How do you know if a person needs orthodontic treatment?
It is usually difficult to know if treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Asking your general dentist is good reference, but we are the best resource since orthodontics and braces are all we do. The initial exam at North Georgia Orthodontics is complimentary and hence, it only makes sense to schedule a consultation with us and we will be happy to give necessary recommendations.
What are the signs or symptoms of orthodontic problems?
Although determining treatment needs is difficult for you to assess, the following may help in prompting you to seek Dr. Echols’ advice.
Look at the teeth at any age. If you see any signs of crooked teeth, gaps between your child’s teeth or overlapping teeth, orthodontic treatment is needed.
Bite all the way down, but keep your lips open so you see can the teeth. Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? All these are indicators for potential orthodontic treatment.
Look at the alignment of the jaws. Does the jaw shift off center during biting down? If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, it suggests a skeletal or jaw bone problem, which requires early orthodontic intervention.
These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.
At what age should an orthodontist see my child? Do all baby teeth have to fall before initiating orthodontic treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven. Hence all baby teeth need not be gone before initiating orthodontic treatment. In fact, early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early preventive/interceptive action and avoid more difficult treatment later. Early treatment also potentially prevents extraction of teeth which is needed in some cases if the teeth get very crowded. Again, since our initial consultation is complimentary, it helps to get a consult as soon as possible.
Can you be too old for braces?
No, age is not a factor. So long as the gums and bone which support your teeth are healthy, one can get orthodontic or braces treatment at any age. About 30% of our orthodontic patients are adults and that number is still growing! Our oldest patient treated was 78 years old.
Will orthodontic treatment hurt?
Orthodontic treatment mechanics have advanced technologically over the last few years. Introduction of new high tech wires, smaller braces, innovative accessories and stress of preventive/interceptive treatments make today’s orthodontic treatment fairly comfortable. We do not use anesthetic injections for any of the procedures. As a rule, braces can cause a little discomfort initially until one gets used to them. Teeth may be a little sore a day after every adjustment appointment but they are not painful. This annoyance can be relieved easily with over-the-counter pain relievers, if needed. Most of our patients do not need to take any pain relievers.
Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?
Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, aesthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems from happening and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.
What is Phase I (Early Interceptive Treatment) and Phase II treatment?
Phase I or Early Interceptive Treatment usually starts while the child has most of their baby teeth with few of their permanent teeth. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept moderate or severe orthodontic problems early in order to reduce or eliminate them. These problems include jaw bone problems, cross bites and developing crowding. Generally we use expanders, removable appliances, herbst appliances (instead of headgear) and retainers during this phase. These treatment approaches take advantage of the active growth to change the jaw bone structure to either make extra room or address jaw bone discrepancies.
What is Full or Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment?
This is another name for orthodontic treatment in the permanent dentition at any age. It is more commonly used when a Phase I treatment was not performed.
Does everyone need a Phase I treatment?
Absolutely not! But in many cases early intervention helps We will offer Phase I treatment only if it makes a difference in future otherwise we keep the patients for a complimentary recall consultation every six months.
What is the length or duration of orthodontic treatment?
In our office, Phase I treatment usually lasts 12-14 months. Phase II or full braces treatment may last from 18 to 36 months. In both situations, we generally see the patients every 6 to 8 weeks for their adjustment appointment.
Treatment time and its success depends on multiple factors such as, age of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patient’s cooperation and the speed of natural response of teeth movement.
What are extraction and non-extraction therapy, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
Extraction therapy is a technique where some teeth are removed to make room for the other teeth in your child’s mouth. This is in contrast to non-extraction therapy where one expands patients’ jaw and/or shaves some teeth to reduce their width to make everything fit. We will make a thorough evaluation at the consultation and discuss the options to determine which procedure best suits the patient.
What are the different types of braces?
There are different variations of braces you can choose from.
Metal braces are the most traditional type of braces. Patients love using different colors of ligature ties. These braces are much smaller than ever before.
Translucent clear ceramic braces are the most popular with adults. You have to be very close to someone to be able to see them. Yet, because they are a ceramic material, they are more fragile and have some limitations. We will discuss these choices of braces at the consultation appointment.
The Invisalign system is becoming a very popular method of orthodontic treatment for adults who are candidates. They consist of a series of clear orthodontic appliances called aligners that allow you to straighten your teeth without having to wear traditional braces. Each set of custom-made aligners is worn for about two weeks and moves the teeth in small steps to the desired final position. However all orthodontic patients are not candidates for this treatment option. For more information about Invisalign, please give our office a call to make an appointment for a complimentary exam to see if you are a candidate for this exciting new system.
Is orthodontic care expensive? Do you have a payment plan?
Our innovative business model is very unique which makes braces or orthodontic treatment affordable.
We offer financial payment plan to our entire patient with option of “NO DOWN PAYMENT” and affordable monthly payments. We do not charge any interest. We have found that the initial down payment charged by traditional orthodontists is prohibitive to many hard working families especially with multiple family members who could benefit from orthodontic treatment.
Please call our office to discuss this affordable financial and start smiling!