Orthodontic FAQs

What is meant by orthodontics?

Orthodontics is an important branch of dentistry that deals with correcting the positioning of the jaws and the alignment of the teeth.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who receives two to three years of additional training and education in orthodontics after graduating from a dental school. An orthodontist gets advanced academic education from a residency program that is accredited by the American Dental Association. An orthodontist knows how to use orthodontic appliances such as retainers, braces, headgear, etc. to treat the misalignment of jaws and teeth. Only a dentist that has fulfilled the requirement for the additional years of training and education is called an orthodontist.

How can orthodontic treatment benefit me?

Orthodontics has many benefits such as:

  • Improved oral health
  • Correction of protruding teeth
  • A beautiful smile
  • Increase self-confidence
  • Increases functionality of teeth
  • Enhances health of teeth and gums
  • Improve position of permanent teeth
  • Correction of bite disorders

How do I know if I require braces?

You may require braces if:

  • You have an over bite, i.e. upper front teeth stick out over the lower teeth
  • You have an underbite i.e. lower front teeth protrude over or in front of the upper front teeth
  • You have a deep bite i.e. when biting, the upper front teeth cover most of the lower teeth
  • You have an open bite i.e. when biting, the upper and lower front teeth do not touch
  • Your teeth are crowded or overlapped
  • The center of your lower and upper teeth are not aligned
  • You had a thumb-sucking habits well after 6 or 7 years of age
  • You have difficulty in chewing food
  • You have uneven teeth
  • You have spaces or gaps between your teeth

What is the right age to start orthodontic treatment?

According the American Association of Orthodontists children should have an initial orthodontic screening at age 7. The reason for this is that any problems related to orthodontics are easily corrected when they are discovered before jaw growth slows down.

What is meant by Phase I and Phase II treatment?

Phase I treatment is also called early interceptive treatment. It is considered a limited treatment and is typically performed on children of ages 6 to 10. Phase I treatment is carried out for straightening the front teeth to make room for the remaining permanent teeth that start to appear around at age twelve. Phase I also corrects jaw growth issues, overbites, openbites, and underbites. Undergoing Phase I treatment eliminates the chances of extraction of permanent teeth to be in the future.

Phase II treatment; also called comprehensive treatment; involves full braces after all of the permanent teeth have erupted. This generally occurs between age of 11 to 13.

How can orthodontic treatment benefit an adult?

Orthodontic treatment is as beneficial for grownups as for children. Every one out of five patients that an orthodontist treats are adults.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Braces apply steady and gentle pressure to help gradually move teeth into their correct positions. Braces consist of two major components, the brackets and the archwire. The brackets are fixed to the patient’s teeth whereas the archwire keeps them connected. After the archwire gets secured to the brackets, the archwire wants to get back to its original shape, which applies pressure to the brackets to move teeth to the desired positions.

What is the length of time required for orthodontic treatment?

The length of time is unique to each patient and depends upon the severity of his or her condition. It also depends on the mode and the types of appliances used for treatment.

Is wearing braces painful?

Braces are no longer a painful treatment due to modern advancements in orthodontics and better structuring of brackets.

Is it possible to play sports if you have braces?

Yes, but it is important that patients with braces wear a mouthguard when playing sports. A mouthguard acts as a shock absorber that can protect teeth from fracturing.

Can musical instruments be played while wearing braces?

Yes. Musical instruments can be played with braces on.

Do I need to see my family dentist during orthodontic treatment?

Yes. Routine examinations and dental cleanings should be performed at least every six months as to maintain optimum oral health.