What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?
Both a general practitioner and an orthodontist are dentists. Your general dentist is probably awesome! However, he or she is not also a specialist. An orthodontic specialist has completed an additional two to three year accredited residency program and has a secondary specialty dental license in the State of Illinois. Orthodontists are experts in smile architecture and growth and development of the face and jaws. If you’re not sure whether the provider offering you braces or clear aligners is a specialist, please ask!
It is similar to having a heart surgeon perform your bypass or seeing an obstetrician to deliver your baby instead of going to your family physician. I mean, hey, they all went to medical school, right? You deserve a provider who dominates, not someone who dabbles. Choose an orthodontist for your tooth alignment needs.
At what age should I seek orthodontic care for my child or myself?
No later than age 7.
The transition period from primary to adult teeth is the perfect time for an initial evaluation. Most young children do not require early orthodontic intervention (Phase I). However, having a baseline to detect any developing anomalies and familiarizing the patient and parents with the orthodontic process is very important. Often parents are told to delay an orthodontic consultation until “all the baby teeth are gone.” This misdirection can overlook underlying problems that would be more easily corrected at a younger age.
Orthodontic treatment is also possible at any age! Did you already have braces or clear aligners and need a redo? Are you seeking a new smile for the first time as an adult? No matter whether you’re 7 or 70, we’re here to make your smile goals a reality.
What is Phase I and Phase II?
In general, it is most efficient in terms of mechanics, patient motivation and finances to complete orthodontic treatment when all the adult teeth have erupted in early adolescence or the teen years. This is called Phase II or Comprehensive Treatment.
However, there are instances where early orthodontic intervention (Phase I) is recommended before all the permanent teeth have come in. Localized trauma from tooth malposition, jaw deflections, or deficiencies that may impede normal growth are some examples. Psychosocial concerns due to bullying or self-confidence issues are also factors. When Phase I is undertaken it is almost always followed later by a Phase II round of additional treatment to complete the orthodontic result.
After a thorough examination and discussion of your child’s needs, we will help you determine appropriate treatment timing and scope.
How long will my orthodontic treatment take?
While the average time spent with braces or clear aligners is 18-24 months, treatment times can be longer or shorter depending on your individual needs and compliance. The best thing you can do to stay on track and keep your time in ortho as short as possible is to follow instructions, keep regularly scheduled appointments and take care not to break or lose your appliances.
Will my teeth hurt?
Any form of tooth movement, regardless of whether you have braces or clear aligners, is liable to cause some soreness although some patients are fortunate to not experience any. Most are able to adjust to the temporary periods of discomfort just fine. Remember, wax, over-the-counter pain relievers and softer foods are your friends.
Do I still need to see my general dentist during my orthodontic treatment?
Yes!!! Your visits to our office will help make your time in ortho fly by, but you still must see your general dentist at least every six months, and possibly more often if directed. Maintaining optimal oral hygiene is the top priority. Straight teeth do not come at the expense of healthy teeth and gums. Period.