What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Braces, aligners, fixed and removable appliances, and other tools and devices are used to straighten teeth, align jaws, and correct bites by applying gentle forces to move teeth and bones. Orthodontic treatment can improve function (ability to chew, bite, talk, etc.) and health, give you a beautiful smile and increase your confidence.
Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist for your care?
Just as there are specialists in medicine (such as cardiologists, neurologists, etc.), there are also specialists in dentistry. Orthodontists have additional training after dental school and focus exclusively on straightening teeth, aligning jaws, and improving smiles. Orthodontists can offer a variety of solutions and options for your orthodontic treatment. They have specialized tools, equipment, knowledge, and technology (i.e., SureSmile) that general dentists do not have access to. Teeth and faces are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment; therefore it is very important that the treatment is done properly. A licensed orthodontist is an expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with you to ensure teeth stay in their new positions.
Do you need a referral from your dentist to see an orthodontist?
Not unless you are in a managed care plan. Referrals from friends and families of existing patients is a common way orthodontist meet new patients. We also have patients who find us via internet searches and websites or other media.
What questions should you ask a family dentist who offers to do braces or Invisalign?
What kind of formal orthodontic training does he/she have beyond dental school? Is he/she licensed as an orthodontist? Does he/she treat all orthodontic cases, even the most complex? Does he/she offer multiple and esthetic treatment options and the most advanced technology and methods, i.e., SureSmile, inside braces, etc?
When are the early warning signs of a bad bite?
It is important to examine your child’s teeth as the permanent teeth grow in. Some signs that may indicate the need for an orthodontic exam:
- early or late loss of baby teeth
- difficulty chewing or biting, frequent biting of cheek or lips
- crowding, poorly positioned, extra or missing teeth
- jaws that make sounds or shift off center when biting together
- teeth that do not meet when you bite down (open bite)
- jaws and/or teeth out of proportion to the rest of the face
- finger sucking or pacifier habits beyond the age of six
- top front teeth stick out, protrude or are “bucked”
- baby teeth that do not grow to the same height as their neighbors
- top front teeth grow in behind the bottom front teeth
- top front teeth cover more than 25% of bottom front teeth when back teeth are touching
- a weak or prominent chin
- neighboring teeth shift into bad positions after a tooth has been removed
- centers of the top and bottom front teeth don’t line up
- teeth wear unevenly
- spaces between teeth persist after the top permanent canines come in
- embarrassing teeth or smile often hidden by hands
What are braces?
Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile! There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Gold braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
- Traditional metal braces
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
The amount of time spent in braces can vary depending on the individual patient. Every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between 6 to 30 months; however, most standard treatments take about 22 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces do not often hurt; however, you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth gets used to your new braces.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities; like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know, and we will provide you with all of the information you need.