Dr. Gruendeman graduated from Loyola Dental School in 1982 and the Orthodontics program in 1989. He was an Assistant Professor of Orthodontics at Loyola from 1989-94. Gary has published articles on orthodontics and loves the game of golf.
Your smile is a very strong statement to those around you. Orthodontic treatment helps obtain that special one of a kind smile. An orthodontist will straighten your teeth and give you a good bite (where the bottom and top teeth align). A good bite makes it easier for you to speak and chew. A good bite and healthy smile are important no matter your age!
Treatment is important because crooked/crowded teeth are harder to clean. There are different appliances that your orthodontist may use to move your teeth:
• Retainers – A fixed or removable appliance designed to maintain your teeth in their corrected position. The fibers that hold your teeth to the bone have lots of memory and it takes 6 months for the fibers to mend and then remember 1/2 the distance moved. That's why you are asked to wear your retainers all the time the first year, and at night after that. Retainer check appointments are necessary to monitor appliance condition and function.
• Traditional Braces – A self-ligating system that eliminates the need for elastic or metal ties. Treatment time is typically shorter because the high technology wires move teeth faster. Benefit to patients is a beautiful result, increased comfort and fewer appointments. Type of procedure and length of time needed may effect scheduling options for some visits. Generally appointments are every 8-12 weeks.
• Clear Orthodontic Trays – A treatment option that involves wearing a series of clear, removable aligners (for about 12 months) that gradually move teeth without wires or brackets. Trays must be worn 24 hours a day and may only be removed when eating and brushing your teeth. If trays are not worn as specified, your teeth will not move as expected and you will not achieve your desired results. Trays are worn in a specific order, for a two week period. Save all used trays; do not discard when you change aligners. Periodic office visits are required to monitor progress and ensure optimal results.
• Clear Orthodontic Tray Express – A less costly, faster treatment option for mild or less severe malocclusions that involves wearing a series of clear, removable aligners (for 6 months or less).
• RPE (Rapid Palatal Expander) – An appliance, generally fixed but may be removable, designed to widen the upper jaw and allow more room for teeth to erupt into the mouth. An RPE may also be used to correct a cross-bite. The appliance is activated by turning a screw or key, as directed by the dentist. Common appointment sequences: spacers, impression, insert. Brief office visits, scheduled like an adjustment, are required to check the expansion. The appliance must stay in place for a minimum of 4 months after the desired expansion has been achieved. An expander is often used prior to full orthodontic treatment.
For more information, visit
The American Association of Orthodontists website: https://www.aaoinfo.org