WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?
Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry, often referred to as dentofacial orthopedics. Orthodontics focuses primarily on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of irregularities in the teeth and jaws. Treatment often involves the use of braces or other corrective appliances to align dental malposition.
WHO IS AN ORTHODONTIST?
An orthodontist is a dentist who underwent an additional 2-3 years of schooling and training in order to become a specialist. Your orthodontist is uniquely qualified to correct misaligned or crowded teeth, overbites and jaw misalignments. Orthodontists are trained to improve both the appearance and the function of your smile.
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF ORTHODONTICS?
One of the most obvious benefits of orthodontic treatment is aesthetic improvement. Many people with an imperfect smile feel self-conscious. Orthodontic treatments to correct crooked teeth or overcrowding can help build your confidence and self-esteem. Aside from appearance, orthodontic treatment can also improve the health of your smile. Improperly positioned teeth can be more difficult to clean and may increase your risk of tooth decay. Misalignments can also put extra strain on the muscles you use to chew. This extra stress can result in frequent headaches, neck pain and TMJ syndrome. Orthodontic treatments can correct these misalignments and improve the health of your mouth.
CAN CROOKED TEETH CORRECT THEMSELVES OVER TIME?
Crooked teeth very rarely resolve on their own. On the contrary, misalignments that are left untreated often worsen over time.
WHAT IS A MALOCCLUSION?
Malocclusion is a technical term used to describe teeth that are crowded, crooked or misaligned. Anything that prevents the teeth and/or jaws from lining up properly is considered a malocclusion.
WHAT ARE BRACES?
Braces are a corrective apparatus that we use to correct misalignments and improve the health and appearance of your smile. There are various types of braces available, including clear braces, ceramic braces, clear aligners, metal braces, lingual braces and self-litigating braces.
DO BRACES HURT?
Braces are not typically painful. You may experience some slight discomfort, however, especially in the first few days after the braces are put on your teeth. You may also experience some sensitivity following a significant adjustment. For the most part, such discomfort is generally mild, brief, and should not be cause for concern. If your mouth feels sore or achy, it is likely just your teeth, cheeks and mouth getting used to the braces.
AM I TOO OLD FOR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
No! There is no age limit for orthodontics, and people of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. It is a common misconception that orthodontic treatment is exclusively for young children or teenagers. While it is true that the majority of orthodontic patients are adolescents, it is never too late to visit an orthodontist.
HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WEAR BRACES?
The length of time you will have to wear braces varies by individual. Some conditions may take longer to correct than others, and everyone responds to treatments differently. The average amount of time for wearing braces is around 22 months, but treatments can range from as little as 6 months or as many as 30 months.
HOW WILL BRACES IMPACT MY LIFE?
Immediately after you have braces put on your teeth, it is not uncommon to experience a few days of sensitivity and discomfort while your mouth adapts. Discomfort is generally mild, however, and should not interfere with your day-to-day activities. You may need to make small modifications to your routine, however, such as wearing a mouth guard while playing sports. With some slight adjustments, your braces will not affect your ability to participate. We also recommend that you brush your teeth at least three times a day once you get braces. This will help to remove any trapped food and prevent discoloration.
IF I HAVE BRACES, DO I STILL NEED REGULAR DENTAL CHECKUPS?
Absolutely! If anything, regular dental checkups are even more important. Your orthodontist will show you the correct way to brush and floss with braces, but it is still possible for food to become trapped in places you can’t reach with normal brushing. Visiting the dentist every 6 months will help to ensure that your teeth remain clean and healthy.
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TO RECEIVE ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
The frequency of visits varies for each patient. Certain situations require more frequent treatments, while others only require visits every 6-10 weeks. The regularity of necessary visits will depend on your specific needs.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE AN INITIAL ORTHODONTIC CONSULTATION?
If you think you or your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment and would like to schedule a consultation, you can reach us either by phone or by requesting an appointment online. Our front desk staff will be happy to assist you in scheduling your visit, whether you are a new patient or are already under care at our practice. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns and a member of our staff with provide you with any necessary information.