Frequently Asked Questions

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

Your dentist may have discussed with you the benefits of having healthy teeth and proper jaw alignment. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This can result in tooth decay, worsen gum disease and lead to tooth loss. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints. Treatment by an orthodontist can be less costly than the additional care required to treat dental problems arising as a result of orthodontic problems. For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you'll feel more self-confident.

Show off your beautiful new smile. In summary, the benefits of orthodontics include:

  • A more attractive smile
  • Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
  • Better function of the teeth
  • Increase in self-confidence
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
  • Better long term health of teeth and gums
  • Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
  • Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
  • Aid in optimizing other dental treatment

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What are some signs that braces may be needed?

Though it is recommended to consult a dental health professional about your personal orthodontic needs, the following signs indicate that you may benefit from having braces:

  • Upper-front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
  • Upper-front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper-front teeth are behind or inside the lower-front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper- and lower-front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger- or thumb-sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth

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At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age seven or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child's physician.

Braces for All Ages

  • Bring your child in for a complimentary consultation. Adults: Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. One of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. Jaw surgery is more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are not growing. Adults also may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth and may require periodontal treatment before, during and/or after orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable.
  • Children: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by the age of seven because your specialist can advise if orthodontic treatment is required and the best time for that patient to be treated. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.

Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or metallic color. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.

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Orthodontics are great for people of all ages. Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty-five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.

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What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

GAC In-Ovation PatientPhase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

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How does orthodontic treatment work?

Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

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SpacersWhat are spacers/separators?

Separators are placed between the teeth to make room for the bands or braces. They may be a brass wire, a wire helix, or a small elastic.

Separators should remain between the teeth until the banding appointment.

Avoid sticky foods such as taffy, caramel, chewing gum, etc. These foods will stick to the separators and pull them out.

Separators may become painful and/or uncomfortable. If you should have a large degree of discomfort, take one (1) Advil, Tylenol, or your preference every 4-5 hours.

Brush gently in the area where the separators have been placed. Avoid using toothpicks or floss where they will displace the separators.

If one of your separators should become lost or dislodged, please call our office at (714) 962-8880 immediately so they can be replaced.

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How long does orthodontic treatment take?

We'll give you a reason to smile! Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years for comprehensive treatment and can be as short as six months for Phase I procedures. Actual treatment time can be affected by growth and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment, so the time to case completion may differ from the original estimate. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. For example, the patient's diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

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Do braces hurt?

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for several days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

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Will braces interfere with playing sports?

No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

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Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.

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Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

Visit your dentist regularly!Absolutely, at least every six months.

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