Orthodontic FAQs

orthodontic faq

Orthodontic FAQs

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

An orthodontist is a specialist who has skill, knowledge, and advanced education managing tooth movement and facial development. To become an orthodontist, one must complete 11 years of additional education following high school: a standard four-year baccalaureate program, then four years of dental school (thus becoming a dentist), and then a two or three-year orthodontic residency program. The State of Tennessee requires all orthodontists pass a thorough examination to have a specialty orthodontic license.

There are numerous benefits to orthodontic treatment and properly-aligned teeth. Obviously, an attractive and confident smile is a great benefit. Research is very clear that people with a pleasing smile are treated better in social and work relationships. Properly-aligned teeth provide better function of the teeth and jaws, are easier to clean, and are less likely to be damaged.

Crowded teeth are more difficult to keep clean, which can lead to decay. Research indicates that certain bite conditions can cause gum disease and that most tooth alignment problems worsen with time if not treated. Some deep overbites can cause significant wear on the front teeth, and many believe that an adverse bite can cause or worsen head and neck pains. New research shows more incidences of adverse heart conditions with periodontal disease, which is more likely when teeth are not properly aligned. Dr. Gluck and staff know that most tooth alignment problems are handled more predictably in younger, growing patients and that early treatment may eliminate the need for costly future treatments or surgeries to correct worsening conditions in adulthood.

The need for orthodontics begins with a desire to straighten teeth and make smiles more beautiful, confident, and healthy. At the initial consultation, Dr. Gluck will evaluate your bite and the position of the teeth. Treatment is recommended when the bite is malaligned and doesn’t allow the teeth to come together in a position that is healthy for the teeth, gums, and bones around the teeth. A proper bite shouldn’t cause the teeth to wear unevenly or excessively. Dr. Gluck will also evaluate how crowded or spaced the teeth are and will check to make sure that the upper front teeth do not protrude excessively over the lower teeth. In children, he may look for finger or thumb sucking habits which can cause damage after the permanent teeth erupt at age 6-7. If someone has difficulty chewing or their jaw shifts to one side or another when biting together, then orthodontic treatment is certainly warranted.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age seven. Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age: At Gluck Orthodontics, it’s always the right time to improve your smile! It is important to provide treatment to correct problems before jaw growth has slowed, or these problems may lead to a need for surgery or extraction of teeth. Every patient is unique, and it’s always best to be evaluated by an orthodontist if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child’s physician.

Two phase treatment refers to a specific treatment plan in which the patient is going through an interceptive treatment and a later comprehensive treatment.In patients between six and ten years old with certain problems that could get progressively worse without early treatment, an orthodontist will recommend interceptive treatment to help correct that specific issue. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of a crossbite, overbite, underbite, or harmful oral habits. Once all of the permanent teeth are in place, usually between the ages of 11-14, Phase II begins with a full set of braces. Phase I is considered to be “interceptive orthodontics” and Phase II is considered “comprehensive” orthodontics.

Orthodontic treatment can be beneficial at any age. The most common benefit comes from being happy about your teeth and your smile. One of the important health benefits comes from the fact that properly-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to suffer from problems of the teeth, gums, and bones that support the teeth. Additionally, it has been shown that there is a link between properly-aligned teeth and whole-body health. When you have crooked teeth, or teeth with extensive crowding, periodontal disease is more prevalent because crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. Untreated, periodontal disease may result in bad breath, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. Additionally, many scientific studies have shown a strong link also exists between periodontal disease and diabetes and heart disease. Many adults choose low-profile or aesthetically pleasing treatment options such as clear braces, or Invisalign.

Braces produce light, continuous pressure that gradually moves teeth into their proper positions. The process of moving teeth into proper alignment is part of a very natural bone turnover process that happens in nearly every part of the body. The bone surrounding the teeth, like any other bone, is a dynamic tissue that is constantly being reshaped by cells in the body. In this process, bone is continually being taken away, added to and grown over time. It is a cycle that is facilitated by osteoblasts (molecules that add bone) and osteoclasts (that take away bone). Your teeth can easily move due to a force that is applied by the braces, or brackets, that are placed on the teeth and the wire that is inserted into the brackets. As the wire tries to return to its original shape against the brackets, it creates a very light pressure on the teeth, and the natural, physiological process takes over and the teeth begin to move.

The average length of a traditional orthodontic treatment is 18 months, but each individual’s needs are unique and different. Although it is difficult to predict the exact duration of an orthodontic treatment, it is possible to estimate an average treatment length for each individual situation. At Gluck Orthodontics, our patients know that it really doesn’t take that long. It takes a much shorter period of time than we have traditionally thought that orthodontics should take. If you go about it in a very systematic way, straightening teeth can be done very quickly.

Most appointments vary between 20-40 minutes. A patient’s experience begins with an initial examination that takes an hour. The actual appointment to get the braces placed on the teeth takes a little over an hour. The other longer appointment comes when the braces are removed. This removal appointment is scheduled to last an hour. Invisalign patients usually have appointments that are much shorter and less frequent. After the initial exam, iTero intraoral digital scans are taken of the teeth, and this appointment lasts approximately 30 minutes. Each appointment thereafter is 20 minutes on average.

Surprisingly to most patients, it does not hurt to place the bands and brackets on your teeth. Once your braces are in place and connected with the archwires, it generally takes 12-24 hours to start feeling some discomfort (if any). You may feel some soreness of your teeth for a couple of days after a new wire is placed. If you experience any discomfort, you may try eating softer foods for a couple of days. But none of this compares to the discomfort of having a smile that you cannot be proud to show.

No, they will not. A good number of parents are interested in how braces and sports work together. Some parents may think that a child with braces on their teeth must refrain from any of the more active sports, due to the notion that any kind of serious impact may be detrimental to the mouth and teeth. This is simply not true. Braces can sometimes help keep the teeth in place when a player has a mouth injury. At Gluck Orthodontics, we treat wrestlers, hockey players, soccer players, football, and players in all other types of sports. We do always advise our patients to wear a mouthpiece or a mouth guard if they can.

Braces and musical instruments generate many questions. Many patients at Gluck Orthodontics are musicians of every discipline. There have been a number of research studies related to orthodontics and musical instruments. Gluck Orthodontics informs their instrument-playing patients that woodwind players may have slightly more difficulty than brass instrument players. Every musician seems to adapt very well to playing with braces after a week or two of practice. Some of them find that placing wax on the brackets is helpful during the initial adjustment period.

Yes, absolutely. Some patients struggle with proper oral hygiene and brushing during braces. You should continue to see your general dentist every 4-6 months for regular cleaning and check-ups. Normally, a general dental check-up is performed every six months, but Gluck Orthodontics actively promotes more frequent visits to your general dentist for cleanings.

As general rule, orthodontic wires progress from very light, delicate wires to heavier, more rigid wires depending on the initial alignment of your teeth. Gluck Orthodontics uses primarily three wires during your braces treatment. Each wire is designed to provide a special force to the teeth to keep them progressing toward the finished result. The first wire is a very light wire that allows deflection towards the teeth that are most crooked. Once that wire has performed the initial alignment, a larger wire is used. This larger wire is thicker and stiffer, and it completes most of the work. The final wire is the largest, stiffest, and has the ability to be bent. This wire allows for fine detailing through minor wire bends.

At Gluck Orthodontics, we don’t set a treatment plan that cannot be attained. Dr. Gluck and his staff know exactly when a patient expects their braces to come off and this information is checked and verified as part of the regular treatment every time they visit the office. There are always exceptions to when braces come off, and those exceptions are usually early, rather than late. It is very rare to have treatment go past an estimated completion date. If a treatment looks like it may run past an estimated due date, there will be full disclosure and numerous conversations about this concern with the patient. We will fully explain why it may have taken longer than initially expected, as we strive to make sure that each patient has their goals and objectives met at Gluck Orthodontics. And, if you finish ahead of schedule, we will all celebrate together!

Braces can be removed very quickly. We simply squeeze the braces and they pop off the teeth. Usually, there is no discomfort, although some of the lower front teeth may be a little sore from treatment. After the glue is removed, impressions will be made for your retainers (one upper and one lower), and a new set of x-rays will be taken to make sure that everything is healthy and in alignment. You are then ready to go and flash your brand-new smile to your friends, family, and co-workers.

Want to get started? Contact our office today and schedule your consultation.

Orthodontic FAQs

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