What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
What is an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral program (typically three additional years) following dental school, to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.
What are the Benefits of Orthodontics?
- An improved smile
- Increased self-confidence, especially during developmental years
- Improved functionality of the teeth
- Improvement in ability to clean the teeth
- Better wear patterns of the teeth
- Better force distribution of the teeth
- Optimal health of teeth and gums
- Decreased injury risk to protruded front teeth
- May aid other dental treatment
What are the Signs that Orthodontic Treatment May be Indicated?
- The upper front teeth are bucked, or protrude noticeably over the lower front teeth.
- The lower front teeth are mostly covered over by the upper front teeth. This is known as a deepbite.
- The lower front teeth are in front of the upper front teeth. This is known as an underbite.
- The upper front teeth do not touch the lower front teeth. This is known as an openbite.
- The teeth are overlapped and crowded.
- There are spaces between the teeth.
- The middle of the upper and lower teeth is misaligned.
- Thumb or finger sucking habit after the age of six or seven.
- Difficulty chewing or biting.
- Excessive or uneven tooth wear.
- When biting down, the lower jaw shifts to side.
- Early or late loss of the baby teeth.
At What Age Can Someone Get Braces?
Orthodontic treatment can start at any age. An orthodontist can detect problems when you are young, before jaw growth is completed. If treatment is started early, complications and even surgery can often be avoided later on. It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that children should see an orthodontist by age 7, or earlier if their dentist, doctor, or parents find any issue.
What is Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment (Phase I and Phase II)?
Treatment that is initiated before eruption of all the permanent teeth is known as early interceptive treatment, or Phase I. Usually started between the ages of six and ten, Phase I is limited to treatment such as partial braces, expanders, and oral habit correction. Common problems treated in Phase I are overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Treatment that occurs after Phase I is referred to as Phase II. This phase is initiated once all the permanent teeth have erupted and is typically begun between the ages of eleven and thirteen. Phase II is considered comprehensive treatment.
Should Adults Get Braces?
It’s never too late! Many people associate orthodontics with children and teenagers, but nationwide, 20% of orthodontic patients are over the age of 18. Every year, more and more adults are undergoing and benefiting from orthodontic treatment. Modern techniques and materials, such as clear braces and Invisalign®, have made orthodontic treatment far less visible and much more comfortable.
How Do Braces Move Your Teeth?
Braces are comprised of two parts: brackets and an archwire. The brackets are attached to the teeth. The arch wire has flexibility and memory. The archwire is engaged into the brackets and gradually return back to their original shape over time, creating a gentle pressure to slowly move the teeth into the correct position.
How Long Will Orthodontic Treatment Take?
The average time for orthodontic treatment is 1 to 2 years. However, each person is different, and treatment time can be influenced by several factors such as the severity of the problem, growth rate of the jaws and patient compliance. In addition, maintaining excellent oral hygiene, and regularly attending appointments help keep you on schedule.
Are Braces Painful?
No. It does not hurt when braces and bands are put on. Once the arch wires are placed and adjusted, you may feel some pressure. Your teeth will probably be sore for about 2 to 3 days but the discomfort will go away. If needed, you can take over-the-counter pain medication such as Advil or Tylenol (similar to what you would take for a headache). In the beginning, you will have to get used to unfamiliar bumps and protrusions in your mouth. The braces occasionally rub on your cheeks and lips, which can be remedied by placing wax over the area.
Can I Still Play Sports With Braces?
Yes. If you play a physical sport, we recommend you wear a protective mouth guard. We provide mouth guards that are compatible with braces and do not interfere with tooth movement. Please let us know if you need one.
Can I Play a Musical Instrument With Braces?
Yes, however, there will be an initial adjustment period. With practice and time, it will feel normal. You can also wear a brace cover to help feel more comfortable as well. Please let us know if you would like one.
Should I Continue to See my Dentist?
Yes! We recommend you see your dentist every 3 months for check-ups and cleanings.