Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that covers the growth and development of orofacial structures. In other words, orthodontics is all about making sure your teeth are straight.
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.
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. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child's physician.
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, 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 eleven and thirteen.
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.
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.
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, 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.
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.
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.
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.
Orthodontists are dentists who have taken on additional training to learn more about orthodontics. Orthodontists usually train for another two to three years after dental school.
Unfortunately, they do not. In fact, most cases show that they can get worse over time if left untreated. When the permanent molars fully grow in, they leave less room for the front teeth to grow in straight, which means they can overlap further.
The first orthodontic screening should happen at age seven. At this point, the molars and a few permanent teeth should have grown in, which allows the orthodontist to accurately evaluate the future development of a child’s teeth.
If your orthodontist finds anything wrong with your teeth, you can expect to learn:
You can also ask the orthodontist additional questions at any time. It’s important for your treatment plan to be clear before treatment can begin.
Those who are being treated with dental braces will need their braces tightened every so often to keep up the gentle pressure moving teeth in the correct position. This requires dental appointments every four to eight weeks. Invisalign treatments require occasional visits for checkups and new aligners. Since aligners are to be switched out approximately every two weeks, your orthodontist may provide you with a few aligners at a time so you will only need to come in every month or two.
Those being treated with braces have to be careful with what they eat. Ice, hard candies, raw vegetables, and sticky foods can damage braces and should be avoided. Invisalign aligners can and should be removed when eating, which means those being treated with Invisalign are free to eat whatever they would like. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t avoid eating too much candy, however. Losing a tooth to cavities can interrupt or ruin an orthodontic treatment plan.
If your braces are damaged or broken or if your braces are suddenly causing a great deal of pain, call our office and make an emergency appointment. This is an example of a dental emergency, which is a dental issue that must be resolved in a timely manner. A dental emergency can be addressed and treated usually within a few hours by hour dentists and orthodontists.
If you have any questions regarding orthodontics, please contact our Orthodontics practice in Las Vegas or call us at 702.660.2256 to assist you with your questions and concerns.
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“Dr. Nguyen is an amazing orthodontist. For the past two years, I have been visiting Braces Las Vegas for my orthodontic treatments and I finally got my braces off last week and the results are just amazing! My teeth have never been this straight and now I can smile in confidence.”
- Andy Holman