The American Association of Orthodontics has continuously published statistics showing a steady increase in the number of people seeking orthodontic treatment over the past decade. This increase is not tied to adults only as millions of young patients are undergoing treatment every year. So if you are seeking orthodontic services, you are not alone.

Orthodontic services refer to dental treatments that aim to improve the alignment and appearance of your teeth and jaws. Whether you have crooked teeth, an overbite, an underbite, or other dental issues, orthodontic services can help. At South Coast Dentistry, we offer a range of orthodontic services, including traditional braces, clear aligners, retainers, and other devices to help you achieve a beautiful and healthy smile. With a significant increase in the number of people seeking orthodontic treatment in California, we're committed to providing top-quality dental care to our patients in Aliso Viejo.

An Overview of Orthodontic Services

Orthodontic services are dental treatments that focus on correcting misaligned teeth and jaws, improving the bite, and enhancing the overall appearance of a person's smile. These services are important for both dental health and appearance, as misaligned teeth can lead to various dental issues, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and difficulty speaking or eating. Additionally, having misaligned teeth can affect a person's self-confidence and social interactions. By seeking orthodontic treatment, patients can improve their dental health, boost their self-esteem, and achieve a beautiful, confident smile.

Here are the most common orthodontic issues that patients seek treatment for, along with their potential consequences if left untreated:

  • Crowding — Crowding occurs when there is not enough space in the mouth to accommodate all of the teeth. If left untreated, crowding can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and difficulty cleaning teeth properly.
  • Spacing — Spacing in orthodontics is the opposite of crowding. It occurs when there are gaps between teeth. Food can stick between teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Overbite — When the upper front teeth overlap significantly with the lower front teeth, the patient is said to have an overbite. This can cause excessive wear and tear on the teeth, as well as problems with speech and eating.
  • Underbite — This is when the lower teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth. If left untreated, an underbite can cause difficulty biting and chewing, as well as jaw pain and headaches.
  • Crossbite — This occurs when the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth, rather than outside. A crossbite can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and problems with speech and eating.
  • Open bite —This issue occurs when the front teeth do not meet when the back teeth are closed. An open bite can cause difficulty biting and chewing, as well as speech problems.

The most common causes of these issues are genetics, abnormal tooth eruption, overdevelopment (or underdevelopment) of jaws, early loss (or delayed loss) of primary teeth, thumb-sucking, or tongue thrusting. Despite the cause, you should seek treatment to prevent dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease.

Why Orthodontic Services are Important

Orthodontic services offer the following benefits for patients:

  • Improved dental health — Orthodontic treatments can help to correct misaligned teeth and jaws, improving the bite and making it easier to clean teeth properly. This can reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental issues.
  • Enhanced appearance — Misaligned teeth can affect a person's appearance and confidence. Orthodontic treatments can improve the alignment of teeth, creating a more attractive and confident smile.
  • Increased self-confidence — A beautiful, straight smile can boost a person's self-esteem and confidence, improving their social interactions and overall quality of life.
  • Improved speech and eating — Orthodontic treatments can correct bite issues that may be causing speech problems or difficulty eating.
  • Reduced risk of dental injuries — Misaligned teeth can increase the risk of dental injuries, such as chipping or breaking teeth. Orthodontic treatments can help to reduce this risk by improving the alignment of teeth.

Types of Orthodontic Services

There are several types of orthodontic services that can be used to correct misaligned teeth and jaws. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the orthodontic issue, the patient's age, and other factors.

We can generally categorize these treatment options into braces, clear aligners, and retainers. The most common types of braces are traditional, ceramic, self-ligating, and lingual braces. Aligners, which are commonly referred to as clear aligners, are offered by different companies, but the most common ones are Invisalign. Your orthodontist can advise you on the appropriate brand of aligners to use.


Braces are a type of orthodontic treatment used to straighten teeth and correct other dental issues, such as bite problems. They consist of several components, including brackets, wires, and bands.

Here is a general overview of how braces work:

  • Brackets are attached to the teeth with dental adhesive. These small metal or ceramic pieces act as anchors for the wires.
  • Archwires are attached to the brackets with small elastics or clips. These wires apply gentle pressure to the teeth and are gradually tightened over time to shift the teeth into their proper position.
  • Additional components, such as bands or rubber bands, may be used to help with tooth movement or bite correction.
  • The orthodontist will adjust the wires and components periodically to ensure that the teeth are moving properly and to address any issues that arise.

The pressure applied by the wires and components of the braces causes the bone tissue in the jaw to break down and rebuild in a new position, allowing the teeth to shift into their desired location over time.

The length of time that braces are worn can vary depending on the severity of the dental issues being corrected. Typically, braces are worn for one to three years.

While braces can be effective in straightening teeth and correcting bite issues, they can also require more maintenance than other types of orthodontic treatments. Patients with braces need to take extra care when brushing and flossing to avoid plaque buildup and tooth decay. They may also need to avoid certain foods that can damage the brackets or wires.

The following are the types of braces:

Traditional Braces

These are the most common type of braces and consist of metal brackets that are attached to the teeth and connected by metal wires. Traditional braces are highly effective at correcting even severe orthodontic issues.

The advantage of traditional braces over other treatment options is that they can correct even the most severe orthodontic issues. They are also the most affordable option. However, they are uncomfortable to wear and can impact the appearance of your mouth.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are similar to traditional braces, but they use clear or tooth-colored brackets and wires to blend in with the teeth. This makes them less noticeable than traditional braces, but they can be more expensive. Also, they can be more fragile than traditional braces, thereby requiring extra care.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are similar to traditional braces, but the brackets and wires are attached to the back of the teeth, making them virtually invisible from the front. They can correct most orthodontic issues, but they can be difficult to clean and can impact speech.

Self-ligating Braces

These braces use a sliding mechanism instead of elastic bands to connect the brackets and wires, which can reduce the amount of pressure and discomfort during treatment. These braces have a faster treatment time compared to other braces and they generally require fewer adjustments. However, they are more expensive, and not all orthodontists offer self-ligating braces, which can limit a patient's options when it comes to choosing a provider.

Aligners/ Clear Aligners (Invisalign)

Clear aligners are a type of orthodontic treatment that uses a series of clear, plastic trays to gradually shift the teeth into the correct position. They are an alternative to traditional braces and are virtually invisible, making them a popular choice for adults and teenagers who are concerned about the appearance of metal braces.

Clear aligners are custom-made to fit each patient's teeth and are typically worn for 20 to 22 hours per day, with each set of aligners being worn for about two weeks before being replaced with the next set. The total treatment time can vary depending on the severity of the orthodontic issue, but it generally ranges from 6 to 18 months.

One advantage of clear aligners is that they are removable, which means that patients can take them out to eat and brush their teeth, making them more convenient and less restrictive than traditional braces. However, because they are removable, patients must be diligent about wearing them as prescribed to ensure that the treatment is effective.

Clear aligners are most effective at treating mild to moderate orthodontic issues, such as crowding, spacing, and mild bite issues. For more severe orthodontic issues, traditional braces may be a more appropriate treatment option. An orthodontist can help determine whether clear aligners are the best option for each individual case.

How an Orthodontist Will Determine the Most Suitable Aligner

When determining the type of aligners for a patient, the dentist will consider several factors, including the patient's specific orthodontic needs, the severity of their malocclusion (i.e., the misalignment of the teeth), and their overall dental health.

The first step in the process is to conduct a thorough evaluation of the patient's teeth, including taking impressions, photographs, and x-rays. This information is used to create a 3D digital model of the patient's teeth, which allows the dentist to create a customized treatment plan that addresses their specific orthodontic needs.

Once the treatment plan has been developed, the orthodontist will select the type of aligners that is most appropriate for the patient's needs. This may involve selecting a specific brand of aligners or choosing from a variety of options based on the patient's specific needs.

Factors that determine the type of aligners include the severity of the malocclusion, the patient's age, and their overall dental health. For example, some types of aligners may be better suited for more severe cases of malocclusion, while others may be better for mild to moderate cases.

Ultimately, the goal is to select the type of aligners that will provide the most effective and efficient treatment for the patient, while also taking into account their individual needs and preferences. The orthodontist will work closely with the patient throughout the treatment process to ensure that the aligners are working as intended and that any adjustments are made as needed to achieve the desired results.


Retainers are a type of orthodontic appliance used to maintain the position of the teeth after braces or other orthodontic treatments have been completed. They are typically worn on a long-term basis, with the goal of ensuring that the teeth remain straight and properly aligned.

There are two main types of retainers: removable and fixed. Removable retainers are made of a clear plastic material that is custom-fitted to the patient's teeth. They are designed to be worn for a specific amount of time each day, typically for several months to a year, depending on the individual patient's needs.

Fixed retainers are bonded to the back of the teeth using a dental adhesive. They are designed to be worn on a permanent basis and are typically used in cases where there is a higher risk of the teeth shifting back to their original position, such as in patients with particularly severe malocclusions.

Regardless of the type of retainer that is used, the goal is the same: to maintain the position of the teeth and prevent them from shifting back to their original position. This is important because, after orthodontic treatment, the teeth can easily shift out of position if they are not properly maintained.

One of the main challenges of using retainers is that they can be uncomfortable to wear, particularly at first. Patients may experience soreness or discomfort in the teeth and gums as they adjust to the retainer. Additionally, removable retainers can be lost or damaged if not properly cared for, which can lead to additional costs and delays in treatment.

Overall, retainers are an important tool for maintaining the position of the teeth after orthodontic treatment. While there are some disadvantages to using them, the benefits are significant, and you can work closely with your orthodontist to ensure that you are using the right type of retainer and that you are properly caring for it to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Choosing an Orthodontic Treatment Option

Choosing an orthodontic treatment can be a big decision, and there are several factors that you should consider before making a choice. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  1. The severity of your orthodontic issue —The type of treatment that you need will depend largely on the severity of your orthodontic issue. If you have a more severe issue, you may need traditional braces or another type of treatment that provides more significant corrective measures.
  2. Your age — Different types of orthodontic treatments may be more or less appropriate depending on your age. For example, traditional braces are often recommended for children and teenagers, while clear aligners may be more appropriate for adults.
  3. Your lifestyle — It's important to consider your lifestyle when choosing an orthodontic treatment. Some treatments, such as traditional braces, require more maintenance and care than others, while others, such as clear aligners, may be more convenient for busy adults.
  4. Your budget— Different types of orthodontic treatments can vary significantly in cost, so it's important to consider your budget when making a choice. You should also find out whether your dental insurance covers orthodontic treatment, as this can impact your decision.
  5. Your goals — Finally, it's important to consider your goals for orthodontic treatment. Are you primarily concerned with improving the appearance of your teeth, or do you have functional issues that need to be corrected? Understanding your goals can help you choose the right treatment option.

The Orthodontic Treatment Process

The orthodontic treatment process can vary depending on the type of treatment you receive, but generally, the process involves similar steps.

The first step is an initial consultation with an orthodontist. During this consultation, your orthodontist will examine your teeth and discuss your orthodontic issues and treatment options.

Once your orthodontist has assessed your orthodontic needs, they will create a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific situation. This treatment plan will outline the type of orthodontic treatment you will receive, how long the treatment will take, and the expected outcomes.

The next step is the placement of any necessary orthodontic appliances, such as braces or aligners. Your orthodontist will explain how to care for your appliances and any dietary restrictions you may need to follow.

After your orthodontic appliances have been placed, you will need to attend regular appointments with your orthodontist for adjustments and monitoring. This is an important part of the treatment process, as it allows your orthodontist to track your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your appliances.

Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, your orthodontist will remove your appliances. However, to ensure that your teeth remain in their new position, you will need to wear a retainer for a period of time as instructed by your orthodontist. For your treatment to be successful, you need the services of a qualified orthodontist who can provide you with customized options.

Find an Orthodontist Near Me

With a range of treatment options available, there is a solution for everyone, regardless of age or the severity of their orthodontic issues. If you are considering orthodontic treatment, it's important to consult with an experienced orthodontist who can provide you with personalized treatment options and guide you through the treatment process. Get in touch with South Coast Dentistry if you are looking for a local Aliso Viejo dentist at 949-274-9086.