• What is Orthodontics?
  • What is an Orthodontist?
  • What are some possible benefits of Orthodontics?
  • What are some signs that braces may be needed?
  • When should my child first see an Orthodontist?
  • What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
  • Would an adult patient benefit from Orthodontics?
  • How does orthodontic treatment work?
  • How long does orthodontic treatment take?
  • How much do braces cost?
  • Do braces hurt?
  • How often will I have appointments scheduled?
  • What is headgear?
  • What is a palatal expander?

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the specialty branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who is a trained specialist in braces for both children and adults. Orthodontists have completed dental school, just as your family dentist, but have also had additional training (called a residency) for an additional 2 to 3 years. During their residency the orthodontist learns not only about placing braces on teeth but also studies the growth and development of the face and jaws. From their background, orthodontists can determine developing bite problems at very early ages.

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

What are some signs that braces may be needed?

Below are some of the more common signs that orthodontics 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 line up
  • Finger- or thumb-sucking habits which continue after 6 or 7 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 my child first see an Orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child visit an orthodontist by age 7, or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, family dentist or the child’s physician. Although only a few of the patients need treatment at this time, the orthodontist can often improve improper growth and prevent future problems. For some of these problems early intervention is essential for a good result. Should your child not be ready for treatment the orthodontist will monitor growth and development on a regular basis.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander, headgear or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of 6 and 12. 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.

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. Many adults just want a more pleasing smile and orthodontics can idealize their teeth and smile. Some adults require orthodontics prior to having restorative dentistry such as implants, veneers, and extensive crown and bridge work to make room, correct bites, and give the patient a more ideal overall result . Dr. Hunt works closely with your dentist, periodontist, and oral surgeon to diagnose, treatment plan and coordinate a comprehensive plan that will most benefit you.

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.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment times vary on a case by case basis, but the average time is from 18 months to 2 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, keeping regular appointments and good elastic wear are all important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

How much do braces cost?

Orthodontic fees will vary depending on the complexity of the bite problem. Bites with more severe problems usually require additional treatment time (and additional fees) than a less complicated bite. Because of so many differences each case is evaluated independently. After records, during the consultation appointment, our staff will go over fees in more detail and devise a payment plan which best meets your needs.

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 1 to 4 days. Your lips and cheeks may need 1 to 2 weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

How often will I have appointments scheduled?

It may take several appointments at the beginning to get treatment started. Once treatment is underway appointments are usually 6 to 8 weeks apart.

What is headgear?

Headgear is a type of orthodontic appliance that connects to the teeth and is held in place with a strap behind the neck or the crown of the head. Headgear is often used when the top jaw or top teeth are too far forward relative to the bottom jaw or bottom teeth. If a patient needs to wear headgear we usually request that it be worn in the evening and during sleep time.

What is a palatal expander?

An expander is a type of orthodontic appliance that connects to either 2 or 4 of the top back teeth and will be placed over the roof of the patient’s mouth. An expander is used when the patient’s top jaw is narrow compared to its bottom jaw. The expander will widen the top jaw to have it match properly with the bottom jaw.