Frequently Asked Questions About Braces and Orthodontics
Orthodontics helps to improve the comfort of the bite, makes it easier to brush and floss your teeth for good dental health, improves long term health of teeth and gums, and many times helps to balance the facial musculature. The positive self-esteem benefits are immeasurable.
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. 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.
An orthodontist is a general dentist that has had 2 to 3 more years of full-time training in orthodontics resulting in a nationally accepted specialty certificate. The orthodontist then limits their practice to straightening teeth and correcting jaw problems.
Phase 1 treatment is delivered early and before all permanent teeth have erupted. The purpose of this early care is to start correcting harmful malocclusions or poor bites that may be more difficult or impossible to correct later. Phase 1 treatment does not eliminate the need for conventional orthodontics done during adolescence. Examples of phase 1 treatment include correcting individual tooth or jaw crossbites and severe underbites and overbites where function, aesthetic or psychological concerns are identified.
Phase 2 treatment is conventional orthodontic treatment. It may start while the last baby teeth are falling out and continue until the 12 year molars have been evaluated or straightened. This treatment usually lasts between 2 and 3 years.
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.
Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
Crowded or overlapped teeth
The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
Spaces between the teeth
Absolutely. A growing percentage of our patients are adult. New, more cosmetic appliances are making adult treatment much more comfortable and convenient.
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.
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.
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist for routine cleanings and dental checkups.
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.