What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of irregularities in the position of the teeth and jaws.
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an advanced education program following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.
What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?
- A more attractive smile
- Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
- Better function of the teeth
- Increase in self-confidence
- Increased ability to clean the teeth
- Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
- Better long term health of teeth and gums
- Guides permanent teeth into more favorable position
- Reduces the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
- Aids in optimizing other dental treatment
What are some signs that braces may be needed?
- Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth
- Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
- Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (under bite)
- The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
- Crowded or overlapped teeth
- The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
- Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
- Difficulty chewing
- Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
- The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
- Spaces between the teeth
When should a child see an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child’s physician.
What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase 1 treatment is a stage of orthodontic treatment that is done before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. If your 7-11 year old child exhibits a significant orthodontic problem such as an irregular bite, insufficient space for teeth, etc, Dr. Jacobsen may recommend Phase 1 treatment to address the problem now, instead of waiting until all of your child’s teeth are in. After that problem has been resolved, Dr. Jacobsen will then monitor your child until all of the permanent teeth have erupted. At that time, your child will be evaluated for Phase 2 treatment with full braces or Invisalign.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces or Invisalign aligners use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper position.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment time varies based upon the severity of the orthodontic problem. Some treatment can be completed in 12 months or less, while more severe orthodontic problems may require up to 3 years to resolve. Treatment time can be influenced by rate of growth, severity of the orthodontic problem, and patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.
Do braces hurt?
Placement of bands and brackets on your teeth usually results in very minimal discomfort. Once the braces are placed and connected with the arch wires, the teeth will experience some soreness for several days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their teeth by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any contact sports.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
With some musical instruments, there may be an initial period of adjustment. Brace covers, or wax can be used as necessary to prevent discomfort.
Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for a cleaning and dental checkup.