The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age and crookedness gets worse. It is important to provide treatment to correct problems before jaw growth has slowed, or these problems may lead to a need for surgery or extraction of teeth.
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is usually not necessary.
Orthodontic treatment begins with a desire to straighten teeth and make smiles more beautiful, confident, and healthy. At the free initial exam, the doctors will evaluate your bite and position of the teeth. Treatment is recommended when the bite is malaligned and doesn’t allow the teeth to come together in a position that is healthy for the teeth, gums, and bones around the teeth. Crowding and spacing of the teeth will be evaluated and may warrant treatment. If there is past damage to teeth from thumb sucking habits or if there is difficulty with chewing, then treatment is certainly warranted.
Braces produce light, continuous pressure gradually moving teeth into proper alignment. The wire creates a very light pressure on the teeth, and the natural, physiological process takes over causing the teeth to begin to move.
Surprisingly to most patients, it does not hurt to place the bands and brackets on your teeth. Once your braces are in place and connected with the arch wires, it generally takes 8-12 hours to start feeling some discomfort (if any). You may feel some soreness of your teeth for a couple of days after a new wire is installed. If you experience any discomfort, you may wish to eat softer foods for a couple of days and/or take pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol.
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s unique orthodontic needs. It is possible to estimate an average treatment length for each individual situation. The general range of treatment is from 12 to 30 months. The average length of orthodontic treatment in our office is 22 months. If you go about it in a very systematic way, straightening teeth can be done very quickly.
With the new advances in orthodontics, most patients in braces will be seen every five to ten weeks according to each patient’s treatment needs. Overall, most patients find it easy to work appointments into their busy schedules.
Most appointments vary between 20-30 minutes. The initial examination takes around one hour. The appointment to place the braces on the teeth and the appointment to remove the braces take around an hour-and-a-half each.
Yes, absolutely. Some patients struggle with proper oral hygiene and brushing while their braces are on and their family dentist may even recommend more frequent visits for cleaning and maintenance. Your family dentist will determine what is healthy for your situational needs.
No, they will not. Usually, parents are interested in how braces and sports work together. Some parents may presume that a child with braces must refrain from active sports to avoid any kind of serious impact which may injure the mouth and teeth. But with any kind of sports-related impact, braces will actually keep your teeth in place, before they will let them fall out. We treat players in many types of sports. We do, however, always advise our patients to wear a mouth guard for all contact sports.
There have been a number of research studies related to orthodontics and musical instruments. A patient with braces playing a woodwind instrument may have a little more difficulty than a patient playing a brass instrument. Unless they are professional, musician patients adapt very well to playing with braces after a week or two of practice. Some of them find that placing wax on the brackets is helpful during the initial adjustment period.
Yes. Once treatment begins, instructions will be given along with a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces can be prevented by carefully following those instructions. Please refer to our “Life with Braces” page.
As general rule, orthodontic wires progress from very light, delicate wires to heavier, more rigid wires depending on the initial alignment of your teeth. We use primarily three wires. The first wire is a very light wire that allows deflection towards the teeth that are most crooked. Once that wire has performed the initial alignment, a larger wire is used. This larger wire is thicker and stiffer, and it completes most of the work. The final wire is the largest, stiffest, and has the ability to be bent. This wire allows for fine detailing through minor wire bends.
Braces can be removed very quickly. We simply squeeze the braces and they pop off the teeth. Usually, there is no discomfort. Prior to removing the braces, upper and lower bonded retainers are glued to the inside of the front teeth. These very small wires can combat most of the relapse associated with orthodontic treatment. After the glue is removed, the enamel is polished to a beautiful shine. Impressions will be made for an upper invisible retainer. Then you are ready to flash your brand-new smile to your friends, family, and co-workers.
Teeth are part of the human body and we change as we age. Retainers are necessary if you want to maintain the beautiful results we have achieved. Since the wires glued behind the teeth keep the front teeth straight, a removable retainer is only necessary at night to keep the back teeth and bite ideal. You will be able to decrease the frequency of wearing the removable retainer as time goes on.