Your Questions

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities like crowding, improper bites, cross-bites, over-bites, or abnormal jaw growth.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an advanced education residency program following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.

What are the benefits of orthodontics?

• A more attractive smile
• Self-confidence
• Improved function of your teeth
• Increased ability to clean your teeth
• Improved force distribution and wear patterns of your teeth
• Better long-term health of your teeth and gums
• Help guide your permanent teeth into more favorable positions
• Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth

What are some signs that braces may be needed?

• You want a beautiful smile and/or feel embarrassed to smile because of your teeth
• The upper front teeth protrude excessively or have a“bucked” appearance
• Excessive deep-bite or over-bite- too much overlap of your front teeth
• An under-bite or your lower front teeth come down in front of your upper teeth
• An Open-bite or the upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together
• Crowded, blocked, or overlapped teeth
• Difficulty chewing, biting or speaking
• Finger- or thumb-sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
• Teeth that are wearing unevenly or excessively
• Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are recessed
• Spaces between the teeth

At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed or stopped. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child's physician.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of cross-bites, over-bites, and under-bites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty-five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

Do braces hurt?

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.

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A HUGE benefit of orthodontics is the gift of a beautiful smile. A beautiful smile increases your self confidence. Having confidence at any age leads to more opportunity, and this is why we LOVE doing what we do.