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
- Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
- Better function of teeth
- 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
- Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
- Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
- Aid in optimizing other dental treatment
What are some signs that braces may be needed?
- Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth (bucked teeth)
- 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)
- Crowding or overlapped teeth
- Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after 6 or 7 years old
- The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
- 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 to be referred by my family dentist?
No. While many of our patients are referred to us by their family dentist, others are referred to us by their friends who are patients, and others take the initiative to schedule an appointment on their own. As soon as an orthodontic problem is recognized, please feel free to contact our office.
At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. 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 age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child's physician.
What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of 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, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are 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 from patient to patient. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. 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 need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like any other tooth. When a tooth is missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, 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.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment.
Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Following the completion of dental school, an orthodontic specialist has undergone two additional years of university-based postdoctoral residency training in order to learn the special skills required to manage the complexities of orthodontic treatment. After this, an orthodontic specialist will no longer do general dentistry and will only do orthodontics. Just as a heart doctor is a specialist in the field of medicine, an orthodontist is a specialist in the field of dentistry.
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. It has been our pleasure to work with many of the quality dentists in our area.
Will I need a retainer after treatment?
When braces are removed, it is the end of the active phase of your orthodontic treatment. However, this is not the end of treatment by any means. The retention phase that follows is extremely important to help maintain the result that we have worked so hard to achieve. Without retainers your teeth will tend to drift back toward their previous positions. There are many options for retainers, and Dr. Moran will help you choose the best option for your smile. Retainers are generally worn full time for a year. Wear is then tapered down to nights only, and eventually to only one or two nights a week. It is recommended that retainers be worn for life. With proper retainer wear, your beautiful smile will last a lifetime.