At what age should my child receive an orthodontic evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends for patients to undergo an orthodontic screening at age 7.  At this age several permanent teeth have erupted and any problems with the bite can be assessed.  Most commonly, treatment will not be needed at this time.  Some orthodontic problems, such as a narrow jaw, early loss of primary teeth, impacted teeth, or an underbite, will require early treatment (Phase I treatment). 

What are the benefits of early treatment?

The benefits of early treatment include regulating the width of the upper jaw, decreasing the risk of trauma to protrusive front teeth, eliminating finger and tongue habits, increasing space and guiding the eruption of permanent teeth, and growth modification. 

Doing orthodontic treatments in two steps provides excellent results often allowing the doctor to avoid removal of permanent teeth. Phase 1 treatment is done when some of the baby teeth are still present. The last part of treatment after all the permanent teeth have erupted is called Phase 2.

Do braces hurt?

The placement of braces does not hurt. Teeth may be sore for about 48 hour after braces are placed and after certain adjustments.  Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil) will relieve any discomfort.  Everyone reacts to braces differently and some may not feel discomfort at all.

How long will orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The average time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.

As an adult, is it too late to get orthodontic treatment?

It is never too late to receive orthodontic treatment.  25% of orthodontic patients are adults.

Is it necessary for me to see my general or pediatric dentist while I am undergoing orthodontic treatment?

Yes, it is very important to have regular check ups and cleaning during orthodontic treatment.  With braces, it is important that teeth stay healthy and clean.

Are there certain foods that I need to avoid while wearing braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. In general, these include hard and sticky foods.  Some of these foods include: ice, gum, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky candies. Hard foods can often be eaten but need to be cut up into smaller pieces.  You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken braces by avoiding these foods.