(480) 899-52402470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

Daniel G. Kline DDS - Chandler Dentist

(480) 899-5240

2470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

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Limited Orthodontics

What Is It?

Limited orthodontics is intended to address a problem involving only one or a few teeth. Typically it is confined to 4 front teeth on the top, bottom or both. Generally the treatment time is 3 to 9 months with an average of 6 months.


Who Might Want It?

Minor orthodontic treatment has opened up the field of tooth movement to a greater number of people who previously would not have done anything at all. It is used to correct isolated problems, such as crowding (crooked teeth) or spacing (gaps), in one area of the mouth. It is particularly popular with those who have had comprehensive orthodontic treatment in the past and the teeth have started to drift. People of all ages and dental history are potential candidates for this conservative therapy. Our largest group of patients is adults who want to improve their smile without the time and financial commitment that is involved with full braces.

Can It Work For Me?

Everyone can’t be helped; each situation has to be individually evaluated for likelihood of a good outcome. If crowding is too severe, this treatment approach may not be practical. If opposing teeth don’t allow the preferred aesthetic alignment, this simple cosmetic modality might be inappropriate. That being said, many patients have been surprised and pleased with what we can accomplish with such a focused and basic realignment. To help us decide if you are a good candidate for limited orthodontic therapy, we study models and photographs of your teeth to determine whether or not we can help. There is no fee for this simple consultation.

How Do You Do It?

limited-orthodontics-3We use removable appliances (think of a retainer or sometimes a thin clear plastic mouth guard) to make our cosmetic corrections. Our favorite appliance is called the Inman Aligner and we will describe it in detail below. Also useful on some occasions is a spring retainer (see adjacent photo). Sometimes an Essix retainer (a clear or transparent retainer similar to Invisalign trays) may be preferred. Minor tooth movement requires three conditions: space, force and time. There must be room for the tooth to move and space for it to move into. Pressure must be applied in the direction you want to move the tooth. Movement must be incremental over a number of weeks.

The Inman Aligner

limited-orthodontics-4This patented appliance, which received the Hagman Inventor Award, works by applying forces on both sides of the teeth (front and back) to effectively “squeeze” them together. The mechanics consists of a series of coiled nickel titanium springs, which sit at the back and front of the teeth, pushing them forward and pushing them backward, exerting pressure in appropriate directions. It works especially rapidly by putting light pressure on the teeth by means of the coiled spring, constantly pushing and pulling them into alignment. Interesting, it is the subtlety of the pressure that ensures it works so quickly. Dental scientists have discovered that reducing the amount of pressure reduces the tooth’s natural resistance to being moved and so speeds the process. These devices need to be worn continually (24/7) except for eating or special occasions.

Advantages Of Limited Orthodontics

  • There is a shorter treatment time than normal braces or Invisalign.
  • These are more economical than regular braces or Invisalign.
  • It is removable, making for ease of cleansing.
  • It can be temporarily removed for important events such as photos, speeches or job interviews.

Disadvantages Of Limited Orthodontics

  • The final tooth positioning is not as precise as with conventional orthodontics.
  • The number of teeth that can be moved is limited.
  • The appliance is moderately visible, less than braces, but more than Invisalign.
  • Speaking normally may be difficult at first due to the inside thickness. An initial lisp is common.
  • Patient compliance with wearing time can be a problem. It doesn’t work if it is not worn.
  • If we are treating crowded teeth, it may be necessary to remove a little enamel between each of the teeth (“slenderize”) to have room to straighten them.
  • The teeth can become sore and tender during the movement process. This is similar to any orthodontic therapy.

What Happens After The Treatment Is Complete?

As with conventional orthodontic treatment, relapse (teeth drifting back to where they were) has to be guarded against. A separate appliance is used for that. It can be either a fixed permanent wire bonded behind the teeth or a removable retainer that is worn at night.

What Does This Usually Cost?

Our fee depends on the nature of your problem and the anticipated time to complete the treatment. Typically our fee ranges from $1000 to $2000.