If you're unfamiliar with orthodontics or have questions about what is involved or when to get treatment, we're here to help. We've created this FAQ page to help educate you on everything you need to know, so that you can feel more confident in our ability to do what it takes to transform and restore you or your child's smile. To make an appointment today, you can use our Book an Appointment form, or give one of our offices a call on our Contact Us page.
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What Does "Orthodontics" Mean?
Orthodontics can be best described as the field of dentistry specializing in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental or facial irregularities. While the concept of straightening teeth in itself is nothing new (history of early orthodontic techniques stretches back to the Ancient Greeks & Egyptians), it wasn't until 1901 that the first official school for orthodontics was opened.
What is the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?
A dentist is very similar to your family doctor — great for things like check-ups, cleanings and filling cavities. An orthodontist, on the other hand, is a specialist who has two to three years of additional education following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development. Orthodontists are experts in straightening teeth and determining what treatment option is the best for you. It's important to note that although dentists are legally allowed to provide clear aligners or braces, people should still research the qualifications of their specific doctor before beginning any sort of orthodontic treatment with them.
Dr. Diers himself has been practicing orthodontics for over forty years, and offers a full range of specialty treatments, including: Interceptive Care and Growth Guidance, Orthodontics for adults & children, Surgical Orthodontics, TMJ Thereapy, and Dental Sleep Therapy.
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What is the Best Age to See an Orthodontist?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age! While the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children first visit around the age of 7 or earlier if a problem is detected, about one in four orthodontic patients are over the age of 21. What matters most is getting the right orthodontic treatment and detecting problems as early as you can. Early detection and treatment may lead to a patient avoiding oral surgery or more serious complications.
Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to schedule a consultation with your orthodontist.
Can Orthodontic Treatment Occur While Your Child Has Baby Teeth?
Yes. If a problem is significant enough, early intervention will be required. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient's growth and development until the time is right.
Why Should a Child Have an Initial Orthodontic Check-Up?
The AAO recommends that children get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. By this age, Dr. Diers and his team can spot problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present, which typically allows for much easier corrections. Most patients begin active orthodontic treatment between ages 9-14.
How Do I Know If My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment?
It is difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary because even if your child's teeth look straight, there are many other problems that could occur. Asking your family dentist is a good reference, but the best solution is to give us a call because we are the orthodontic experts. If you have any questions or would just like an initial exam, our team would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.
Do I Need a Referral From My Dentist in Order to Schedule My Appointment?
No! If you feel like you need to schedule a consultation with Dr. Diers at any time, we are more than happy to help you out. Many of our patients actually prefer to take the initiative themselves and reach out to us instead of waiting for a referral.
Would an Adult Benefit from Orthodontics?
Absolutely! Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a straight, beautiful and healthy smile, and one in four orthodontic patients are actually over the age of 21. So if you are an adult and are curious if orthodontic treatment may be the best solution for you, give our offices a call!
What Will Happen During the Initial Examination?
Upon arriving, each patient will be seen by Dr. Diers and our team who will get you prepared for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and x-rays that will allow us to make a proper diagnosis. Dr. Diers will then complete a brief, but thorough exam and try to come up with the best treatment options for you. We want to make sure our patients are comfortable and confident in our team, which is why we take pride in getting our patients acclimated to our offices and are willing to educate them as much as we can.
Why is Orthodontic Treatment Important?
The purpose of correcting an orthodontic issue is not only for the sake of appearances, but for crucial oral health reasons as well. Misalignment or malocclusions in your bite can make it challenging to speak and chew while at the same time wearing away the enamel (a protective layer on your teeth that doesn’t grow back once its gone).
These oral health issues can simultaneously cause extra stress on your gum tissues and the surrounding bone. On top of that, overlapping, crooked, or protruding teeth are harder to properly clean, which can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. When you make an appointment, Dr. Diers will go over all of your options with you to make sure you get the best possible outcome.
What Are Some Signs that Braces May Be Needed?
Do Braces Hurt?
Orthodontic treatment has come a long way in recent years, and new technology allows us to use lighter forces to move teeth over a much shorter period of time. Because of this, most orthodontic discomfort is brief and easily managed. The placement of brackets and bands on your teeth will not hurt, but once the braces are connected with the arch wires there may be some general discomfort and soreness for one to four days. This soreness can be relieved with an over-the-counter pain reliever (use as directed). Additionally, a patients lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks before before adapting to the braces. Our team provides an orthodontic wax that can be applied to your braces in order to reduce irritation during this period.
How Long Will I Need Braces?
Treatment time depends on each individuals specific needs. In general, treatment time lasts from 6 months to 30 months and varies depending on each individual's treatment complexity, needs, and personal treatment goals. We understand that it can be frustrating to have braces for an extended period of time, but we want you to understand that your oral health always comes first. We want you to be excited to show off your new, beautiful smile and we will always take the necessary steps to make sure everything is done right in order for you to do so.
Should I Continue to See My Dentist While I Have Braces?
Yes! It is still important for you to continue to get your regular cleanings and check-ups with your general dentist.
Will Having Braces Interfere with Activities such as Sports or Playing an Instrument?
It may take an adjustment to get used to certain activities such as sports or playing instruments while you have braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from being able to participate in the activities that you love. If you play contact sports, it is highly recommended that you get a mouthguard to protect your braces.
Can I Schedule an Appointment if My Braces are Poking Me?
Yes! If your braces are causing you any discomfort, or if something breaks, you should immediately call one of our offices. A lot of times we can address the issue over the phone, but if you are in need of any repairs we will want to set up an appointment with you right away.
How Can I Prevent White Spots or Cavities While I Have Braces?
In any patient’s case, the key to a healthy smile starts with your dental habits at home. The following tips below can help you maintain that smile and prevent white spots or cavities:
What Are Some of the Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment?
At Nelson R. Diers, DDS, MSD , we want our patients to be as educated as possible so that they can feel confident in our abilities to provide them with the treatment that they need. For any further questions you may have, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, you can use our Book an Appointment form, or give one of our offices a call on our Contact Us page.