Why should I be treated by an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist. In addition to a bachelor’s degree and dental doctorate, an orthodontist also completes an additional two to three years of orthodontic specialty residency training concentrating only on tooth movement and facial growth and development. The additional training they receive, as well as every day experience provides them the expertise to diagnose and treat all aspects of dentofacial issues, including functional, skeletal and aesthetic concerns.
Orthodontists only practice orthodontics. They have knowledge of skeletal growth, abnormalities and use a full range of orthodontic appliance, including braces, expanders, clear aligners and other devices. They are experts in dentofacial orthopedics and diagnosis and treatment of dental malocclusion. Orthodontists also build on their knowledge through on-going continuing education in orthodontic technology and practice.
When should I or my child visit an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist should be consulted if there is a concern regarding aesthetics or functionality of the patient’s teeth or facial development. Specifically, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children visit an orthodontist by age 7 to screen for developing problems. Intervention during skeletal growth in the younger years may be necessary to more easily correct orthodontic problems, oftentimes avoiding surgery, extractions and additional complications. Many times treatment is not recommended but regular visits may be suggested to observe development.
For adults, orthodontics can be performed at any age. Twenty to twenty-five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults. We are happy to meet with you to discuss your, or your child’s unique needs at our free initial consultation.
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. We will provide you with a free mouthguard upon request.
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.
What are some signs that braces may be needed?
- 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 of age
- Difficulty chewing
- Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
- The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
- Spaces between the teeth