will gradually move into position as they do when wearing braces. The aligners themselves look like full, clear retainers and are meant to be worn for around 22 hours per day. This is why many patients prefer them to traditional – they can be taken out at any time.

If you would like to learn more about orthodontics and the various treatments we provide, call (202) 723-2400 to schedule a consultation.

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