Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry focused on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a pleasing appearance and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime. Many people don’t realize, when teeth are misaligned they are more susceptible to bacteria build up, cavities, and periodontal disease. So, obtaining a straight smile is about more than just appearances. Having a straight smile can benefit your health too. If you are looking for a straighter smile, contact our office to set up your complimentary consultation so we can begin the process to a happy and healthy smile.
WHAT IS AN ORTHODONTIST?
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in how the jaws and teeth are aligned. They have the important job of helping people whose teeth are misaligned or require some kind of correction. Orthodontists have the power to help people feel less anxious about their teeth. They get to improve smiles and give their patients self-confidence through their work.
HOW LONG IS THE TREATMENT?
Treatment time for braces typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face, as well as the severity of the problem. The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Early treatment may take as few as six months. We are committed to making your treatment as swift and effective as possible.
WHEN IS THE BEST AGE TO VISIT THE ORTHODONTIST?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age; however the American Association of Orthodontics recommends all children get a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. An orthodontist can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid more serious complications later in life.
AM I TOO OLD FOR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
It is never too late to get the smile you have always wanted. About 25% of orthodontic patients are adults. Many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children, and can now experience the satisfaction of a perfect smile.
WHAT ARE BRACES?
The basic idea behind braces is to produce a force on a tooth in a controlled amount and direction to move a tooth.
Our practice offers a variety of braces, types and styles to choose from. Some common options include:
Traditional metal braces
DO BRACES HURT?
It is normal to feel anxious about getting braces. Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks and mouth get used to your new braces. We will offer many tools and suggestions for easing the discomfort in the days following having braces installed or adjusted.
HOW CAN I TAKE CARE OF MY TEETH IF I’M WEARING BRACES OR A RETAINER?
ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
Make sure you use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
If you take out your retainer to eat or to brush and floss, then remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
Keep your retainer clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also use an orthodontic appliance cleaner twice a week. Do not use hot or boiling water.
During your treatment try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar. Sugar increases the amount of bacteria in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any food you need to bite into (corn on the cob, apples).
WHAT KIND OF DENTAL CARE DO I NEED WITH BRACES?
Regular checkups with your family dentist are a vital part of your oral health. With braces, food may be caught in places where your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up which can lead to cavities, gingivitis and gum disease. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are wearing braces. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy.
WILL WEARING BRACES INTERFERE WITH MY SCHOOL ACTIVITIES LIKE PLAYING A SPORT, SINGING, OR PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT?
We have great news! Braces will not hinder you from participating in any of your school activities. However, you may have an adjustment period while you are getting used to wearing your new appliance. It is recommended, if you play a contact sport that you wear a mouth guard to protect your braces or appliance.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CHILD MAY NEED ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT
Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13.)
Difficulty chewing and/or biting
Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five
Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
Teeth that don’t come together in a normal manner or even at all
Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbite)
Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADULT ORTHODONTICS AND ORTHODONTICS FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS?
The main difference between treating adults and children or teens is that the jawbones of younger patients are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing. Other differences include:
Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease)
Adults are more likely to experience gum recession or even bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Patients with straighter teeth are less likely to experience gum disease.
Worn or missing teeth
Over time teeth can become worn and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt, creating a bad bite and increasing the possibility of gum disease.
Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen
Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment. As an adult, they choose to complete their treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they’ve always wanted.