How do you know if a person needs orthodontic treatment?
It is usually difficult to know if treatment is necessary because there
are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight.
Asking your general dentist is always a good starting point. Since our
initial exam is complimentary, call us to today to schedule a consultation
and ask orthodontic treatment questions. We will be happy to explain your
What are the signs or symptoms of orthodontic problems?
Although it may be difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary,
the following may help in prompting you to seek our orthodontic advice.
Take a look at your (or your child's) teeth. If you see any signs of
crooked teeth, gaps between the teeth or overlapping teeth, orthodontic
treatment may be necessary. Bite all the way down, but keep your lips
open so you can see the teeth. Do the front top teeth line up with the
bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth? Do the
top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth
behind the bottom teeth? All these are indicators for potential orthodontic
treatment. Look at your jaw alignment. Does the jaw shift off center during
biting down? If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, it suggests
a skeletal or jaw bone problem, which requires early orthodontic intervention.
These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.
At what age should an orthodontist see my child? Do all baby teeth have
to fall before initiating orthodontic treatment?
American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven. Hence all baby teeth
need not be gone before initiating orthodontic treatment. In fact, early
detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early
preventive/interceptive action and avoid more difficult treatment later.
Early orthodontic treatment also potentially prevents extraction of teeth
which is needed in some cases if the teeth get very crowded. Again, since
our initial consultation is complimentary, it helps to get a consult as
soon as possible.
Can you be too old for braces?
No, age is not a factor. So long as the gums and bone which support your
teeth are healthy one can get orthodontic or braces treatment at any age.
About 30% of our orthodontic patients are adults and that number is still
growing! Our oldest patient treated was 72 years old. Call us today with
your braces questions!
Will orthodontic treatment hurt?
Orthodontic treatment mechanics have advanced technologically over the
last few years. Introduction of new high tech wires, smaller braces, innovative
accessories and stress of preventive/interceptive treatments make today's
orthodontic treatment fairly comfortable. We do not use any anesthetic
injections for any of the procedures. As a rule, braces can cause a little
discomfort initially until one gets used to them. Teeth can get a little
sore a day after every adjustment appointment but they are not painful.
This annoyance can be relieved easily with over-the-counter pain relievers,
if needed. Most of our patients do not need to take any pain relievers.
Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?
Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space.
This will cause a functional, esthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic
treatment will correct and prevent these problems from happening and will
also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing
teeth. Call us today with your braces questions!
What is Phase I (Early Interceptive Treatment) and Phase II treatment?
Phase I or Early Interceptive Treatment usually starts while the child
has most of their baby teeth with few of their permanent teeth. The goal
of Phase I treatment is to intercept a moderate or severe orthodontic
problems early in order to reduce or eliminate them. These problems include
jaw bone problems, cross bites and developing crowding. This phase does
not use full braces as braces are never put on baby teeth. Generally we
use expanders, removable appliances, herbst appliance (instead of headgear)
and retainers during this phase. These treatment approaches takes advantage
of the active growth to change the jaw bone structure to either make extra
room or address jaw bone discrepancies. This helps reduce the need for
extractions or jaw surgery and delivers better long term results and treatment
options. Most Phase I patients require a Phase II treatment in order to
achieve an ideal bite.
Phase II treatment involves use of full braces with a goal to finish the
occlusion or bite ideally. It usually occurs when all permanent teeth
are present. Many a times there is gap of some time between Phase I and
start of Phase II treatment. This phase most commonly occurs around the
age of 12 or 13 years.
What is Full or Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment?
This is another name for orthodontic treatment in the permanent dentition
at any age. It is more commonly used when a Phase I treatment was not
Does everyone need a Phase I treatment?
Absolutely not! But in many cases early intervention helps a lot. We will
offer Phase I treatment only if it makes a difference in future otherwise
we keep the patients for a complimentary recall consultation every six months.
What is the length or duration of orthodontic treatment?
In our office, Phase I treatment usually lasts 12-14 months. Phase II or
full braces treatment may last from 18 to 36 months. In both situations,
we generally see the patients every 6 to 8 weeks for their adjustment
Treatment time and its success depends on multiple factors such as, age
of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patient's cooperation
and the speed of natural response of teeth movement.
What are extraction and non-extraction therapy, and what are the advantages
and disadvantages of each?
Extraction therapy is a technique where some teeth are removed to make
room for the other teeth in your child's mouth. This is in contrast
to non-extraction therapy where one expands patients' jaw and/or shaves
some teeth to reduce their width to make everything fit. We will make
a thorough evaluation at the consultation and discuss the options to determine
which procedure best suits the patient.
What are the different types of braces?
Metal braces are the most popular with kids and teenagers. They love using
different colors of ligature ties. These braces are much smaller than
Translucent clear ceramic braces are the most popular with adults. You
have to be very close to someone to be able to see them. Yet, because
they are a ceramic material, they are more fragile and have some limitations.
We will discuss these choices of braces and any other braces questions
at the consultation appointment.
The Invisalign system is becoming a very popular method of orthodontic treatment for adults
who are candidates. They consist of a series of clear orthodontic appliances
called aligners that allow you to straighten your teeth without having
to wear traditional braces. Each set of custom-made aligners is worn for
about two weeks and moves the teeth in small steps to the desired final
position. However all orthodontic patients are not candidates for this
treatment option. For more information about Invisalign, please give our
office a call to make an appointment for a complimentary exam to see if
you are a candidate for this exciting new system.
Is orthodontic care expensive? Do you have a payment plan?
We strive to make orthodontic treatment affordable and offer a variety
of flexible payment plans. Our office offers a "No Down Payment"
option (subject to credit approval) that allows patients to make affordable
monthly payments over the course of treatment. We do not charge interest.
Please call our office today to set up a complimentary consultation and
learn more about our payment plans and any other orthodontic treatment