What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities (e.g., overbite, crowding, misalignment of teeth, etc.)
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a certified dental specialist who has completed an advanced education program after dental school. These extra two to three years are spent learning the special skills required to properly straighten teeth and guide facial development.
What are some of the possible benefits of orthodontics?
- A healthier smile
- A more attractive smile
- Better function of the teeth
- Better long-term health of teeth and gums
- Increased self-confidence (especially during critical developmental years)
- Guidance of permanent teeth to erupt into more favorable positions (preventive)
- Reduced risk of injury to protruding front teeth
- Avoidance of excessive enamel wearing
What are some of the signs that braces may be needed?
- Overbite – upper front teeth protrude over the lower teeth
- Underbite – upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth
- Deep Bite – upper front teeth cover most of the lower teeth
- Open Bite – upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting
- Crowding – overlapping teeth
- Spacing – gaps between the teeth
- Midline Shift – the centers of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
- Prolonged finger/thumb sucking habit beyond six years old
- Difficulty in chewing
- Uneven or excessive wearing of teeth
- Shifting of lower jaw to one side when biting
At what age should orthodontic treatment begin?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child should visit an orthodontist by age seven. If a problem is detected by the parents or the child's physician, the child can be seen even earlier than age seven. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age, before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may prevent many serious complications.
Do I need a referral by my dentist to seek orthodontic treatment?
No. While we work with many wonderful dentists, many of our patients come to us from personal referrals or find us through our website.
What is Phase I treatment?
Phase I is an early interceptive treatment. It is also a preventive treatment to minimize future problems. Treatment usually begins before all permanent teeth have erupted, between the ages of six and ten. Phase I treatment is recommended when more spaces are needed for larger developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits, etc.
What is Phase II treatment?
Phase II treatment is a comprehensive treatment and commences when all the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of 11 and 13. Sometimes, children can go directly to Phase II treatment without Phase I treatment.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthdontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Approximately 40 percent of all orthodontic patients today are adults. With the popularity of Invisalign and clear braces, the number of adult patients is increasing.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
Length of treatment varies on a case-by-case basis. The average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time is affected by patient compliance, rate of growth, and severity of the necessary correction. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.
Do braces hurt?
In our office, we take special care not to make your teeth hurt while placing braces on your teeth. As the teeth move, you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to five days. Your lips and cheeks may need one week to get used to the new braces. Our patients have consistently commented that we are very gentle.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. However, it is recommended that patients protect their smiles by wearing mouth guards when participating in sports activities. Orthodontic mouth guards are inexpensive and comfortable.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be a short initial period of adjustment.
Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes. We recommend that you continue to see your general dentist every four to six months for cleanings, dental checkups, and periodontal evaluations.