At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
Depending on the nature of the problem, orthodontic treatment can be started at various ages. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw development has ended. Frequently, minor interceptive procedures can prevent damage to the teeth from developing or, in minor skeletal imbalances, the need for future surgery. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child visit an orthodontist by age 7 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 before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. In our office, interceptive procedures are utilized only on a limited basis. Several recent studies have indicated that in most instances, two-phase treatment does not produce an enhanced final result and frequently adds additional unnecessary expense. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment; it usually involves full braces and is started when most of the permanent teeth have erupted.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be undergone at any age. In a growing patient, orthodontics utilizes the growth and development process to achieve the correction. That growth is completed in an adult, so a slightly longer treatment time may be required.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces apply a gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their correct positions. The main components of braces are brackets and arch wires. When the arch wire is tied into the brackets it applies pressure to move the teeth to their new, more ideal positions.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from 12 to 30 months. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the problem. Treatment progress is also dependent upon patient compliance. This includes following instructions, not damaging the braces, and keeping regularly scheduled appointments.
Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on teeth does not hurt. Once braces are placed and activated with the arch wires, the patient may experience some soreness for a short period of time. Until they adapt to the appliances, lips and cheeks may experience some irritation.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. However, patients should wear a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Specific mouth guards designed for patients with orthodontic appliances should be used. Our office can provide these.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment.
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. In patients where hygiene is a problem, cleanings and fluoride treatments at four-month intervals are recommended.
Is it necessary to have teeth removed?
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve a stable orthodontic result. Today, the trend in orthodontics is to avoid removing teeth whenever possible. The final decision depends on the nature of the problem.
How often are appointments scheduled?
This varies with each patient. Generally patients are seen every three to eight weeks.
Can all appointments be scheduled after school?
Our office routine is to schedule short appointments in the afternoon and longer appointments in the morning. Unless the patient damages the braces, most of the appointments are short appointments and can be made after school.
Must a parent or guardian be present at each appointment?
This is not generally necessary. Working parents frequently have friends or relatives bring children to their appointments. Messages are sent home with appointment slips and we will contact the parents if we need to speak with them.
Can the patient return to school after braces are placed?
Although patients frequently take the day off, there is no reason that they cannot return to school.
Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
In general, hard foods (ice, raw vegetables) and sticky foods should be avoided while wearing braces.
How often should teeth be brushed while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. In addition, we recommend that a fluoride rinse be used just before bedtime.
What are retainers and are they necessary?
Retainers are devices designed to hold the teeth in their new positions following the removal of braces. They should be worn by all patients after active treatment is completed. The wearing time will vary from patient to patient. More information on our other Website