Patient Education

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

What are the benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more beautiful smile
  • Better function and comfort with a proper bite
  • Increased self esteem and confidence
  • Increased ability to keep teeth clean
  • Teeth that are less prone to decay and injury
  • Improved force distribution and wear patterns on teeth
  • Guided facial growth for a more attractive face and profile
  • Better long term health of the teeth and gums
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for future jaw surgery
  • Guide the permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Reduce or eliminate the need to extract teeth
  • Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
  • Better lip closure
  • Improved speech and swallowing
  • Aid in optimizing other dental treatments
  • Less strain on the jaw joints and muscles
  • Prevent premature loss of teeth and aging appearance

What are the signs that I may need orthodontic treatment?

  • Upper-front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth
  • Upper-front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together
  • Upper-front teeth are behind or inside the lower-front teeth
  • The upper- and lower-front teeth do not touch when biting together
  • 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
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth

Do I need a referral from my family dentist before seeing your professionals?

No, you do not need a referral from your dentist in order to see us. You may call our office and schedule an appointment yourself. However, many of our patients are referred to our office by their dentist and we will work closely with your dentist to ensure a quality result.

At what age should I schedule an initial orthodontic appointment for my child?

An orthodontic screening is recommended at the age of 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted and many tooth alignment or jaw growth problems can be detected. Some of these problems are best treated early, avoiding a more serious problem later. However, children and adults may be seen for orthodontic treatment at any age after 7 as well.

Do you treat adult patients?

We treat many adult patients who benefit from orthodontics to improve and achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. Many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children, and now can experience the satisfaction of a perfect smile. You are never “too old” to wear braces!

What are braces?

Braces use gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into proper alignment. Brackets are placed on your teeth and an archwire is placed into the brackets. The wire applies pressure to the brackets, which move your teeth into the correct position.

Do braces hurt?

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt at all. However, once your braces are placed and connected by the archwires, you may feel some teeth soreness for a few days. Also, you may feel a small amount of discomfort at first as your gums and cheeks get used to your appliances. We recommend treating such discomfort with over the counter pain medicine.

Will braces interfere with playing sports or playing musical instruments?

Many of our patients play musical instruments during treatment. However, there may be a period of adjustment at first as you get used to playing with your braces. We can also provide brace covers to prevent any discomfort. If you play sports, we recommend that our patients protect their teeth and lips by wearing a mouth guard.

Do I still need to see my regular dentist during the time I have braces?

Yes. Regular checkups with your family dentist are very important while in braces. When you have braces, food might be caught in places that you can’t reach with a toothbrush. This might cause bacteria to build up and lead to cavities or gum disease. We recommend that you continue to see your dentist for cleanings and a check up at least every four months during orthodontic treatment.

How much will braces cost?

It is difficult to give you an exact cost of treatment until we have conducted an initial examination. During your complimentary consultation, we will talk about the exact cost and financing options. If you have insurance we will help you to determine the coverage you have available. We will help in every way we can in filing your claim and handling insurance questions from our office on your behalf.

How long will I be in treatment?

Treatment times vary greatly from patient to patient due to the severity of correction needed. However, the average time of orthodontic treatment is 24-30 months. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments is also important in keeping treatment on schedule.

Why are retainers needed after braces?

Retainers are designed to hold the teeth in their corrected positions after braces until the bone and ligaments remodel to the new tooth position.