Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Braces and other appliances are used to make these corrections.
What is an orthodontic specialist?
Orthodontists are dental specialists with training and clinical experience to diagnose and orthodontic issues in children and adults. Orthodontists must complete college, graduate from a four year accredited dental school and successfully complete a two or three-year full time orthodontic residency program. Only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists.
Signs that orthodontic work may be for you:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Crowded or malpositioned teeth
- Jaw joints that make sounds
- Teeth that bite into the cheek or the roof of the mouth
- Finger sucking or pacifier habits continued beyond the age of seven
- Overbite or underbite
- Baby teeth that do not grow to full height like their neighbors
- Neighboring teeth shifting into the space left behind when a tooth has been removed
- Centers of the top and bottom front teeth don't align
- Teeth that show wear patterns
- Excessive spaces between teeth
What causes crooked teeth?
Just as we inherit eye color and hair color, mouth and jaw features are also inherited. Local factors such as finger sucking, pacifier sucking, high cavity rate, gum disease, trauma and premature loss of baby teeth can also contribute to crooked teeth and a poor bite.
When is the best time to schedule an initial consultation?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an initial consultation for children no later than age 7. By that age, enough permanent teeth have come in and enough jaw growth has occurred that problems can be identified. Early consultation allows the orthodontist to determine the optimum time for treatment to begin. Often, early treatment can eliminate the need for more drastic measures.
What about adult orthodontics?
Adults account for nearly 20% of our patients. Advanced technology, including more gentle wires, and clear, less visible braces, have allowed many more adults to enjoy the health and appearance of a comfortable bite and a beautiful smile. Orthodontic treatment can be successful at nearly any age.
How do braces work?
Orthodontic appliances are made of stainless steal or clear, ceramic materials. Individual brackets are attached with adhesive to each tooth. Orthodontic wires connect all the brackets together which provide force that moves your teeth. All corrective appliances have one aim: to use gentle pressure over time to move teeth into proper alignment. Thanks to new materials and procedures, all this happens much quicker - and with less discomfort - than ever before.
Can I finance orthodontic treatments?
Orthodontic treatment is an excellent investment in the overall dental, medical and psychological well being of children and adults alike. We believe that financial considerations should not be an obstacle to obtaining this important health service. We are sensitive to the fact that different people have different needs in fulfilling their financial obligations. If orthodontic treatment is necessary, our financial coordinators will discuss with you a variety of payment options. We will make every effort to design a payment plan suitable to your needs. For more information, visit our Orthodontics page.