Frequently Asked Questions
Orthodontics is a specialized area of dentistry concerned with improving the appearance and alignment of the teeth as well as the profile of the face. This is achieved via the repositioning of all teeth into their ideal positions to bring about superior esthetics with the use of “braces”.
Orthodontics can improve a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned. Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing difficulties. Additionally, a “bad bite” can contribute to speech impairments, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries. Therefore, orthodontics is significant in a person’s overall health.
Before orthodontic treatment begins, it will be necessary to visit your family dentist for a checkup and any necessary dental work. Once orthodontic therapy begins, you will be expected to continue to see your family dentist for regular 3 to 6 month checkups and routine care. Routine dental care will help ensure the best possible results from your orthodontic therapy.
Our teeth move throughout life, although at a very slow rate. Teeth that have been moved orthodontically have a tendency to move back to their earlier position. To prevent this relapse tendency, teeth are held in retainers until the relapse tendency has diminished. After the braces are removed, everyone is given individually prescribed retainers. The retainer is designed to prevent your teeth from moving while the bone around your teeth hardens and stabilizes. It is important that patients wear retainers according to instructions in order to maintain their beautiful smile.
Orthodontic treatment fees vary widely, depending on the severity of the problem, complexity of treatment and length of treatment time. Fees may be paid over extended periods during the course of treatment.
In general, active treatment time with braces ranges from one and half to two years. The actual time depend alot on the cooperation of the patient and the severity of the problem. Keeping to appointments, taking good care of the braces and using rubber bands or bite plates, if prescribed, all contribute to completing treatment early.
In patients with severe crowding or protrusion of teeth, extractions of permanent teeth may be required to achieve better results. The number and location of teeth depends on the type of malocclusion. It is not uncommon for patients to remove as many as four teeth for treatment. At the end of treatment, all spaces will be closed.
In general, 3 to 4 weekly adjustments or tightening are the norm. However, with some of the newer appliance systems and wires, the frequency of appointment times may be stretched to once every 2 months in most instances.
Children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics, because healthy teeth can be moved at any age. The health of the teeth, the gums and the supporting bones will determine the prospects for treatment
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age, however, many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid more lengthy treatment times in the future, surgery and more serious complications.
Most orthodontic patients experience some discomfort the first few days after their braces are put on, and right after the braces are tightened. After one week they usually get used to them. You can use common pain reliever to ease the discomfort.
With the newer “frictionless” systems, studies have shown that discomfort can be reduced by a significant degree.
Invisible braces usually refer to “lingual” braces which are orthodontic appliances that are fitted on the inner side of the teeth so that they are not obvious. More recently, clear aligners or Invisalign have become more popular. These are clear, transparent plastic retainers designed to move teeth by sequentially changing from one Invisalign aligner to the next as the teeth are shifted.