Frequently Asked Questions
We know getting braces often brings about a whole lot of questions! Below, please find some of the basic questions related to orthodontics. If you have a question that is not answered below, please feel free to contact our office.
At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
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.
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?
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. To see Dr. Battisti’s background, please click here.
What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?
- A more attractive smile
- Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
- Better function of the teeth
- Possible 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
What are some signs that braces 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 six or seven 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
What is 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 six and ten. 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, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen. The vast majority of patients who need Phase I treatment will also require Phase II treatment once all of the permanent teeth erupt. Between Phase I and Phase II, the patient often times will require the wearing of retainers to maintain the early correction.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
A beautiful smile has no age limit. 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. There are multiple options for our adult patients, including ceramic (tooth colored) braces and Invisalign.
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 two to two and a half 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 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.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards 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, adults should continue to see their general dentists every three months for cleanings and dental checkups. Children should see their general dentists every four months.
The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.
An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.
A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.
The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.
The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.
The process of making a model of your teeth by placing a soft, playdough like material around the teeth that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.
An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.
The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.
An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw and other facial areas.