Understanding the Three Levels of Orthodontics
If you desire straight teeth, orthodontics can certainly deliver. But treatment can be – and should be – much more than that. At Smile Orthodontics, our doctors adhere to the three levels of orthodontics, which address appearance, function, and oral health. When orthodontics is approached in this manner, you will not only have straight teeth, but also a balanced bite, healthy jaw joints, and an open airway for long-term optimal health.
Level One Orthodontics: Appearance “Straight Teeth”
The first and most basic level of orthodontics is aesthetics. This exclusively refers to the cosmetic aspect of your smile. In some cases, patients may only require this level of treatment. For example, if you have mild misalignment issues, level one orthodontics can often address the problem effectively. Examples of level one treatment include:
- Metal braces: The most common and traditional form of orthodontics is metal braces. This approach straightens the teeth using a combination of stainless steel bands, brackets, and wires.
- Ceramic braces: A bit more inconspicuous compared to their metal counterparts, ceramic braces also straighten the teeth using bands, brackets, and wires. However, the brackets are clear, and the wires are tooth-colored for a less noticeable appearance.
- Invisalign®: Those who do not like the idea of traditional braces may benefit from Invisalign. This system gradually moves your teeth into more favorable positions using a series of clear, custom, thermoplastic trays.
- Invisalign® Teen: Functionally the same as the standard Invisalign system, Invisalign Teen includes a few perks for our younger patients, including six replacement trays and indicator dots to monitor wear.
Level Two Orthodontics: Appearance and Bite
Most patients will require more than level one orthodontics to achieve a healthy smile. Level two orthodontics addresses aesthetics and occlusion (the way your teeth fit together when you bite down).
The majority of patients who come to see us want straight teeth. They want this addressed first and foremost because they notice the problem every day, whether it be crooked, overlapped, crowded, or rotated teeth. Although functional issues may be less noticeable, they can cause significant damage over time. When you address function as well as aesthetics, you can enjoy:
- A balanced bite
- Less tooth erosion
- A reduced risk of bone atrophy, gum recession, and TMJ issues
- Optimal stability
- A decreased chance of teeth grinding, or bruxism
Level Three Orthodontics: Appearance, Bite, and Jaw Alignment
The third level of orthodontics involves aesthetics, bite, and jaw alignment. This is the most comprehensive level of care possible in the field of orthodontics. By assessing and treating jaw joints, facial muscles, and all oral and maxillofacial structures, our doctors can provide an unparalleled level of care. In addition to straight, beautiful teeth, you can also address more serious concerns related to conditions such as sleep apnea or TMJ disorder. With all elements working together in harmony, you can enjoy a healthy, vibrant smile for years to come.
Learn More about the Three Levels of Orthodontics
At Smile Orthodontics, we believe braces should be about more than simply straightening teeth. After all, undergoing orthodontic treatment is an investment. By addressing the health and function of your smile, you will be protecting your investment for the future. To learn more about level three orthodontics, or to schedule a consultation at our practice, call one of our Suffolk, VA locations. You can also contact us online anytime.