Orthodontics, also known as orthodontia, is a specialty within the dental profession that deals primarily with the prevention, diagnosis, and correction of misaligned or poorly positioned teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an initial orthodontic evaluation at the first sign of orthodontic problems or at age 7, whichever occurs first. Although orthodontic treatment usually isn’t necessary at this early age, a thorough examination can help identify the best time to begin treatment.
Orthodontic treatment often includes traditional braces, Invisalign® (also known as clear braces), space maintainers, expanders and other repositioning appliances (fixed and removable). The type of treatment you receive, as well as the length of treatment, will depend on your age, extent of your condition and other factors.
Traditional metal braces are the most affordable, but also the most noticeable. The new, heat-activated archwires, however, allow teeth to move more quickly and they are far less painful than those made in the past. Kids can also express their personalities by choosing color bands to match their moods, favorite sports teams, and more.
Ceramic braces may be the same size and shape as metal braces, but they offer tooth-colored and clear brackets that make them virtually invisible. There’s also an option to use clear or tooth-colored wires to make them even less noticeable.
Removable retainers are typically crafted out of clear plastic. They are virtually invisible and easy to wear. Your orthodontist will usually instruct you to wear them 24 hours a day for the first few months. After that, you’ll only need to wear them at night while you are sleeping.
For some, permanent retainers may be a better solution. This type of retainer adheres to your lower and/or upper front teeth, helping to keep them in their proper position. Since permanent retainers are placed behind the teeth, they are completely invisible to others. The advantage of using a permanent retainer is that you don’t have to remember to put it in and you will never lose it.
Unlike metal or ceramic braces that use brackets and wire, Invisalign® gently moves your teeth into place through the use of clear aligners. No painful mouth sores, eat anything you like, and get the smile you always wanted in less time. It’s the perfect choice for active teens and adults.
Do I Need an Orthodontist?
There are many things that may indicate that you need to see an orthodontist. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Overbite – Upper teeth extend past bottom teeth and stick out. Sometimes referred to as “buck teeth.”
- Underbite – Bottom teeth extend past the upper teeth, giving a ‘bulldog’ appearance.
- Overcrowding – Too may teeth for the jaw to accommodate. This can lead to teeth being pushed out of alignment.
- Spacing Problems – Gaps and spaces between teeth.
Only your dentist, however, can determine if you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment. To find out if you’re a good candidate for braces or other orthodontic services, please contact our office and schedule a consultation.
Your Initial Orthodontist Appointment
We understand that dental visits can be stressful and unsettling for some patients, but our warm and caring staff will do everything they can to put you at ease. During your initial orthodontic exam, we will review your medical history and take any necessary scans and/or x-rays. We may also take an impression of your teeth to give us an idea of which treatment will work best for your condition.
Following a thorough exam, we’ll discuss the areas of concern and review your treatment options. We’ll also answer any questions you may have about the process, such as:
- How much will orthodontic treatment cost?
- What types of braces are available?
- How long will I have to wear braces?
- Do I need to have any teeth removed?
Our goal is to give you a better understanding of our orthodontic services and help you determine which is right for you. Our experienced, compassionate staff is committed to providing you with the highest level of comfort and service throughout your treatment.
How to Pay for Your Orthodontic Treatment
Once your initial consultation is over and we have discussed your treatment options, we will contact your insurance provider to determine which services may be covered under your policy. Since most insurance plans only cover a portion of your orthodontic treatment, we offer several solutions for paying the remaining costs. This includes financing options through CareCredit™ and Alphaeon®. We also accept most major credit cards. An itemized list of expected services and fees will be provided for your review before any treatment begins. Rest assured that our team will work with you to find the right financing solution to meet your needs and budget.
Frequently Asked Questions About Service
How do I know if I need braces?
Your dentist will typically recommend an orthodontic evaluation if there are any signs that your (or your child’s) oral health may benefit from braces. In children, early orthodontic evaluations can quickly identify problems and allow your orthodontist to provide treatment solutions that will prevent the need for more extensive, and expensive, treatment in the future. Most children begin treatment around the age of 12.
Will I need to have teeth removed before I get braces?
Teeth are typically removed prior to placing braces to alleviate overcrowding. Although it may be necessary to extract teeth in some cases, most younger patients have other options. Your orthodontist will review all options with you and help you choose the best one for your treatment plan.
What’s the difference between metal and ceramic braces?
The main difference between metal and ceramic braces is aesthetics. Ceramic braces have brackets that are clear or match the color of your teeth. The wires are also clear, making them less visible than metal braces. If you play contact sports, however, ceramic braces may chip or crack. Metal braces are more durable, less expensive and reduce the potential for costly repairs.
How long will I have to wear braces?
Treatment time will depend on your individual orthodontic needs. Most people, however, wear braces anywhere from six months to nearly three years (30 months).
How often will I need to visit the orthodontist when I have braces?
Depending on the type of braces you choose, you may have to see the orthodontist every six to eight weeks for regular adjustments.
Should I get regular dental cleanings while wearing braces?
Although you will be visiting your orthodontist for regular adjustments, it’s still very important that you see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
Will I need to wear a retainer after my braces come off?
Yes. Since the bone in your mouth is constantly changing, a retainer is the only way to ensure your teeth stay in place after your braces come off. Depending on your dental needs, your orthodontist may recommend a removable or fixed retainer.
How much do braces cost?
The overall cost of treatment will vary by patient, depending on the complexity and length of treatment. Our team will gladly review your treatment plan and costs, as well as available financing options. We will work with you to find a treatment plan that fits into your budget.