ORTHODONTICS – Braces

At Lumbertown Dental Wellness, having a great smile is just one benefit of braces. By having your teeth in alignment, you are able to better clean them and chew and speak. Your teeth will most likely last longer because there is less chance for food trapping and because you will probably need fewer fillings or crowns, there is less lifetime trauma to your teeth.

Dr. James R. Donley, here in North Muskegon, Michigan, has been providing orthodontic services to his patients for over 30 years. When his daughter needed braces as a child, he grew more interested in treating her case himself which led him to taking a five-year Advanced Orthodontic Program in Chicago, where he learned a significant amount about orthodontics.

Orthodontics has evolved significantly in terms of providing quality care for our patients. The technology, the materials and even the methods of how orthodontics was done 30 years ago compared to today have changed. Now, Dr. Donley offers three main types of orthodontics to his patients.

  1. The first is Traditional Braces with either metal or clear brackets and a wire to move the teeth.
  2. The second is the MTM® Clear Aligners – similar to the Invisalign technology with a few minor differences, patients love having the removable appliances to help with straightening their teeth. The primary difference is that this concept focuses more on the esthetics of the front six teeth – upper and lower, with less emphasis on the back molars. Therefore, patients with severe tipping or crowding in the back or who have bite problems may not be candidates for this therapy.
  3. The third method of orthodontics is doing a Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment starting in childhood where we assess the jaw and arch space and make sure the teeth and the jaws have enough room to properly grow into.

Braces are the most common type of treatment especially for young children 6-18 years old because their jaws are growing, they are having teeth fall out and new teeth come in and this is more difficult to treat with clear aligners. Using brackets on the teeth and a wire around the outside, this technique is commonly used to align the teeth, upright the teeth, and guide your teeth into proper relationship with the opposing arch.

If you have large gaps, a crossbite, an underbite, or even an overbite, then traditional braces can easily handle this type of straightening. Sometimes, these types of mal-alignments are referred to as “skeletal discrepancies”. One arch is too small or the size of the jaw for the number of teeth is not adequate. We used to use headgear” to get external forces to pull teeth back or move jaws, however now we have better techniques that aren’t quite as invasive as in the past. Simple tilting and rotations are a little easier to correct when there is not accompanying jaw discrepancies.

Most braces are made of stainless steel. Ceramic brackets are an option for patients who wish to not show as much metal in their mouth.

Oral hygiene is critical when wearing braces. We recommend very meticulous home care along with fluoride treatment to avoid ending up with white decalcification spots around your brackets when you have them removed. Special floss holders have very thin edges that allow flossing between the brackets. We include a free Rotadent electric toothbrush for all our orthodontic patients with full mouth braces.

Once the braces are completed, we will usually make a removable passive retainer to hold your upper teeth in place. A non-removable retainer is usually placed behind the lower front teeth because studies show jaw growth can occur into the thirties and cause new crowding. Orthodontic relapse is one of the more common types of adult cases, where they didn’t wear a retainer after completion of braces worn during teenage years.

Be sure to contact Dr. Donley at Lumbertown Dental Wellness to find out if you are a candidate for orthodontics.