6400-A Seven Corners Place
Falls Church, VA 22044
703-538-5010
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Functional Orthodontics  
What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a form of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Technically speaking, these problems are classified as "malocclusion," meaning "bad bite." Dr. Pham is skilled in the design, application and control of corrective appliances, such as braces, to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and to achieve facial balance.

Most people associate orthodontia with the application of braces to correct crooked teeth in children. Dr. Pham, however, treats a wide variety of conditions in people of all ages - from overbites to underbites.

Malocclusions are usually inherited or acquired.

Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidents (called "trauma"), sucking of the thumb, finger or pacifiers, tonsils and adenoids that obstruct the airway, and disease or premature loss of primary or permanent teeth.

Inherited malocclusions that determined how well your teeth fit together are largely determined by such attributes as tooth and jaw size. For example, people can inherit large teeth and small dental arches, or the reverse. A "poor bite" is often caused by teeth that have too much or too little room in the jaw. Other common causes of crooked teeth are factors that move the teeth out of place, including oral habits and early tooth loss, which leads to tooth shifting.

Regardless of whether malocclusions are inherited or acquired, many of these problems affect not only alignment of the teeth but also facial development and appearance as well.

Most cases of malocclusions are mild, or cosmetic, in nature; for example, a poor bite does not cause severe impediments to talking or eating. In some people, however, the condition is so severe that they cannot eat or speak properly.

A poor bite does not ordinarily cause tooth decay, periodontal disease, or temporomandibular (TM) disorder. It may, however, make it difficult to properly care for one's teeth.

Although a majority of the population have some type of malocclusion, not all people require or seek orthodontic treatment. For example, with or without a history of orthodontic treatment, 65% of adults develop crowded, crooked lower front teeth. This is a natural result of change over time and does not necessarily require orthodontic treatment.

Symptoms that trigger orthodontics

If you or your child have any of the following symptoms, have your general or pediatric dentist evaluate whether a poor bite may be responsible:

  • Difficulty chewing due to tooth pain or difficulty aligning teeth;
  • Facial muscle or jaw pain;
  • Permanent teeth coming in (erupting) out of their normal position;
  • Problems with biting the cheek or roof of the mouth; or
    Speech difficulties.

Adult Orthodontics
Orthodontics involves the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of structural problems involving the jaws and malocclusion commonly known as bad bites. Orthodontic problems can affect your dental and general health as well as your personal appearance.

Every patient wants to have an attractive smile. When you smile with confidence, you look your best and feel good about yourself. Straight teeth and a broad smile are very important to a person's positive self- image. Everyone wants straight white teeth. We always recommend that patient's get their teeth whitened after they are straightened with braces. As your teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned through orthodontic therapy, your self-image can improve. This is just one of the many benefits.

If the teeth are out of position, they are more difficult to clean, increasing the risk of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. If chewing is difficult, people may not eat the foods needed for good nutrition. If your bite is poor, extra strain may be placed on the chewing muscles, possibly causing pain and problems with your jaw joint. Some of the symptoms of jaw joint problems include headaches, neck aches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, fainting, pain behind the eyes and difficulty swallowing.

Orthodontic treatment can be beneficial at any age and approximately 25% of today's orthodontic patients are adults. Teeth can be moved at any age and therefore more adults are proceeding with orthodontic treatment today in an effort to achieve straight teeth, a beautiful smile and healthy jaw joints. Many adults today prefer the clear or gold braces, which are more esthetically pleasing than the standard metal braces.

No two smiles are alike, and therefore no two orthodontic treatment programs are either. Typically, active treatment times range from one to two years and vary with the degree of tooth movement and the severity of the problem

You are never too old to improve your smile. We also have options for invisible braces with clear plastic trays that are worn in cases with minor crowding. If you have crooked teeth or you don't like your smile, come in for a consultation appointment to see what treatment options are possible.


 
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