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Shannon Hilgers Nissen Orthodontics provides a variety of dental and orthodontic services, both from a perspective of aesthetics and functionality. From self-ligating braces and retainers to Invisalign, we have solutions and methods that will make a strong positive impact.


Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics were the first specialty created in the field of dentistry. An Orthodontist is a specialist who has undergone special training in a dental school or college after they have graduated in dentistry. The specialty deals primarily with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of malpositioned teeth and the jaws.

How Orthodontic Treatment Works

Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, self-ligating braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear self-ligating braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can often choose brackets that are clear or metallic, and sometimes you can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be, and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.

Duration of Treatment

Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face, and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment, so the time until case completion may differ from the original estimate. The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive or early treatment procedures may take as few as six months.

Orthodontics for Children

While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven. By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.

Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:

– Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight.
– Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches- Create more space for crowded teeth.
– Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life.
– Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems.

For parents, it’s not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment. Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:

– Early or late loss of baby teeth.
– A hard time chewing or biting food.
– Mouth breathing.
– Finger or thumb sucking.
– Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth.
– Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing.
– Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all.
– Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face.
– Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight.

Orthodontic Treatment for Adults

Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for teens. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists states that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Many adults are choosing to receive treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining their health, and they want to feel better about their appearance. Adults everywhere are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive orthodontic care, and now you can too.

Common reasons why adults are considering orthodontic treatment:

– A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly.
– Teeth are crowded or spaced apart, possibly leading to tooth decay or gum disease.
– Abnormal jaw pain or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth.
– Desire for a healthier mouth and a more confident smile.

Treatment Options for Adults

For many adults, the thought of having metal self-ligating braces is enough to discourage them from receiving treatment. However, today’s orthodontic treatment options offer a variety of self-ligating braces and appliances that are comfortable, aesthetic, and customized to meet your needs.

Types of self-ligating braces include:

– Clear self-ligating braces.
– Ceramic self-ligating braces.
– Self-ligating braces.
– Invisible self-ligating braces.
– Traditional metal self-ligating braces.


Clear aligners, also known as clear-aligner treatment, are orthodontic devices that uses incremental transparent aligners to adjust teeth as an alternative to dental self-ligating.

Clear-aligner treatment involves an orthodontist taking a mold of the patient’s teeth, which is used to create a digital tooth scan. The computerized model suggests stages between the current and desired teeth positions, and aligners are created for each stage. Each aligner is worn for around 20 hours a day for around two weeks. This slowly move the teeth into the position.


The Damon System is not just about revolutionary self-ligating and wires, it’s a whole new way of treating patients. Traditional treatment often requires removal of healthy teeth and/or the use of palatal expanders to make space. This approach is often uncomfortable, takes longer, and can leave a narrower arch and a flat profile. Damon smiles are full, natural 10-tooth smiles achieved with light biologically-sensible forces, and are specifically designed to improve the overall facial result of each patient.


Many children struggle to breath properly because the airway is narrow or underdeveloped. This contributes to mouth breathing as the child struggles to get enough oxygen throughout their day. Mouth breathing can lead to an increased need for more complex orthodontic treatment later, tongue thrust issues, speech problems and compromised immune and hormonal systems. Through expansion and arch development (in a addition to working with a pediatric ENT), orthodontics can help us avoid these problems so that the child can grow and develop properly.

Tongue Thrust Therapy

Tongue thrust (also called reverse swallow or immature swallow) is the common name of orofacial muscular imbalance, a human behavioral pattern in which the tongue protrudes through the anterior incisors during swallowing, speech, and while the tongue is at rest. Nearly all infants exhibit a swallowing pattern involving tongue protrusion, but by six months of age most lose this reflex allowing for the ingestion of solid foods.

Many school-age children have tongue thrust. For example, according to recent literature, as many as 67–95 percent of children 5–8 years old exhibit tongue thrust, which may be associated with or contributing to an orthodontic or speech problem. Up to the age of four, there is a possibility that the child will outgrow tongue thrust. However, if the tongue thrust swallowing pattern is retained beyond that age, it may be strengthened.

Dental Imaging

SHN Ortho is equipped with the most modern, effective and low dose imaging and diagnostics tools on the market. We use the ORTHOPHOS XG 5, which helps us make the most complete diagnosis in office.