How To Know When Orthodontic Treatment is Needed

Modified: December 21, 2018 - 10:54 AM

As General Dentists, we’re often asked what it means when we say we provide comprehensive dental care for our patients. It’s a great question and the answer involves more than just the dictionary. At Gerety Orthodontic Seminars, we consider Orthodontic Evaluation part of our comprehensive exam.

Nothing in the human body exists or functions in isolation. In comprehensive dental care, we look at the mouth as more than teeth and gums. We include the soft tissues of the surrounding oral cavity and the muscles used for chewing and movement, evaluate for any oral facial habits or abnormalities, classify the dental occlusion, assess the esthetics of the smile and address the patient’s chief complaint.

Quite often, patients are surprised when a comprehensive exam reveals problems with their occlusion. Some patients come seeking advice for their malocclusion. Typically, there are clinical clues suggesting damage to the dentition and esthetics due to the malocclusion. Uneven wear patterns of the teeth, the way the teeth fit together and function for chewing and swallowing, abnormal lip competence and tongue position as well as irregular overbite and overjet indicate the patient could greatly benefit from Orthodontic Treatment. Gerety Orthodontic Seminars provides advanced training in orthodontics, examining and treating occlusion problems, so that corrective orthodontic care can be performed to establish ideal occlusion.

In the classroom of our comprehensive orthodontic programs, we emphasize the “Need to Know” orthodontic information in order to competently inform the patient of their options. Whether or not you decide to treat a patient in your office, or refer to a specialist, your knowledge of orthodontics is required if you plan to offer a comprehensive examination and treatment plan. The following is a guide for understanding some of the criteria for recommending orthodontic care to your patients.

1.Interceptive, Phase I, Mixed Dentition Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early treatment is an excellent service for our young patients and can improve the quality of their lives by establishing nasal breathing, developing arches and addressing any obnoxious oral habits. Here are some clear indications for considering Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment:

  • A Premature loss of deciduous teeth resulting in loss of arch length
  • Moderate to severe crowding of the permanent incisors
  • Excessive overjet
  • Anterior or Posterior crossbite
  • Class III skeletal pattern
  • Orofacial irregularities or habits
  • Abnormal eruption pattern

2. Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment

Gerety Orthodontic Seminars program teaches comprehensive orthodontic care as well as interceptive care. Comprehensive care is most often provided in the late mixed or adolescent permanent dentition. We advocate a fixed technique with a non-extraction philosophy. Indications for suggesting comprehensive orthodontic treatment are as follows:

  • Any dental classification other than Class I
  • Moderate to severe crowding of the permanent teeth
  • Excessive overjet or deep overbite
  • Anterior or Posterior crossbite
  • Congenitally missing teeth
  • Orofacial irregularities or habits
  • Constricted arches
  • Abnormal spacing in the dental arch

3.Adult Orthodontic Treatment

Some adults never received orthodontic treatment as children to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites and underbites, incorrect jaw position or jaw joint disorders. Left untreated, these problems may result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems. Braces can provide adults the same benefits children receive. However, treatment may take longer than it does for children. The average adult wears braces for 18 months to three years. As with children, adults may need to wear a retainer to maintain the results of treatment after braces are removed. Indications for adult orthodontic treatment are the same as comprehensive orthodontic treatment, but the treatment method may vary according to the adult patient’s concerns. This is a list of some of the different types of braces and treatments available to adults.

  • Metal braces, made of high-grade stainless steel and attached to the front of teeth, are the most common.
  • Clear ceramic braces are worn on the front of the teeth just like traditional steel braces. Unlike metal braces, they blend with the color of the teeth for a much less noticeable appearance. They may look better, but they may break more easily than metal braces.
  • Lingual (or concealed) braces have brackets that attach to the back of teeth, so they are hidden from view.
  • "Invisible" braces are a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. Not only are these braces less visible, but they also are removable so they won't trap food and plaque between your teeth like metal braces. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks and only removed for eating, brushing and flossing. This may be an option for individuals with mild spacing problems.


Our goal at Gerety Orthodontic Seminars is to train you to recognize the need, evaluate the unique case that each person presents, understand what different options exist and educate you to convey to each person what is available to them in the way of comprehensive orthodontic care. Check us out at  We have a place for you in our onsite classroom or in our online program.