What Is Orthodontics
Why use an Orthodontist
Ortho means "Straight", Dontics means "Teeth." In addition to earning a bachelor's degree and four-year dental degree, orthodontists complete an additional two to three year residency concentrating only on tooth movement and facial growth and development. Because of this training orthodontists become experts in the treatment of all types of malocclusions and skeletal discrepancies.
Orthodontists only practice orthodontics. They have knowledge of the full range of orthodontic appliance tools, including braces, clear aligners and other devices, and know which tools are appropriate because they work with them every day. Orthodontists also build on their knowledge through on-going continuing education in orthodontic technology and practice.
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 (e.g. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, 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 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 archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.
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 archwires 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 mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity. We will provide you with a free mouthguard upon request.
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.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a series of clear, removable teeth aligners that orthodontists use as an alternative to traditional metal dental braces.