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Ask the Orthodontist

  • How long does orthodontic treatment take?

    Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis and can range from several months up to two or more years, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

  • 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 Possible 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 Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth Aid in optimizing other dental treatment

  • What are some signs that braces may be needed?

    Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked 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 (underbite) 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 lineup 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.

  • How Do I Know If My Child Needs 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 comprehensive and informative, and we would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.

  • At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

    Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. 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 surgery and more serious complications.

  • When should I schedule my child’s first orthodontist visit?

    Lucky # 7. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven. An orthodontic screening no later than age seven enables the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems that exist, advise if treatment will be necessary, and determine the best time for the treatment. Early detection of any orthodontic problems is important in order to take early corrective action and avoid more difficult treatment later.

  • What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

    Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

  • Does Everyone Need A Phase I Treatment?

    Not every child needs a Phase I treatment. Only some children with certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most, if not all, of their permanent teeth erupt. However, it is still important that every child be evaluated by age seven.

  • 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 use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

  • Do braces hurt?

    The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four 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 smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Tolleson Orthodontics offers mouthguards.

  • Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

    No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.

  • Is Orthodontic Care Expensive?

    Investing in one of your greatest assets, your smile, is very affordable. 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 that will meet your needs. In addition, many insurance plans now include orthodontics.

  • Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

    Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly, at a minimum every six months. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces. As a courtesy we offer wire removal for dental cleanings.