An attractive smile and improved self-image are just some of the benefits of orthodontic treatment. Alleviating and preventing dental health problems is just as important. Without treatment, orthodontic problems can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction, chewing and digestive difficulties, speech impairments, tooth loss, TMJ and other problems.
At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
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 tooth extractions or more serious complications. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children first visit an orthodontist by age 7. Although not every child needs early treatment, an evaluation at age 7 can give you peace of mind to know that everything is developing “normally” and that treatment can wait until more permanent teeth have erupted.
How long will I have to undergo orthodontic treatment?
The time needed for treatment will vary for each patient and depends on the amount of tooth movement necessary. Although the teeth usually straighten quickly, getting the upper and lower teeth to fit together properly (the bite) usually can take more time. At Taylor Orthodontics, we are committed to making your treatment as swift and effective as possible.
How much do braces cost?
Just as the time needed for treatment will vary for each patient, costs vary depending on the type and length of treatment. Today, many dental insurance policies include orthodontic benefits making fees more affordable than ever before. We have many payment options available for you including no money down and low monthly payments. We feel that finances should not prevent you from obtaining that beautiful Taylor-made smile.
Am I too old for orthodontics?
Braces are not just for children. In fact, about 20% of orthodontic patients today are adults. Many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children; and, with the advances in clear braces and invisible aligners, most people won’t even notice you’re in treatment until you flash them that beautiful smile.
Will braces hurt?
Some orthodontic patients experience discomfort the first week after their braces are placed, and a few days after each adjustment. Aspirin, Advil, or Tylenol usually relieves this discomfort.
Will I still be able to play sports or a musical instrument?
Yes. While playing sports, it is recommended that you wear a mouth guard to protect your smile and prevent your lips and cheeks from getting cut. Also, we have many patients who play a musical instrument. Although there may be a short period of adjustment, there is no reason why braces will prevent you from playing your instrument.
How often do I need to come in for adjustments?
The first few visits will be more frequent but once the braces are placed, we usually will see you every 5-8 weeks. More frequent visits don’t usually shorten the length of treatment, as time is needed in between visits to allow for the physiologic tooth movement. Missed appointments, however, can lengthen treatment time.
Are retainers necessary? How long will I have to wear them?
A retainer is an appliance worn after the braces are removed. It is designed to prevent your teeth from drifting or moving while the new bone around your teeth hardens and stabilizes (matures). Even with retainers, there is some “settling” of the teeth; however the longer you wear your retainer, the better your chances that your teeth will stay in good alignment. Initially, retainers are worn full time. After a period of time, to be determined by the doctor, night time wear is usually acceptable. As a rough rule of thumb, retainers should be worn enough so that they aren’t tight upon insertion, and your teeth should not get sore. Even many years after the braces are removed, retainers should still be occasionally placed to prevent unnecessary forces from causing undesirable movements. For most people, that may be a few nights a week.
Can I wear clear aligners (Invisalign) instead of braces?
Clear aligner therapy is a good treatment option for patients who have all of their permanent teeth (at least 12-13 years old) and who are responsible enough to wear them at least 20 hours per day. Although they have some limitations that only braces can correct, they are good at correcting teeth that are crowded or spaced. Most people won’t even know you are wearing them!