What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial problems using appliances such as braces. Braces are appliances that can be fitted to teeth so that correction of dental and facial problems can be achieved.

How do I know if my child needs Orthodontic treatment?

It is usually difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Also, there are some problems that look intimidating and complex which will resolve on their own. Asking your dentist is a good reference, but we are your best resource since orthodontics is all we do. We would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.

What are the early symptoms of orthodontic problems?

Although determining if treatment is necessary is difficult for you to assess, the following symptoms may help in prompting you to seek orthodontic advice.

Ask your child to open their mouth and let you look at their teeth. If you see any signs of crooked teeth, gaps between your child’s teeth or overlapping teeth, your child may need orthodontic treatment.

Ask your child to bite all the way down, but keeping their lips open so you can see their teeth. Do the front teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth? Do the top teeth overlap more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? All of these factors are indicators for the potential need for orthodontic treatment.

Look at the alignment of your child’s jaw. Does the jaw shift off center when your child bites down? If you see any misalignment of shifting of the jaw, your child may have a skeletal imbalance,which requires early orthodontic intervention.

These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.

What age should my child see an orthodontist?

The Australian Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven. Early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early corrective action and avoid more difficult treatment later.

Can you be too old for orthodontic treatment?

No, age is not a factor, only the health of your gums and bone, which support your teeth. About 40% of our orthodontic patients are adults and that number is still growing!

Will it hurt?

Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule, braces make your teeth sore for a few days, but it is not painful. This annoyance can be relieved with over the counter pain reliever. Today’s braces are smaller, more comfortable and use technology that reduces the discomfort. We use the latest in miniature braces and the highest quality orthodontic materials in order to reduce discomfort and treatment time.

Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?

Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth can tip into the empty space. This often causes a functional, aesthetic or periodontal (gum tissue) problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems from happening and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.

What is full or comprehensive orthodontic treatment?

This is another name for orthodontic treatment of the permanent teeth at any age. It is more commonly used when a Phase I treatment was not undertaken.

Does everyone need a Phase I treatment?

Absolutely not! Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

Can I wait on Phase I/Interceptive Orthodontic treatment until my child is older?

This is not recommended. If your child needs Phase I treatment this usually means that they have a difficult problem that requires attention now. If no orthodontic treatment is undertaken, treatment options become limited, more difficult, and the long term stability may be compromised. In addition, it may lead to the need for permanent tooth extractions, oral surgery or increased costs.

What is the length/duration of orthodontic treatment?

Braces may be on between 12 months to 30 months, or longer depending on the age of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patient’s cooperation, and the degree of movement required.

What are the different types of braces?

Designer braces are available in bright purple, pink, green, black etc. As a parent you will have to decide whether you want your children to have plain braces or something more modern and stylish. As an adult or teenage patient, the option of clear, translucent braces is often a popular one in an effort to reduce visibility.

What are lingual braces?

Lingual braces are mounted behind a patient’s teeth. They were used many years ago, before the advent of orthocosmetic braces. Lingual braces are rarely used anymore. Generally, lingual braces are more uncomfortable than standard braces. Orthodontic treatment takes twice as long and is more costly. In addition, some people have trouble talking with lingual braces. Presently, lingual braces are only used in special clinical cases.

Is orthodontic care expensive?

When orthodontic treatment is implemented at the proper time, treatment is often less costly than the dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop years later.

Orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products. Financing is usually available and out office offers many payment programs that will meet your needs. In addition, many private health insurance plans now include orthodontics.