What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion” which means bad bite. The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances, such as braces, to bring teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.
What is an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists must first attend college, followed by a four-year graduate dental program at a university level dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). They must then successfully complete an additional two to three-year residency program of advanced dental education in orthodontics accredited by the ADA. Only dentists who have successfully completed this advanced specialty education may become an orthodontist.
What Causes Orthodontic Problems?
Most malocclusions are inherited, but some are acquired. Inherited problems include crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra teeth, congenially missing teeth, and a wide range of discrepancies of the jaws, teeth, and face. Acquired problems can be caused by trauma, thumb or finger sucking, airway obstruction by tonsils and adenoids, dental diseases and premature loss of baby or adult teeth. Many of these problems affect not only alignment of the teeth but also facial development and appearance as well.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment?
It is usually difficult to know if treatment is necessary for your child. There are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Other problems may look severe but may be a normal part of development. Our complimentary initial exam is informative and will help you answer this question.
completed this advanced specialty education may become an orthodontist.
At What Age Should My Child See An Orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven. This evaluation enables the orthodontist to detect any potential problems, advise if treatment is indicated, and determine the best time to start treatment. Early detection of a problem may avoid more difficult treatment later.
What is The Difference Between Extraction & Non-Extraction Therapies?
Extraction therapy is a technique where one or more teeth are removed to create a more ideal bite. Extractions are not indicated for a majority of patients. Our office’s treatment philosophy is conservative, and we make every effort to avoid extraction. However, for severe crowding and severe jaw discrepancy extraction(s) may be indicated.
Can Adults Have Braces?
Age is not a factor in considering orthodontic treatment for adults. Any adult in good general health with healthy gums and good bone support for the teeth is a good candidate for orthodontic treatment. About 25% of our orthodontic patients are adults, and that number is still growing.
Is Orthodontic Treatment Painful?
Orthodontic treatment is much more patient friendly then in the past. It is not painful to have the braces placed on the teeth. However you may experience a sore or “bruised” feeling a few hours later. This soreness is usually relieved with an over the counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or whatever you normally use for a headache.
What is Phase I & Phase II Treatment?
Phase l treatment takes advantage of the early growth spurt and turns a difficult orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This often helps reduce the future need for extraction(s) or surgery and delivers better long-term stability. Most Phase I patients require a second phase of treatment in order to achieve an ideal final bite. It should be noted that most children do not require Phase I treatment.
Phase II treatment usually occurs a number of years later when the remaining permanent teeth have erupted. This most commonly occurs at the age of 12 or 13. The goal of Phase II treatment is to achieve an ideal functional bite and a beautiful smile.
Does Everyone Need Phase I Treatment?
Most children do not require a Phase I treatment. Only some children with certain bites requite early intervention. All others can wait until most if not all their permanent teeth erupt. However, it is important that every child be evaluated by age seven.
What is the Duration of Orthodontic Treatment?
Braces are usually worn between 6 months and 24 months, or in rare instances longer. This depends on the development of the dentition, the severity of the problem, the patient’s cooperation and the degree of tooth movement required.