Frequently Asked Questions
We know getting braces is a really big decision. We try to make it as easy as possible by giving you as much information as we can. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions. We also invite you to come in for a free consultation with one of our caring and experienced orthodontists. That's the best way to learn how you or your child can have the smile you've always wanted!
What causes crooked teeth?
Many dental problems including crowded teeth, missing teeth or jaw alignment problems are genetic. Other dental problems are the result of bad habits, such as thumb-sucking, using a pacifier, or poor oral hygiene that led to tooth decay and the premature loss of baby teeth.
Why should I have my teeth straightened?
Orthodontic treatment can do more than make a smile beautiful by correcting gapped, crowded and misaligned teeth. It can also help you chew properly, speak more clearly, reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery, protect your gums from becoming unhealthy, and reduce or eliminate the need for extracting permanent teeth. Video
How do braces work?
Braces apply gentle, steady pressure on your teeth to move them into their proper positions. A bracket is placed on each tooth. Then we bend a wire called the arch wire into the ideal u-shape we want your teeth to have. The arch wire is threaded through the brackets and as the wire tries to return to the u-shape, it moves the teeth with it. Video
When should a child see an orthodontist?
The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends children see an orthodontist at the age of 7. Bite problems, called malocclusions, often become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12 as the child's permanent teeth erupt. >Common Problems
What is Phase I Treatment?
Phase I treatment, which is also called early treatment or interceptive orthodontic treatment, typically begins in children who still have a mixture of baby and permanent teeth. It's typically started when the child is between the ages of 6 and 10. Early treatment is often used to help correct severe crowding, tooth eruption problems, bite problems, narrow jaws and protruded front teeth. Early correction may prevent the need for the extraction of permanent teeth or surgical procedures later. Braces may still be needed when all of the permanent teeth erupt, but the duration of treatment is often shorter.
What is Phase II Treatment?
Phase II or full treatment occurs when all permanent teeth are erupted, typically after the age of 11. The goal of Phase II treatment is to straighten your permanent teeth and align your jaw. Patients who have undergone both Phase I and Phase II treatment are more likely to have lasting results.
How often will I have appointments?
Your treatment will depend on your specific needs. Most patients with wire braces visit the orthodontist every 5 to 10 weeks. Patients with clear aligners typically visit the orthodontist once every four to six weeks. Your orthodontist will let you know your schedule.
How long will I need braces?
Every patient is different. Most people need braces for 12 to 24 months, although some require up to 36 months of treatment.
Do I still need to see my family dentist?
Yes. You should continue with your regular dental checkups while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Your family dentist will determine the intervals, and can advise you whether you should have your orthodontist remove the arch wires so the general dentist has better access for your dental cleaning. The arch wire would be replaced by your orthodontist after the cleaning.
Are retainers necessary?
Yes. We know you're excited about your new smile, but you must wear a retainer to help keep your teeth in their new positions. Most patients wear a retainer for about a year; your orthodontist will tell you how long you need to wear your retainer.
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