What is Orthodontics?


Orthodontics is the practice of straightening teeth and correcting improper bites. When teeth are crooked, crowded or misaligned, orthodontic treatment is used to achieve an occlusion, or perfect bite. Through various orthodontic appliances, teeth are gradually moved into the correct position.

Since few people actually have perfectly aligned smiles and bites, just about everyone can benefit from an orthodontic exam. It is highly recommended that your children receive an orthodontic consultation by the age of 7. In fact, orthodontics are generally easier for children and teens, as their jaws are still developing and teeth are easier to move.

The Role of the Orthodontist

An orthodontist is a dentist specializing in the field of orthodontics. Orthodontists complete at least two extra years of schooling to practice their skills. Dr. Liza Shevchenko, Kidzone Dental’s resident orthodontist, is a certified Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, a distinction held by only 25 percent of orthodontists nationally. In conjuction with our other dentists, Dr. Shevchenko can determine the need for orthodontic treatment and, in needed, recommend the best course of therapy to achieve occlusion.


Types of Braces


The most common type of orthodontic appliance is dental braces. Today’s braces are very different from just a decade or two ago. Gone are the days of the full metal mouth, and many orthodontic patients can achieve a smile with little discomfort.

Traditional Braces — Metal braces have come a long way over the years. Brackets can now be decorated with colorful bands and smaller stainless steel brackets are also available.

Ceramic Braces — Also known as “clear” or porcelain dental braces, ceramic or plastic brackets blend into the color of your teeth, making your braces less noticeable.

Lingual Braces — Brackets are attached to the backside of teeth to hide the braces from view.

Mini Braces — Mini braces are 30 percent smaller than their traditional metal counterparts but just as strong.


Removable Braces/Aligners — Removable braces are mouthguard-like devices made of clear plastic. Invisalign® and ClearCorrect dental aligners are the most common type of removable braces.



Teenagers might also be interested in glow-in-the-dark dental braces, which can help them “light” up a room. Colored ligatures (the ties that go around the brackets) are especially popular with teenagers, who can show school spirit, celebrate the holidays or sport the colors of a favorite team. Ligatures can be changed by an orthodontist during routine archwire adjustments.


Treatment Phases

No matter which type of dental braces you choose, an orthodontic treatment plan usually consists of three stages: pretreatment, active treatment and retention. Pretreatment is when your orthodontist determines whether or not you need dental braces, and if so, which type are right for you. Active treatment is the phase when you wear your braces; it can last up to 24 months for fixed braces and about one year for removable braces (even longer for adults). Retention takes place after your dental braces come off. Most people will wear an orthodontic retainer to help the newly placed teeth settle into their permanent home.


Why does my child need an appliance?

Appliances are placed in order to gain space for erupting/existing dentition and are generally utilized in lieu of: extraction of permanent teeth. Appliances that have to be activated daily (for example-Rapid Palatal Expander) work by opening the natural joints in the bone into which more bone could be formed naturally again, thereby increasing the size of the lower jaw. Therefore these appliances are also called growth modification appliances or expanders. They are typically left in place for a total of three to six months depending on whether they are key type or self-activating. The reason appliances are left in the mouth beyond the period of activation is to hold the space gained until new bone forms. New bone formation may take as long as six months.


How does my child care for his/her appliance?

Appliances should be brushed daily, taking care to remove food and plaque around all surfaces. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is important to ensure a successful treatment outcome. Do not eat hard, sticky foods that may damage the appliance or cause it to come out. Avoid gum, Twizzlers, jaw breakers, etc., during the entire course of treatment.


How do I activate the appliance?

At the office we will show you exactly how to activate the appliance. The key is used to activate the appliance. Turn the key towards the back of the mouth/throat and continue until you see a new hole appear. How many turns need to be done for my child~ Turn ~~_time per day for __~days and stop If the appliance comes out keep it and call our office to schedule an appointment immediately. If it is not broken, bent or deformed we can glue the same appliance back in the child’s mouth. If you have any additional questions please contact the office a RPE – Turning Instructions Each time the swivel key is inserted into the hole in the screw, and turned until the key touches the housing. That is considered to be one turn. This is actually only one 114 revolution of the entire screw shaft. For each full revolution of the screw, one mm of expansion is achieved. It is normal for the patient to feel discomfort in the upper arch or tingling in the nose when turned correctly. Patient may also experience a slight headache. Please do not be alarmed if a gap develops between the two front teeth this is normal when expanding.