Frost Orthodontics - Case Suty: Marcus (Adult Braces) BeforeFrost Orthodontics - Case Study: Marcus (Adult Braces) After

Marcus, a 52-year-old male, first visited our office in May of 2019. He suffered from a bite problem his whole life, and wanted to improve his confidence through orthodontic treatment. During his initial consultation at our St. Louis orthodontic office, Dr. Frost examined his smile, taking special note of misalignment and bite issues. After the initial steps were taken, Dr. Frost recommended adult braces to correct Marcus’ smile.

What is Adult Underbite?

Underbite is a fairly common condition affecting millions of adults in the United States. Many avoid treatment because they are either wary of the cost or are unaware of their options. However, it can be affordably corrected through orthodontics, regardless of its severity.

Also known as “prognathism” in the dental profession, underbite is a type of misalignment where the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. In the vast majority of cases, underbite is either present at birth due to genetics or develops during early childhood.

Adult Braces

Although braces are traditionally used to correct children’s teeth, adults can also benefit. Marcus was ready to move forward with a healthy smile. His treatment recommendation from Dr. Frost was based upon a formal examination of his teeth, which included X-rays and a 3D impression from our newly developed iTero Element Plus Mobile Scanner.

What Are Braces?

Braces are orthodontic devices that help correct problems in the teeth, such as overcrowding, bite issues, crooked teeth, and more. As patients wear them, their teeth slowly straighten and align, creating a healthy smile. Marcus received traditional braces, which are metal brackets attached to the front of the teeth with flexible wires that hold the brackets together. Rubber bands are then used to link each bracket to the wire.

Braces Treatment

The process of braces treatment can take several months to a few years, depending on the severity of a patient’s condition. In Marcus’ case, we were happily surprised that his mouth and bite were corrected after just 20 months!

Every situation is unique, but the procedure to receive braces remains the same from one patient to the next. The steps include:

  • The orthodontist inserts a device to keep the mouth dry and the tongue in place.
  • An etchant is applied to the front surfaces of the teeth to prepare them for bonding.
  • A special adhesive is used to hold the brackets in place.
  • The adhesive is hardened and the bond is set through a curing light.
  • The orthodontist runs the wire through the brackets and places rubber bands to secure.

The appointment for placing braces lasts approximately 90 minutes to two hours total. In many cases, patients have about 4-8 weeks to familiarize themselves with the new devices before their next follow-up appointment.

Follow-up appointments are much faster than the initial procedure. Taking place regularly every month to every two months, the orthodontist analyzes your progress, as well as adjusts the wires and rubber bands during each appointment. Marcus visited our office routinely throughout his 20-month treatment for checkups and adjustments, resulting in the beautiful smile he has today!

When your braces treatment is complete, the devices are removed. During this procedure, the brackets come off easily, leaving behind a trace of bonding material. The orthodontist removes the excess materials and polishes your teeth’s enamel, leaving smooth and pearly whites. In many situations, patients receive a retainer to wear at night that helps their teeth “remember” the new placement.

Get Started With Your Adult Orthodontics Treatment Today

Receiving braces as an adult is not something to be ashamed of – rather, it’s a good thing. You’re improving your smile, confidence, and overall oral health. Marcus achieved significant results through his adult orthodontic treatment, and you can, too. When you visit our orthodontic office in St. Louis, you’ll receive the utmost care. It’s our goal to assist you in achieving your dream smile! Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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Frost Orthodontics of St. Louis - Case Study: Mark (Adult Invisalign) Before Photo
Mark’s smile before Invisalign
Frost Orthodontics of St. Louis - Case Study: Mark (Adult Invisalign) - After Photo
Mark’s smile after Invisalign

Mark, a 51-year-old male, visited our St. Louis orthodontist office in September of 2020 for an initial consultation. He wished to improve the appearance of his teeth in addition to his self-confidence. During his first appointment, Dr. Frost studied Mark’s smile, taking note of misalignment and any issues with his bite. Photos were taken documenting his teeth before orthodontic treatment, and it was determined that his primary issue was overcrowding.

What is Crowding Teeth?

Crowded teeth, also referred to as a form of malocclusion (misalignment), occurs when there isn’t enough space in the mouth for permanent teeth to grow straight. Therefore, the teeth are crooked and overlap. Patients with crowded teeth can either have mild, moderate, or severe misalignment.

  • Mild crowding occurs when one tooth is slightly rotated in the upper or lower jaw.
  • Moderate crowding is characterized by two or three teeth that overlap in the upper and lower jaw. 
  • Severe crowding is seen in patients where most of their teeth are crooked and overlapping in the upper and lower jaw.

What Causes Crowded Teeth?

Overcrowding can be caused by a variety of factors, such as genetics, jaw size, and number of permanent teeth. Potential causes include:

  • When teeth are larger than the jaw bone as a result of genetics, they tend to misalign, overlap, and twist.
  • Those with genetically smaller jaws typically don’t have enough room to properly fit each permanent tooth as they develop.
  • Patients that lose primary (baby) teeth early have empty spaces that aren’t immediately filled by permanent teeth, and therefore are subject to movement.
  • On the other hand, some individuals retain their primary teeth longer than normal, thus suppressing the permanent structures beneath and affecting their development.

How to Fix Crowded Teeth

Braces

The traditional method of fixing crowded teeth is through braces. They consist of metal brackets that are glued to the teeth and connected by wire. The treatment requires regular orthodontic visits to tighten the hardware and therefore gradually move the teeth into their desired position. Length of treatment depends on each specific case.

Invisalign

An alternative to traditional braces, clear plastic aligners such as Invisalign are a more aesthetically pleasing and discreet way to straighten teeth. Although they are not 100% invisible, aligners are growing in popularity due to being less noticeable compared to braces. Mark underwent a 15-month Invisalign treatment, which transformed his overcrowded teeth into a straight, confident smile.

In addition to overcrowding, Invisalign can also treat spacing issues. However, more complex problems, such as those with the bite, will likely require more extensive orthodontic intervention. When you visit your orthodontist, they will be able to recommend the best treatment for your specific situation.

The Invisalign Process

The first step in Mark’s Invisalign treatment process was paying us a visit. Using the newly developed iTero Element Plus Mobile Scanner, Dr. Frost was able to create 3D impressions of Mark’s mouth without the traditional putty. Additionally, the latest technology will save the impressions forever, which allows patients like Mark to receive new treatments and trays without another consultation.

The impression was then used to create and implement a treatment regimen that included a series of customized plastic aligners that gradually moved Mark’s teeth over the 15-month time period. Gentle pressure was applied by the Invisalign with the goal of moving his teeth just enough to where the next aligner in the process would fit comfortably.

Mark was instructed to wear his Invisalign for at least 22 hours each day, only removing them when eating, drinking, or cleaning his teeth. Compared to braces, Mark could easily brush and floss his teeth without attempting to work around brackets and wires. Additionally, his ability to thoroughly clean his teeth allowed him to reduce his risk of gum disease. He was quite pleased with his treatment and results!

Contact our St. Louis Orthodontist Today

As you can see in our before and after photos, Mark’s smile greatly improved during his 15-month Invisalign treatment. His issue with dental crowding was solved through an attractive, effective, and minimally invasive process. Our team at Frost Orthodontics has helped thousands of patients like Mark across the St. Louis area improve their smiles, and we’ll do the same for you, too. Schedule your Invisalign consultation today, and experience the latest in scanning technology! We look forward to meeting you.

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Getting your braces tightened can be a little uncomfortable, especially the first couple of times you have it done. The discomfort means that your teeth are moving and the treatment is working!

But we know it can be kind of hard to focus on the long-term when your mouth is sore right now, so here are some tips to relieve some of the discomfort:

Over-the-counter pain relief medicine

Common over-the-counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol can help with some of the mild pain that comes from getting your braces tightened. To get a jump on things, take a dose as recommended on the packaging an hour before your appointment, then as needed afterwards. Always stick to the directions!

Use an oral anesthetic

Special medications are available over-the-counter which can be applied directly to gums. These are nice because you can put the medication exactly where the discomfort is, but they may also not taste the greatest. Try it to see if this solution works for you.

Eat soft foods

Eating soft or liquid foods can really help in keeping discomfort down while your mouth is sore. Being smart about the foods you eat is important when you have braces. See this post for foods to avoid when you have braces.

Use an ice pack

Applying an ice pack to your cheek over the area that hurts can reduce pain and inflammation. This works in the same way as when you get a sprain or a bruise on another part of your body.

Drink cold water

Like an ice pack, drinking cold water is a cheap and effective way to numb your mouth and reduce any inflammation in the gums. Plus, it’s always a good idea to drink more water!

If you have any more questions about having braces, contact Dr. Frost’s office!


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Before you get braces or consider Invisalign, there are a lot of questions that you want—and need—to ask yourself. How the treatment will be paid for is often the first question to come up, and it’s important to know your options before you get started. Here are some common questions patients ask:

Does insurance cover braces?

It depends. Every patient’s insurance is just as different as every patient’s treatment plan. Some insurance plans have separate orthodontic coverage, some will only cover certain types of treatment under certain circumstances, and some plans may cover little to no part of the cost of orthodontia.

However, insurance companies are generally more sympathetic to issues that cause pain or discomfort which could be corrected with braces or another orthodontic treatment. It all depends on your insurance and your treatment needs. When you call our office or come in for your first visit, we will review your case and your insurance to see how much of the treatment will be covered.

Can I finance my orthodontic treatment?

Absolutely. We offer financing along with several other payment options. Just like your treatment plan, we will work out a payment solution that works best for you.

How much do braces cost?

It’s difficult to say. Every patient has different wants and needs, the details of which will determine the final cost of treatment. When you contact us, we will be able to give you a more detailed estimate once we have some more information about you, your needs, and your insurance.

Does Invisalign cost more than braces?

The cost of Invisalign compared to braces is pretty even. On average, Invisalign tends to cost a little more, but not by very much. Again, it will all depend on your unique situation, so schedule a free consultation to get a more solid and detailed estimate.

>>Click here to schedule an appointment!



It is interesting how often unusual orthodontic situations can be discovered with a simple exam and X-ray. Just this week I have diagnosed young children (8 to 10 years of age) with multiple missing permanent teeth and/or supernumerary (extra) teeth.

Both missing permanent teeth and supernumerary teeth are common conditions, and they can only be first seen with an X-ray. This is because permanent teeth form underneath baby teeth long before they ‘push up’ to the surface of the gums. By seeing where and how teeth are forming (as well as how many), an orthodontist can adjust a patient’s treatment plan accordingly.

In the X-ray image below, you can see how clear it is that this patient has several extra teeth coming in below the permanent teeth:

x-ray orthodontist 63141
(Image credit: http://www.cda-adc.ca/)

Supernumerary teeth can mean crowding for existing or future permanent teeth, or these teeth could possibly come in at other places in the mouth. A lack of permanent teeth, on the other hand, results in gaps and spaces.

Fortunately, there are many treatment options available whether a patient will have too many–or not enough–permanent teeth. A combination of timely extractions, oral surgery, orthodontic treatment, or cosmetic treatments will make sure a child will have a great looking smile as an adult.

In both cases I saw this week, these diagnoses made a significant impact on the patients’ treatment plans. Although their treatment (braces) will not happen for a year or two, we were able to make sure the treatment works best at that time through the use of X-rays.

Treating a patient whose permanent teeth are still coming in and changing makes this process more difficult. So if your child has not seen an orthodontist by 8 or 9 years of age, please schedule a consultation soon. The earlier your child’s orthodontist knows how his or her teeth will come in, the easier the treatment process will be. It can really make a difference.



December 14, 2012

How often do patients with braces need to be seen in the office?

At Dr. Frost’s office adolescent patients are usually seen every five weeks. Adult patients are usually seen every three to four weeks.  Patients with special circumstances might need to be seen more often. Examples of these type of patients may include those with impacted teeth, patients that need a lot of space closed or patients near the end of their treatment.



December 6, 2012

Do kids really need braces twice?  It is seemingly more common for orthodontists to perform two phase treatment—or the placement and removal of braces twice. Does this produce a better result?  Orthodontic research has shown that having braces twice  does not produce a better result than one comprehensive phase in the majority of patients. So who does need early orthodontic treatment?  Examples include children with functional problems such as an inability to eat properly, severe crowding or excessive overbites.  The problem and the reason for treatment should be obvious to the parents and the orthodontist should be able to explain the need for and benefit of the treatment. If you believe that your child has a special problem or need a second opinion please call our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Frost, a St. Louis orthodontist.


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