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How do I get started?

New patient consultation

If you are interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, simply call our office to schedule a new patient consultation.

Remember to bring your insurance card to your first appointment so that we can determine your future out of pocket expenses.

Because orthodontic treatment is accomplished over an extended period of time requiring multiple appointments, reimbursement for most treatment regimes is structured as payment plans. You will be quoted an estimate for the total cost of your treatment and, prior to beginning treatment, a down payment will be due. The remaining balance is then divided into a number of monthly payments depending on the number of months estimated to complete your treatment.

Patient’s undergoing comprehensive treatment are generally seen at 6 week intervals depending upon individual circumstances.

Why even the most beautiful teeth may still need orthodontic treatment

The long-term integrity of any structure is ultimately determined by the quality of its foundation. While appearances may look healthy and normal, underneath the facade, inadequate supporting structures may be fatiguing under otherwise tolerable stress. It may take many years before you notice the damage – but then its too late.

The primary objective of orthodontics is to establish the foundation for long-term health of the teeth and jaws. Without this foundation damage is inevitable. For instance, crowded teeth are not only unsightly, they also create uncleansable crevices for bacterial growth which leads to chronic infection and recession of the gums. This goes unnoticed until the teeth are straightened and large spaces between the teeth are revealed where the supporting tissues have eroded. Non-ideal bite relationships leave one prone to irregular and severe tooth wear, chipping of teeth, fractures of teeth, and TMJ problems. Although your teeth or your child’s teeth may look good, there are many other reasons beyond esthetics and cosmetics that warrant orthodontic treatment. Perhaps the greatest benefits of comprehensive orthodontic treatment are not related to cosmetics but to the long-term prevention by establishing the proper foundation. Almost everyone can benefit substantially from an investment in orthodontic treatment.

Will my teeth stay straight?

Following orthodontic treatment, your will surely move back to their mal-aligned positions unless a “retainer” is in place to hold the teeth in their new positions. Retainers should be worn full time for at least one year. After the first year, removable retainers may be worn only at night (permanent retainers should be kept in place indefinitely). Although the degree of stability increases over time, your teeth will always be capable of moving out of line unless they are being held in place by a retainer. Therefore, retention is forever! The goal is to “maintain” the correct position of the teeth for a lifetime by holding them with some type of retainer.

How will I feel after getting braces?

The discomfort you are likely to encounter during your treatment will generally be derived from the actual tooth movement and from the appliances irritating lips and cheeks. The actually procedure where braces are placed is not painful and no injections (no needles) for local anesthesia are necessary. The only discomfort experienced during this procedure will be derived from the struggle to keep your mouth open for an extended period of time.

Once the braces are placed, you will be immediately aware of the increased bulk against your lips and cheeks and the tension from the wire as it applies a gentle force to the teeth. As several days pass you will notice that certain areas of your lips and cheeks may become mildly irritated as they are constantly rubbing against the braces. The degree of soreness experienced is generally mild but different for everyone. If you experience a great deal of irritation to the lips and cheeks as they rub against the braces, place wax on the braces at the source of the irritation. The wax simply creates a smoother surface against which your cheek or lip can rest without being irritated. Often you will unknowingly injure your lips and cheeks at night while sleeping and then experience more soreness during the daytime. If you experience a lot of soreness, prior to going to bed at night, take a long piece of wax and flatten it with your fingers. Then press this length of wax against your braces and embed it into the braces. This will produce a smooth surface over an extended length for your lips and cheeks. Do this every night until the sore spots resolve. Over time, your lips and cheeks will toughen and you will no longer experience many instances of this type of soreness. It is always a good idea to place wax on sore spots at night to prevent irritation while you sleep.

In the days following placement of your braces, and also following adjustments, your teeth will likely become sensitive to pressure and may become sensitive to thermal stimuli (hot and cold). This is normal and indicates that the teeth are being moved. Certain of your teeth will become more sore than others. Some may get very sore while others do not get sore at all. The degree of discomfort should be nothing more than annoying and is easily managed by over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. It is best to take these medications as prescribed on the bottle and be sure and take them at the intervals indicated. They will be more effective when taken at regular intervals, as this will maintain a constant level of the drug in the blood stream. Narcotic medications should not be needed to manage this level of discomfort.

Most patients will experience changes in the way their bite feels. This is normal and will resolve as the teeth move toward their improved positions. Because the bite may feel uncomfortable and because your teeth will be pressure sensitive, chewing may become difficult. Do the best you can and try to eat only soft foods. It also helps to cut your food into small pieces. Always avoid hard foods when wearing braces because of the likelihood of breaking them.

The sensitivity to pressure and thermal stimuli will be greatest during the first few weeks after the braces are applied or after an adjustment and will begin to diminish thereafter. After several months, as the teeth align, the degree of soreness you feel after an adjustment will be less and less. The further along you get, generally, more comfortable you will become.

Will I need teeth pulled?

Current treatment philosophies in orthodontics today tend toward non-extraction (not pulling teeth). Whether a patient would benefit from having teeth removed depends upon many factors and the doctor will address these issues on an individual basis. Just because your teeth are very crowded (mal-aligned) does not mean you need teeth pulled. These days, the vast majority of patients are being treated without removing teeth!

How long will it take?

The duration of treatment depends upon many factors: the severity of your initial condition, the type of problems present, and your ability to comply with treatment recommendations. Technological advances in just the past few years have vastly improved treatment efficiency and patients are finishing faster than ever and with better results. The doctor will make an estimate of the duration of your treatment after he has an opportunity to examine your condition.

Will I need to wear rubber bands (elastics)?

Most patients will need to wear elastics for some duration of time. But again this is highly variable depending upon the condition being treated. There are many, however, who do not need them at all.

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Hygiene Instructions – How to stay healthy

Cleaning your teeth is extremely important even when not wearing braces. But when wearing braces, it becomes even more important and more challenging. Once you have braces, extra effort must be put into proper brushing and flossing.

Brushing
The presence of braces on your teeth will physically prevent your tooth brush from easily accessing certain areas, particularly, the areas between your gums and the braces and underneath the arch wire which connects each bracket. Therefore, you must learn new techniques for accessing these areas.

– Buy a new tooth brush (the softest Crest brand is highly recommended). It must be very soft to reach under the wires and braces!
– Brushing with tooth paste and flossing should be performed after every meal. It is best to avoid eating in between meals.
– The goal of brushing is to remove all bacterial plaque which forms on the teeth and braces.
– When wearing braces you must focus on brushing each bracket on all four sides and then check to verify that all areas have been cleaned.
– Use very short brushing strokes and work the bristles of the brush underneath the wire and brackets, in between all teeth, and underneath the gums.
– To verify that you have been successful, use a disclosing agent (the doctor will supply these tablets). The disclosing agent will preferentially stain plaque red so that missed areas are easily visible. Then you can simply brush away the red areas. If you do not detect any red stained plaque, congratulations on doing a great job.
– We recommend using a leading brand tartar control tooth paste such as Crest or Colgate. These pastes contain the most effective formulations of abrasives and tartar inhibitors. Try to avoid gimmicky brands, especially those without the ADA seal.

Avoid Sugary Foods and Beverages
Eating any type of sugar or sweets will rapidly accelerate plaque formation because the sugar is the favorite food of the bacteria! Bacterial plaque damages your teeth by secreting acid onto the surface of the tooth enamel. The acid produced by the plaque literally dissolves the tooth enamel as water dissolves table salt or sugar. Production of acid by the bacterial occurs as a direct consequence of exposure to sugars!
When the enamel is even lightly damaged by plaque acid, the enamel surface loses translucency and a chalky white spot is produced which is analogous to “scarring” of the tooth. This is referred to as a localized decalcification and is a permanent and very unsightly defect.

There are methods of removing these unsightly spots on the teeth once braces are removed. However, these methods require removal of the damaged enamel. Tooth enamel is irreplaceable and once lost, it cannot be reformed. Instead, restorative materials (bonding agents) are used to replace the lost enamel. Although quite effective, if extensive repair work is required, it can be quite expensive. Fortunately, avoiding damage to the enamel is quite simple if one is diligent with hygiene practices.

Brush your tongue
Good hygiene practices should always include a thorough brushing of the tongue. Often overlooked by adolescents, tongue brushing is vital to maintaining fresh breath and reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth. This is because the same bacterial that form plaque on the teeth also form a plaque on the dorsum of the tongue. This plaque often appears as a white-ish color film on the dorsum of the tongue and may often become discolored by food or drink (especially coffee). The bacteria secrete noxious waste products that cause bad breath. Tongue plaque can be even more difficult to remove than tooth plaque and often requires many vigorous cycles of brushing and rinsing…brushing and rinsing. Brushing and rinsing should continue until only the natural pinkish flesh color of the tongue is visible.

Flossing
When flossing many will find it arduous to thread floss underneath the wire. Its tough but it must be done regularly! You are otherwise placing your dental health at great risk because you are far more likely to get a cavity between your teeth when wearing braces.
To make it easier to floss and clean under braces, a number helpful products are available at drug stores and grocery stores. A “floss threader” works on the same premise as a sewing needle and greatly simplifies flossing by allowing you to easily thread the floss under the arch wire of your braces. Oral B manufactures SuperFloss which is floss with a rigid end designed to be threaded underneath the braces. It’s a little easier than using a separate piece of floss with a floss-threader. Gore also makes a similar product called “Glide Threader”. Other similar products are likely available which allow for easier flossing. Oral B also makes two kinds of inter-dental brushes. These little brushes look like pipe cleaners and are designed for accessing difficult to reach areas of your braces.

Bleeding Gums
When brushing and flossing, always look for areas of bleeding from your gums. Bleeding is a sign of inflammation and is a definite indication that your gums are infected and that you are not cleaning the area adequately. Do not be alarmed by the bleeding. But be sure to pay extra close attention to cleaning areas that bleed. If you clean these areas regularly, the bleeding will stop in a matter of weeks as the inflammation resolves and the area heals. Bleeding is a sign of infection and irritation from the bacterial plaque which accumulates in every crevice in your mouth. It will only be resolved by mechanical cleaning (brushing and flossing). While anti-bacterial rinses can help speed the process of healing, they certainly cannot cure the problem alone. Rinses that you buy at the store can be good adjuncts to brushing and flossing but should never be considered as a substitute.

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Questions and Answers

How do I get started?

New patient consultations are always complimentary.

If you are interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, simply call our office to schedule a new patient consultation.

Remember to bring your insurance card to your first appointment so that we can determine your future out of pocket expenses.

How much does it cost?

Initial consultations are complimentary and costs for subsequent treatment can vary substantially depending on the nature of each case and the type of treatment. Each person must be examined by a doctor prior to determining costs for treatment.

Do you offer flexible payment options?

Yes, we offer very flexible payment options with low down payments. Because orthodontic treatment is accomplished over an extended period of time requiring multiple appointments, reimbursement for most treatment regimes is structured as payment plans. You will be quoted the total cost of your treatment and, prior to beginning treatment, a down payment will be due. The remaining balance will then be divided into a number of monthly payments depending on the number of months estimated to complete your treatment.

How often do patients come in for adjustments?

Most of our patients are generally seen at 3-6 week intervals depending upon individual circumstances.

Why even the most beautiful teeth may still need orthodontic treatment

The long-term integrity of any structure is ultimately determined by the quality of its foundation. While appearances may look healthy and normal, underneath the facade, inadequate supporting structures may be fatiguing under otherwise tolerable stress. It may take many years before you notice the damage – but then its too late.

The primary objective of orthodontics is to establish the foundation for long-term health of the teeth and jaws. Without this foundation damage is inevitable. For instance, crowded teeth are not only unsightly, they also create uncleansable crevices for bacterial growth which leads to chronic infection and recession of the gums. This goes unnoticed until the teeth are straightened and large spaces between the teeth are revealed where the supporting tissues have eroded. Non-ideal bite relationships leave one prone to irregular and severe tooth wear, chipping of teeth, fractures of teeth, and TMJ problems. Although your teeth or your child’s teeth may look good, there are many other reasons beyond esthetics and cosmetics that warrant orthodontic treatment. Perhaps the greatest benefits of comprehensive orthodontic treatment are not related to cosmetics but to the long-term prevention by establishing the proper foundation. Almost everyone can benefit substantially from an investment in orthodontic treatment.

Will my teeth stay straight?

Following orthodontic treatment, your teeth will surely move back to their mal-aligned positions unless a “retainer” is in place to hold the teeth in their new positions. Retainers should be worn full time for at least one year. After the first year, removable retainers may be worn only at night (permanent retainers should be kept in place indefinitely). Although the degree of stability increases over time, your teeth will always be capable of moving out of line unless they are being held in place by a retainer. Therefore, retention is forever! The goal is to “maintain” the correct position of the teeth for a lifetime by holding them with some type of retainer.

How will I feel after getting braces?

The discomfort you are likely to encounter after getting braces will generally be derived from the pressure on your teeth from the braces and from the braces irritating your lips and cheeks. Placing the braces on your teeth (the procedure) is not painful and no injections (no needles) for local anesthesia are needed. Usually, the only discomfort you’ll experience during this procedure will be from the struggle to keep your mouth open longer than normal.

Once the braces are placed, you will be immediately aware of the increased bulk against your lips and cheeks and the tension from the wire as it applies a gentle force to the teeth. After a couple of days you will notice that certain areas of your lips and cheeks may become mildly irritated because they are constantly rubbing against the braces. The degree of soreness experienced is generally mild but different for everyone. If you experience a great deal of irritation to the lips and cheeks as they rub against the braces, place wax on the braces at the source of the irritation. The wax simply creates a smoother surface against which your cheek or lip can rest without being irritated.

Often you will unknowingly injure your lips and cheeks at night while sleeping and then experience more soreness during the daytime. If you experience a lot of soreness, prior to going to bed at night, take a long piece of wax and flatten it with your fingers. Then press this length of wax against your braces and embed it into the braces. This will produce a smooth surface over an extended length for your lips and cheeks. Do this every night until the sore spots resolve. Over time, your lips and cheeks will toughen and you will no longer experience many instances of this type of soreness. It is always a good idea to place wax on sore spots at night to prevent irritation while you sleep.

In the days following placement of your braces, and also following adjustments, your teeth will likely become sensitive to pressure and may become sensitive to thermal stimuli (hot and cold). This is normal and indicates that the teeth are being moved. Certain teeth will become more sore than others. Some may get very sore while others do not get sore at all. The degree of discomfort should be nothing more than annoying and is easily managed by over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. It is best to take these medications as prescribed on the bottle and be sure and take them at the intervals indicated. They will be more effective when taken at regular intervals, as this will maintain a constant level of the drug in the blood stream. Narcotic medications should not be needed to manage this level of discomfort.

Most patients will experience changes in the way their bite feels. This is normal and will resolve as the teeth move toward their improved positions. Because the bite may feel uncomfortable and because your teeth will be pressure sensitive, chewing may become difficult. Do the best you can and try to eat only soft foods. It also helps to cut your food into small pieces. Always avoid hard foods when wearing braces because of the likelihood of breaking your braces.

The sensitivity to pressure and thermal stimuli will be greatest during the first few weeks after the braces are applied or after an adjustment and will begin to diminish thereafter. After several months, as the teeth align, the degree of soreness you feel after an adjustment will be less and less. The further along you get, generally, more comfortable you will become.

Will I need teeth pulled?

Current treatment philosophies in orthodontics today tend toward non-extraction (not pulling teeth). Whether a patient would benefit from having teeth removed depends upon many factors and your doctor will address these issues on an individual basis. Just because your teeth are very crowded (mal-aligned) does not mean you need teeth pulled.

How long will it take?

The duration of treatment depends upon many factors: the severity of your initial condition, the type of problems present, and your ability to comply with treatment recommendations. Technological advances in just the past few years have vastly improved treatment efficiency and patients are finishing faster than ever and with better results. Your doctor will make an estimate of the duration of your treatment after examining your condition.

Will I need to wear rubber bands (elastics)?

Most patients will need to wear elastics for some duration of time. But again this is highly variable depending upon the condition being treated. There are many, however, who do not need them at all.

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TREATMENT TIME
Treatment time varies greatly depending on individual patient requirements – including, but not limited to – age, complexity of treatment, patient expectations, patient health, patient cooperation, missed appointments and broken appliances. Treatment time with braces could require from 10 to 12 months out to 20 to 36 months. Each treatment plan and time to treat are reviewed at the start of treatment and then periodically thereafter. Depending on patient physiologic response time, health, diet, and cooperation, treatment may be accelerated.

TREATMENT OPTIONS – For all ages
Most often stainless steel bands are placed on the molars and stainless steel brackets are placed on all other teeth. Brackets and bands constitute “Braces”. Clear or ceramic brackets which match tooth color may be selected for the anterior teeth.

EARLY TREATMENT – Juvenile and Pre-teens.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that the first orthodontic evaluation be done by age 7 years.

In most instances, treatment is not immediately necessary, and annual evaluations of growth and development are wise.

Any treatment required in children in this age range is termed Interceptive Treatment and is usually of short – 8 to 12 months – duration. However, some pre-teens have replaced all their primary teeth with their permanent dentition and treatment is longer in duration and could be considered the first phase of at least two phases of treatment.

ADOLESCENT TREATMENT – Puberty to Late Teens.
Usually consist of a single phase of treatment, but may be provided in two separate phases or time periods.

Nearly all treatment is provided using stainless steel appliances.

ADULT TREATMENT
Adult patients have the same choices of brackets as adolescent patients with the additional option of gold brackets, rather than stainless steel. Adult treatment may take longer than it would take for an adolescent, or teen age, patient. The number of specific cells available to remove bone and to form new bone decreases with age. Personal nutrition and general health are extremely important.

ADULT TREATMENT – Aesthetic Related Options.
Adults who have less serious problems or concerns may want to use the invisible tray system which consists of a series of clear, custom designed, removable trays used to correct minor tooth alignment problems in both the anterior and posterior teeth. This option is the most expensive of the treatments.

The FAAB Technique, or Fast Acting Adult Braces, could be a choice for those patients active in “people contact” positions. Conventional, clear or stainless steel brackets are used. Treatment is focused on only those anterior teeth which need cosmetic or aesthetic adjustments. This treatment is useful prior to the placement of anterior crowns or veneers. Invisible retainers are used to stabilize the finished treatment, i.e. a retainer cemented behind the anterior teeth. Treatment is usually completed in 6-10 months and cost is a fraction of the invisible or clear tray treatment.

We invite you to come by and see the various options available for braces.

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Why is orthodontics important?

Orthodontics can boost a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned, but an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important. Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing and digestive difficulties. A “bad bite” can contribute to head aches, speech impairment, tooth loss, chipped teeth, and other dental injuries.

When should orthodontic treatment begin?

Early intervention can prevent the need for future treatment or at least reduce the complexity and cost of future treatment, reduce the need for extractions and gain a better overall result. Orthodontics can also be successful for ADULTS. The biological process involved in tooth movement is the same in both adults and children.

What about cost?

This will vary, of course, depending on the nature of the problem. Many orthodontic problems require only limited treatment. You may be surprised to discover that orthodontics is less expensive than you thought! In fact, interceptive orthodontics which can correct severe discrepancies, guide growth, reposition teeth, and re-shape bone can cost as little as $1800 to $2600. From a simple exam, we can give you the total cost of your treatment. We offer payment plans to help meet individual financial needs.

We understand that people lead busy lives. We also have many patients that have to drive a long distance to get to us. We use comfortable self ligating braces that require fewer appointments and cut treatment time.

We have been providing orthodontic services since 1995.

The focus of the “Craniofacial and Masticatory Systems” is the diagnosis and treatment of both dental occlusion
and craniofacial bone structures. That said, we treat orthodontics and facial esthetics as a whole. Very few patients realize that both facial and dental esthetics can be treated at the same time.

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Why does my child need an orthodontist?
An orthodontist has 2-3 years of specialized training beyond dental school to specifically diagnose and treat bite problems such as an underbite, overbite, crossbite and crowded or crooked teeth. He is a specialist at straightening teeth and ensuring proper function and aesthetics.

Your regular dentist will advise you to see an orthodontist if he or she is concerned about your child’s teeth, but you may also make an appointment with us without a referral.

If you have a concern that your child’s teeth are overcrowded, or that he or she has an overbite, underbite, crooked teeth, etc., we will be happy to schedule him or her for a free initial consultation and diagnosis. Call us to schedule a free consultation.

​What are braces?
Braces are made up of brackets, bands, wires and spacers. These components are used as needed to correct your child’s teeth, by exerting continuous pressure on the teeth and slowly moving them into place.
Brackets are the small squares that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth with a special dental glue. Brackets act like handles, holding the wires that move the teeth. The brackets can be made of stainless steel or tooth-colored material. Tooth-colored brackets are more cosmetically appealing but more expensive than stainless steel.
Orthodontic bands are stainless steel and are cemented to teeth. They wrap around each tooth and provide an attachment for the wire. Some people have only brackets and no bands.
Spacers are separators that fit between teeth to create a small space prior to placement of orthodontic bands.
Arch wires attach to the brackets and act as tracks to guide the movement of the teeth. Arch wires are made of stainless steel.
Tiny plastic rings, called ligatures or elastics hold the arch wires to the brackets. Orthodontists may use additional tools, including springs and headgear, to help adjust a person’s bite.

What do braces do?
Braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. As the teeth move, the bone around them changes shape, allowing tooth movement to occur. The teeth are moved specifically, according to careful adjustments by the Orthodontist, in order to align the jaw, improve the bite, reduce crowding, correct spacing, and straighten teeth. Over time, braces will improve your smile and correct other problems that crowded or misaligned teeth can create, including increased chance of tooth decay and tooth loss, chewing difficulties, and speech impediments.

When should my child see an orthodontist?
It is best for parents to bring children for an initial free consultation at 9 or 10, or even younger if they have a concern. This allows the doctor to evaluate the situation at an early age, and ensures that the orthodontic process proceeds smoothly, creating a beautiful smile. The best time to use braces to straighten a child’s teeth is during a major growth spurt, such as occurs during puberty, At that time a child’s bones are fairly pliable, and it is easier to align the teeth rapidly. Braces are most often appropriate at 11 ½ years for girls or 12 ½ years for boys, when the baby teeth are gone and the permanent teeth are in the mouth. However, some problems are best addressed while there are still baby teeth present. That’s why it’s better to be early rather than late in having your child evaluated.

Call to schedule an appointment!

How long will my child have to wear braces?
The time required for braces to achieve your beautiful smile varies from person to person. Factors affecting the length of time that your child will need to wear braces include the severity of the problem that is being corrected, the amount of crowding, the distance the teeth must travel, the health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone, and how closely your child follows instructions. On average, however, once the braces are put on, they usually remain in place for 8-10 to 30 months. After braces are removed, most patients will need to wear a retainer all the time for the first 12 months, then for only 10 hours in the evening for many years.

How often will my child need to see Dr. Atkinson during treatment?
Dr. Atkinson will want to see your child about every four weeks or so in order to make sure that treatment is progressing smoothly. At each appointment Dr. Bruce will make adjustments to the braces to continue the straightening process. In some cases, braces alone aren’t enough to straighten the teeth or shift the jaw. In these situations, an external appliance, such as a headgear may need to be worn at home in the evening or through the night.

Can my child continue to play sports while wearing braces?
It’s fine for your child to continue to play sports after he or she gets braces. When playing sports where there is a possibility of getting hit in the mouth, your child should wear a mouth guard. The mouth guard, made of durable plastic, is designed to fit comfortably over the braces and protect the lips, cheeks and teeth inside his or her mouth.

What about Invisalign®?
We will use clear plastic appliances, such as Invisalign, etc., for minor tooth movement if the doctor feels they are appropriate for treatment. More complicated dental problems, such as crowding or large overbites, are best corrected with braces. Using plastic aligners in these situations will take longer and will be much more expensive.”


The doctor will examine you or your child’s teeth to determine the best course of orthodontic treatment, and will discuss financing that you can afford.

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Our Orthodontist has many years of experience in dealing with every sort of tooth and dental development issue, and is very willing to help you make an informed decision about the treatment choices for your child. Like many procedures, the effectiveness of early treatment can only be determined on an individual basis. Here, the doctor explains his viewpoint on early treatment options.

What is early treatment?
The terms ‘early treatment,’ ‘interceptive treatment,’ or ‘phase I treatment’ are all basically the same thing. This form of treatment is usually done when the child is 8 to 10 years old and will have 8-12 baby teeth present in the mouth.

Phase II treatment consists of fixed appliances (metal braces) and is usually done when the patient is older and all the baby teeth are gone and the permanent teeth are in the mouth. For girls, this is about 11 ½ years old and for boys about 12 ½ years of age on the average.

Are there drawbacks to early treatment?
Early treatment is great when it is indicated and appropriate. Dental problems such as crowding or crossbites are usually corrected best through early treatment at age 9 or 10. A second stage of treatment with braces will usually be required at age 11 ½ for girls, and at age 12 ½ for boys to finish aligning the teeth.

However, what I discovered was that it was still taking about 20 months of the metal braces to finish aligning the teeth at age 12 to 13. So, I could do two phases of treatment, taking 28-32 months, or I could be a little patient and do all the treatment in one step, taking about 24 months in the metal braces.

Which was the better way? Well, by just doing one phase of treatment, the parents saved money, the child had fewer hoops to jump through, and the results were basically the same.

When do we recommend early treatment?
I love to see the kids about age 9 or 10 years old, or even younger if mom and dad have a concern about their child’s teeth. I’d much rather be ahead of the game than behind. Sometimes I will turn the patient loose for a little while, and then when he/she is ready, start the correct early treatment.

Of course, there are instances where treating the patient at 9 or 10 works out great! If all the upper teeth are too narrow (called a crossbite), 9 or 10 is a great time to correct this. Sometimes a front tooth is stuck and won’t come down, or is sticking straight out – 9 or 10 is a great time to correct this.

I firmly believe in early treatment. It just needs to be used when it is truly indicated.
Call now to schedule a consultation with us to discuss treatment options and see what financing plans you qualify for.

The doctor will examine you or your child’s teeth to determine the best course of orthodontic treatment, and will discuss financing that you can afford.

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With more that 34 years of experience, our Board-Certified Orthodontist enjoys helping his ADULT patients to achieve straight, stable and healthy smiles. Our patients appreciate that he works personally with them to carefully design their course of treatment and ensure that they achieve beautiful, healthy and lasting smiles. With friendly, personal and experienced care, he will explain every part of your treatment and make sure that you understand exactly what will be done.

More and more adults these days are opting for orthodontic treatment. Overcrowded, misaligned or crooked teeth can make you self-conscious about your smile. They also can present serious health issues, as the teeth are more difficult to clean and more likely to have decay and bone loss. By using braces with adult patients, it makes sure that they achieve the best possible smiles in the shortest possible time.

Adults usually find that their treatment takes a little longer than treatment for kids and teens, because they are no longer growing. However, orthodontics for adults will result in long-lasting, beautiful smiles.

Adults should schedule a free initial consultation. The doctor will examine your mouth thoroughly and explain the options that are available to you.

Our adult patients appreciate the careful attention to detail, and they enjoy coming to our office every month. Their smiles are pretty terrific, too!

Clear plastic aligners
Clear braces, or plastic aligners, such as Invisalign®, can be used in adult dentistry to create teeth movement. However, we find their greatest use is for small tooth movement. For extensive or complex straightening, or if a bite needs to be corrected, traditional braces are much more effective and take a LOT less time and money to accomplish the desired realignment.

No-Charge Consultation for Adults
Our office offers a No-charge Personal Consultation for adults who are looking for orthodontic treatment. We will evaluate your bite, the alignment of your teeth and jaw and recommend a treatment plan to help you get the smile you want.

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Early Orthodontic Treatment – Doesn’t Guarantee A Perfect Smile in Teen Years

At our orthodontic practice, we ran across an excellent article published in the Wall Street Journal “The 8-Year-Old With a Perfect Smile” that discusses the pros and cons of early orthodontic treatment. Sometimes parents are disappointed that their kids still require additional orthodontic treatment when permanent teeth erupt in their teens.
While that’s true in some cases, what many parents don’t realize is that for the most common orthodontic problems, early treatment is often not indicated and offers no guarantees against a second round of treatment in the early teenage years. Orthodontists are sometimes pressured to treat early—from both parents and kids for aesthetic reasons, rather than waiting till all the permanent teeth erupt to reduce overall time in braces and minimize expense.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all kids be evaluated at the age of 7 to determine if they would benefit from early orthodontic treatment. We offer a complimentary new patient exam to determine if early treatment is indicated. If not, at no fee, we will continue to periodically monitor your child’s teeth and jaw development while developing a personal relationship with your child and our team to enhance the orthodontic experience when the time is right.
If you have a child seven years or older that has not been evaluated by an orthodontist, feel free to contact our office. You do not need a referral from your general dentist to schedule a complimentary evaluation. We look to working together with you and your family, creating smiles that last a lifetime.

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Orthodontics is for Adults, too!

We have a lot of fun in our orthodontic office – with kids AND with adults! More and more adults are considering improving their smile and bite with orthodontics – which can include braces or more subtle approaches such as Invisalign and other active appliances. We recently found this article from WebMD.com that talks about orthodontics for adults – we think it is quite accurate and has a lot of information for adults to consider.

We always recommend that an adult is “cleared” with their general dentist prior to starting orthodontic treatment – sometimes there are periodontal or gum concerns as well as restorative needs to consider. We recommend seeing him BEFORE you get a lot of crown, bridge or other restorations, since often these are best done when orthodontic treatment is completed. He will work closely with your general dentist and periodontist to ensure that the timing is ideal for your orthodontic, restorative and periodontal needs. In addition, we feel we have a very special team and approach that sets us apart and provides an extra special measure of “care” and treatment. If in doubt, CHECK IT OUT!

Exam appointments are complimentary (free) and you will learn a lot about your oral health when you take the time for yourself and make an appointment. We even take a complimentary digital (low radiation) panographic Xray (and send it to your general dentist) as well as photos to enable the most comprehensive results possible during this appointment. You do not need a referral from your dentist or anybody else – if YOU want an exam, you just call and we’ll schedule it! Your first appointment can be the start of a new path toward a new smile! We look forward to meeting you and helping you create the smile of your dreams!

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We have long suspected that people who smile a lot are happier, with better relationships, better “people” skills and they seem to feel better about themselves as well. Researchers determined in a study that those people with big smiles actually live longer as well! They looked at photos of 230 pro baseball players, analyzed and categorized their “smile intensity” and compared them with data related to longevity and determined that those who “smiled bigger” also lived longer (about 7 years longer)! We can’t help but smile as we work with great patients and create fabulous smiles every day. We like to think that, by helping our patients be more comfortable smiling more broadly and more often, we are also helping them live longer and happier lives. And 7 more years is definitely something to smile about!

Give us a call if you would like our team to help you improve your smile – we’re here for you!

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Flossing Aids for Braces

Our team knows how important it is to brush after eating and to floss daily; with braces, things get a little bit more complicated! If you have braces, you have probably tried flossing using the little floss threaders, and pushing the end under the wire, pulling the floss through and flossing THE tooth – each one individually. This is cumbersome and many patients just give up after a few attempts. Well, we are happy to tell you that there a couple of new products out that will make flossing a breeze, and we want to tell you all about them!

The first flossing aid is called Platypus flossers www.platypusco.com. Similar to a regular pre-strung floss threader, it differs in that it has one very small “finger” that goes under the wire of the braces, and another regular, thicker one that goes behind the teeth. You can go here to see a description of how to use it: http://www.platypusco.com/how_to.html. We like this product because it is pre-loaded with floss and easy to use. Since it is pre-loaded, you have to use a new one each time. However, there is another product that might be even easier and more versatile . . .
Enter FlossFish, the newest flossing aid invention! http://www.flossfish.com/ Flossfish looks like a plastic needle threader, which is the end that you thread a piece of floss through. Then you hold the threaded floss and use the tip as an extra “finger” – guiding it under the bracket quickly and flossing each tooth as you move along. We like the design of this one because it can be used over and over again, since you load it with your own floss, its smaller and seems easy to use.

Our team wants to find out from YOU, those who wear braces and are our patients, which aid you prefer. We have samples of BOTH TYPES of flossing aids in our office; stop by and pick up a sample of each to try them out. Then, give us your opinion about which one is better for your situation. Be sure and give us your name and phone # so we can confirm you as a patient.

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First Dental Visit | First Orthodontic Visit | Financial Info | Office Tour
Patient Forms | Testimonials

Our greatest goal is to give your child the healthy, straight, beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. We understand choosing to receive orthodontic care is a big decision, and we respect your reasons for wanting to improve the way your child looks and feels. Our practice will work with your child every step of the way to make sure his or her orthodontic care is as comfortable, convenient and as rewarding as possible. We’ll use the latest technology, offering a variety of safe and gentle treatment options, giving your child the customized, individual care he or she deserves.

Every smile starts with a complimentary consultation!
Your complimentary consultation will give you the opportunity to meet our team. You also will learn more about orthodontics, receive an initial orthodontic exam, and find out which treatment options will best meet your child’s needs. During the complimentary consultation, we will:

Review your child’s dental and medical history forms and help you create a customized treatment plan.
Discuss all financial information, insurance options and various payment plans that we have available.
During your complimentary consultation, we will explain everything you need to know about your your child’s orthodontic treatment, so you can choose what’s best for him or her – no strings attached. If you’d like to schedule a complimentary consultation, please call our office.

What happens after the initial consultation?
If your child is dentally and mentally ready for orthodontics and you do choose for your child to receive orthodontic treatment, you will need to schedule the first appointment. At the first appointment, your child will have Orthodontic Diagnostic Records, which includes several x-rays, models of the teeth, intraoral photos and photos of his or her profile and frontal views so that we can analyze the best treatment option. Typically, this appointment is no longer than 50 minutes, and then your child will be on the way towards a new smile! After the Orthodontic Diagnostic Records appointment, you will need to schedule an appointment for about four weeks later for the Orthodontic Treatment Consultation, which is included in the cost of the Records. The next step is the placement of the braces when your child will be truly on the way to a new smile! That appointment usually lasts 2 1/2 hours. You are more than welcome to stay with your child, or if you prefer, you may leave to do whatever you’d like.

If your child is not yet ready for braces, we will let you know that. We will schedule to bring your child back for another Orthodontic Visual Examination when it is appropriate, again at no charge.

Scheduling Appointments
Visiting the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks is an important part of orthodontic treatment. Routine adjustments last between 20-40 minutes. Our practice will work with you to make sure appointments are set around your busy schedule. This way, your child will spend less time in the dental chair and more time enjoying the things he or she loves to do.

We understand that “life happens,” so if you’re running late please call to let us know, or if you need to reschedule, please let us know 24 hours in advance, and we will do everything we can to accommodate you. When you’re ready to schedule your first appointment, call our practice; we’re looking forward to working with you and your child!

Visiting the dentist during orthodontic treatment
It is very important your child continues to receive regular dental visits once every six months, even during orthodontic treatment, for teeth cleanings and routine dental checkups. We have a pediatric dentist and will be happy to take care of your child’s hygiene appointments and other dental needs. If you prefer, we will be happy to coordinate with your family dentist to make sure your child is receiving the best care possible.

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How much does an orthodontic exam cost?
How much do braces cost?
Will my health insurance cover the cost of braces?
Can I go directly to an orthodontist, or does the dentist have to refer me?
How do I know if I really need braces?
Why should I see an orthodontic specialist?
How do I choose an orthodontist?
Am I too old for braces?
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
What are “lingual” braces?
What are clear braces? Are they more expensive?
Will I need to have any permanent teeth removed when I get braces?
Do I need to have surgery on my jaw bones?
What is TMJ?
Is it harder to clean your teeth if you are wearing braces?
Will I be able to floss my teeth after the braces are put on?
Does it hurt when you put the braces on or take them off?
Aren’t people with braces teased a lot?
What is a retainer?
What are impressions?
Why are so many young children in braces today?
Can I wear colors on my braces?
What is the proper age for a first visit?

How much does an orthodontic exam cost?
There is a charge for diagnostic records (dental molds, head and jaw x-rays and photographs) if they are necessary to determine your treatment needs. With this information, we can formulate an exact treatment plan and give you an exact fee.

How much do braces cost?
Our fees are based upon treatment time and the severity of the case. Because there is such a range, we cannot quote a fee without first examining a patient. We do try to provide payment options that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate most financial situations.

Will my health insurance cover the cost of braces?
Some dental insurance plans will assist with a portion of the fee. If you would like to call our office with your insurance information we will be happy to call your company and let you know what your policy covers.

Can I go directly to an orthodontist, or does the dentist have to refer me?
If you think you have an orthodontic problem, you may contact us directly. We do require that patients have a current dental cleaning before beginning orthodontic treatment.

How do I know if I really need braces?
Patients generally require orthodontic treatment for three different reasons. 1) They do not like the way their smile looks. 2) Their bite is incorrect and is putting extra pressure on the gums, teeth, and joints. 3) Their dentist needs to perform some restorative work and needs the teeth to be moved orthodontically beforehand.

Why should I see an orthodontic specialist?
Orthodontists have two years of highly specialized training above and beyond that of a general dentist in correcting jaw and bite irregularities. An orthodontic specialist does only orthodontics. Other types of dentists can legally offer braces to their patients, but lack the intensive training and specialized experience of an orthodontist. Just as we seek the opinions of medical specialists, such as cardiologists and dermatologists, for specific medical problems, it is important to choose the proper dental specialists for bite corrections.

How do I choose an orthodontist?
There are many factors you should consider when deciding on an orthodontic specialist. Since you will be visiting their office at regular intervals throughout treatment for an extended period of time, make sure that you choose an office where you feel comfortable. You should know what is involved with each aspect of your treatment before you start and should feel comfortable asking questions. We truly care about each and every patient and will make every effort to insure their comfort throughout treatment.

Am I too old for braces?
Teeth can be moved at any age. The oldest patients we have treated thus far were in their seventies.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?
The length of treatment varies from 3 months to 3 years depending on complexity. Before you start treatment, we will let you know the length of time your treatment should take.

What are “lingual” braces?
Lingual braces are braces placed on the inside of the teeth so they are not visible. We feel that lingual braces are not as effective as conventional braces and they are very hard on the tongue. For these reasons, we do not offer them. We do offer clear brackets, which are almost “invisible.”

What are clear braces? Are they more expensive?
The clear braces we use are of the highest quality porcelain material. They are just as effective as metal braces, but less visible. The clear braces are more fragile than the metal ones, but not so fragile that they break easily. There is an additional charge for porcelain braces and occasionally treatment with them does take longer.

Will I need to have any permanent teeth removed when I get braces?
We definitely prefer to treat patients without removing any permanent teeth if at all possible. However, if the teeth are excessively crowded and are protruding, removing teeth is an option. Typically, if extractions are needed, most orthodontists choose to extract two upper back teeth (bicuspids) and two lower back teeth (bicuspids) to relieve crowding and enhance the profile.

Do I need to have surgery on my jaw bones?
Surgery is necessary only when we find a very severe bite problem in a patient who is no longer growing. If either jaw is too large, too small, or too narrow, surgery is indicated.

What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, which is the name of the jaw joint associated with chewing. We use splints and braces to relieve problems associated with the jaw joints.

Is it harder to clean your teeth if you are wearing braces?
Yes. It is normally more difficult to take care of your teeth because the braces are harder to clean around. We are committed to helping you take care of your teeth and will show you exactly how to clean around your braces at the appointment when we bond your braces. With proper technique, cleaning takes only a few minutes several times each day.

Will I be able to floss my teeth after the braces are put on?
Yes, our clinical technicians will you teach you how to floss your teeth properly with braces.

Does it hurt when you put the braces on or take them off?
It does not hurt to have the braces placed. We use a method called indirect bonding that maximizes patient comfort and minimizes chair time for the procedure. We use a special instrument to gently remove the braces and most patients report minimal discomfort with removal.

Aren’t people with braces teased a lot?
In this day and age, more and more people than ever before are wearing braces. Our patients include many adults with professional careers and children of all ages. They are generally very well accepted and we don’t feel that there is the stigma associated with them as there once was. In many classrooms today, as many children have braces as do not.

What is a retainer?
A retainer is a removable appliance that is fitted to your teeth to hold them in their new, corrected position after your braces are removed. We use retainers that, depending on the patient’s preference, are highly colorful with different designs or are made of clear plastic that are virtually invisible. Typically, retainers are worn full-time for several months and then are worn just at bedtime for as long as the patient wants his or her teeth to remain as perfect as they were when their braces were removed.

What are impressions?
Impressions of the teeth are taken to enable us to make a mold of the teeth, either for diagnosis or to construct an orthodontic appliance. Impressions are taken by filling a well- fitted metal tray with a pink substance called alginate that looks like frosting. The tray is then placed in the mouth for about a minute until the alginate starts to set. When the tray is removed, you can see dents or “impressions” of all your teeth. Later, in our lab we fill this tray with a special substance to make an exact model of your teeth.

Why are so many young children in braces today?
Our office generally initiates early, sometimes called interceptive, treatment in children who do not yet have all of their permanent teeth when doing so will enable us to utilize their growth to achieve a better long-term result. Not all children need interceptive treatment. Some common goals of early treatment include creating enough space for all of the permanent teeth to erupt, and correcting an imbalance in growth between the upper and lower jaws. Children who have had early treatment generally will need to wear braces again when all of their permanent teeth are in. This second phase of treatment with full braces is generally shorter and far easier than treatment would have been if the patient had not had the benefit of early intervention. More importantly, we are able to achieve the best end result for these children.

Can I wear colors on my braces?
The colors you see on braces are elastic ties used to attach the brackets to the archwire. They are usually changed at each visit. We offer a kaleidoscope of colors and allow our patients to select as many different colors as they would like. We have gray or clear ties for those desiring a more discreet look.

What is the proper age for a first visit?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic screening by the age of seven. Even if treatment is not indicated at that age, this appointment will serve as a baseline from which we can monitor future growth and development.

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What is it that you think of when you are confronted with the word braces? Do you think of teeth that need to be straightened or a mouth in need of some help? Can you imagine a kids new smile with the braces on? In the beginning when braces were new, the type of things used for the braces were only good for children to use. Things have definitely changed today. The braces do not apply to just children. Adults are now able and definitely willing to go the distance to correct their smile. Any age of person can get the smile they want.

Braces for adults are noted for those people who are eighteen and older. They are made for those adults that do not get the proper dental care and need to fix a dental problem. This may be teeth that need to be straightened, overbites, under bites, or any problem with the jaw bone that can not be left to get better on its own. Leaving some of the problems untreated will just make things worse.

Many of those adults that are coming in to get the braces are interested in getting the best oral care. They seem to e tired of the problems with their mouth and teeth. Most of them are searching for the cure to give them the smile they never had. Straight teeth and correct lining of the jaw is also a major factor.

Braces that are created for adults are not the same as those for teenagers and children. The braces made for adults are more durable and can withstand longer use. This is because an average adult will wear their braces for a year to three years depending on the problem they’re trying to fix. Once the braces are taken off, the person will usually wear a retainer to continue any further treatment. There is no time limit on the retainer being used.

You can not get braces without first going to see your dentist and getting fitted for them. You will be given a prescription and they will have to be created for your mouth. The fitting is to decide which of the many different types of braces that you may need. The type of things that the braces are designed with is different also. The braces are made to accomplish many things and each type is different. You will need the right type for your situation. Your best option is to contact a dentist to help in determining which type of adult braces is best for you. Having a regular checkup schedule at your dentist is great and you will also need to visit an orthodontist on a regular basis after the braces are in. You will be able to find a professional around your area.

Having a profession to check your mouth is very important before you have the braces put in because you may get the wrong braces that will not help your condition. If you are not really sure about what you need, your dentist can be the first step to finding out. They will be trained in the correct information to lead you in the right direction. You may want to get braces that can not be seen, metal braces, or may need a custom fit. Whatever you need in the way of braces is going to be expensive so you will need to consider the cost as well.

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Braces are a metallic foreign body applying constant pressure on your teeth. This results in pressure symptoms other than those that result from rubbing against wires and brackets. You may have problems in biting and chewing during the first few days. When you get used to it, you won’t feel it anymore.

Long Term Use of Braces:
Hygiene must be maintained at all cost. You do not want the use of braces being compounded with dental cavities and gum infections. You should regularly rinse your mouth with warm saline. There is a problem resulting from rubbing. Dental wax and braces kit come to the rescue. You can buy five wax strips for less than two dollars.

Basic Survival of Braces:
Your desire for a beautiful smile has lead you to get braces applied to your teeth. As far as braces are concerned, their price is paid in the form of money you spend, the discomfort you bear and the extra time you need to spend in cleaning your teeth. Teeth with braces need more time for their care and cleaning than normal teeth and that’s why they need a braces kit.

Braces Kits make things easy!
For the extra care that is needed for teeth with braces, many braces kits are being marketed containing all the accessories needed to clean the teeth and maintain them in the perfect condition. Braces kits are handy to store and carry all the accessories needed for the care of teeth with braces. Braces kits are perfect to fit with even the busiest routines. You can carry braces kits along when you are traveling and you do not need much space to accommodate your accessories.

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After the lengthy procedure of getting braces fitted onto your teeth, many people think this is the end and they become care free. Once braces are installed in your mouth, you have to use proper dental braces care. Things like the rubber bands of your braces becoming loose can cause improper alignment. Without braces, it was very simple to clean your teeth by just using a simple toothbrush. With braces it gets more complicated. There are many recognized problems in dental braces care. One of the big problems that arise due to braces is that no matter what you eat, something will get trapped in the metallic wires. If not cleaned properly, the food remains stuck it can cause plaque formation. This can be a very serious problem. It can get so bad that the plaque will cause cavities. It an also lead to gum disease. Gums can become swollen and infected.

With braces, you need to know what you can eat and what you can’t, which brush and toothpaste you need to use and how to floss. There are certain restrictions for the food you can eat. Some of the foods which you are not allowed to eat are:
Popcorn
Nuts 
Hard taco shells
Sticky and hard candy 
Gum 
Ice
Corn chips 
Pretzels 
Hard cookies or crackers
Sticky or hard chocolate 
Hard fruits

Points While Using Dental Braces:
You have to swallow another hard pill and that is you have to bid farewell to carbonated beverages. The carbonic acid present in their fizz combined with the sugar which is likely to be left in the mouth will make a good environment for cavities.

New Technology Making Dental Braces Care Easier:
Dental brace care becomes easier if you have a new kind of appliance. that is clear braces. You can remove these braces and brush your teeth as well as the appliance. This is not possible with your ordinary appliance so the invisible appliance makes dental braces care easier.

How to Brush the Braces:
You will brush your teeth and braces properly only when you have a complete understanding of how importance it is to keep them clean at all times. There is a difference in cleaning and ‘keeping clean’. As far as teeth and braces are concerned, proper dental braces care demands that you keep them clean. If you let any germs remain either in the teeth or on the appliance it can prove damaging to your teeth. After you have done dental braces care, check with your special dental mirror that comes in dental braces care kits available in the market. Your dentist can guide you to as to which toothpaste should be used. Things are much simpler with invisible braces. Remove the appliance and take them out of your mouth. Brush your teeth as you did before you wore braces. Brush the braces, taking care not to damage them, and there you are! Ready to put them back in your clean mouth. You need to repeat this procedure with all meals and even smallest snacks so that food particles and germs together do not play their damaging role
in between your meals. Fewer snacks will make things easier.

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Braces can seem intimidating whether you’re an adult or child, but orthodontic devices can be a permanent path to a healthy smile.

Studies have shown that more than 4 million Americans wear braces, and 25 percent of them are adults. While braces can improve your smile, a misaligned jaw or out-of-place teeth can lead to serious health complications.

The American Association of Orthodontists estimates that between 50 and 75 percent of the population in general could benefit from some form of orthodontic treatment. Very few of us are born with perfectly aligned teeth and jaws. Even those who were may suffer trauma that may require orthodontic care or may experience maturational changes, such as the crowding of lower bottom teeth. Orthodontic treatment is performed to help a patient develop a healthy bite.

A healthy bite means that the top teeth and bottom teeth meet each other properly. Getting a healthy bite may require only moving teeth, but often it requires alignment of jaws. A healthy bite allows an individual to have good function when biting, chewing and speaking.

Orthodontic treatment also contributes to oral health and overall physical health. Left untreated, improperly aligned teeth (malocclusions) and jaws can wear down tooth enamel and lead to dental problems including cavities, gum disease and tooth loss. Improperly aligned teeth are a breeding ground for plaque and bacteria, and crooked and crowded teeth make daily oral hygiene difficult. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean and maintain.

Braces aren’t just for children. Adults are turning to orthodontists more than ever to correct their smiles, whether it’s a first time or for a tune-up.

Braces are simply one type of appliance — the formal name for a device used to move teeth, guide jaw growth or hold teeth in new positions — used in orthodontic treatment. The changes in orthodontic technology in the last several years are staggering. Orthodontic appliances today are generally less visible and work faster than appliances of a generation ago.

Braces are basically brackets and wires. Brackets are much smaller than they once were, and are glued to the fronts of teeth (called “direct bonding”) rather than the old way of encircling each tooth with a metal band, soldering the bracket to the band and tying the archwire to the band with thin, fine wires. Besides being smaller, today’s brackets can be made of a variety of materials: stainless steel, tooth-colored ceramic or gold-plated metal.

The wires are the component of braces that do the work of moving teeth. They have improved, too. Wires keep their strength a longer time. They apply a continuous, gentle force on teeth to move them. Because wires last longer, fewer visits to the orthodontist are necessary.

Braces fall into the “fixed” appliance category and are the most common appliance used to move teeth. Generally, standard stainless steel braces give the orthodontist the greatest amount of control to move a patient’s teeth.

Brackets can be placed behind the teeth (called lingual treatment — an option for more than 25 years, but improvements in the brackets and wires used make this form of treatment more comfortable for patients than it used to be).

One way wearers can individualize their look is with the tiny rubber bands called ligatures.Many young patients enjoy choosing from a rainbow of colors to match clothing, school colors or favorite sports teams colors. Adults often select clear or lightly colored ligatures that draw less attention to braces.

Another option is self-ligating brackets made of stainless steel or ceramic to hold the wire in place. Patients who choose ceramic brackets may also be able to use tooth-colored wires that now have longer staying power and don’t stretch out and lose their strength.

In addition to braces, a variety of other fixed appliances include palate expanders to widen the upper jaw, permanent retainers to hold teeth in place and appliances to control tongue thrusting (when the tongue repeatedly pushes against teeth, it can move the teeth out of place and cause the bone that holds teeth to be misshapen).

Clear aligners, which are made by at least seven companies, were introduced in 1999 by Align Technology/Invisalign.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7.

We look forward to speaking with you about any or all of the treatment plans that we offer. They are sure to find the best fit for you and your family. Call for your Complimentary Consultation Today!

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True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what part is broken or out of place. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan.

The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:
Poking Wire
Using a pencil eraser push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.

Loose Bracket or Band
If a band or bracket comes off the tooth, save it and bring it to your next appointment. If your bracket is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if necessary to reduce irritation. If it isn’t causing discomfort, you do not need to remove it, just keep the area clean by swishing with water after meals.

Loose Wire
Using a tweezer try to place your wire back into place. If you do this and using wax does not help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it and call our office.

Loose Appliance
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.

Headgear Does Not Fit
Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less if it’s worn more, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours.

General Soreness
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in your local pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take Aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Call our office during regular business hours if:

An appliance breaks
A piece of the appliance is loose
An appliance gets lost
Call your Orthodontist Right Away

Call day or night if:

A broken appliance prevents the mouth from opening or closing.
Pain from an appliance is still felt even after taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
A serious face or mouth injury occurs anywhere near an appliance or it causes the appliance to break.

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