What does an orthodontist actually do?
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. These irregularities include problems with position, spacing and alignment of the teeth, as well as unusual jaw positioning. Orthodontists are specially trained in the use of orthodontic appliances (such as braces and retainers).
In the United States, a dentist must undergo at least two years of additional training before qualifying as a specialist Orthodontist.
Why should I (or my loved ones) see an orthodontist?
There are two main benefits of orthodontic treatment:
- Aesthetics: Orthodontic treatment can provide you the attractive smile you’re searching for. Looks aren’t everything, but improving your smile will give you more self-confidence and change the way others see you.
- Function: Orthodontics is used to correct problems with your bite that affect your ability to chew, swallow and speak properly. Orthodontics treatment also makes your teeth easier to clean, leading to improved overall oral health.
What is the best age to begin orthodontic treatment?
It’s never too late to begin. In fact, recent developments in orthodontic treatment has made it more popular among adults.
That being said, if problems are caught during the childhood or teenage years, they are easier to address because the jawbone and teeth are still developing. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their first orthodontic screening at the age of seven.
How do I know if I have a problem with my bite?
The following symptoms may indicate the need for orthodontic treatment to correct problems of the bite:
- Protruding teeth
- Not enough space to accommodate your teeth (crowding)
- Teeth that appear out of position
- Frequent mouth breathing
- Repeated biting of the cheek or palate
- Speech difficulties
- Extensive thumb sucking (especially past the age of three)
- Teeth don’t meet properly when the mouth closes
Does it hurt to get braces? How does it feel to wear them?
Typically, the process of applying braces is painless.
As you get used to wearing braces, you will probably experience minor aches and soreness. Your braces will also need to be adjusted periodically, and this may cause soreness as well. But this discomfort usually only lasts for a short while.
How long will my treatment last?
Every individual’s situation is different. If you need braces (or other appliances), you will probably wear them anywhere from 6 to 30 months. After this, you will wear a retainer for months (or longer).
How often must I see the orthodontist?
Again, your sessions will depend on your situation and the extent of your treatment. Typically, you will visit the office once every 4 to 10 weeks.
Will you need to extract (pull) any teeth?
For younger patients, early diagnosis and treatment often eliminates the need for extraction. For older patients, extraction may be necessary if your mouth is overly crowded or if teeth are impacted (trapped by other teeth beneath the gum line).
Will I have to adjust my diet?
Possibly. Certain foods such as raw vegetables, hard and sticky candy, or other items may damage or become easily trapped in your braces. We will provide you with a list of problematic foods.
Can I still play sports? How about an instrument?
Yes, and yes. Wearing a mouthguard when playing supports will help protect your braces (and your teeth). Playing an instrument is typically not a problem, although you may require a short adjustment period to get used to the feeling.
Do I still need to see my regular dentist while being treated by an orthodontist?
Definitely! It is more challenging to clean your teeth when they are bonded to an orthodontic appliance. Regular cleanings and exams will help keep your teeth free of plaque and decay.
Will I need a retainer?
In most cases, you will need to wear a retainer for an extended period of time after removing your orthodontic appliance. However, most likely you will be able to remove it.
The retainer plays an important role in helping your teeth stay in their proper position.
Is orthodontic treatment expensive?
It’s important to remember that orthodontic treatment is a long-term investment in your health and well-being.
At first glance, the price of treatment may appear expensive to some. However, it may provide great savings when compared with the cost of repairing problems of the mouth in the future.
At the Yuba City Dentistry Group, we offer a number of financing options to help make your orthodontic care affordable.