Orthodontic FAQs

What is orthodontics?

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

What is an orthodontist?

Orthodontists are doctors who, after graduating from dental school, complete an advanced education program to learn the complex skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development. Orthodontists are the uniquely trained experts in dentistry who straighten teeth and align jaws.

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more attractive smile
  • Better function of the teeth
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Better long-term health of teeth and gums
  • Increase in self-confidence

What are some signs that braces may be needed?

  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth or are bucked (overbite)
  • 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 that continue past toddler age
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth

At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. As most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth at this time, Dr. Eisen can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth. That's important, because early orthodontic treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing, or make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.

What are 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 6 and 10. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, and 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 11 and 13.

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

Absolutely. In fact, today about one-third of all orthodontic patients are adults. Less visible, more comfortable braces — as well as options like the Invisalign® and Spark™ removable aligner system — make treatment more appealing and convenient than ever. Healthy teeth, bones, and gums respond well to orthodontics at any age, and our patients tell us the positive impact on their appearance and self-esteem is unparalleled.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Dr. Eisen develops a customized treatment plan for each patient that may involve braces, retainers or other corrective appliances. Whether they're removable or "fixed" to the teeth, whether they're made of metal, ceramic or plastic, all orthodontic appliances have a common purpose — to use steady, gentle pressure to move teeth and jaws into their proper positions.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Although every case is different, patients typically wear braces from one to three 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.

Do braces hurt?

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are connected with the archwires, you may feel some soreness of your teeth for up to a few days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces.

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

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.

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist at least every six months for cleanings and dental check-ups. Dr. Eisen works closely with your general dentist to address specific needs and advance treatment goals.

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