What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is one of many dental specialties. The word “orthodontics” is derived from the Greek words “orthos” – meaning proper or straight, and “odons” – meaning teeth. Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and irregularity in the jaw area. Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but these days around 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.
There are many advantages to well-aligned teeth, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene, clearer speech, ease in chewing and swallowing food, and a more pleasant smile. Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Dental Association suggests that an orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven. The earlier orthodontic treatment begins, the more quickly the problem can be successfully resolved.
What is an Orthodontist?
In much the same way as doctors choose to specialize in areas such as cardiology and neurology, dentists can also choose to specialize. Orthodontics is a dental specialty which aims to prevent, diagnose and treat facial and dental irregularities, such as malocclusions (bad bites). Many orthodontic practices are limited to dentofacial orthopedics and general orthodontics but can successfully treat patients of any age.
Orthodontists are fully qualified dentists who embark on a further three years of university-based study and gain extensive clinical experience in an orthodontic residency program. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is the regulating body for this branch of dentistry. Selecting an orthodontist who is a member of this organization adds the assurance that treatment is being administered by an individual with specialty education in oral biology and biomechanics.
What is a Malocclusion?
A malocclusion is an incorrect relationship between the maxilla (upper arch) and the mandible (lower arch), or a general misalignment of the teeth. Malocclusions are so common that most individuals experience one, to some degree. The poor alignment of the teeth is thought to be a result of genetic factors combined with poor oral habits, or other factors in the early years.
The following are three main classifications of malocclusion:
- Class I – The occlusion is typical, but there are spacing or overcrowding problems with the other teeth.
- Class II – The malocclusion is an overbite (the upper teeth are positioned further forward than the lower teeth). This can be caused by the protrusion of anterior teeth or the overlapping of the central teeth by the lateral teeth.
- Class III – Prognathism (also known as “underbite”) is a malocclusion caused by the lower teeth being positioned further forward than the upper teeth. An underbite usually occurs when the jawbone is large or the maxillary bone is short.
Do braces hurt?
One of the most commonly asked questions about dental braces is whether placing them causes any pain or discomfort. The honest answer is that braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious. In most cases, there may be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the brackets, which may last for a few days. If you experience significant discomfort, please contact our office. Any pain associated with orthodontic applications is not something you need to “tough out.”
Can we make payments for any procedures performed?
Yes. Whether or not you have insurance or a dental plan, we will structure a convenient payment plan that will allow you to pay for orthodontic services over a period of time that usually coincides with your treatment plan. Learn more here.
How do you handle insurance?
After verification of coverage, we will agree to bill your insurance carrier. However, we ask patients to understand that if coverage ceases or changes, the patient is still responsible for the agreed upon fee.
Do you take credit cards?
Yes, we accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit cards.
Do you have direct debit?
Yes, we have arrangements for direct debit, charge card posting, as well as payments over the internet.
Do you charge interest?
No, we do not.
Do you give family discounts?
We have special programs and fees for multiple patients from the same family.
I need to be pre-medicated for the dentist. Do I need to take my medicine for the orthodontist?
Not for every procedure. Please inform us of your need for pre-medication and, depending upon the procedure, we will determine how best to proceed.
Do retainers need to be worn after braces?
Yes, retainers are worn full-time for about 2 months followed by nighttime wear indefinitely.
Why do teeth get crooked after wearing braces or aligners?
Teeth move throughout life whether you have worn braces or not. It is part of the natural aging process. This is why retainer wear is recommended indefinitely to maintain your orthodontic results over your lifetime.