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Orthodontist FAQs

Q And A

faqs about orthodontists

What's Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the department of dentistry that does specialty services such as the diagnoses, the prevention, and the treatment of facial and dental irregularities. Technically, these are called "malocclusion" which translated to layman's terms means "bad bite".

The practice of orthodontics is a professional skill that uses the design, the application of and the controlled use of correctives such as braces which can bring teeth, jaws, and lips into proper alignment in order to achieve the proper bite.

What's An Orthodontist?

The orthodontist is the specialist who is trained professionally to diagnose, prevent and treat all irregularities of the face and teeth. They must go to college and then move on to a four-year graduate program in dentistry at a university level.

The school must be accredited by the American Dental Association or ADA or by the Canadian Dental Association or CSA. The courses must be successfully completed and then a two to three-year residency program of advanced dental education of orthodontics that is fully accredited by the ADA and the CDA.

Only those dentists that have completed the advanced specialty education successfully may call themselves an orthodontist.

What Causes Orthodontic Problems?

Malocclusions can be acquired or inherited. Inherited issues may include teeth that are crowding one another, spaces between teeth, extra or missing teeth, and other discrepancies in the teeth or the jaw and face.

Acquired issues may be due to trauma such as finger or thumb sucking, obstructions in the airways by the tonsils and the adenoids, premature loss of the baby or the adult teeth, and dental diseases. Other issues may affect the development of the face and the alignment of the teeth or even the development of the face and the appearance.

How Do I Know If My Child Will Require Orthodontic Treatment?

It can be difficult at best to identify if dental treatment will be required as there are many issues that may be going on that aren't obvious such as the teeth look straight in front, but are crowded in the back.

There are issues that may appear to be intimidating and complex that will resolve alone all on their own. It's a complex study and it's important to discuss this with your dentist. Your dentist can give you a good reference for orthodontists if you need one. Orthodontists have the extra years of training as orthodontia is their specialty.

To assess the patients they will do a complete comprehensive evaluation and then a follow up with the detailed information that will personalize the consultation and this is all inclusive with the initial charges for care. They are delighted to see your children and go over the options with you regarding your child's dental care.

What Are The Early Signs Of Orthodontic Problems?

It can be difficult at best to determine on your own whether or not your child requires orthodontal care.

There are some signs that you can watch for such as crowded teeth, overlapping teeth, gaps in between teeth, top teeth and bottom teeth not lining up, Misaligned teeth may shift the jaw and the child may also have skeletal issues that require orthodontic treatment.

These are just a few of the potential issues.

At What Age Should A Child See An Orthodontist?

According to the American Association of Orthodontics, your child should have a dental evaluation by the age of seven years old. Orthodontic screening at this state can allow the orthodontist to detect and to evaluate issues that are already in place.

They can suggest and recommend treatment or determine if you should wait and see if the issues resolve on their own. Early detection can be vital for some conditions that could be more challenging to treat later on in life.

Can Adults Wear Braces?

It's important to know that adults can be treated with braces and age is no factor. Adults that are in good health and who have healthy gums and bone support are ideal candidates for orthodontic treatment.

Approximately 25 percent of our orthodontic patients are adults and the number is growing rapidly. More adults than ever before are turning to braces and enjoying a more beautiful smile.

Is Orthodontic Treatment Painful?

Braces may make your teeth more tender and your gums sore for a few days, however, it's not overly painful. The annoyance may be relieved with over the counter pain relievers.

Today, braces are far more comfortable and use technology that helps to reduce discomfort. Using biocompatible braces, and advanced techniques that use light force and higher quality materials to help ease discomfort and the length of treatment time.

What Is Phase 1: Interceptive And Phase 2: Comprehensive Treatment?

Phase 1 or Interceptive treatment typically begins when children still have their baby teeth and just a few of their front incisors that are permanent. At this stage of development, children are approximately seven to nine years of age.

The goal of the Phase 1 treatment is intercepting the more severe issues that may occur in later life and reduce or eliminate the severity of such issues. This may include skeletal discrepancies, severe crowding, crossbites, and other issues. Early treatment may prevent more serious treatment at a later date.

It may also reduce the requirement for surgery and extractions offering better and more long term stability. Most of these patients will require a second phase to achieve the proper final bite.

Phase 2 or Comprehensive treatment happens many years later after the permanent teeth have all erupted. This includes the second set of molars. This is usually around ages 12 or 13 years old. This phase has a goal to achieve the ideal bite and profile with the teeth that are now permanent.

Does Everyone Require Phase 1 Treatment?

Not all children will require phase 1 treatments. Only some more serious cases such as a crossbite, sever crowding and or very large gaps may require intervention at this stage. Most of the others can wait until the permanent teeth have erupted. However, it's vital to remember that the child should be evaluated by the age of seven.

What's The Duration For Orthodontic Treatment?

Braces are typically worn for six to thirty months or on rare occasion longer. It's all dependent on the development of the dentition and the seriousness of the dental issue. Patients may have to have some teeth moved that will require a longer period of time.

Do I Need Any Extractions?

There are several ways to address crowding. Extraction is one where there are some teeth removed to make room for other teeth. There is also non-extraction therapy where a patient's jaw may be expanded or adjusted to the shape and size of their teeth.

Our treatment philosophy is more conservative and we make every effort to avoid having to extract teeth. However, there are some severe cases where it's required.

Is Orthodontic Care Expensive?

By implementing proper orthodontic care at the right time, treatment is far less expensive than the dental care that is required to treat any more serious issues that can develop later on in life. Fees are assessed per the degree of difficulty that is required for each individual case.

We strive to make all of our services available to those who require care. We have payment plans that meet our client's needs and we have insurance forms and more detailed information at the ready if you have orthodontic coverages.