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 advanced education program following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial 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
Aids 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
Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
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 detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. 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 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 cross bites, overbites, and underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually 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. Twenty to twenty five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the arch wire that connects 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.
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 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 every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.
Your First Visit
Your initial visit to our office is very important to us. It gives us the opportunity to get to know each other and determine what you hope to accomplish with your smile. During this visit, the doctor will answer questions that you may have such as the type of treatment needed, when it should start, and the estimated treatment time. If treatment is needed, you will be able to discuss fees and payment options before treatment begins.
We offer the following financial options for your convenience:
Interest free monthly payments
Discount for paying in full
Most major credit cards accepted
We are also happy to work with Cafeteria accounts and Flex and HSA accounts.
If you are excited to get your treatment started, diagnostic records can be taken at the conclusion of this appointment so you can begin your treatment as soon as possible.
Call to schedule your complimentary exam today.
The appointment when you get your appliances (braces, expanders, etc.) usually takes from one to one and a half hours. You’ll then see us at regular intervals 4 to 8 weeks apart for an adjustment, which takes 20 to 40 minutes. We make every effort to be on time for our patients and ask that you extend the same courtesy to us. If you cannot keep an appointment, please notify us immediately. Cancel only if it is an emergency. It is difficult to reschedule you since most appointments are made 4 to 8 weeks in advance.
If you have insurance, we will help you to determine the coverage you have available. We ask that you assign your insurance benefit to us. The balance will be arranged for you to pay (see above). Professional care is provided to you, our patient, and not to an insurance company. Thus, the insurance company is responsible to the patient and the patient is responsible to the doctor. We will help in every way we can in filing your claim and handling insurance questions from our office on your behalf.
In order to properly place brackets and fit bands, the first few appointments will be frequent, requiring your patience and flexibility. After the appliances are placed, adjustment appointments will then occur approximately every six weeks and for shorter time intervals, approximately 20-40 minutes.
Cooperation is requested in making and keeping all appointments. As most of our patients are school age, we will make every effort to give each patient their share of after-school appointments; however, please be aware that many appointments, especially those of longer duration, will be during school hours. We are happy to provide a school excuse, if needed.
It is difficult to reschedule you since most appointments are made 4 to 8 weeks in advance. If an appointment must be broken, please notify us immediately so another appointment can be reserved. Whenever possible, advance notice of 24 hours is appreciated if an appointment must be changed.
Other Dental Treatment and Records
Extractions (if necessary), x-rays, and the restoration of decayed teeth will usually be done before orthodontic treatment is started. After treatment, a complete set of orthodontic records will be taken. It is recommended that a dental checkup be scheduled with your dentist shortly after braces are removed.
Orthodontic bands and wires are food-catchers. It is therefore important that the teeth be carefully brushed after each meal and snack. After brushing, the appliances should be checked to see if they appear clean and shiny with no food particles or plaque. Failure to keep the mouth clean increases the likelihood of dental decay and etching of the enamel around the edges of the brackets and bands. Patients who keep their teeth clean and use fluoride gels usually have a minimum of decay, if any.
Regular Dental Check-ups
It is recommended that regular 6-month dental check-ups and cleanings be continued by your dentist during treatment.
Foods which are hard or chewy should be avoided during orthodontic treatment in order to prevent appliance breakages. Appliance breakages will complicate and thus prolong treatment.
Loose or Broken Appliances
Any breakage of the appliances (loose bands or brackets, broken wires, etc.) should be reported immediately to the office and an appointment made to repair the appliance. Do not wait until your next scheduled adjustment, as there is insufficient time during this appointment to repair appliances and make an adjustment. If a repair must be made during an adjustment appointment, you may be rescheduled at a later date in order to make an adjustment. If breakages become excessive, there may be an additional charge made for repairs.
Although ceramic brackets have several advantages, they also require special attention and care. In order to maintain their aesthetic appearance, these brackets must be kept clean. Any foods which have a tendency to stain (such as mustard, tea, and coffee) will turn the clear elastics around the brackets yellow over several weeks and therefore should be avoided, if possible. Ceramic brackets are more brittle than those made of metal and thus require special attention to the types of foods eaten in order to avoid breakage. Finally, ceramic brackets are much harder than the enamel on teeth. For this reason, it is important that the patient contact the doctor’s office immediately if he or she is biting on a bracket any time during treatment, as this may cause significant wear on the patient’s teeth
Parts of Braces
Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.
The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.
A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.
A metal or ceramic part cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your arch wire in place.
A spring that fits between your brackets and over your arch wire to open space between your teeth.
Elastic (Rubber Band)
A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.
The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the arch wire in place. They come in a variety of colors.
Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.
A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.
A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.
A thin wire that holds your arch wire into your bracket.
A lip bumper is an arch wire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.
A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.
A device that makes your upper jaw wider.
An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.
Separator or Spacer
A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.
A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the arch wire in place.
Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.
The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.
An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.
A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.
The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.
The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.
The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.
An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.
The process of attaching an arch wire to the brackets on your teeth.
An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.