Orthodontics is a type of dentistry that specifically focuses on preventing, diagnosing and treating facial and dental abnormalities.

Who is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has undergone additional schooling and training after completing dental school in order to learn the specialized skills necessary for guiding facial development and the movement of the teeth.

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more beautiful smile
  • Less self-consciousness over appearance during developmental years
  • Improved tooth function
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Better oral hygiene
  • Better overall bite pattern and distribution of bite force
  • Healthier gums and teeth in the long-term
  • Moving the teeth into more appropriate positions
  • Minimizing risk of damage to protruding front teeth
  • Enhances the benefits of other treatments

What are some signs that you may need braces?

  • The front upper teeth are bucked or protrude excessively over the bottom front teeth
  • Front upper teeth cover most of the lower front teeth when biting down, called a deep bite
  • Front upper teeth rest behind the front lower teeth (underbite)
  • Neither the top nor bottom front teeth connect when biting (open bite)
  • Teeth that are overlapped or crowded
  • Upper and lower teeth don’t line up in the center
  • Thumb-sucking that lasts past six or seven years or age
  • Trouble chewing or speaking
  • Uneven or excessive tooth wear
  • Bottom jaw moves to one side when chewing
  • Gaps between teeth

At what age should I orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment can begin at any age. Many problems are simpler to fix if they’re found early before jaw development slows. Early treatment can help patients avoid surgery and many complications. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should have their first orthodontic visit at age seven or younger if there is a noticeable issue.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

Phase I, also called early interceptive treatment, is a limited kind of treatment, like expanders or partial braces, done before permanent teeth come in. This helps create more space for adult teeth, correcting bite problems and addressing unhealthy oral habits. Phase II treatment, known as comprehensive treatment, involves the use of full braces once the adult teeth have come in, which is typically between 11 and 13 years of age.

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

Orthodontic treatment can offer significant benefits for people of all ages. Everybody wants a healthy, attractive smile. Today, as many as one-fifth to one-quarter of orthodontic patients are adults.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Braces provide gentle, steady pressure that slowly pushes teeth into the desired positions. The brackets, which are fastened to the teeth, and the archwires that connect them, are the main parts of braces. Once the archwire is connected to the brackets, it attempts to return to its original form. When it does this, the necessary pressure is applied to coax the teeth into more appropriate positions.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

The length of treatment varies with each individual patient based on their unique case. However, on average, treatment takes between one to two years. The actual length of treatment can be impacted by growth rate and the extent of the problem being corrected. It may also depend on how compliant the patient is. It’s extremely important to maintain proper oral hygiene and keep your regularly scheduled orthodontic appointments in order to keep your treatment on schedule.

Do braces hurt?

Placing the brackets and bands on the teeth is not painful. After your braces are attached, and the archwires are connected, you might experience some soreness that can last between one and four days. Your cheeks and lips may require a week or two to become accustomed to the braces.

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

No. However, it’s strongly recommended that the teeth are protected by a mouthguard during any athletic activities. These devices are inexpensive, widely available and comfortable, and they come in many styles and colors.

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

No, but an adjustment period is often required. Furthermore, patients can wear special covers to prevent discomfort.

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

You should continue your regular dentist visits throughout your braces treatment, which is generally every six months, for routine checkups and cleanings.