What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist. Orthodontists must complete dental college, four years of dental school, and an additional the or three years in a residency program accredited by the American Dental Association in advanced education in orthodontics. Orthodontists focus on treating the misalignment of teeth and other facial development with treatments like braces, headgear, retainers, and other methods.

How do I know if I need braces?

Your orthodontist will help you determine whether you need braces. Some indicators include:

  • Overlapped or crowded teeth
  • Spaces in between teeth
  • An overbite (upper front teeth that protrude over the lower teeth)
  • An underbite (lower front teeth that extend in front of the upper front teeth)
  • A deep bite (upper front teeth that cover most of the lower teeth when biting together)
  • An open bite (upper and lower front teeth that do not touch when biting together)
  • The center line of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing excessively or unevenly
  • Thumb- or finger-sucking habits that continues after the age of six or seven years
  • The lower jaw experiences movement to one side when biting together

When should orthodontic treatment start?

According to the American Association of Orthodontics, children should have an initial orthodontic screening at the age of seven. This allows the orthodontist to correct any orthodontic-related problems before jaw growth slows. Early treatment and evaluation can also prevent the need for surgery or more serious complications later in life.

Can adults benefit from orthodontic treatment?

Did you know that more than 25% of all orthodontic patients are adults? Orthodontic treatment can now be as successful for adults as for children.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

The length of treatment will vary based on each patient’s specific needs, the severity of the orthodontic problems, and patient compliance. The average orthodontic treatment time is typically 18-36 months.

Do braces hurt?

The process of placing braces and other appliances is not painful. Some patients may experience tenderness for a few days after the braces and archwires are secured, and it may also take a couple of weeks for the lips and cheeks to become accustomed to the braces.

Can you play sports while wearing braces?

Yes! Be sure to wear a mouth guard while participating in athletic events. This mouth guard serves as a shock absorber and helps to protect teeth from fracturing and orthodontic appliances from breaking.

Can you play musical instruments while wearing braces?

Yes! It may take some time to adjust to the braces. You may wish to try an oral brace cover to prevent gum discomfort while playing musical instruments.

Do I need to see my general dentist while I have braces?

Yes! Be certain to visit your general dentist for routine dental cleanings and exams while you have braces to ensure that your smile stays in good health.

If you have any other questions about orthodontics or braces in Phoenix, Arizona, please feel free to contact Dr. Park and our team today at Arizona Orthodontic Centers. We are happy to help!