Frequently Asked Questions
1) Why select an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists are dental specialists who dedicate their professional lives to correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. After they graduate from dental school, they go on to additional 2-3 years of full-time university-based education in an accredited orthodontic residency program. Orthodontists are the uniquely trained experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws.
2) Why straighten teeth?
Straight teeth help an individual to effectively bite, chew and speak. Straight teeth contribute to healthy teeth and gums. An attractive smile contributes to self-esteem, self-confidence and self-image; important qualities at every age. As for injuries to teeth, protruding upper teeth are more likely to be broken in an accident. When repositioned and aligned with other teeth, these teeth are most probably going to be at a decreased risk for fracture.
3) When should I begin treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age seven. Although only a few orthodontic problems need to be corrected at that age, an early exam allows the orthodontist to offer advice and guidance as to when the appropriate age to start treatment would be.
4) How long will my treatment take?
The length of treatment varies depending on the complexity of the orthodontic problem that requires correction, growth and tissue response to treatment as well as the level of patient cooperation during their treatment. Generally, the length of comprehensive orthodontic treatment can range from approximately 18 months to 30 months, depending on treatment options and individual characteristics.
5) What happens at my first visit?
This is a time for orthodontists to listen to patient concerns and to provide an orthodontic examination. The orthodontist will likely be able to indicate whether or not treatment is needed and if needed, when the best time to start treatment would be. Typical steps prior to beginning treatment include gathering orthodontic records to provide specific information to tailor a treatment plan for that patient. Often, this is a time when the doctor and staff discuss fees for orthodontic care, general payment options, and insurance benefits
6) What are diagnostic records?
Diagnostic records include x-rays, photographs, and impressions made of the teeth. These molds are used to develop models for closer examination of the teeth and how the upper and lower teeth relate to each other. X-rays are taken to look at the root structure of the teeth and how the jaw bones and teeth relate to each other. Typically facial photographs and intra-oral photographs are taken to evaluate facial proportions, facial aesthetics and the health of the teeth and gums. These diagnostic records collectively enable the orthodontist to develop an appropriate treatment plan for the patient.
7) What are the stages of treatment?
Generally, there are two or three stages of orthodontic treatment. Most patients will benefit from an active corrective stage followed by a retention stage. Some patients will benefit from two active treatment stages often referred to as two-phase treatment. The goals of each stage should be discussed with the orthodontist so that patients and/or parents have realistic expectations.
8) How are teeth moved?
Teeth respond to the gentle forces that are applied to them. Braces are a combination of brackets and wires. Brackets are the part of the braces that attach to the teeth. Brackets are the handles that help control movement of the teeth. Braces require a wire that connects the brackets and provides the forces to steer the teeth in the proper direction. The interaction of brackets and archwires enables the orthodontist to have three-dimensional control over the movement of the teeth.
9) Are there different types of braces?
Braces vary in appearance. Some braces are clear, nearly invisible, such as ceramic braces while others are made of stainless steel and may or may not have colored elastics around them. A new appliance called Invisalign provides ultimate comfort and esthetics among all types of modern orthodontic appliances. All braces are designed to enable the orthodontist to move teeth in three dimensions. The mechanics or techniques used for moving teeth vary as well. Talk with your orthodontist about his or her approach to orthodontic treatment.
10) What will orthodontic treatment cost?
Fees for orthodontic care vary with the complexity of the treatment and may vary according to individual needs. We will do our very best to provide the best treatment for you and outline all of your costs or insurance options.
11) What is expected of me during treatment?
Like other types of health care, patient cooperation with the directions of the orthodontist are key in determining the length of treatment and the quality of the outcome. Patient compliance with elastic wear or headgear wear can be very important in insuring a successful outcome. In addition, you must continue to see your dentist at least every six months, or more often if recommended, for check-ups and professional cleanings. Proper cleaning of the teeth prevents cavities, gum disease and permanent scarring (decalcification) of the enamel.
Keeping braces from breaking or wires from getting bent will speed treatment. Avoiding hard, sticky, and chewy foods, including ice, will go a long way in preventing broken braces. Pen and pencil chewing should also be avoided.
In general, you should expect to be an active partner in the development of your new smile. It is your smile, after all.
12) Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks can take up to one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
13) 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.
14) 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.
For tips & advice for new braces, click here.
General Dentistry FAQ
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.
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