Overcrowding - Expansion and Braces
Mason is a male youth patient treated by Dr. Page Hudson at our Oxnard office. This patient demonstrated severe crowding of teeth at a young age. As the name suggests, crowding indicates a lack of space in the dental arch. Severe crowding of deciduous teeth in youth patients creates a condition which prevents permanent teeth from erupting in a natural, unimpeded process. This condition made Mason an ideal candidate for two phase orthodontic treatment. The first phase of two phase orthodontic treatment is commonly referred to as early orthodontic treatment. This generally involves treatments which seek to control the growth and development of the patient’s dental arch and facial orientation in order to minimize the severity of any existing orthodontic condition.
In Mason’s specific case, during phase one treatment a Rapid Palatal Expander was used in conjunction with limited braces. A Rapid Palatal Expander is an orthodontic device that is placed in the patient’s mouth to gently create tension to stimulate bone growth and widen the patient’s palate. Naturally, the patient can sense pressure, but the treatment is considered painless. Over the course of time and multiple office visits, the orthodontist will carefully and very gradually adjust the expander to continue stimulating bone growth and a widening of the palate. As the palate expands, the position of teeth is naturally corrected and space is created for permanent teeth to erupt into alignment. This case is a good example of the benefits of early orthodontic treatment. Waiting to treat a case like this allows the palate and facial bones to develop further, and this makes expansion much more difficult and allows permanent teeth to erupt into an overcrowded dental environment, which naturally exacerbates the problem. Naturally, this makes correcting the condition later in life more challenging and requires longer treatments and sometimes more invasive treatments which may involve oral surgery. Treating Mason’s condition early resulted in shorter, less expensive treatments, and of course, a great smile.
To completely correct Mason’s bite align his teeth into an optimized position, phase two orthodontic treatment was performed. Phase two treatment is essentially just a standard teeth aligning treatment using traditional braces. The expansion work performed during phase one treatment made the braces phase simple and straightforward. For the time being, Mason must wear a retainer at night to ensure that his new smile remains perfect. It’s common to wear retainers for one year following orthodontic treatment to prevent teeth from slipping back into their original, unaligned positions.