What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the area of dentistry concerned with the supervision, guidance and correction of the dentofacial structures. Orthodontic treatment uses braces, retainers and other appliances to correct any dentofacial abnormalities. Regular dental check-ups and orthodontic treatment are proven to be effective tools in helping establish and maintain good oral health for people of all ages. Braces can be beneficial to both children and adults. Orthodontic treatment will result in a beautiful smile that will impact your self confidence for years to come.
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specially trained dentist who has attended an advanced education program for a continual training period of 2 to 3 years. All members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have received the appropriate training.
When should I visit the orthodontist?
It's never too late to have a beautiful smile! Adults should visit an orthodontist to improve the appearance of their smile and their overall dental health at any time. Some orthodontic corrections need to be made as early as 3 to 5 years of age, but ordinarily children should visit an orthodontist at the time permanent teeth begin to erupt in order to detect any deficiencies in the child's teeth formation. This is usually between 7 and 10 years of age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist no later than age 7. An early visit may not result in children's braces; however, Dr. Herman can monitor the growth and alignment of teeth and address any orthodontic problems as they arise.
What can I expect on my first visit?
Your initial visit to the orthodontist will give you an opportunity to meet the doctor and our knowledgeable staff, who will answer any questions you may have. You will receive a complimentary clinical examination and panoramic x-ray to determine whether orthodontic treatment is necessary. If treatment is required, Dr. Herman will go over a treatment plan as well as an estimate of the treatment duration. Your treatment coordinator will answer any questions you may have concerning insurance, and will go over our flexible payment options. In most cases our patients are given the option to start treatment the same day as the initial examination. Our patients appreciate the fact that we are able to do everything in one appointment, so there is less time away from work or school.
Who should wear braces?
Braces may be worn by both children and adults, not only to improve the attractiveness of their smile, but also because braces correct improper alignment of teeth that can lead to gum disease and early tooth loss. Left untreated, crooked teeth with irregular spacing make cleaning harder and allow cavities to more easily develop. Properly aligned teeth also make it easier to chew all types of food, and eliminate the headaches and pain caused by uneven chewing. Uneven teeth may result in weak enamel, gum problems and jaw misalignment. Modern technology has resulted in numerous options of braces that will fit your specific lifestyle and will provide you more comfort during treatment.
What will my braces look like?
Braces are lighter, more comfortable and more technologically advanced today than ever before. They come in clear and a variety of colors and material choices. Ask the office staff about what options are available. Other appliances include colorful bands, elastics and retainers.
How will braces straighten my teeth?
Braces exert a gentle pressure on teeth over time to straighten them. The two main components include the braces placed on the teeth and the arch wire that connects them. The brace is a specially-shaped metal or ceramic affixed to each tooth and the arch wire is bent to reflect the bite that the patient should have after treatment. The wire threads through the braces and as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to move the teeth.
Are braces uncomfortable?
There have been some fantastic advances in modern orthodontics to make treatment more comfortable and quicker for patients. There are now smaller, smoother braces and gentler wires which provide a continuous small force over a long period of time rather than a strong force for only a short period. Typically there is some discomfort after the braces are first put on. Over the counter pain relievers and a soft foods diet will help alleviate this temporary discomfort.
Will braces affect playing sports?
You should be able to play just about any sport. However, it is recommended that you wear a mouth guard while participating in certain sports.
Why are retainers so important?
Retainers help keep your teeth aligned at the completion of treatment. If they are not worn as instructed, your teeth will move.
How long will my orthodontic treatment last?
Treatment may last from 18 to 36 months, though this will vary depending on your individual case. Your cooperation in keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments, maintaining proper oral hygiene and taking care of your braces may allow you to finish your orthodontic treatment early.
When should I visit the dentist?
You should continue to see your dentist or the Four Corners Hygiene department every 6 months or as directed during orthodontic treatment for routine dental checkups and cleanings.
I love my wide beautiful smile from Dr. Herman!