Welcome to Milwaukee Orthodontist

If you are looking for an orthodontist in Milwaukee, this site is for you.

This site is dedicated to helping you find a qualified orthodontist in the greater Milwaukee area. It also provides some information you might find helpful. Start by reading the articles below for good general information. Then start reading the blog posts to learn more. New posts will be made periodically. Some featured articles/guest bloggers are not from Milwaukee--but hey, if the information is good, that's all that matters, right?

Soon, this site will provide listings of qualified Milwaukee orthodontists by ZIP code so you can find a practice near you.


About Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that is concerned with the study and treatment of malocclusions (improper bites), which may be a result of tooth irregularity, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both.

Orthodontics is formally defined by the American Association of Orthodontics as, "The area of dentistry concerned with the supervision, guidance and correction of the growing and mature dentofacial structures, including those conditions that require movement of teeth or correction of malrelationships between and among teeth and facial bones by the application of forces and/or the stimulation and redirection of the jaws within the craniofacial complex."

Orthodontic treatment can be carried out for purely aesthetic reasons with regards to improving the general appearance of patients' teeth. However, there are orthodontists who work on reconstructing the entire face rather than focusing exclusively on teeth. Treatment is most often prescribed for practical reasons such as providing the patient with a functionally improved bite (occlusion).


Orthodontic Treatment Methods

If the main goal of the treatment is the dental displacement, most commonly a fixed multibracket therapy is used. In this case orthodontic wires are inserted into dental braces, which can be made from stainless steel or a more aesthetic ceramic material.

Also removable appliances, or "plates", headgear, expansion appliances, and many other devices can be used to move teeth.

After a course of active orthodontic treatment, patients will often wear retainters, which will maintain the teeth in their improved position while the surrounding bone reforms around them. The retainers are generally worn full-time for a short period, perhaps 6 months to a year, and then worn periodically (typically nightly during sleep) for as long as the orthodontist recommends.

Appropriately trained doctors align the teeth with respect to the surrounding soft tissues, with or without movement of the underlying bones, which can be moved either through growth modification in children or jaw surgery in adults.


Getting Dental Braces

Orthodontic services may be provided by any licensed dentist trained in orthodontics. In North America most orthodontic treatment is done by orthodontists, dentists in diagnosis and treatment of malocclusions—malalignments of the teeth, jaws, or both. A dentist must complete 2–3 years of additional post-doctoral training to earn a specialty certificate in orthodontics. There are many general practitioners who also provide orthodontic services.

The first step is to determine if braces are suitable for the patient. The doctor consults with the patient and inspects the teeth visually. If braces are appropriate, a records appointment is set up where X-rays, molds, and impressions are made. These records are analyzed to determine the problems and proper course of action. Typical treatment times vary from six months to two and a half years depending on the complexity and types of problems. Orthognathic surgery may be required in extreme cases.

Teeth to be braced will have an applied to help the cement bond to the surface of the tooth. In most cases the teeth will be banded and then brackets will be added. A bracket will be applied with dental cement, and then cured with light until hardened. This process usually takes a few seconds per tooth. If required, orthodontic spacers may be inserted between the molars to make room for molar bands to be placed at a later date. Molar bands are required to ensure brackets will stick. Bands are also utilized when dental fillings or other dental work make securing a bracket to a tooth infeasible.

An archwire will be threaded between the brackets and affixed with elastic or metal ligatures. Elastics are available in a wide variety of colors. Archwires are bent, shaped, and tightened frequently to achieve the desired results. Brackets with hooks can be placed, or hooks can be created and affixed to the archwire to affix the elastic to. The placement and configuration of the elastics will depend on the course of treatment and the individual patient. Elastics are made in different diameters, colors, sizes, and strengths.

Modern orthodontics makes frequent use of nickel-titanium archwires and temperature-sensitive materials. When cold, the archwire is limp and flexible, easily threaded between brackets of any configuration. Once heated to body temperature, the archwire will stiffen and seek to retain its shape, creating constant light force on the teeth.

Each month or two, the braces must be adjusted. This helps shift the teeth into the correct position. When they get adjusted the orthodontist takes off the colored rubber bands keeping the wire in place. The wire is then taken out, and may be replaced or modified. When the wire has been placed back into the mouth, the patient may choose a color for the new rubber bands, which are then fixed to the metal brackets. The adjusting process may cause some discomfort, which is normal. A licensed orthodontist can help you decide which braces options are best for you.

Types of dental braces

Modern orthodontists can offer many types and varieties of braces:

Traditional braces are stainless steel, sometimes in combination with nickel titanium, and are the most widely used.

"Clear" braces serve as a cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces by blending in more with the natural color of the teeth. Typically, these brackets are made of ceramic or plastic materials and function in a similar manner to traditional metal brackets. Clear elastic ties and white metal ties are available to be used with these clear braces to help keep the appliances less conspicuous. Clear braces have a higher component of friction and tend to be more brittle than metal braces. This can make removing the appliances at the end of treatment more difficult and time consuming.

Gold-plated stainless steel braces are often employed for patients allergic to nickel (a component of stainless steel), but may also be chosen because some people simply prefer the look of gold over the traditional silver-colored braces.

Lingual braces are fitted behind the teeth, and are not visible with casual interaction. Lingual braces can be more difficult to adjust to, since they can hinder tongue movement.

Progressive, clear removable aligners (one example of which is Invisalign) may be used to gradually move teeth into their final positions. Aligners are generally not used for complex orthodontic cases, such as when extractions, jaw surgery, or palate expansion are necessary.

A new concept under development is the "smart bracket." The smart bracket contains a microchip capable of measuring the forces applied to the bracket/tooth interface. The goal of this concept is to significantly reduce the duration of orthodontic therapy and to set the applied forces in non-harmful, optimal ranges.

Pre-Finishers

If a person's teeth are not ready for a proper retainer, the orthodontist may prescribe the use of a pre-finisher. This rubber appliance similar to a mouthguard fixes gaps between the teeth, small spaces between the upper and lower jaw, and other minor problems that could worsen. These problems are small matters that dental braces cannot fix.

The pre-finisher is molded to the patient's teeth by use of severe pressure to the appliance by the person's jaw. The pre-finisher is then worn for the prescribed time, with the user applying force to the pre-finisher in their mouth for ten to fifteen seconds at a time. The goal is increasing the "exercise" time, time spent applying force to the appliance. Like the retainer, the pre-finisher is not a permanent addition to one's mouth, and can be moved in and out of the mouth.

Orthodontic Retainers

Orthodontic retainers are custom-made devices, made usually of wires or clear plastic, that hold teeth in position after surgery or any method of realigning teeth. They are most often used before or after dental braces to hold teeth in position while assisting the adjustment of the surrounding gums to changes in the bone. Most patients are required to wear their retainer(s) every night at first, with many also being directed to wear them during the day - at least initially. They should not be worn while eating food or drinking staining or acidic beverages (e.g., Cola products and coffee). There are three types of retainers typically prescribed by orthodontists and dentists: Hawley, Essix, and Bonded (Fixed) retainers.

The best-known type is the Hawley retainer, which is made of a metal wire that surrounds the teeth and keeps them in place. The Hawley retainer is designed for treatment after use of products that close diastemas (gaps). The advantage of this type of retainer is that the metal wires can be adjusted to finish treatment and continue moving teeth as needed.

Another common type is the vacuum formed retainer (VFR). This is a polypropylene or polyvinylchloride (PVC) material, typically .020" or .030" thick. Essix is a brand name many dental offices are familiar with. This clear or transparent retainer fits over the entire arch of teeth and is produced from a mold. It is similar in appearance to Invisalign trays, though the latter are not considered "retainers". VFRs, if worn 24 hours per day, do not allow the upper and lower teeth to touch because plastic covers the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Some orthodontists feel that it is important for the top and bottom chewing surfaces to meet to allow for "favorable settling" to occur. VFRs are less expensive, less conspicuous, and easier to wear than Hawley retainers. However, for patients with disorders such as Bruxism, VFRs are prone to rapid breakage and deterioration, especially if the material is PVC, a short chain molecule. This breaks down swiftly as compared to polypropylene, a long chain molecule.

Most removable retainers are supplied with a retainer case for protection. During the first few days of retainer use, many people experience extra saliva in their mouth. This is natural and is due to the presence of a new object inside the mouth and consequent stimulation of the salivary glands. It may be difficult to speak for a while after getting a retainer, but this speech difficulty should go away over time as one gets used to wearing it.

An entirely different category of orthodontic retainers are fixed retainers. A fixed retainer typically consists of a passive wire bonded to the tongue-side of the (usually, depending on the patient's bite, only lower) incisors. Unlike the previously-mentioned retainer types, fixed retainers can not be removed by the patient. Some doctors prescribe fixed retainers regularly, especially where active orthodontic treatments have effected great changes in the bite and there is a high risk for reversal of these changes. Fixed retainers may lead to tartar build-up or gingivitis due to the difficulty of flossing while wearing these retainers.



Milwaukee Orthodontist guest article: Orthodontics and self-esteem

Milwaukee Orthodontist welcomes another guest author. Dr. Minh Nguyen offers an interesting view on the benefits of orthodontic treatment in children: increased self-esteem, and even reduction in bullying due to physical appearance.

***********

Early Orthodontic Treatment Boosts Self-Esteem in Small Children

Author: Minh Nguyen, D.d.s.

Bullying is endemic among schoolchildren, and the effects can be devastating and long lasting. The persistently bullied kid shows a definite psychological type, with poorly developed social skills and a submissive nature. Physical appearance acts a major role in bullying. Teasing related to dental appearance is hurtful. Fortunately, there is evidence of a marked increase in self-confidence following early orthodontic treatment in youngsters.

During 1989-90, a research aimed to examine the motives why parents and third-grade schoolchildren seek early orthodontic treatment. These researchers inquired the parents of 473 kids in the study to complete the self-report forms. The form had questions about their children's dental and facial appearance. It also asked the parents about their reasons for seeking orthodontic care early for their children. Almost all parents asserted deep concern about their children's deficient dental appearance. About half of the parents informed their children had been cruelly taunted. Fourteen percent of the parents also reported that it was their children who had first sensed the need for orthodontic treatment.

The main reason for parents' seeking early orthodontic treatment is the unpleasant appearance of teeth. Other reasons comprise of dentists' recommendation and the poor facial profile. Of these, dental "overjet" (protrusive maxillary incisors) malalignment has been the most significant predictor of whether a kid might be ridiculed in school. Therefore, modern orthodontic intervention increasingly focuses on the overjet problem for these youngsters.

While the parents seek early orthodontic treatment mainly for improving their children's dental aesthetics, dentists and orthodontists recommend braces for the young children on the basis of clinical dental status. Their objectives for advising early orthodontic treatment are:

(1) to reduce the total treatment time;

(2) to prevent relapse (reverse to the original condition;
(3) to receive better result;
(4) to support in speech therapy; and
(5) to avoid future surgical intervention.

The dental specialists would most likely advise early orthodontic treatment (phase 1) for the youngsters for the following conditions:

(1) Crossbite: This malocclusion happens when the narcotic teeth is trapped inside lower teeth. Dentists start management about this condition on young patients of between the ages of 8 and 10. These young patients still have most of the baby teeth (early mixed dentition).

(2) Deepbite and mandibular inadequacy: Deepbite occurs when the upper front teeth covers almost all the lower front teeth. Also known as class II malocclusion or retrusion, mandibular inadequacy is characterized by early loss of mandibular canines by severe crowding. Dentists typically begin treatment for these two conditions in late mixed dentition (ages 11-12).

(3) Mandibular prognathism, diastema, and congenitally missing teeth: Mandibular prognathism, also known as class III malocclusion, refers to the excessive protrusion of the lower jawbone. Diastema is the dental term, meaning "gap between the front central incisors." In congenitally missing teeth, some permanent teeth fail to succeed the baby teeth. Most dentists begin treatment for these conditions in early adolescents (ages 13-15).

Today, there are two common methods used by dentists to correct dental malocclusion in phase 1 orthodontics. One is the dental orthodontic removable appliance and the other is the fixed appliance with 2 bands and 4 brackets. The fees, treatment times, and outcomes for these two methods are not significantly different. However, the removable appliance allows better dental hygiene and more comfortable. One disadvantage of the removable orthodontic appliance is that it needs a lot more patients' compliance.

In our dental practice we see that people with high dental-esthetics scores have more favorable oral-health attitudes. We also find the children who had early orthodontic treatment show greater dental hygiene, dental awareness, and self-esteem than those who had not. Although the long-term psychological benefits of early orthodontic treatment are difficult to measure, these findings suggest that favorable dental aesthetics from early orthodontic treatment is critical in framing and strengthening the children's overall health, social behaviors, academic achievement, and happiness. Therefore, it is important the children with low dental-esthetics scores are evaluated early and treated promptly.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/early-orthodontic-treatment-boosts-selfesteem-in-small-children-20903.html

About the Author:
For more information, contact Dr. Nguyen at drnguyen@softdental.com or visit www.softdental.com .

Need an orthodontist? Be glad you're in Milwaukee instead of...anywhere in Britain

I just saw this news story. There are plenty of jokes about the state of dentistry in the UK, but this is a little sad. Apparently, even kids with significant facial or dental irregularities can wait up to 42 (not a typo: forty-two) months to get a professional assessment.

Even then, unless their orthodontic problems are very serious they have to go on another waiting list, this time for a "minimum of 24 months."

Wow. Just...wow. With all the griping about healthcare in the US, sometimes we don't realize how good we have it compared to some other places.

Here's the article: http://www.independent.ie/health/latest-news/children-waiting-over-five-years-to-see-an-orthodontist-1757870.html

Retainer can help kids' adult teeth come in straight

Interesting story (not about a Milwaukee orthodontist, though--this story is out of Phoenix). By wearing a retainer as the adult teeth are still coming in, the idea is that the need for braces will be eliminated, or possibly that the braces will not have to stay on as long.

Apparently this orthodontic treatment method has been around for a while, but I'm not sure most people (other than orthodontists) are aware.

Here's the video clip:

More Than a Feeling: TMD and Its Impact

Author: Evan Langsted

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is the term used for any problem associated with you temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Your TMJ is a flexible joint, responsible for all movement of the jaw; from the up and down motions of speaking and chewing, to the side to side motions that allow functions like facial expressions and yawning.

Symptoms of TMD

Symptoms of TMD can be similar to the symptoms of other disorders. It is important to have an experienced neuromuscular dentist examine and diagnose TMD. Symptoms of TMD include:

  • Tenderness or pain in the face, particularly around the TMJ, when you eat, chew, speak, or yawn
  • Lock jaw, or limited jaw mobility
  • Clicking or popping in the jaw
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Back, shoulder, and neck pain • Nasal and/or ear infections
  • Tooth damage

Some of these symptoms may be accompanied by dizziness, nausea, insomnia, and a variety of other problems. You should contact a neuromuscular dentist at the first sign of any of these symptoms.

Diagnosis

TMD is diagnosed through a combination of hands-on examination, and technological methods. After listening to your symptoms, an experienced neuromuscular dentist will carefully examine your TMJ for tenderness, limited mobility, and lock jaw. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are sometimes necessary to distinguish between TMD and other common problems like nasal infections, or gum disease. After diagnosis, the treatment option best suited to your needs will be determined by your dentist.

Treatment Options for TMD

TMD may be caused by simple dental issues like grinding your teeth, in which case simple procedures can be used to correct the problem. In other instances, TMD is caused by trauma or whiplash, and may require more extensive and advanced treatments. Common solutions to TMD include:



The Importance of Treating TMD

Left untreated, TMD can cause a lifetime of pain and discomfort. What’s more, proper jaw alignment has now been linked to overall postural stability, meaning TMD can not only be painful, but can impact your balance, strength, and energy levels. With simple treatment options and new advances in neuromuscular dentistry, you don’t need to learn to live with the soreness, and discomfort associated with TMD.


About the author:
If you live in or around Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and believe you are suffering from TMD, please contact experienced neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Terry Bass, to schedule a consultation and discuss your treatment options.

Orthodontics and Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontics is a specialty within the field of dentistry. It is focused on the study and treatment of problematic bites. (The medical term for this is "malocclusion.") People may have problematic bites due to having irregular teeth and/or issues with the jaw.

Many people think mainly of issues with teeth when they think of orthodontics. However, orthodontic treatment can focus not only on irregular teeth (dental displacement) but also on the control and modification of facial growth. The latter is more correctly called "dentofacial orthopedics".

There are various reasons people seek orthodontic treatment. Often it is purely in order to look better--given the choice, people tend to prefer having even, straight, "normal" teeth. However, people with significant issues with facial structure may see an orthodontist that works on reconstructing the entire
face rather than just on correcting issues with the teeth. This kind of treatment can help people with significant facial structure issues a functionally improved bite.


COMMON CONDITIONS TREATED BY ORTHODONTISTS:

Anteroposterior discrepancies: This type of condition is the most frequent reason people seek orthodontic treatment. Anteroposterior discrepancies are deviations between upper and lower teeth in the anteroposterior (front-to-back--as opposed to side-to-side) direction. A common example is "overbite"—when top teeth are too far forward relative to bottom teeth. Such conditions are often treated by using braces and headgear. The headgear is attached to the braces with hooks or a facebow and is anchored from the back of the head or neck with straps or a head-cap. Elastic bands are typically then used to apply
pressure to the bow or hooks. This helps to slow or stop the upper jaw from growing, which can preventing or correct overbite.

Crowding of teeth: Another common situation leading to orthodontic treatment is crowding of the teeth. This occurs when there is not enough room for the normal number of adult teeth. Sometimes this can be corrected with braces, but in some cases one or more teeth may need to be removed in order to create
enough room for the remaining teeth.