A. Dental braces are used to treat teeth that have issues with irregular spacing, alignment, crookedness, crowding, protrusion, etc. Braces contribute to better self-esteem and a more attractive smile for the patient, whether the patient is a child, a teenager, or an adult
A. Traditional braces are still made with metal wires and brackets, but the technology has improved so that the wires are able to move the teeth and their underlying roots more easily and less painfully than in the past. In some instances, your Empress Walk Dental orthodontist may employ the use of titanium implants, which would be attached to the bone on the side of your palate or mouth to move your teeth backward and create more space in your mouth.
A. There are several different kinds of braces. In addition to traditional metal braces, there are ceramic braces that are matched to the color of the patient’s teeth, “inside” braces which use brackets on the back side of the teeth rather than the front, and so-called “invisible” braces such as Invisalign, which consist of a series of clear plastic aligners that slowly move the patient’s teeth to fix crowding and spacing problems. There are also types of braces that are meant to be worn for shorter lengths of time than standard braces. Your Empress Walk Dental orthodontist will help you determine which treatment option is best for you
A. Retainers are removable orthodontic appliances that are custom-made out of metal and plastic for the patient who wears them. Their purpose is to keep the teeth in place after using braces to re-position them. Retainers can be permanently attached to the lower teeth, or they can be totally removable. In some instances, if a patient only needs one tooth moved or if they need to close a small gap between their teeth, they can achieve these results by wearing just a retainer, bypassing the braces phase of treatment entirely.
A. The average length of time our patients spend wearing braces is two years, though the treatment time is influenced by many different factors, including the extent of the patient’s issues, the patient’s age, and how cooperative the patient is in terms of following their treatment plan. Patients who adhere to their orthodontist’s instructions will experience better outcomes and faster treatment than those who ignore their treatment plan.
A. Crooked, crowded, and misaligned teeth can result from several different factors. Some of them are having extra teeth (also called hyperdontia or supernumerary teeth), tongue thrusting (which pushes the teeth outward), jaw function issues, missing teeth, and thumb sucking. You may have heard parents telling their children not to suck their thumbs because they will ruin their teeth — well, those parents are not entirely wrong!
A. There is a mistaken perception that braces are a purely cosmetic procedure, but this could not be farther from the truth. It is very difficult to practice proper oral hygiene, such as regular brushing and flossing, when your teeth are tightly crammed into your mouth. Improper oral hygiene results in gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. In addition, if your bite is improperly aligned, you may have difficulties with speaking and chewing, and it puts abnormal wear and tear on your tooth enamel. Finally, patients who have a bad bite (also known as malocclusion), which is where the top and bottom teeth don’t come together comfortably, they can develop jaw issues that can often become very painful over time.
A. We recommend that patients start orthodontic treatments between the ages of 8 and 14 years old because this is the perfect time to correct the movement and spacing of teeth as the child is entering adolescence. That does not mean that parents should wait until their child is 8 years old to have an initial consultation, however. On the contrary, bringing your child in for a consultation before the age of seven years old can be extremely helpful to you and your orthodontist because the orthodontist will be able to look at a mixture of baby teeth and permanent teeth. You will know if your child will need braces, how much money to budget for treatment, what tooth and jaw problems you may encounter, etc.
A. The short answer is, yes, many adults are indeed eligible for orthodontic treatment to fix crowding, spacing, malocclusion, and/or alignment issues that they may be experiencing. The way we treat adults is the same way that we treat children and adolescents, but it typically takes longer for adults to see results because their teeth have stopped growing and have settled into their current position. In some cases, we will not be able to achieve certain corrections using braces by themselves, and we may have to introduce tooth extraction and/or maxillofacial surgery into the treatment mix to achieve the patient’s goals.
A. Some of our patients do experience pain and soreness when they first get their braces put on and after getting adjustments in followup visits. The source of the soreness is the orthodontist tightening the arch wires, which is the mechanism by which the teeth are encouraged to move. We recommend that our patients take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) when this happens. After around 3-5 days, this pain/soreness will usually be gone. In the rare event that you are experiencing more severe pain or pain that lasts longer than one week, please call our office so we can help you.