What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
What is an orthodontist?
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.
What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?
- A more attractive smile
- Better function of the teeth
- Possible increase in self-confidence
- Increased ability to clean the teeth
- Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
- Better long-term health of teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth guided into more favorable positions
- Reduced risk of injury to protruding front teeth
- Aid in optimizing other dental treatments
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 that continue beyond six or seven years of age
- Difficulty chewing
- 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 start 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 visit an orthodontist by the age of seven, or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child’s physician.
What are Phase-One and Phase-Two treatment?
Phase-One, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (for example, expander or partial braces) before all 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-Two treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces when all the permanent teeth have erupted, which is usually between the ages of 11 and 13.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. In fact, 20 to 25 percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces exert gentle, steady pressure to move teeth gradually into their proper positions. The brackets 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 one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the necessary correction. 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 also 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 they participate in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are inexpensive and comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.
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.