What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry focused on the correction and prevention of tooth misalignment and facial irregularities.

What is an orthodontist?

Orthodontists specialize in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Following dental school, orthodontists complete an accredited, extensive two to three-year orthodontic residency program.

What are the benefits of orthodontics?

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic treatment results in correctly aligned teeth that provide ideal jaw function and a great smile! Additionally, your teeth are easier to clean and more resistant to gum disease. Perhaps most importantly, orthodontic treatment almost always provides improved self-confidence.

What are signs that braces are needed?

The presence of an Overbite (upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth), Crossbite (upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth), Openbite (the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap) and Upper Front Teeth Protrusion (upper teeth extends too far forward, while the lower teeth extends too far back), are all indications that orthodontic treatment is necessary.

What age should orthodontic treatment begin?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

Phase One (early) treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-21 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image. The period following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations. Phase Two treatment, which includes full braces, generally begins at the age of 12 or 13, and may be necessary to complete the correction.

Can adults benefit from orthodontics?

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!

What kind of braces are there?

Our office offers orthodontic treatment utilizing conventional metal and clear ceramic braces, as well as Invisalign®. Metal braces are the most common type of brace. Today’s metal braces are generally smaller and more attractive. Ceramic braces are more popular with adults, due to their aesthetic appeal. Invisalign is an invisible series of aligners that are comfortable and removable, and can be used to straighten your teeth without the metal wires or brackets.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.

Do braces hurt?

Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

You can still play sports, but we recommend you protect your smile by wearing a mouth guard.

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

No, but you may have to adjust to the braces. We can also provide brace covers to prevent discomfort.

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

What is Orthognathic Surgery?

Orthognathic surgery treats and corrects abnormalities of the facial bones, specifically the jaws and the teeth. Orthognathic surgery may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatment can correct the problem. With the latest advances in orthodontics, this is sometimes the case. We will determine if orthognathic surgery is the correct treatment option for you.