(971) 470-0054
13908 SE Stark Street #C Portland, OR 97233-2161

Orthodontics: Not Just for Braces
Portland, OR

Many people think of braces when they hear the word orthodontist. But orthodontics is much more than that.
Preventive Orthodontics Limited Orthodontics Comprehensive Orthodontics
Preventive Ortho ◢
Limited Ortho ◢
Comprehensive Ortho ◢
Early Treatment ◢
Braces ◢
Invisalign® ◢
Retainers ◢

Preventive Orthodontics

Preventive Orthodontics
Portland, OR

Smiling kid ready for preventive orthodontic treatment at Great Grins for KIDS in Portland, OROrthodontic treatment used to seem restricted to the teenage years, but today, the American Association of Orthodontics and Dr. William Proffit (Professor at University of North Carolina's School of Dentistry) suggest that children should have an orthodontic evaluation by the time they are seven years old.

While this might seem much earlier than usual, bad bites (technically known as malocclusion) can be identified in children as young as two. On the other hand, those children who wait until after the age of 14 may have a harder time correcting growth irregularities.

In fact, the dentists at Great Grins for KIDS check our patients for orthodontic needs at EVERY cleaning appointment. If our orthodontist decides that your child needs braces, we will offer you treatment alternatives, and the treatment process will begin when you decide.

Preventative or interceptive orthodontic treatment can begin between two to six years of age and focuses on the shape of dental arches, early baby teeth loss, and habits like thumb sucking. Sometimes treatment at this stage can alleviate the need for orthodontics in the future.

The earlier that children and parents are aware of what is going on in a child's mouth, the less difficult future treatments need to be to ensure a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth well on into adulthood.

Our orthodontist, Dr. Mark, is always available to answer your questions, offer opinions, and give you recommendations on treatment timing.

Preventative Measures

One of the primary reasons for an early orthodontic screening is to determine if your child needs preventative treatment. In some cases, when preventative measures are taken, a child can avoid getting braces in the future or require them for a shorter amount of time. Of course, it is not always possible to prevent the need for braces, but being informed early of your child's orthodontic needs can help them be prepared for treatment.

There are basically two areas we watch to prevent orthodontic problems:

1.  Tooth crowding or spacing: The early loss of milk, or primary, teeth can lead to the loss of space needed for the permanent replacement. Space maintainers are used to prevent this problem of dental arch space loss. Space maintainers usually consist of a metal orthodontic band with a stainless steel wire that will hold the remaining teeth in proper position. If permanent teeth have adequate space to erupt into, they will come in fairly straight. If permanent teeth erupt fairly straight, then their tendency to become crooked again after braces are removed is diminished significantly. Read More About Saving Space and Space Maintainers.

2.  Jaw growth: By correcting skeletal problems at young age, your orthodontist can prevent more expensive and invasive surgical treatment later in life. The most common jaw growth problem we correct early is a narrow upper jaw (maxilla). This can be naturally occurring or caused by thumb sucking. A narrow upper jaw can be corrected by using a palatal expander that attaches to the primary teeth and spreads apart the two halves of the upper jaw (maxillae). In adults, the maxillary suture that travels down the center of the palate is fused and requires surgically cutting the jaw to achieve the same result that is so easily obtained in a child. Read More about Expanding Your Palate, and Crossbites.

Limited Orthodontics

Limited Orthodontics
Portland, OR

Limited Orthodontics - Pediatric Dentist Portland, ORWe all have something about our appearance that we are especially self-conscious of. It might be our weight, our nose, a mole, a wrinkle, or a gap between our front teeth (called a diastema). Other people are very aware of one particularly twisted tooth, or perhaps some crowding of their lower incisors from not wearing their retainers. Even though there are other things about ourselves that could be corrected, time or money or effort are in limited supply and we only want to fix that one thing that really annoys us.

Orthodontic care is categorized by timing (Preventative, Adolescent, and Adult) and by extent of care (Limited or Comprehensive). When patients only want to correct a few teeth that are particularly unsightly and they do not want to take the time or make the effort to correct their bad bite or malocclusion, Limited Orthodontics can be helpful. We may be able to use just five aligners or place just a few braces on the incisors and in about 10 weeks have that space closed up or those crowded teeth straightened.

Just let us know what is bothering you and we can give you some options with prices and treatment times.

Comprehensive Orthodontics

Comprehensive Orthodontics
Portland, OR

Colorful braces on a happy patient - Great Grins for KIDS - Pediatric Dentist Portland ORIn a perfect world, everyone would have perfect teeth. This is not a perfect world, and not everyone is blessed with a perfect set of teeth. Comprehensive Orthodontics is what we call striving for both perfectly aligned teeth and a great occlusion or bite.

Many people need to have orthodontic work done to fix the dental irregularities they may have. A lot of parents struggle with deciding when is the right time to send their child to the orthodontist. Luckily, Great Grins for KIDS has an orthodontist, Dr. Mark, on-site every day to make for easy consultations.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, Comprehensive Orthodontic care typically starts between the ages of 10 and 14, with 12 being the most common age to start. Once the braces are placed, they may stay on anywhere between 6 and 30 months. This time frame will vary from patient-to-patient based on needs and growth rates.

Choosing to have orthodontic work done is a big decision, and you may have questions that you want to run by our orthodontic team as you are deciding on your or your child's treatment options. Before you decide on any course of action, consider the following important questions:
1.  What options are available? In most cases, you'll have multiple treatment options to choose from when it comes to straightening your teeth. This can include Invisalign®, traditional metal braces, or simple retainer-like appliances.
2.  Will any teeth need to be removed? We try to avoid extracting teeth whenever possible. Occasionally, extracting permanent teeth will help position the remaining teeth correctly. Luckily, if premolars are extracted, often the wisdom teeth will NOT have to be extracted.
3.  How often do I need to come in for follow-up appointments? You'll need to visit our office periodically for adjustments. Metal braces require adjustments about every 4 to 6 weeks and Invisalign® appliances can be replaced at home so your appointments may be 8 to 12 weeks apart.
4.  How long does the treatment take? Average orthodontic treatments take about 20 months. However, this can vary depending on your orthodontic needs. We will be able to give you an estimate of what your treatment will entail when we examine you.
5.  How much will my treatment cost? The range of cost is $500 to $6000. Our financial team will give you an exact cost of your treatment, and you can discuss payment terms and available financing when you come in.
6.  Does it hurt? Many people worry that straightening their teeth will be very painful. The reality is that your teeth can ache for a day or two after adjustments if you do not take Tylenol or Advil. Luckily, pain medicines are very effective and you should be pretty comfortable throughout your treatment.

During your orthodontic consultation, you may have other questions so this is a good time to ask. Call us today to schedule your or your child's consultation with our team – we're here to give you the smile of your dreams!
Early Treatment

Early Orthodontics
Portland, OR

Today, orthodontic treatment is being offered to younger patients than it used to be. It used to be common to see the orthodontist for the first time during the teen years and then go through high school with metal braces. Now, many children may benefit from two phases of orthodontic care.

Why the Earlier Treatment?

Orthodontists believe that the best time to make orthodontic skeletal changes is while a child's bone structure is still developing. Also, front teeth that stick out too much are definitely more likely to get damaged from falls or sports injuries.

The first phase can be called Early Orthodontics and usually occurs between 7 to 10 years of age. This first phase is used to correct such problems as incisors that protrude severely, severely rotated incisors, teeth that are erupting in the wrong direction (sometimes called ectopic eruption), and cross bites.

Because two phases of appliances costs more in time, money, and patient tolerance, we reserve Early Orthodontics for patients who can really benefit from it the most.

Discussing the Early Orthodontic treatment option does not mean that all kids will receive orthodontic treatment early; it is simply a good idea to get things started early in order to determine the best treatment plan for your child. Read More About When to Start Braces.

Dental Braces: New and Improved
Portland, OR

Dental braces are devices that attach to teeth to gradually move them by the action of wires, rubber bands, or other appliances. Most children get braces between the ages of 8 and 14, but we recommend that your child have a consultation by the age of seven.

There are many more options today for kids than there were even ten years ago. Today, braces don't have to be an embarrassing rite of passage; in fact, some kids say that getting braces today is a fun fashion statement!

Braces come in metal and clear forms and there is also the Invisalign® option. See the article on Invisalign® here.

You probably know that you can choose the colors you want to enhance your braces. Lots of colors are available: both vivid and bright colors or more subdued colors, depending on your mood or to suit your style. So many kids enjoy using the colors available for metal braces that we rarely, if ever, use the clear ones.

Color Bands

As you may or may not know, the colorful bands on your braces are known officially as elastic ligature. They perform an important job in straightening your teeth or correcting your bite by keeping the arch wire in the proper place on your bracket. Your orthodontist will replace the bands at each adjustment so your teeth keep moving in the right direction.

Braces Colors

The color choices for your braces are many – with more than 30 colors available. Among so many choices and color combinations, you will be able to find your favorite. You can search braces color selectors online and "try on" some combinations on your own. Some kids enjoy pairing purple and lime green, pink and blue, or even all the colors of the rainbow. Others like navy blue, red, green, or black. School colors or sports team colors are many kids' favorite combinations. Other popular choices are holiday colors, like red and green for Christmas, red and white for Valentine's Day and black and orange for Halloween.

A Word of Advice about Colors

Darker colors often make your teeth look whiter, while lighter ones may make your teeth look yellowed. White and clear tend to stain easily depending on what you are eating and drinking. White and yellow, can make your teeth look yellow. Keep in mind, though, that the colors you like best will always look good on you!

For more information, or if you'd like to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at (971) 470-0054.

Clear Invisalign® Aligners For Teens
Portland, OR

Braces aren’t fun for anyone, least of all teenagers. When we were growing up, metal braces were the only option available to us, but now there are plenty of much more preferable orthodontic options. Invisalign is a fabulous way to straighten your teen’s teeth without putting them through the misery of metal braces. While metal braces used to be commonplace, today they are less and less popular, with many parents opting to use a clear aligner for their children. No visible braces mean less teasing, but it also means a lot of other great benefits. Here at Great Grins for KIDS - Portland in Portland, OR we want all of our patients to have a smile they can be proud of, especially when they are having their teeth straightened.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is series of clear plastic aligners that fit over the teeth and move them into the correct position over time in much the same way that braces do. We take a digital impression of your kid’s mouth and build a treatment plan for them around that impression. We use the impression to create a series of clear plastic trays that gradually move their teeth into the correct position. Once the first set of trays has moved their teeth as far as is possible, they graduate to the second set of trays. As they graduate from one set of trays to another, their teeth are shifted out of misalignment and into alignment.

How Much Does Invisalign Cost Compared to Braces?

One of the many misconceptions about Invisalign is that it’s much more costly than metal braces. In reality, the cost of Invisalign is only slightly more than that of metal or ceramic braces. Many times the dental insurance you have will cover the cost of Invisalign. In most cases, the cost of Invisalign is roughly the same as the cost of having traditional braces placed.

What Happens If My Teen Loses An Aligner?

While Invisalign aligners should be worn almost all day long, they should be taken out to eat and brush your teeth. During these very small windows, it is possible for aligners to become lost. If this happens to call us and let us know that one of their aligners have gone missing. We will be happy to craft a new one for you. It is possible that when their aligner goes missing, they are close to a transition to the new set, in which case we might opt to move them to the next set of aligners prematurely.

How Many Hours a Day Does My Teen Need to Wear Invisalign?

For Invisalign to work properly, it must be worn at least twenty-two hours per day. They should only be removed while your teen eats or cleans their teeth. There are some activities that require the removal of the aligners during the day, like sports or band, which is fine. As long as the aligners are being worn for at least twenty-two hours a day.

Are There Diet Restrictions With Invisalign?

One of the best parts about Invisalign is it doesn’t have all of the strange diet restrictions that traditional braces do. Because your teen can remove the appliance to eat and clean their teeth, they can eat whatever they like!

Portland, OR

What are Retainers?

Retainers are appliances that help retain the beautifully straight teeth that you and your orthodontist worked so hard to achieve. After your orthodontic treatment is completed with braces or aligners you will be given retainers. The retainer is meant to keep the results of your orthodontic treatment intact. The retainer can help to limit the amount of change that your mouth goes through as your face continues to grow, preserving your straight smile and bite.

Great Grins for KIDS usually provides an upper retainer that is removable, like a mouthguard, but made of thin, clear plastic. Occasionally, it is better to use the traditional hard colored plastic and metal wire retainers. These retainers are best for patients that have needed to expand their upper jaw or palate. Both of these retainers are removable and both should be worn every night while sleeping and removed during the daytime.

The lower retainer that we usually use is made of a single wire that is bonded to the tongue side of both lower canine teeth, lightly touching the inside of all the lower incisors (the flat front teeth). We have found that many people do not wear their removable retainers very well and their front teeth can relapse and become crowded again. Because the lower front teeth are most likely to relapse, bonding a retainer permanently keeps them straight and also helps keep the upper incisors straight when the upper retainer is not being worn. This is because the upper teeth rest on the lower ones and if the lower ones stay straight, the upper ones will do better.

Caring for Your Retainer

In order to keep your mouth healthy, you need to know how to care for this appliance. Just like you brush your teeth twice per day, you should do the same for your retainer. When you are cleaning your teeth, take a minute to brush your retainer. This will remove any tartar and any harboring bacteria that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.

About once per week it is helpful to disinfect your retainer. Typically a retainer (or denture) cleaner is recommended as it will remove bacteria and tartar that you could not remove by simply brushing it. This will help keep your retainers looking and smelling great for a long time.

Orthodontists deal with a wide range of issues such as tooth grinding, speech difficulties, thumb sucking, bite problems, early or late loss of baby teeth, misalignment and much more. Problems can emerge throughout the lifespan and understanding when and how to correct problems is part of an orthodontist's professional expertise.

Some problems stem from behavioral issues, others are physiological. By and large, a person's health and self-esteem are greatly enhanced when both the mouth and teeth function appropriately. A proper bite is one of life's most essential needs. Without a good bite, it is difficult to speak clearly and to chew and digest food efficiently. Attaining the increased confidence to smile and speak up as a result of proper oral alignment can have huge positive effects on a person's success in life.

Certain orthodontic procedures are more effective in younger people before the face and jaw have completed formation and early treatment may be your child's best option. But many orthodontic procedures can occur at any age. Invisalign® is a great option for teens and young adults who may be nervous about the appearance of traditional metal braces.

If your child or teen has been living with oral issues or has emerging concerns, please give us a call at (971) 470-0054 for a consultation. We will be happy to provide you with a full range of options, and recommended timelines for treatment.

Zoe Gets Her Braces Removed

Here's a great reaction video of one of our patients after she's finally had her braces removed and see's her teeth without braces for the first time in a long while!

Getting Her Braces Removed

Here's a great reaction video of one of our patients after she's finally had her braces removed and see's her smile without braces for the first time in a long while.

Getting His Braces Removed

Patient's reaction to seeing his beautiful smile for the first time after getting his braces removed!
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Great Grins for KIDS Portland, 13908 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR, 97233-2161 - Key Phrases: Orthodontist Portland OR• Childrens dentist in Portland OR• Mark Mutschler DDS MS Portland OR• (971) 470-0054• www.portlandchildrensdentist.com• 3/20/2019