Questions and Answers

Is orthodontic treatment effective for adults?

Yes. Age is not a consideration when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth can be moved successfully at any age. Orthodontic treatment creates a better bite, making teeth fit better, and decreases the risk of future dental problems regardless of age.

Can I get an appliance that is less noticeable?

Thanks to the variety of “appliances” (such as clear aligners and various bracket types) used by orthodontists, adults may be able to inconspicuously achieve the great smile they want. Many of today’s treatment options are designed to minimize the appearance of the appliance and better fit an adult lifestyle. Ask us about treatment options that are appropriate for you.

Will orthodontic treatment fit my lifestyle?

Certainly. You can do almost anything during orthodontic treatment — sing, play a musical instrument, dine out, kiss, and even have your picture taken. Some temporary adjustments will be necessary, but if you’re like the vast majority of adult patients, you’ll adapt quickly.

Am I a good fit for orthodontic treatment?

A consultation with us will determine if you can benefit from treatment. After carefully analyzing the nature of your orthodontic problem, we can then recommend how you can achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.

I’m missing some teeth. Can orthodontic treatment improve my bite?

Whether you are planning to replace missing teeth or not, you may benefit from a consultation with an orthodontist. If

replacements for missing teeth are planned, an orthodontist can help keep the necessary space open. If no replacements are planned, an orthodontist may be able to stabilize your teeth so that shifting does not occur or is minimized. Your orthodontist will work with your dentist or dental specialist to achieve the best result.

How often will I need to come in for appointments?

Advances in today’s orthodontic materials mean patients see the orthodontist only about once every six weeks during active treatment.

Does orthodontic treatment hurt?

New techniques and materials today have made orthodontic treatment more comfortable than ever. Discomfort, if any, is short- lived and can be managed using over-the-counter analgesics.

I’ve been treated for gum disease. Can I have orthodontic treatment?

We would need to consult with your dentist and/or periodontist about the health of your gums. If you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment, you will continue regular visits with your dentist and/or periodontist. For many patients, proper tooth alignment can contribute to healthy gums.

Why select an orthodontist?

Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. They receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those who successfully complete this formal education may call them- selves “orthodontists.

What causes orthodontic problems?

Most orthodontic problems (malocclusions) are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth, and some jaw growth problems. Other malocclusions are acquired as a result of thumb- or finger- sucking, dental disease, accidents, the early or late loss of baby (primary) teeth, or other causes.

Why is treatment so important?

Orthodontic treatment creates a better bite, making teeth fit better, and decreases the risk of future, and potentially costly dental problems. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A malocclusion can cause tooth enamel to wear abnormally, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment,

many problems simply become worse.

What is my role in treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the patient and the orthodontist. The orthodontist provides custom-made fixed or removable appliances that use gentle pressure over time to move teeth into their proper positions. Your job is to follow the orthodontist’s instructions, keep scheduled orthodontic appoint- ments and maintain excellent oral hygiene so you achieve your best results. You will also need to see your primary care dentist as recommended.

How long does treatment take?

Orthodontic treatment averages less than two years, but can range from one to three years. When “active” treatment ends, retainers are prescribed for most patients to keep teeth in their new positions.