The “what” question

At Hunter Family Orthodontics, we embrace the latest technology and advancements. Upon evaluation, we will inform you of the best solution for
your orthodontic needs. Below are our options for treatment that may be presented. Click a section to expand.

Self-ligating Braces

Self-ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are designed to be as small as possible, while providing precision and control. Available in metal or clear, the brackets are low profile with rounded corners for lip-friendly comfort. Clip doors replace elastic ties to hold the wire in your brackets, allowing more efficient tooth movement. Today’s modern wires are less noticeable and are made of special metals that exert a gentle but lasting pressure on the teeth. Treatment is faster with fewer follow up visits than traditional fixed wire braces. All treatment is followed by lifetime retention.

Clear Braces

Clear Braces

Hunter Family Orthodontics also offers self-ligating ceramic or “clear” braces. Less noticeable than metal braces, these comfortable and effective braces won’t discolor and are often preferred by many of our adult patients for their “barely there” appearance.

Invisalign

Invisalign

With Invisalign®, patients have a virtually invisible solution to straighten teeth. By using a series of clear,
removable aligners that are changed about every two weeks, Invisalign is worn about 20 hours per day
and easily removed before eating, brushing and flossing—with a treatment time of about a year.
Hunter Family Orthodontics can assess your individual needs to see if the Invisalign® treatment is right you.

Spacers (Separators)

Spacers (Separators)

Spacers are small rubber bands that are placed between your back teeth to create sufficient space to properly and comfortably fit bands at a later date. It is very important that the spacers stay in place until you come back to get your bands on. There are some things you can do to make sure they stay in:

  • Please do not eat anything sticky like caramel, taffy, tootsie rolls, gummy bears, Snickers bars, or any other sticky candy.
  • Please do not chew gum.
  • Do not floss your teeth in the area the spacers are. You can brush your teeth like you normally do.
  • Do not pick at the spacers with your fingers or anything else, like toothpicks. It is easy to mistake a spacer for food caught between your teeth, so be careful.

At first, they may feel like pieces of food stuck between your teeth. This sensation may go away in a few days.

Also, your teeth may become sensitive. However, this will only last a few days as well. Any discomfort can be relieved with whatever medication you would take for a headache.

You can eat normally! Just be sure to avoid chewy or sticky foods. Additionally, never remove your spacers once they are in place. Even with the spacers in place, it’s important to continue brushing your teeth as usual.

Finally, you will need them only long enough to create ample space for your bands. Under most conditions, this is only 1–2 weeks.

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Elastics are essentially rubber bands that are attached usually between the upper and lower teeth. Wearing elastics applies tension to your teeth and causes them to move in a direction that the braces alone cannot accomplish. This improves the fit of your upper teeth to your lower teeth. Elastics can be worn in many ways depending upon your specific needs.

Elastics must be worn to move your teeth and jaw into the proper position. A good analogy is that the braces are the body of the car, but the elastics are the engine. That’s why it’s important to wear your elastics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless otherwise instructed.

If you wear your elastics for several hours, take them off for a while, put them back on, etc. You will experience back and forth movement, and your teeth can set up a resistance that slows or stops your progress. Wearing elastics is like pushing a ball up a hill; if you stop halfway, the ball rolls right back to where you started. Only by constantly wearing your elastics as instructed will you reach the top of the hill! Remove them only to brush your teeth or to put on new elastics. You should where them constantly, including when you eat a snack, play and sleep. In fact, the most important time to wear them is when you are eating because then, you are really revving the engine!

Your teeth and jaws may be tender the first few days of wearing elastics. This is normal and should begin to disappear after a few days. Part-time wear does NOT move teeth, but it does cause them to constantly be sore. So if you wear them all the time, you will be rewarded with a great smile and non-tender teeth.

It may seem hard for you to put on the elastics at first; however, it will become much easier with practice. In fact, you won’t even need a mirror after a day or two. Before you leave the office, be absolutely sure you understand where to hook the elastics. Placing them incorrectly can be even worse then not wearing them at all because your teeth might move the opposite way of how they need to. If you ever have any questions on how to wear your elastic, please do not hesitate to ask. It can be confusing!

Other tips:

  • If your supply is low, just stop by the office to pick more up. Or, call the office and we can easily mail some to you.
  • Change the elastics at least every 12 hours (that’s twice a day) even if they are not broken. After a while, elastic lose their strength. It’s easiest to change them after brushing.
  • If one elastic breaks and you were wearing them on both sides, replace both sides.
  • Carry elastics with you at all times.
  • If you happen to forget to insert your elastics one day, don’t double up the next. Just follow your regular instructions.

Proper wearing of your elastics will help give us the best possible treatment in the shortest amount of time. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns.

Palatal Expander

Palatal Expander

The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars and palate each time an adjustment is made. We will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.

Some helpful tips about your expander:

  • Your expander should be turned as instructed. Never turn it more than instructed.
  • You may notice a difference in your speech in the first couple days after your expander is cemented. The more you speak, the faster you will become accustomed to the appliance, and the faster your speech will become normal again.
  • You may notice more saliva than normal the first couple days. This is also normal and will soon disappear. Eating may be awkward at first, but you will soon be eating like usual. You may want to stay with soft foods for a day or two.
  • Your expander is designed to widen your upper arch. As a result, you will notice a large space between your front teeth. Do not be concerned, this means the appliance is working! This space will be present for only a short time.
  • In the beginning, the appliance may make your teeth a little sensitive and sore because of the pressure involved. It is also normal to feel brief pressure at the nose and cheeks. If you feel uncomfortable we suggest that you take whatever medication you would normally take for a headache.
  • If you have any questions about your expander or treatment, feel free to contact our office at any time.

Reverse Pull Facemask

Reverse Pull Facemask

A reverse pull facemask is used to treat patients who have an underbite with the lower jaw being in front of the upper jaw.  The facemask gently “pulls” forward on the upper jaw and teeth to improve the bite and skeletal position of the upper jaw. Treatment time with the mask usually lasts about 10-12 months depending on the movement of the upper jaw and patient compliance.

Forsus Appliance

Forsus Appliance

The Forsus is a fixed appliance that is used when higher forces are needed to bring the lower jaw forward.  Sometimes, elastics are not strong enough to correct a patient’s bite, and the Forsus is needed instead. This appliance is simply a spring installed on each side of the mouth that allows the patient to open, close and move the jaw freely and comfortably. The Forsus appliance is generally in place for the last 6 -10 months of treatment.

At first, they may feel like a mouthful, but within a week, they will become quite comfortable. As your jaw muscles and joints get used to the new position, you will experience soreness with possible headaches. Take Tylenol, or ibuprofen as needed for the soreness. This is normal and by the end of the week it will be comfortable. Also, it may irritate the inside of your cheeks at first but soon the tissue will adjust to the appliance, and it will not be a problem. Please call us to report any prolonged cheek or tongue irritation.

Chewing will be awkward at first. Definitely eat soft, nutritious foods during this stage such as mashed potatoes, apple sauce, macaroni and cheese, pastas, soups, yogurt, eggs, fish, etc. But very soon you will be back to your normal diet. Avoid sticky foods as these can stick to and around your Forsus Appliance and may damage or loosen it. Also avoid chewing real hard food such as ice.

Don’t play with it with your tongue or fingers. Secondly, don’t fight it! Let your jaw go where the Forsus lets it. Your bite will feel normal again in a few days.

Tongue Thrust / Habit Breaking Appliance

Tongue Thrust / Habit Breaking Appliance

This appliance is specifically designed to help remind you to keep your tongue from coming forward when you swallow—and to remind you to keep any fingers or thumbs from entering your mouth. At first, it will feel like a mouthful, but within a few weeks it will become comfortable. Chewing may be awkward at first. You may want to stay with soft or even liquid foods for a day or two. But very soon, you will be back to a normal diet.

How long you wear it will depend on the severity of your original problem and how quickly your habit corrects. The faster your habit corrects, the shorter the appliance will have to be in your mouth!

Other tips:

  • Don’t play with the appliance with your fingers or flick it with your tongue.
  • Don’t forget to brush your appliance every day.
  • Keep fingers, thumbs, pens and pencils out of your mouth.
  • When swallowing, place your tongue behind the metal prongs (against your palate behind the front teeth). This helps the tongue assume a more favorable position.
  • Keep your lips together as much as possible, especially when swallowing and chewing.
  • Breathe through your nose.

Lip Bumper

Lip Bumper

The purpose of a lip bumper is to widen the lower arch to help with crowding of your lower teeth and to upright the lower molars so that the teeth can fit into the dental arch.

Your Lip Bumper must be worn 24 hours per day. You do not remove it to eat meals or while brushing your teeth. Brush the plastic on the lip bumper every morning and at night. Place bristles of your brush on the lip bumper and gently scrub.

At first the Lip Bumper will feel a little bulky to your lip. It’s the pressure of the lower lip against the wire or plastic pad that helps to move the molars back. These teeth may be sensitive for the first couple days. Use a saltwater gargle three times daily to help heal any irritation.  Call the office for an appointment to check sores and lip bumper.

If one side comes out of the tube and you cannot get the lip bumper back in, please call to make an appointment. If the lip bumper has been removed, place it in a baggie so it doesn’t get lost. Remember to bring it to your next appointment.

Temporary Anchorage Devices

Temporary Anchorage Devices Temporary Anchorage Devices

Minimally invasive and relatively painless, Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs) consist of titanium-alloy mini-screws temporarily attached in the bone. With the temporary anchorage device in place, teeth are able to be intruded, extruded, or moved to open or close spaces in areas previously thought impossible.  Futhermore, these TADs can also assist in correcting cants in the upper or lower jaw.

Retainers

Retainers Retainers

Following the removal of braces, undesirable changes in the alignment of teeth may commonly occur, unless some form of retention is provided.  Retainers help preserve orthodontic treatment when worn responsibly and maintained properly. Hunter Family Orthodontics can help determine which retainer type is best for you between a fixed or a removable retainer.

Fixed retainers are glued behind the front teeth, usually on the lower arch. If there is biting clearance, a fixed retainer may be attached to the upper arch as well. In some cases, this type of retainer is favored because it is not removable. Most patients respond well to this type of retainer, yet some contraindications do occur. Flossing is more time intensive, yet very important. Patients who are prone to tarter buildup and possible periodontal problems may not opt for fixed retainers. We recognize these retainers may be inappropriate for some patients and recommend one that is removable.

Removable retainers vary in design and materials. The most common types of removable retainers are a Hawley and an essix. The Hawley is made of acrylic and an orthodontic wire to maintain the front teeth position. The essix retainer is made of a thermoplastic clear material that covers all teeth. Patient compliance is crucial to the success of these types of retainers.

  • Retainers are worn full time for six months and nighttime only thereafter.
  • Take your retainers out when eating and always put them in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants)
  • Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
  • When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken, call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
  • Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacement is expensive; with proper care they will last for years!
  • Remove retainers when swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine and napkins.