Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
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.
- A more attractive smile
- Reduced self-consciousness during critical developmental years
- Increased self-confidence
- Improved function of the teeth
- Increased ability to clean the teeth
- Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
- Better long-term health of the teeth and gums
- Guidance of permanent teeth into more favorable positions
- Reduced risk of injury to protruded front teeth
- Aid in optimizing other forms of dental treatment
- Protruding or bucked upper teeth
- Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep overbite)
- Upper front teeth behind the bottom front teeth (underbite)
- Upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
- Upper back teeth inside of lower back teeth (crossbite)
- Baby teeth that are slow to fall out
- Thumb or finger sucking habit that continues beyond toddler years
- The centers of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
- Crowded or overlapped teeth
- Spaces between the teeth
- Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
- Difficulty chewing
- The lower jaw shifts to one side when biting
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. However, many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by the age of 7.
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (e.g., expander or partial braces) initiated before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment typically is started between the ages of six and ten and usually lasts for one year or less. Interceptive treatment is often indicated to make more space for developing teeth, break harmful oral habits, and correct crossbites, deep overbites, or underbites.
Phase II treatment, or comprehensive orthodontic treatment, is started after most or all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.
- Modification and guidance of tooth eruption and jaw growth is much easier at a younger age
- Decreased risk of trauma for protruding front teeth
- Bad oral habits are easier to correct in early childhood
- An improved appearance in early childhood can lead to higher self-esteem and increased self-confidence
- Often results in a simpler, shorter comprehensive phase of treatment later on
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone deserves a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty-five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.
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. After a flexible arch wire is inserted into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. In doing so, it applies the light forces required to move your teeth to their new positions.
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is 18-24 months. Actual treatment time can be affected by the severity of the orthodontic problems to be corrected and the rates of dental development and jaw growth. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance, maintaining good oral hygiene, and keeping regular appointments.
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and archwires are inserted for the first time, you may feel some soreness of your teeth for several days as they begin to move. This initial discomfort is sometimes experienced immediately following subsequent adjustments to the braces as well, but subsides relatively quickly, usually within one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to adjust to the braces when they are initially placed, as well. Soreness of the teeth usually responds well to over-the-counter pain relievers (Advil, Aleve, Tylenol) as needed, and wax may be used to cover any irritating components of the braces.
No. However, it is recommended 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. We are happy to help you find the most appropriate mouth guard to provide you with the best protection.
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment.
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental check-ups.
Very! Keeping your teeth clean and your gums healthy will help prevent problems with your braces.
Not if you take care of them properly. It is only when your teeth are not properly cared for that you end up with stains when the braces are removed.