QUESTIONS ABOUT ORTHODONTICS FOR CHILDREN
Why do children aged 7 or older need an orthodontic screening?
By the time a child reaches age 7 there will have been adequate dental and skeletal development to determine whether some form of interceptive orthodontic treatment may be necessary. Some examples of treatment needs may be: thumb sucking habit, cross-bite, protrusion of front teeth that may be prone to injury/trauma, crowding, severe overbites, early loss of baby teeth, and jaw growth not in harmony with the rest of the face. It is always better to find out there is a developing problem early and be able to treat it simply, rather than to treat it later by a less desirable means. If no treatment is necessary then the child will be placed on recall and seen yearly to evaluate any changes.
How can a child’s growth affect orthodontic treatment?
Most patients grow in a favorable fashion, whereby each jaw’s growth is in harmony with the other and with the rest of the face. In some cases however, one jaw may be growing out of sync with the other, either faster or slower than the opposing jaw. In these cases, it is important to try to guide the growth of the jawbone that is out of sync to fit better with the other. Some examples of growth modification would be: expander, headgear, or an orthopedic corrector, If growth problems are not identified early, a surgical approach to correcting the jawbone may be necessary once all growth has been completed. It is our goal to eliminate the need for surgery in an as many patients as possible.
Why do we sometimes need to remove baby teeth?
Removing baby teeth can be necessary in cases of moderate to severe crowding. This allows the permanent teeth to come into a more favorable position in the dental arch. Occasionally, one or two baby teeth will not fall out on their own and may need some assistance to allow the permanent tooth to erupt correctly. Removal of baby teeth is a common practice and doesn’t cause problems with the child’s bite as long as the space is properly maintained.
Can my child play sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment?
Yes, we recommend patients wear a mouthguard while playing any type of contact sport to help protect the teeth, braces, gums, cheeks, and lips. Most custom mouthguards won’t fit a patient with braces, so we have some available in our office for your convenience.
Will braces interfere with my child playing a musical instrument?
It depends on the instrument. Brass and wind instruments require a period of adjustment, but after a week or two no difference in ability can be detected. We can also provide you with a plastic sleeve to put over your braces while you’re playing your instrument to make it more comfortable for you.
Why does orthodontic treatment sometimes last longer than originally anticipated?
The treatment time for any patient is dependent on several factors, some the orthodontist has control over, some the patient has control over, and some that none of us have control over, like growth. Keeping regular appointments, wearing elastics/following instructions, avoiding broken brackets, and keeping your teeth clean can all contribute to keeping the treatment time on track. Failure to follow these suggestions will increase total treatment time. When we fist examine you we are giving you an “estimate”, we try very hard to predict accurately, but we never want to lose sight of the goal which is to provide a great end result and not to rush to the finish line of the treatment.
Do Braces hurt?
As is the case with any new thing in our lives, there will be a period of adjustment. The first few days after you get your braces on you will experience some pressure. It is not a sharp pain like someone kicking you, it could better be described as a “tenderness”. The reason you experience pressure is because your teeth are becoming mobile and getting ready to move. Eating soft foods and taking Ibuprofin will help. After those first few days of loosening up the pressure should subside and you should be quite comfortable.
What are the “colors” that I see on braces?
The colors you see around the bracket are tiny rubber bands called alastics or ligatures ties. The alastics are what we use to hold the wire into the bracket. It is the combinations of the archwire and the alastics that give us the gradual pressure we need to move your teeth. We change the alastics every visit because they become stretched our and lose their effectiveness. That means you can pick new colors every month!
Why are retainers needed after orthodontic treatment has been completed?
Once we have corrected all dental and skeletal problems we want to result to last. So after we remove the braces some teeth may tend to shift back toward their original position, and without retainer wear our final result will be jeopardized. We ask that our patients wear their retainers full time for 1 year, and at night time for the rest of their lives to help keep that perfect smile! Many studies have shown that all adults go through “maturational change” in their early twenties. This change can cause teeth that were previously straight to appear crowded. This is most commonly seen in the lower incisor area. This is why retainer wear is so important.
Should my child’s wisdom teeth be removed?
The most common misconception regarding wisdom teeth is that they cause crowding. This has been shown by many studies to be incorrect. However, there are several reasons to have these teeth removed. Each patient is different, and so you should discuss this fully with your orthodontist and your general dentist to be able to make a decision that is appropriate for you.
QUESTIONS ABOUT ORTHODONTICS FOR ADULTS
Am I too old for orthodontics?
It is never too late to feel good about your smile. Teeth that are healthy will move into alignment regardless of age. Many problems that adolescents experience are just as easily treated in adult patients, however since adults are no longer growing certain treatment options may be limited. We always work closely you’re your general dentist to make sure that your gums are healthy and that any cosmetic work that you may need at the end of treatment is carefully put into our treatment plan. About 20% of our patients are adults so we have confidence treating all types of adult orthodontic problems.
My dentist told me that I need to have some missing teeth replaced, but I needed orthodontics first. Why?
Many times when patients have missing teeth the adjacent teeth with drift into the space. When this happens it makes it difficult for your dentist to properly restore that area to optimal health. So we can upright and align those teeth to help your dentist give you that perfect smile.
I have seen commercials for Invisalign, how do I know if this type of treatment is right for me?
Invisalign is a new and exciting technology in orthodontics. We use it in specific cases on our adult patients with great success. It is a cosmetic alternative to traditional braces, but it has its limitations as to what types of cases it will work on. Generally speaking, patients with minor crowding or spacing that have a good bite can be candidates. Those with severe crowding and problems with the bite may not be candidates for the procedure. You should schedule an examination to find out what options are available for you and to determine if this procedure is right for you.
GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT ORTHODONTICS
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed an additional 2-3 years of training solely in the field of orthodontics. Orthodontists specialize in aligning teeth and correcting dysfunctional bites.
Why should I come to Dr. Markarian for my orthodontic treatment?
During the course of you orthodontic treatment you are going to build a 2-3 year relationship with the doctor and staff. It is important that you respect us and enjoy you visits. The doctors here are committed to giving state-of-the-art, individualized orthodontic care to each and every patient. We are fortunate to be practicing in a newly designed office that mirrors our enthusiasm for what we do each day! Our staff are well-educated seasoned professionals who excel each day in customer service. As a patient you will be greeted with enthusiasm and treated with respect… we will never take for granted that you chose our practice!
What causes orthodontic problems?
Most malocclusions are inherited from parents or grandparents, but some are acquired. Inherited malocclusions include: crowding of teeth, spaces between certain teeth, and a variety of irregularities related to the jaws and face. Acquired malocclusions can be caused by trauma to the face, thumb or finger sucking, airway obstruction from enlarged tonsils, dental disease, premature loss of baby teeth. Any of these types of problems if left untreated may cause problems with alignment of teeth as well as facial development and appearance.
Why is orthodontic treatment important?
Crooked teeth are hard to keep clean and therefore make it difficult to maintain proper oral hygiene. Lack of proper hygiene may cause dental decay as well as the progression of gum disease. Misaligned teeth may also contribute to abnormal wear on the chewing surface of our teeth. Other problems include misalignment of the jawbones or jaw joint which can cause headaches and facial pain. If left untreated many of these orthodontic problems will get worse over time resulting in the need for more costly procedures which could have been avoided by aligning the teeth earlier on. The value of an attractive smile should never be underestimated. A great smile can help someone build self-esteem and confidence. In these ways, orthodontic treatment can benefit social and career success, as well as improve one’s attitude toward life.
What does orthodontic treatment cost?
The cost of treatment varies greatly depending on: the age of the patient, the difficulty of the treatment, the treatment approach selected, as well as many other factors. Because each person has their own individual treatment needs, we would need to evaluate them personally. That’s why we offer a free initial examination, so there’s really no reason not to come in and be evaluated. We also offer a wide variety of payment plans designed to fit your budget.
Do teeth with braces need special care?
Absolutely! This is one of the most important aspects of your care. Because braces collect plaque and food more readily than teeth without braces, patients must be extra diligent in caring for their teeth. Poor oral hygiene can contribute to dental decay and decalcification(white spots) within a matter of 2 or 3 months so it is imperative that brushing and flossing be done properly every day. We give you the tools needed to care for your teeth as well as in-depth instructions on how to properly care for your teeth at home. Each visit we grade your brushing and reinforce those good habits when necessary. Should oral hygiene ever get out of control we would discuss it with a parent as well as your general dentist.
Can I eat almost anything while wearing braces?
You can eat ALMOST anything you want to while wearing braces, however there are some foods that we need our patients to stay away from. Your braces are pretty tough, but some foods are just too abusive. Our patients can have any foods they want as long as they are not: sticky or chewy like gum, hard candy, nuts, ice, tortilla chips, or carbonated beverages like soda.