What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an additional two to three years of an advanced education program following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth and jaw movement and guide dental and facial development.
What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?
A more attractive smile
Improved function of the teeth
Possible increased self-confidence
Increased ability to clean the teeth
Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
Better long-term health of teeth and gums
Guide permanent teeth into more favorable position
Reduced risk of injury due to protruded front teeth (The most commonly fractured teeth in children due to trauma)
Optimization of other dental treatments
What are some signs that braces may be needed?
- “Bucked Teeth”: Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth.
- Deep Bite: Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together
- Underbite: Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth
- Open Bite: The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together Crowded teeth: Crowded, rotated, late in errupting or overlapped teeth
- Asymmetric Midline: The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up Harmful Habits: Finger or thumb-sucking habits which continue after six or seven-years-old
- Difficulty chewing: Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
- Unstable Bite: The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
- Spacing: 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 they are detected at an early age, before the jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications as an adult. 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 a limited orthodontic treatment (e.g., 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 crossbites, overbites, and underbites or harmful oral habits.
Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces once all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen. This is the perfecting phase of orthodontic treatment where all imperfections are addressed and the treatment is finalized.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. A beautiful and healthy smile is attractive at any age. A large percentage of our orthodontic patients today are adults.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Appliances use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. With braces, the brackets that are placed on your teeth and the arch wires that connect them are the main components. When the arch wire 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. With Invisalign clear custom aligners are fabricated and worn for approximately two weeks each applying gentle pressure to move the teeth.
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 is affected by rate of growth, the severity of the correction necessary and patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene, not breaking brackets 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 arch wires 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 mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards 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 at least every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.