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Orthodontics for Better Health and a Beautiful Smile

A naturally straight smile is surprisingly rare. Most people have some form of misalignment, and it can range from annoying to detrimental depending on how severe it is. Fortunately, orthodontics – the branch of dentistry devoted to correcting alignment issues – can fix even the most complex cases of misalignment.

Dr. Kenneth R. Smith, D.D.S. provides first-rate orthodontics to children and adults in Ventura and Fillmore and nearby communities. He and his passionate team are dedicated to helping people alleviate dental problems and discover the difference a healthy smile can make in their lives. To find out if you would benefit from orthodontics, contact our office and schedule a dental exam today.

Orthodontic Options

Is Orthodontic Treatment For Me?

Orthodontic Options

While orthodontics does require a commitment, the benefit of a straight, healthy smile is one that shouldn’t go underestimated. By straightening your smile, you reduce the chances of tooth decay and gum disease. Having your teeth properly aligned also enables healthy chewing, which can reduce teeth grinding and promote healthy digestion. You’ll also find that you feel much more comfortable talking and eating with proper tooth alignment.

Orthodontics are considered most effective for older children and teens, whose growing jaws make it easier and less time-consuming to reposition their teeth. However, modern orthodontics can straighten teeth for anyone regardless of age. Dr. Smith will perform a comprehensive exam to determine how severe your misalignment is, and what steps are needed to correct it.

There are multiple types of braces and fixtures that can correct alignment issues. The type you need will vary depending on the state of your teeth.

  • Fixed multi-bracket (traditional) braces: This type of dental braces consists of brackets cemented to each tooth, and an arch-wire that connects each one.  The orthodontist adjusts or changes the wire on a regular basis to train the teeth into proper alignment.
  • Removable Devices: There are many non-fixed dental braces available to treat a malocclusion.  Retainers, headgear, and palate expanders are among the most common.  Retainers are generally used to hold the teeth in the correct position while the jawbone grows properly around them, ensuring that repositioned teeth don’t drift out of alignment.
  • Invisalign® and Clear Correct®: These dental aligners are removable and invisible to the naked eye.  Custom-shaped to fit your teeth, these braces work in much the same way as fixed braces, but do not impact the aesthetics of the smile. This type of orthodontics works best on mild to moderate alignment issues.

Orthodontics For Oral Health

What Does Orthodontics Help?


Orthodontics can fix a wide range of malocclusions. These include any of the following:

  • Overcrowding – An overcrowded mouth means there is insufficient space within the jaw for all of the adult teeth to fit naturally.  Overcrowding may lead to displaced, rotated or completely misaligned teeth. The tight spaces between teeth make cleaning difficult and raise the risk of tooth decay.
  • Overbite – An overbite is when the upper teeth significantly overshadow the lower teeth rather than lining up correctly.  An overbite gives the smile a “toothy” appearance, and the chin looks like it has receded.
  • Underbite – An underbite occurs when the lower jaw juts out ahead of the upper jaw.  An underbite makes the chin look overly prominent and can make biting and chewing more difficult. Developmental delays and genetic factors generally cause underbites and overbites.
  • Crooked/High Teeth – This happens when the teeth come in at an incorrect angle or are too high in the jaw. This may be due to genetic or behavioral factors, such as a tongue thrust. It may also occur if the primary (baby) tooth does not fall out on its own and is not properly removed, forcing the new tooth to adjust around it.

Crooked teeth and misalignments affect not only your smile’s aesthetic, but they can be detrimental to your oral health as well. Fortunately, braces have helped millions of people develop a healthy winning smile, and they can do the same for you.

With expert precision and compassion for his patients, Dr. Kenneth R. Smith, D.D.S. has helped countless families in Ventura and nearby communities achieve a brilliant smile. To learn more about what braces can do for you, contact our office and make an appointment today.

Orthodontic Experience

How to Get A Healthy, Beautiful Smile 

Treating Minor to Complex Malocclusion

Dr. Smith and his team combine first-rate dental skills with state-of-the-art technology to ensure your braces bring out your best smile. We begin the process with a full exam, including a series of digital imaging and impressions which allow Dr. Smith a complete picture of your dental health. We tailor your treatment plan according to your specific needs, so you receive the best treatment for your smile.

At the office of Dr. Smith, we provide a variety of treatment options, including traditional braces, lingual (behind the teeth) braces, and invisible braces through Invisalign® and ClearCorrect®. With these options, we can confidently treat everything from mild to complex alignment issues, ensuring that your smile is healthy and beautiful.

  • Braces for ChildrenChildren often benefit the most from braces, as their developing jaws make positioning the teeth less difficult. Many children feel conflicted about braces, liking the idea of straighter teeth, but concerned about whether it will cause pain. The good news is applying the braces is a painless process, and while soreness is common when making adjustments, this typically lasts a few days at most. When the treatment is complete, your child will have a healthy, straight smile they can wear proudly into adulthood.
  • Braces for AdultsWhile adjusting an adult’s bite can be a bit more complex, adults benefit just as much from a straight, healthy bite. Straighter teeth not only look more attractive, but you will have a lower risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Plus, being able to chew normally may improve your digestion.

If you are concerned about how traditional braces may affect your daily life, you may want to consider alternatives, such as lingual braces and clear braces. Lingual braces are attached to the tooth surfaces that face the tongue, straightening without visually disrupting your smile. Clear braces are custom-fitted trays that fit seamlessly over your teeth and can be removed for eating and brushing.

Dr. Smith will discuss the pros and cons of each type with you and will help you determine which option is best for your dental needs.

Will Braces Hurt? The Orthodontic Experience

Contrary to what you might think, traditional braces are not painful when first applied. The brackets are fixed to the teeth with simple dental cement, and an arch-wire is attached to help reposition them. The process is simple and doesn’t harm the teeth in any way.

Soreness may happen after the wire has been placed, or more tension is added. This is due to the pressure of shifting the teeth. However, this soreness only lasts a few days at most.

It can take some time to adjust to having the new dental appliances. Most people adjust enough that they stop noticing them. However, if you are prone to mouth sores, or are involved in physical activities such as contact sports, it may be better to try clear braces such as Invisalign and Clear Correct.

Customized Retainers

Maintain Your Healthy Smile with a Quality Retainer Shaped for Your Teeth

Creating Your Custom Retainer

When you’ve spent so much time wearing braces to straighten your teeth, the last thing you want is for them to revert to the starting point. When the braces come off, the orthodontist provides a retainer to help your teeth settle into their new placement.

Our goal is to make your treatment a sure success, and you remain as comfortable as possible throughout the process. You can be confident that if you have any issues with your retainer, whether it breaks or starts to hurt, we are here to help. At the dental office of Dr. Kenneth R. Smith, D.D.S., we provide quality orthodontic services through every step, from the first consultation to the final retainer. If you want to achieve your healthiest smile, contact our office and schedule an appointment today!

Types of Retainers

We create a range of retainers to fit the needs of each individual patient. Tracking your dental movement through the orthodontic procedure allows Dr. Smith to know exactly which type of retainer will best suit your needs. Our most common retainers include:

  • Hawley retainer: The Hawley retainer consists of a metal wire on an acrylic arch.  Dr. Smith may adjust the wire at various points to ensure the teeth stay in the desired position.  The acrylic arch is designed to fit comfortably on the lingual walls or palate of the mouth.
  • Essix: The Essix retainer is the most commonly used vacuum formed retainer (VFR).  Using the impression mold made with your new alignment, the lab creates specialized clear PVC trays that fit over the entire arch.  VFRs don’t affect the aesthetic appearance of the smile in the same way as others, but they tend to be more fragile, scratching or breaking more easily.
  • Fixed retainers: A fixed retainer is somewhat like a lingual brace because it’s a single wire fixed in place along the tongue side of a few teeth.  We commonly use this type in cases where the teeth have moved quickly or significantly. When teeth move rapidly back toward their original position, it means they are more likely to regress without the continued pressure from a fixed retainer.
Retainer Dos and Dont's

How Do I Care for My Teeth and Retainer?

Our goal is to make your treatment a sure success, and you remain as comfortable as possible throughout the process. You can be confident that if you have any issues with your retainer, whether it breaks or starts to hurt, we are here to help. 

Taking good care of your retainer and making sure it can do its job is simple, but there are a few important details you need to be aware of.

  1. Keep track of your retainer: Removable retainers are very easy to lose, especially for children and teens. It’s best to make a habit of keeping it in the case it came in while eating, drinking and brushing your teeth. Putting it somewhere else, like a folded napkin, can lead to a costly replacement if you lose track of it.
  2. Don’t drink while wearing a retainer: This may not seem like a big deal; what’s a little sip of a soda going to hurt? However, liquid can be trapped under the trays, creating more exposure to sugar and acid and making cavities more likely.
  3. Don’t eat while wearing a retainer:  Eating with your retainer in can lead to multiple problems. At best, it’s awkward to eat with. Food trapped under the retainer can quickly cause bad breath and leave a lingering odor on the device itself. You might also risk breaking the device when eating certain foods.
  4. Clean the retainer properly: Without proper cleaning, retainers can quickly collect bacteria, plaque, and food particles. You will need to clean all sides of the device at least as often as you brush. When removing them to eat, rinse them off with water and dry them quickly to prevent bacteria.
  5. Wear the retainer as directed: While you likely feel relieved to have your braces off, at last, you need to remember that your treatment is still ongoing. You may be tempted not to wear your retainers as often as they’ve been advised. However, the retainers are doing the critical job of allowing your bones, muscles, and tissue to stabilize. Without that, your teeth may very well shift to their original positioning, leaving you back where you started.

How you clean your retainer will depend on its type. Hawley retainers can be cleaned with a toothbrush. VFRs, however, are softer and should be cleaned with a special denture or retainer cleaner.

VFR retainers are even worse to eat with; if you have them on your upper and lower arches, they won’t allow teeth to meet, which makes it all but impossible to even chew your food. The best practice is simply to keep them in their case until you’ve finished eating and rinsed your mouth to remove all food particles.

Achieve Your Best Smile with Orthodontic Treatment

Whether we are helping you through braces for the first time, replacing a retainer, or retraining your teeth after a relapse, you can rest assured that we’ll always provide you great care delivered with compassion. For orthodontic care that makes you feel good about your smile, contact our Ventura or Fillmore office and make an appointment today.

Contact Us

We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.