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 4 years of dental school and has elected to specialize by completing an additional 2 to 3 years of advanced orthodontics training in an accredited educational program. This additional training allows him/her to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial growth and development.
What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?
- A more attractive smile
- Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
- Better function of the teeth
- Possible increase in 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 positions
- Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
- Aid in optimizing other dental treatment
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 old
- Difficulty chewing
- Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
- The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
- Spaces between the teeth
- The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child's first orthodontic visit occur by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child's physician. 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. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications.
What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e.
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, underbites, or to control harmful oral habits. Most of the time a second phase of treatment will be required. This treatment is referred to as Phase II treatment and usually takes place between the ages of eleven and thirteen.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful
and healthy smile. In our office 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces apply a 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. During this process the tooth does not change shape it simply moves through the bone to its new position.
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, following your orthodontists' instructions 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. However, once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some pressure which turns into soreness in 6 to 8 hours. This discomfort typically lasts for 3 to 5 days. In order to minimize this discomfort it's a good idea to take an analgesic (acetaminophen or Ibuprophen) prior to the placement of your braces. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces.
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. For those of you who don't have mouth guards ask our office for one.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment.
Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist regularly for cleanings and dental checkups.