Top Ten Commonly Asked Questions:
1. At what age should I see the Orthodontist ?
Every child should be screened for potential orthodontic problems between the ages 7 and 8. Not every child should be treated at this age; however, there are several problems that are best corrected at this time period. When in doubt, schedule an appointment to have Dr. Arnold evaluate the child. If treatment is not indicated at this time, the patient will be placed on 6 month recall to follow growth and development. There is no charge to have your child evaluated and monitored. Charges do not apply until treatment begins.
2. What is Phase 1 (interceptive) care and will braces be needed later if early treatment is being performed now?
Early, Phase 1, and interceptive care are synonymous terms all referring to orthodontic treatment be performed during the mixed dentition period (before all the permanent teeth have erupted). This is usualy between the ages of 7 and 11. Common indicators for early care include:
The need for an improvement in jaw balance
The need to create space through expansion or extraction to allow for all the permanent teeth to erupt
The need to discourage harmful habits (i.e., thumb sucking )
When jaws are balanced and space is adequate, the enviroment is primed for favorable growth and development
In most cases, Phase 2 care (full braces) is recommended with the eruption of the remaining permanent teeth. During this time, all the teeth are well aligned and the bite is refined.
Phase 1 — Improve jaw balance and address space issues
Phase 2 — Align all the permanent teeth and refine the bite
3. I heard pulling teeth is not good. Is this true and should we avoid pulling teeth at all costs ?
There is no “cookie cutter” approach to good orthodontic treatment because every patient presents with their own set of diagnostic factors. An individualized treatment plan should be designed for each patient. Only then can we determine if extractions will provide the best and healthiest treatment results.
4. Do I still see my General Dentist while wearing braces ?
I will always evaluate the patient for general dental needs during their orthodontic visits; however, I do not replace the general dentist. The patient should always maintain their regularly scheduled dental appointments while wearing orthodontic appliances.
5. Do you have the clear (tooth colored) braces and is one type better than the other ? Do the ceramic braces cost more ?
We do offer tooth colored (ceramic) braces as a choice for our patients. As a rule, we prefer to use them on the upper teeth only. Problems can occur when using them on the lower teeth, such as, wear to the upper teeth caused by bite contact. For the most part, ceramic braces can perform as well as the more traditional stainless steel braces and they are aesthetically pleasing, an advantage to many adult patients. Because they are slightly larger and a bit more abrasive to the lips and surrounding soft tissues, we generally discourage ceramic braces for the teen athlete. There is no additional cost for this option in our practice.
6. Will I need retainers at the end of treatment ?
Every patient receives some sort of retention at the end of the active phase of orthodontia. Retainer design will be specific for each patient, and some patients will need to wear retainers longer than others. As a rule, the retention phase is an integral part of successful orthodontic therapy.
7. Do you treat adult patients ?
Approximately 25% of my practice consists of adult orthodontic patients. As long as the teeth and periodontium (support structures — bone, roots, etc.) are healthy, teeth will move at any age. The treatment plan for an adult may be different from that of an adolescent because growth is not a factor, but with good planning, adult patients experience excellent treatment results.
8. How long will treatment take ?
On average, a comprehensive orthodontic case will take about two years to treat from start to finish. With good patient compliance, some cases can be finished in significantly less time. On the contrary, poor compliance can extend treatment times. Other factors, such as impacted teeth, unfavorable growth, and/or severe malocclusions, may warrant extended treatment times. With good planning by the orthodontist and excellent patient compliance, most orthodontic cases finish within the predicted treatment time.
9. All I want is my front teeth straightened. Why do I need braces everywhere ?
Alignment or straightening of the front teeth does not qualify as acceptable or quality orthodontic treatment. Rarely will treatment of this nature produce long term acceptable results. Well-treated orthodontic cases produce beautiful smiles, stable results, good function, and excellent profiles — not just straight front teeth. Our goal is to attain the best overall results that last a lifetime.
10. Should I be worried about getting marks on my teeth from my braces ?
Braces do not cause stains or unsightly marks on the teeth — unhealthy dietary habits and poor oral hygiene do. Stains and marks on teeth do not show up overnight, they usually result from significant abuse. Failure to brush regularly and/or eating or drinking foods that are high in sugar will ultimately lead to problems. Patients will be thoroughly educated on how to take care of their teeth with orthodontic appliances in place. The patient’s oral hygiene is graded at every visit to intercept any potential developing problems. They will also be given food and drink guidelines at the start of treatment. The bottom line is — compliant patients do not have tooth-staining problems and should not be afraid to undergo treatment.