ANSWERS TO ORTHODONTIC QUESTIONS
It’s a lifestyle change!
Fortunately, most orthodontic patients, regardless of age, are able to adapt. Take your time, ask questions, and seek whatever support that you need. But please remember, the best source of information is communication with our office. There are numerous types of appliances, practitioner philosophies and patient instructions out there. Nobody’s orthodontic experience will be exactly the same as yours.
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, tooth and bite alignment and the growth and development of the face and jaws. If you’re not sure whether another 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. 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.
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.
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 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, sleeping or breathing disorders or other 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.
While the average time spent with braces or clear aligners is 18-24 months, treatment times can be longer or much 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.
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.
Yes, you can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let us know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
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.