What is an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists are licensed dentists, who after graduating from dental school, go on to additional full-time education in an accredited orthodontic residency program. That training lasts at least two years-sometimes more. By learning about tooth movement (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are the uniquely trained experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws.
Orthodontists diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. The majority of members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) limit their practices to orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Orthodontists treat a wide variety of malocclusions (improperly aligned teeth and/or jaws). They regularly treat young children, teens and adults.
Your Child's First Orthodontic Check-Up: No Later than age 7
When most people think of orthodontics, they think of teenagers. And the fact is, most orthodontics treatment begins between the ages of 9 and 14, however, by age 7, most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. That's important because some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they're found early.
For these reasons, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. While your child's teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect. Of course, the check-up may reveal that your child's bite is fine, and that can be comforting news. Even if a problem is detected, your orthodontist may not recommend immediate treatment. Chances are, your doctor will take a "wait-and-see" approach.
Why Straighten Teeth?
An attractive smile is the most noticeable "side effect" of orthodontic treatment, however straight teeth help an individual to effectively bite, chew and speak. Straight teeth also contribute to healthy teeth and gums. Properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent physical health problems. Teeth that work better also tend to look better.
An attractive smile is a wonderful asset. It contributes to self-esteem, self-confidence and self-image - important qualities at every age. A pleasing appearance is a vital component of self-confidence. A person's self-esteem often improves as orthodontic treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion. In this way, orthodontic treatment can benefit social and career success, as well as improve a person's general attitude toward life.
There are psychological aspects that are also important. It has been clinically proven that a beautiful smile leads to higher self-esteem. Confidence generates success. People with beautiful smiles have a lot to be happy about.
Adult Orthodontics: It's Never Too Late
The fact is orthodontic treatment can improve a person's smile - and confidence at almost any age. More and more adults are turning to orthodontic treatment to correct a smile that's bothered them most of their lives. With the help of your orthodontist, you can have a healthy, beautiful smile. And with today's orthodontic options including Invisalign, it's never been easier.
Your First Visit
The purpose of your first visit to the orthodontist is to gather information. First, we want to know what we can do for you. What are your treatment needs and expectations? Secondly, after a thorough examination, we will determine whether or not you (or your child) would benefit from orthodontic treatment.
All Initial Exams are Complimentary
If you are a new patient to our practice, we need for you to fill out a health history form and bring it with you. We will send you a welcome letter prior to your examination appointment with a health history form enclosed or you may choose the appropriate form (adult or child) from our website. Then print the health history form, fill it out and bring it with you to your first appointment.
In order to perform a comprehensive examination, the doctor will need to gather information about your smile and your teeth. We will:
* Request that you allow us to take a diagnostic digital radiograph (a panoramic x-ray that exposes patients to 90% less radiation than many conventional radiographs). We will send a copy of this x-ray to your general dentist.
* Perform an examination of your teeth and bite.
If orthodontic treatment is indicated, the doctor and the treatment coordinator will present you with a custom, detailed orthodontic treatment plan that includes length of treatment and a comprehensive fee estimate and financial options available.
It is our goal to have you leave our office with complete knowledge of how orthodontic treatment would benefit you. We also want you to feel comfortable with your decision to let us provide for your health care needs.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or silver color. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.
Duration of Treatment
Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient's mouth and face and the severity of the problem. The patient's diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as six months.
Orthodontic Treatment Growth
Orthodontic treatment and a child's growth can complement each other. By timing orthodontic treatment to predictable stages of dental development, the orthodontist may be able to take advantage of your child's growth and development. Some problems that can be treated quite well in a growing child may require corrective surgery if treated after growth has occurred.
What is Two Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Two phase orthodontic treatment consists of two separate times when a child receives orthodontic treatment. A first phase of treatment is done while the child still has many or most of their primary or "baby" teeth. A second phase takes place when the child has most or all of their permanent teeth.
What are the Benefits of Two Phase Orthodontic Treatment
A first phase of treatment benefits patients physically, enabling them to bite or chew more effectively. It may reduce the risk of breaking front teeth that protrude. The goal of this treatment is to create a better environment for your child's permanent teeth.