The Three Levels of Orthodontics Provide the Best Possible Comprehensive Care
Orthodontics can certainly achieve a beautiful smile. However, a comprehensive philosophy of care addresses more than just aesthetics. At his practice serving Louisville, KY and Radcliff, KY, Dr. Knight embraces three levels of orthodontics to help patients restore health and function to their brilliant new smile.
Dr. Knight adheres to the FACE™ (Functional and Cosmetic Excellence) treatment philosophy. This ideology is described as a “comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to the treatment of the entire system with emphasis placed on the face”. The FACE™ philosophy encourages the blending of modern orthodontic care and comprehensive dentistry. Doctors who practice this approach believe the field of orthodontics exists in harmony with whole-body health.
Level 1 Orthodontics
The first level of orthodontic treatment is aesthetics. This is defined as orthodontic treatment with the sole purpose of straightening teeth. Level one orthodontics provides the simplest and most straightforward way to beautify your smile. Examples of level one treatment include:
- Traditional metal braces
- Clear or ceramic braces
It should be noted, however, that level one orthodontic treatment alone does not address the functional and skeletal issues that many patients experience. The way to truly invest in your new smile is to protect it. You can do this by making sure you maintain healthy function, which introduces the next level of orthodontics.
Level 2 Orthodontics
The second level of orthodontic treatment includes aesthetics and bite alignment. Occlusion, or the way your teeth fit together, is vital to the health and function of your smile. The upper and lower teeth should fit together in a way that maximizes function and minimizes wear and tear. When your teeth fit together properly, there is greater long-term stability. Correct occlusion also results in less tooth erosion, less mobility, less tooth grinding, and a reduction in the development of related issues such as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), gum recession, and bone resorption.
Level 3 Orthodontics
The third and final level of orthodontic treatment includes aesthetics, bite alignment, and jaw alignment. This comprehensive approach includes the assessment of all oral and maxillofacial structures, including airways, facial muscles, and jaw joints. This effectively addresses potential problems with the TMJ, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and snoring, and overall aesthetics and function. The vertical relationship of the teeth can contribute to smile aesthetics. In some cases, when a patient smiles, the teeth may be hidden up under the lip. Other times, the opposite effect will be indicated, in which he or she appears to have too much gum tissue or a “gummy smile.” Both of these can be caused by tooth position.
Skeletal discrepancies can cause inconsistencies in facial aesthetics. For instance, the upper or lower jaw may be too far forward or too far back. Your bite may not be level, resulting in a crossbite or open bite. Some of these issues can be addressed with traditional orthodontic treatment alone. In some cases, however, orthognathic surgery may be indicated to provide the most comprehensive and efficient corrective treatment.
For long-term, predictable treatment, Dr. Knight recommends the three levels of orthodontics as his standard of care. Successful treatment should not only give you a beautiful smile, but should also restore your health and function so you can optimize your quality of life.