Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my child is in need of 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 general dentist is a good reference, but we are your best resource since orthodontics is all we do. Our initial exam is complimentary and 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 may be difficult for you to assess, the following symptoms may help in prompting you to seek our orthodontic advice. Ask your child to open his mouth, and let you look at his 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 his lips open so you can see his teeth. Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? All these are indicators for potential 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 or shifting of the jaw, your child may have a skeletal problem, which requires early orthodontic intervention. These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.

What age should my child be seen by an Orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists 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 braces?

No, age is not a factor, only the health of your gums and bone which support your teeth. About 30% 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 an 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 of 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 will drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, esthetic or periodontal 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 Phase I (interceptive treatment) and Phase II treatment?

Phase I or Interceptive Treatment usually starts while the child has most of his baby teeth and a few of his permanent front incisors. This stage in development is usually about the age of seven. The goal of Phase I Treatment is to intercept a moderate or severe orthodontic problem early in order to reduce or eliminate it. These problems include skeletal growth problems, crossbites, and crowding. Phase I Treatment takes advantage of the early growth spurt and turns a difficult orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This helps reduce the need for extractions or surgery and delivers better long-term results and treatment options. Most Phase I patients require a Phase II Treatment in order to achieve an ideal bite. Phase II Treatment generally occurs a number of years later. Usually, we are waiting for 12-16 more permanent teeth to erupt before Phase II begins. This most commonly occurs at the age of 12 or 13. The goal of Phase II Treatment is to achieve an ideal occlusion with all of the permanent teeth.

What is full or comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment?

This is another name for orthodontic treatment in the permanent dentition at any age. It is more commonly used when a Phase I Treatment was not performed.

Does everyone need a Phase I treatment?

Absolutely not! Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most, if not all, their permanent teeth erupt.

What is the length or duration of Orthodontic Treatment?

Braces may be on between 6 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 possible.

What are the extraction and non-extraction therapies

Extraction therapy is a technique where some teeth are removed to make room for the other teeth in your child's mouth. This is in contrast to non-extraction therapy where space is created through various means, including but not limited to, jaw expansion, molar movement, and tooth size reduction.

What are the different types of braces?

The state of the art brace is made of stainless steel. This is the brace that the majority of our patients (adult and children) choose. This brace is small, durable, and very strong. We also offer ceramic braces. These are only used on the upper front teeth. While these brackets are less noticeable, they do have drawbacks. The drawbacks include larger size, more bulk, slower treatment time, more breakage, and a tendency for staining of the small ties used to hold the wire in the brace.

What are Lingual Braces?

Lingual braces are mounted behind a patient's teeth. They were used many years ago, before the advent of ceramic 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 our office offers many payment programs to help meet your needs. In addition, many insurance plans now include orthodontics.