1. When should my child see an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises that your child see an orthodontist when the front adult teeth have begun to erupt, or by age 7. By this age, an orthodontist can diagnose any developing bite problems and correct them before your child’s jaw growth has slowed or is complete. Treatment at an early age can prevent more significant problems later in life and reduce treatment time. Most young patients receive braces between the ages of 11 and 13; however, orthodontic treatment is effective at any age, and it is never too late to begin.
2. What are the early warning signs of a bad bite?
- Early or late loss of temporary teeth
- Difficulty biting into or chewing food
- Overcrowded or poorly positioned teeth
- Accidental but frequent trauma to the cheeks, lips, or the roof of the mouth
- Upper and lower teeth do not come together
- Prolonged or aggressive finger or thumb sucking
- Jaws and teeth that are disproportionate to the face or deviate to one side
3. What is early or interceptive treatment?
Early treatment is designed to address significant developmental conditions and properly guide the growth of the jaw bones and teeth. In some cases, braces are placed on the four upper or lower front teeth for a short time. Early or interceptive treatment is usually performed around the age of 7 or 10.
4. What is comprehensive/full treatment?
This treatment involves the use of braces to guide adult teeth into optimal position. The key components to a patient’s treatment plan are aesthetics, function, and the stability of the final tooth positions..
5. Does everyone need early/interceptive treatment?
No. Early orthodontic intervention is typically needed to address certain bite or tooth eruption problems. Each patient is individually assessed to determine their specific treatment options and the best time to begin treatment.
6. Will my child need full braces later if (s)he has early/interceptive treatment?
Most early treatment patients will eventually need full braces following the completions of early/interceptive treatment and the eruption of all of the permanent teeth. The period following interceptive treatment is observational, during which time Dr. Galati closely monitors the growth and permanent tooth eruption. Our team will keep you informed of any treatment recommendations. Comprehensive treatment is usually necessary to create a healthy bite and a beautiful smile, but please keep in mind that this is not “doing it over.”
7. Why don’t we wait to start orthodontic treatment until all the permanent teeth are in and just “do it once”?
Early interceptive phase is oriented toward the proper development of facial structure and eruption of adult teeth, while full treatment addresses tooth alignment, aesthetics of the smile and facial structure, and function of the smile. Once the permanent teeth have erupted and jaw growth is final, many treatment options may no longer be possible.
8. Can treatment really affect my child’s adult facial appearance?
Improper oral habits, misaligned jaws and teeth, and posture can negatively influence the look, shape, and appearance of the face of a growing child just as much as their genetics do. Orthodontic treatment can enhance lip shape, lip fullness, chin prominence, and other facial features.
9. Can interceptive treatment have an effect on the need to extract permanent teeth?
Proper jaw development and the creation or maintenance of sufficient space during developmental years significantly reduces the need for tooth extraction. Avoiding tooth extraction can also promote a fuller smile and a more attractive facial appearance. At times though, a treatment plan involving the extraction of permanent teeth provides the healthiest, most stable results for the patient.
10. Will interceptive treatment followed by a later stage of comprehensive treatment be more expensive?
Total fees may be higher when completing two phases of treatment because it involves more time and materials. However, our team will help you find a comfortable budget to invest in the best possible treatment for your child.
11. Am I too old for braces?
You are never too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment! A beautiful, healthy smile can be at any age. In fact, 25% of all orthodontic treatment is performed on adults. Many adults are realizing the benefits of orthodontic treatment and the variety of aesthetic options, including clear braces and Invisalign®.
12. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns, root canals, or missing teeth?
Yes, you can. A tooth that contains a crown or a treated root canal will still move like any other tooth. Orthodontic treatment can help close gaps left by missing teeth to prepare for replacement of the missing teeth.
13. What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?
- A more aesthetic smile
- Greater self-confidence
- Long-term oral health
- Better function of teeth
- Easier ability to keep teeth clean
- Proper distribution of bite force and prevention of excessive tooth wear
- Reduced risk of harm to protruding front teeth
- Easier treatment with restorative care, including implants, bridges, crowns, or veneers
14. Do you extract teeth as part of orthodontic treatment?
Having your child evaluated by an orthodontist early, before all the adult teeth have erupted and jaw growth is complete, is the best way to help avoid tooth extraction. Interceptive treatment at an early age can help guide the eruption of adult teeth to ensure the teeth erupt properly. This is why timely orthodontic evaluation and treatment is crucial.
We may recommend tooth extraction in special circumstances, including the following reasons:
- Severely impacted tooth that is too risky for surgical exposure
- Extensive tooth decay
- Traumatized tooth with fractured roots
- Inadequate bone support
- Severe crowding or inadequate space for all of the teeth
- Asymmetrical dental midlines
- Teeth do not fit well or function properly
- Skeletal discrepancies that require dental compensation
- Fullness of the facial profile is in jeopardy
15. If I already have an appointment, do I need to notify the office if I have something broken?
Yes. Please contact Galati Orthodontics immediately so that we can allot more time for your appointment. Fixing a broken appliance can require more time than your regular appointments, and we may need to reschedule your appointment if you do not notify us in advance.
16. How long does orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment times vary by patient, but are typically completed in 1-2 years. Treatment time depends on the rate of growth and severity of the condition(s). Timely treatment progression largely depends on patient cooperation. Patients who keep their smiles clean, wear their rubber bands or other appliances as instructed, and do not damage their braces, are the patients who have the fastest treatment results and remain on schedule.
17. Do braces hurt?
While the initial placement of orthodontic brackets does not hurt, you may feel sore for a few days as your teeth adjust to pressure created by the archwires. Your lips, tongue, and cheeks may also be sensitive to the braces for a short time.
18. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
Your smile and entire facial structures can be permanently enhanced by orthodontic treatment, which is why it is important that you receive proper diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Galati completed an additional two years of advanced specialty (orthodontic) training following dental school to specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
19. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial examination?
Simply call our office at 480-656-7801 and we will schedule an examination for you. We will request some basic information from you so we may begin to take care of your orthodontic needs efficiently.
20. Is it required that my family dentist refer me to your office?
No. While many patients are referred to our office by their family dentist, many others take initiative themselves and schedule an examination. Your orthodontic insurance benefits are not affected by your introduction to our office
21. What will I learn from the initial examination?
We cover 5 essential questions during the initial examination:
- Do you have an orthodontic problem, and if so, what?
- Is treatment needed now?
- What treatment options are available, and what are the pros and cons of each?
- How long will treatment take to complete?
- What will the treatment cost, what portion is covered by insurance, and what are the available financial arrangements?
22. How much will braces cost?
We cannot provide an exact cost for treatment until you have undergone the thorough clinical examination. That being said, we offer many financing options to meet your needs. Our team will explain all your options during your initial consultation, and we will review your insurance policy information to maximize your benefit. Finally, we will gladly file your insurance claims.
23. What are orthodontic records?
Orthodontic records include a panoramic x-ray of the teeth and jaws, a cephalometric x-ray of the head profile and study models of the teeth, and digital photographs of the face and teeth. These records provide the information from which Dr. Galati analyzes your orthodontic needs and develops a customized treatment plan to achieve the desired results.
24. How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to your needs and stage of treatment. Typically, if you choose traditional braces, you will visit the orthodontist every 8-10 weeks for the majority of your treatment, and then reduce your visits to every 4-6 weeks or as needed to finish detailing the bite and any final tooth movement.
25. Can I schedule all of my appointments after work or school?
Shorter appointments can be scheduled before or after your school or work hours, but longer appointments, such as the placement of braces, are typically scheduled for the morning and early afternoon. Many appointments can also be scheduled close to lunch hours as well. The best news is that, because most of your appointments occur 8-10 weeks apart and are fairly short, you will miss only a minimal amount of school or work. Our team always makes a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.
26. Will my teeth become straight as I grow, or will my bite problem self-correct with time?
Usually, no. Not only does the space for the front teeth remain the same as you grow, after the permanent molars erupt it usually decreases with age. Facial and jaw growth usually follows an existing pattern and does not change without orthodontic or orthopedic intervention.
27. Are there foods that I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Our team will provide complete instructions and a list of foods you should avoid, including ice, hard or sticky candy, corn on the cob, and raw carrots or apples that are not cut into small pieces. By carefully following these instructions, you can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken braces.
28. Can I still play sports while wearing braces?
Yes. We highly recommend that you wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth, especially during contact sports. Do not use a custom mouth guard that molds to your teeth, though, because it will prevent the tooth movements needed to improve your smile.
29. How often should I brush my teeth while wearing braces?
Brush your teeth at least three to four times a day: after breakfast, after lunch or immediately upon arriving home from school or work, after dinner, and before bedtime. Floss between each tooth at least once a day.
30. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
YES! Regular checkups with your family dentist are very important. We encourage you to have your teeth professionally cleaned every 3-6 months during treatment. Before and after treatment, please maintain a 6-month cleaning schedule. While your insurance may not cover cleanings at 3-month-interval cleanings, healthy teeth and gums are worth the additional expense.
31. What is considered an emergency? How are they handled?
If your braces cause extreme discomfort or if an appliance breaks or becomes loose, call our office as soon as possible. If it is after hours, our website offers helpful information on how to handle most problems yourself.
In many cases, we can address the situation over the phone, but will also address your problem immediately or schedule an emergency appointment to have you come into the office. If a bracket or band breaks and you have an appointment coming up in the next week or so, call the office in advance so we can accommodate the extra time. If in doubt, it is best to call ahead of time.
32. Will I need retainers?
Retainers are a part of orthodontic treatment. In our office, we offer a few different rretainer options when your treatment is completed. Retainers prevent your teeth from shifting out of position while the jawbone stabilizes. The positions of the teeth are constantly affected by lip, tongue, and chewing forces, and retainers is the only sure way to keep the teeth in position. We recommend wearing your retainer full time (24-hour) for the first six months after your braces are removed. After this initial period, you should be able to cut back to wearing your retainers at night while you sleep to ensure a proper fit.
Do you have a question that was not answered here? Contact our office today to schedule an appointment at 480-656-7801!