Braces FAQ

Food to Avoid with Braces

July 9th, 2021

Congratulations you have braces and are on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile! For your orthodontic treatment to be most effective, and stay on schedule, it is important that you follow Dr. Barden's instructions and take care of your orthodontic appliances. Breaking your brackets, arch wires, and other orthodontic appliances will slow down your treatment (resulting in wearing braces for longer time!) and result in more visits to fix and repair the damage.

This means that while you have braces, or other orthodontic appliances, you may need to make a few lifestyle changes and to be careful about what you eat. Eating the wrong foods can result in loose or broken brackets and bent arch wires.  Take care of your braces and appliances by avoiding hard or sticky food. This includes things like popcorn and nuts. Also avoid sticky candy  such as caramels, taffy, gum.

Hard vegetables and fruits like apples and carrots are healthy food choices, but eating them whole can cause broken brackets and bent arch wires. During orthodontic treatment we recommend cooking hard vegetables and fruits until they are soft or cutting them into small, bite size pieces.

Other things to avoid that can cause damage to your braces include chewing on ice or objects such as pencils (you should avoid doing these things even if not in braces as they can damage your teeth!)

Taking these precautions will reduce the number of broken brackets, reduce your number of emergency visits and help keep you on track to a healthy, beautiful smile.  Ask Dr. Douglas Barden and his assistants if you have any questions about what you can, and can’t, eat while in treatment!

Follow us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook  for more helpful dental information!

Handling Orthodontic Issues at Home

April 2nd, 2020

You will be happy to hear you may be able to handle many minor orthodontic issues at home. The following information is provided by the American Association of Orthodontists. Always call us if you have any questions or concerns!

Tools + Supplies

With these tools and supplies on hand, you will be prepared to handle the most common orthodontic issues

  • Orthodontic relief wax
  • Dental floss
  • Disinfected tweezers
  • Q-tips
  • Salt
  • Interproximal brush
  • Toothpicks
  • Non-prescription pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • Topical Anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel)

Lost O-ring

An “O” ring is the tiny rubber band or sometimes a very thin wire (ligature), that holds the orthodontic wire in the bracket/brace. If a rubber o-ring should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using disinfected tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with the tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, it may be bent back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation.  Should this happen, be sure to contact your orthodontist to notify them and come up with a plan for repair. Note: self-ligating brackets don’t use o-rings.

Discomfort

It’s normal to have some discomfort during orthodontic treatment as your teeth move however it should not last longer than a couple days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water and over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may alleviate some discomfort.  If the discomfort lasts longer than a couple days, be sure to call your orthodontist to discuss.

Mouth Sores

Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be precipitated or exacerbated by an irritation from braces. One or several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips or tongue may appear. This is not an emergency but may be very uncomfortable. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab – reapply as needed.  If after a couple days the discomfort does not resolve, call your orthodontist to discuss.

Irritation in Mouth

Sometimes braces or wires can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of orthodontic relief wax makes an excellent buffer between metal and mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation.  Wax can be purchased at any drug store if you are unable to get some from your orthodontist during this time.

Protruding Wire

Occasionally the end of a wire will work itself out of place and can irritate the mouth. Use a Q-tip or clean tweezer and try to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax. Should changes with your wires occur during this time be sure to contact your orthodontist to make them aware of the issue.

Loose Braces or Bands

If the braces or bands have come loose in any way, call your orthodontist to determine appropriate next steps.

Download PDF

Be sure to follow up on Facebook or Twitter 

updated May 2021

Best Internet Orthodontic Resources

February 7th, 2020

Do you have questions about your teeth, orthodontic treatment, or general dental health? Dr. Douglas Barden is always willing to answer your questions! Talking, in person, with your health care provider is the best way to get accurate answers to your questions.

We understand that sometimes you have a question and look to the Internet to get answers. It’s important that you look at websites that are written by experts so that you are confident in the accuracy of the information. That is why at Barden Orthodontics we have put together an extensive set of information and resources on our website to give you an answer to many frequently asked questions. Click on any of the following to learn more about:

Are you looking for more information about dental health? Dr. Barden recommends the following websites:

  • The American Association of Orthodontists has helpful blogs and information regarding orthodontic treatment. This is the premier, professional association for Orthodontists, of which Dr. Douglas Barden is a member.
  • The American Dental Association hosts an online resource about general dental health. This is a great resource for your general dental questions.
  • The Wisconsin Dental Association also provides general dental resources, as well as blogs about dental health topics relevant to Wisconsin residents.

Reading online information can be a helpful first step, however, it is always important to ask your questions in person, during an exam with a trained medical professional. The best information is from a medical professional who is familiar with your unique treatment plan and health history. Internet information should never replace a thorough examination from a trained dentist. Be careful to never diagnose or self-treat a potential medical problem.

At Barden Orthodontics we offer new patients a complimentary consultation at our Whitefish Bay, WI office. We will carefully review your dental information and outline your orthodontic treatment options. We want all patients to be knowledgeable about treatment options and feel comfortable with the final treatment plan.  Ask Dr. Douglas Barden or any of his team members if you have any questions!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook for even more helpful orthodontic tips, dental reminders, and more! https://www.facebook.com/BardenOrthodontics/ 

Orthodontic Back-to-School Checklist

September 6th, 2019

Hooray the kids are headed back to school! The summer activities and trips are over and now everyone has their days filled with reading, math, science….and dental health!

Make sure your children are ready for any orthodontic situation that might occur during the school day! Dr. Douglas Barden recommends that your student pack a small travel orthodontic supply kit in their backpack.

  • Travel toothbrush and floss sticks. It’s important that food doesn’t get stuck in braces or orthodontic appliances and sit on teeth all day long! If your child isn’t able to brush during the school day, teach them to rinse their mouth with water after eating to remove the food particles and dilute the sugar on their teeth.
  • Wax to cover any poking wires.
  • Mouth guards are essential for students who are playing sports. Be sure to get a mouth guard that works with braces. We can custom make a mouth guard for maximum protection.
  • Storage Case. Bring along a retainer or clear aligner storage case. Teach your children put their retainers or clear trays in the storage case when they eat. Never store a retainer or clear aligner in a napkin –it’s too easy to toss it accidentally! Retainers that are put in a pocket or backpack without a case can become damaged.

 If your child has braces, or other orthodontic appliances, avoid packing gum, sticky candy or treats, or hard fruits and veggies in their lunch box. Fruits and veggies are a healthy lunch choice but cut apples and carrots into bite size pieces or else choose softer options (think bananas, oranges, tomatoes, cucumber slices etc). For some other lunch ideas, check out our blog on healthy snacks.

 Life gets busy during the school year, but it is important that you continue to monitor your child’s brushing and flossing. Remember to brush 2 times a day for two minutes each time. Don’t forget to floss daily! Great dental hygiene should become a normal part of your child’s routine and the reward is a beautiful, healthy smile.

Be sure to ask Dr. Barden and his team at their Whitefish Bay office if you have any questions about making sure your child is ready for any orthodontic situation during the school day. We hope all of our patients and their families have a great school year!

Enjoy reading our blog? Be sure to follow us on Facebook and stay informed of the latest blogs and office events! https://www.facebook.com/BardenOrthodontics

Camping with Braces

July 5th, 2019

Kohler Andrae State Park, Wisconsin. Photo by D. Barden

Summertime in Wisconsin is wonderful. The weather is (finally!) warm and sunny. The beautiful nature, lakes, and State Parks are perfect for exploring. It’s a great time to go CAMPING! In addition to packing your tent, sleeping bags, and other camping gear-- don’t forget to pack for good oral hygiene!

Here are Dr. Barden’s suggestions for maintaining good dental hygiene while camping:

  • Get all in one tooth brushes. These come with toothpaste and a flosser built in!
  • Bring safe-to-swallow toothpaste.
  • Buy light, travel size toothbrush and toothpaste kits.
  • Consider using environmentally friendly substitutes like baking soda.
  • If all else fails, brush and rinse with water.

Dr. Barden also recommends packing the following if you are currently in treatment with braces, clear aligners, or retainers:

  • Bring an emergency kit in case of orthodontic situations such as poking wires. Having some wax can solve minor emergencies until you return from your trip.
  • Don’t forget your retainers and storage case. Be sure to put them in a safe place so you don’t lose them among your camping gear.
  • Bring a storage case for your clear aligners if you are being treated with Invisalign ®

We hope you enjoy your time camping and exploring the great outdoors in Wisconsin and other parts of the United States. Happy Camping!

Do you like our blog posts? Be sure to follow us on Facebook to stay informed of our new posts and office events https://www.facebook.com/BardenOrthodontics/

Whitening Teeth with Braces

May 15th, 2018

Now that you are working hard to improve your dental health and appearance with your braces, it might seem like a logical time to whiten your teeth as well. But should you go ahead with home kits or a professional whitening? The answer might be yes, but not quite yet!

Toothpaste

The easiest way to whiten teeth is regular use of a whitening toothpaste. But these do not make a major difference in tooth color and may also contain abrasives which can damage ceramic brackets and make them more likely to stain. And, whether you have metal or ceramic braces, the brackets used are bonded to your teeth. Any part of your tooth covered by a bracket will not be affected by the whitening paste. Ask our office if you are thinking of using one of these products. We will be happy to recommend the best toothpastes to use while your braces are in place.

Whitening Strips and Trays

Whiteners can be applied at home with strips or tray kits. Strips are coated with a whitening gel and then pressed around your teeth. Tray kits provide a mouthguard-like appliance, which is filled with whitening gel. But neither strips nor tray solutions will whiten any area covered by brackets. When your braces come off, there might be noticeable differences in color on each tooth. Strips are difficult to apply with braces, and trays need to be custom-designed to fit your braces and make sure they don’t disturb your orthodontic work. One size most definitely does not fit all! Finally, these whitening agents can cause tooth and gum sensitivity, especially around the time of adjustments. Many manufacturers do not recommend using their products while you have braces. Please talk to us if you are thinking of using them.

Professional Whitening

A dental professional can whiten your teeth in office for the best possible results. The most effective treatments for your unique teeth are combined with protective care of your gums and mouth. Whether this treatment is appropriate while you have braces is something we are happy to discuss.

The best way to keep your teeth bright is to keep up your regular dental routine! Brushing and flossing are more important than ever now, because plaque builds up around brackets. Avoid foods that stain teeth and rinse or brush after every meal and snack. Dr. Douglas Barden will show you the best way to take care of your teeth while your braces are on—and that includes the best way to keep them white and bright. Talk to us about the perfect time to whiten your beautiful smile during your next visit to our Milwaukee, WI office. And if you have to wait a few extra days for the smile you’ve been working toward, truly, the wait will be worth it!

Positive Aging with Orthodontics

July 4th, 2017

Crooked or crowded teeth aren’t always just a cosmetic issue; they also are more difficult to clean, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Likewise, if your teeth don’t align properly when you bite (known as malocclusion), this can cause chewing, swallowing, and speaking problems.

You can put these risks to rest and look amazing, however, with well-thought-out orthodontic treatment from Dr. Douglas Barden. More and more adults are opting for orthodontic treatment and changing their lives in the process.

Childhood is of course the ideal time to get treatment, since the mouth and jaws are still growing, but many adults still can get beautiful and lasting results which can be achieved discreetly and effectively with modern orthodontic appliances and technologies.

Traditional braces used to be the only thing going, and many adults understandably don’t like the way they look. There are so many other options for braces these days that it’s possible for almost any patient to be treated effectively and efficiently — usually in one to two years.

Here are some of the technologies being implemented in our modern Milwaukee, WI orthodontic office:

  • Clear aligners: Practically invisible clear plastic aligners are great for less severe cases.
  • Lingual braces: These are placed on the back of your teeth instead of the front, and can handle anything that traditional braces can.
  • Ceramic braces: Translucent ceramic brackets make for effective and more discreet treatment.
  • Self-ligating braces: These require less manipulation by the orthodontist, which means fewer appointments and quicker results.

It should also be noted that the goal of orthodontic treatment (especially in adults) isn’t always limited to straightening teeth and/or correcting a bite. Teeth provide support for the lips and cheeks and help define your face.

The relationship between the jaws, teeth, face, soft tissues, and underlying skeleton of the face are important, and an orthodontist takes this into account when designing a smile.

In short, getting orthodontic treatment won’t just give you a good-looking and healthy smile; it can help define and enhance the entire appearance of your face. Knowing just how crucial your teeth are in determining how you look and live will help you age positively and confidently.

Orthodontic Treatment through the Internet

May 30th, 2017

You can learn just about anything on the Internet these days. You can also order just about anything on the Internet these days.

But would you order your braces on the Internet? There’s a new trend involving websites that claim to offer a solution for straightening teeth, without your ever seeing a dentist or orthodontist in person.

These companies usually have patients take an impression of their teeth using putty and a tray. Then you mail the impressions back to the company where a dentist reportedly examines them and suggests a course of treatment using 3D modeling software.

A series of clear aligners are made, to be worn by the patient in order to attain the desired result. Although this form of orthodontic treatment may cost less than seeing an orthodontist in person, there are several reasons why you should avoid it:

  • Potential health hazards are missed: If your oral health is not up to par (e.g., you have cavities, gingivitis, chipped teeth, etc.), an orthodontist would not suggest orthodontic treatment. Only after these issues are addressed would treatment be considered as an option. Whether this is the case with a person can’t be known when all the doctor sees is a set of impressions.
  • Lack of information about the patient: Before you receive any orthodontic treatment, an orthodontist will have X-rays taken to make sure you are a good candidate. If the bones or teeth do not look like they would align properly with treatment, another course of care may be suggested, even necessary. None of this background is available to over-the-net orthodontic providers.
  • No regular checkups: The purpose of regular checkups with Dr. Douglas Barden is to ensure that everything is moving properly, on schedule, and most important, safely. This lack of hands-on care with Internet orthodontics could be a hazard for you as a patient and has the potential to do more harm than good.

It’s not worth the risk of getting orthodontic treatment over the net just to save some money. Our Milwaukee, WI office is committed to working with you, whatever your financial situation may be.

If you are looking for some useful orthodontic references check out these accurate internet orthodontic resources.

Let’s work together to give you the smile you deserve!

Follow us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook  for more helpful dental information!

When Clear Aligners aren’t the Answer

February 7th, 2017

Clear aligners like Invisalign® have become increasingly popular over the past several years and rightly so. They’re removable, easier to clean than braces, and hardly anyone knows you're wearing them. They are great in treating many cases, but they aren't for everyone.

Below, Dr. Douglas Barden and our team cover some of the instances where clear aligners just aren't the answer:

  • If drastic tooth movement is required – Fixed appliances deliver much more significant tooth movement. So if your case is a drastic one, clear aligners may not be the best choice.
  • If you need to move molars – Molars have much stronger roots than your other teeth and would require significantly longer to move with clear aligners. A fixed appliance is the best choice in this instance, especially if you have a substantial overbite or underbite that needs to be dealt with.
  • If you're the type who often forgets or loses things –If you would forget to wear your aligners for the prescribed amount of time (usually at least 22 hours per day), clear aligners are probably not the best choice for you. Forgetting to wear them can delay treatment and even make it so you need to regress to the previous set of aligners to be able to move forward with treatment. And let's face it, if you're not careful, removable aligners are easy to lose. Losing aligners delays treatment and is expensive since you need to buy replacements to stay on course. Replacing a lost set of aligners usually takes between seven and ten days—a definite setback in treatment.
  • If you're looking for the fastest treatment possible – Clear aligners usually can't move teeth as quickly as fixed appliances. So if you're looking for the fastest way to achieve your desired result, clear aligners may not be the best bet.

Feel free to talk with Dr. Douglas Barden about your options regarding braces and clear aligners. We know there are pros and cons to both, so let’s find the option that works best in your life and for your specific needs in terms of treatment. Schedule an appointment at our Milwaukee, WI office today!

Follow us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook  for more helpful dental information!

Dangers of DIY Orthodontics on the Internet

December 20th, 2016

All over the Internet you'll find videos and articles showing how you can close the gap between teeth or space them out. There is a plethora of DIY orthodontic techniques out there — you can even mail order your own impressions to get clear aligners, without even seeing a dentist or orthodontist. Following the instructions laid out in these videos and articles (by people who have zero training in orthodontics) is about the worst decision you can make for your overall oral health.

Performing DIY or at-home orthodontia can lead to or cause:

  • Loss of teeth
  • Infection
  • Cavities or infections that are missed or undiagnosed
  • Gum damage

Dr. Christina Carter, president of the Northeastern Society of Orthodontists, says that DIY orthodontics can have terrible consequences. She spoke to TODAY about closing gaps between teeth using rubber bands or elastics:

"The teeth are connected to the gums and the blood supply and there is a risk of infection, of tearing the gums which might not heal properly, and a risk of damaging the attachment between the tooth and gums so the tooth no longer gets the support it needs." She also noted, "A simple rubber band can actually slide up the tooth and cut all the attachments to it and you can actually lose a tooth."

One of the worst parts about DIY orthodontics is that you never consult with a trained orthodontist, so you're really operating on a dangerous lack of information. It's best not to risk damage to your teeth or infection. Let Dr. Douglas Barden know what you want to accomplish with your teeth and we will help you find the safest and most cost-effective way to achieve it.

Dr. Douglas Barden want you to be informed and practical about your oral health. He has put together some useful internet resources on dental health from reputable sources. Should you have any questions about orthodontic treatment options, please do not hesitate to give us a call at our convenient Milwaukee, WI office.

Follow us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook  for more helpful dental information!

What is expected of me during my orthodontic treatment?

October 18th, 2016

We hear this question a lot at Barden Orthodontics, and we don’t mind when patients who are eager to complete their orthodontic treatment ask us. After all, we know there is no better feeling than getting your braces off!

During your initial consultation with Dr. Douglas Barden, we will map out a specific treatment for you and will try our hardest to give you a timeline of when we expect you to wrap up treatment.

Having said that, we know every patient is different. People have different biological responses to orthodontic treatment and some people’s teeth may move faster than others.

Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure your treatment wraps up in a timely manner. By following these suggestions, you can avoid any setbacks during your treatment.

  • Make sure to keep your adjustment appointments. Postponing or cancelling will delay treatment!
  • Be sure to show up on time to your appointments. This will give Dr. Douglas Barden and our team time to do everything we planned during your adjustment visit.
  • When prescribed, make sure you are diligent about wearing rubber bands or other appliances.
  • Avoid damage to your braces and teeth by wearing a mouth guard during sports activities.
  • Make sure to brush and floss regularly! Gum disease or other dental work can delay orthodontic treatment.

If you remember to follow these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to having the dazzling, healthy smile you’ve always wanted. As for us, our team at Barden Orthodontics will do our part to move your orthodontic treatment along efficiently. It takes a great partnership to give you a beautiful smile! If you have any questions about your treatment time, please give us a call at our Milwaukee, WI office or ask us during your next visit!

Follow us on TwitterInstagram, or Facebook  for more helpful dental information!

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

October 2nd, 2012

Happy October! For those who don't know, it’s National Orthodontic Health Month.

Our team realizes that this month-long event is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about the importance of oral hygiene. National Orthodontic Health Month also aims to recognize the dedicated work of orthodontists and other dental professionals.

To avoide orthodontic emergencies, our team recommends that patients avoid the following Halloween treats, or recipes with these ingredients:

• Caramel
• Nuts
• Popcorn (including un-popped kernels)
• Taffy
• Jelly beans
• Hard pretzels
• Licorice
• Bubblegum
• Ice

Avoiding the above will help ensure that you don't encounter any unwanted orthodontic issues! If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call, ask us on Facebook, or ask our team during your visit this month!

You're Never Too Old to Treat Yourself to a New Smile!

September 18th, 2012

Did you know one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult? We’re living longer and technology is improving, making orthodontic treatment an appealing and safe option for patients of all ages. As the trend toward treatment later in life grows, we’re seeing braces on parents as well as children – and even adult celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani and Nicholas Cage have shown off their braces. It’s never too late to look and feel your best!

Can Braces Work for Adults?

People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The physical process for moving teeth is the same, young or old, which means it’s never too late to address issues such as an overbite or underbite, crooked or crowded teeth, or jaw disorders.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, we’ll make a consultation appointment with you. During this meeting we will perform a general assessment of your oral health, discuss options for treatment, and answer any questions you may have. We will also discuss matters of cost and insurance. The next step is an orthodontic records appointment in which we take x-rays, photos, and an impression of your teeth. This information drives your unique treatment plan.

What Are the Benefits?

Straightening your teeth can improve your smile, your self-esteem, and your dental health. Technologically advanced new treatments make it easier to identify the option that best fits your lifestyle. Modern techniques and materials have made braces and aligners more effective, comfortable and unobtrusive than ever.

If you think you might benefit from orthodontic treatment, give our team a call, so we may set up a consultation to determine what type of treatment best meets your needs.

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

September 12th, 2012

Orthodontic treatments vary from dental treatment, in that they primarily address malocclusions, jaw spacing and tooth alignment, rather than the actual health of the teeth. That is why it is often more difficult for parents to determine when a child needs orthodontic treatment rather than dental treatment. So how can you know it is time to take your child to the orthodontist?

Bad Bite - As the adult teeth begin to replace primary teeth, bite occlusions can develop. These often become visible to parents between middle childhood and the pre-teen years, although an orthodontist can identify a bad bite with early evaluation.

Visible Tooth Crowding - If your child's newly emerging teeth are already crowded, you should make an appointment with our office to discuss braces.

Tooth Grinding (Bruxism) - Children who grind their teeth at night may do so unconsciously, but the condition requires treatment to prevent the development of headaches, TMJ, and tooth damage. Oral appliances are available to correct nighttime tooth grinding.

Difficulty Chewing, Biting, or Speaking - If your child is displaying difficulty speaking or eating, or if he or she often experiences cheek biting, schedule an orthodontic consultation.

Asymmetry - If your child's face is asymmetrical, or if his or her teeth do not meet together in a natural way, orthodontic treatment may be necessary.

Evaluation and Preventive Care
Even if your child has no visible tooth or jaw alignment problems, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child visit the orthodontist for an initial examination no later than age seven. The reason for early evaluation is because orthodontists are capable of finding subtle problems with the jaw and teeth growth and spacing before they become more pronounced and also more difficult to treat. By bringing your child in for an evaluation, you may be able to treat orthodontic conditions with shorter and more simplified treatments that are also more affordable than treatment during the teenage and adult years.

What questions should I ask during my orthodontic consultation?

September 4th, 2012

Are you thinking about orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth or correct jaw alignment? Consider making your first step an orthodontic consultation. During the consultation we will address your questions, concerns, and talk about a treatment plan that would best suit your situation.

We want you to feel prepared and in charge of your orthodontic treatment decisions, so keep these questions in mind when you come in for your appointment.

• If I do need some adjustments to my teeth, what options will I have besides braces?
(This will help you determine what approaches we use to straighten your teeth.)

• What kind of preparation is needed to get braces? How many visits will it take?
(It’s important to know how many appointments may be needed and what you will need to do between appointments to be ready for braces.)

• Can I expect any pain when getting braces?
(Ask about the ways we address pain management.)

• What determines how long I have to wear braces?
(The length of treatment will vary from patient to patient. During your consultation we can evaluate your teeth and jaw alignment to determine the correct course and length of treatment.)

• How will braces affect my lifestyle? Foods I can eat? Activities I can do?
(You may find that little needs to change in your daily routine to have a successful orthodontic outcome. We can discuss and address any changes so you can be prepared before you get your braces.)

• Who will be involved in the orthodontic work? Whom can I expect to see during my adjustment visits?

• What will my orthodontic work cost? What is the ”average” cost and what could be the maximum?
(Make sure you are clear about what your insurance covers, who contacts the insurance company for pre-authorization, who files the insurance forms, and what flexibility there is to pay the remaining amount not covered.)

Your initial orthodontic consultation may just be the first step in relieving a lot of pain and discomfort in your life. Going in with the right questions will help you to understand the entire process and prepare you to do your part for your own dental health. Be sure to bring a list of your questions!

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

August 29th, 2012

Orthodontic treatments are used to correct malocclusion, a condition more commonly known as a bad bite. The length of treatment time varies depending on the severity of the bite problem.

What is a "bad bite"?
A bad bite occurs when spacing or alignment problems are present. This often includes teeth that are protruding, crowded, or crooked. Sometimes teeth appear straight, but have an uneven bite because the upper and lower jaws do not align properly. Teeth that are irregularly spaced - either too far apart or too close together - can also cause bite problems.

Frequent causes of bite problems:

  • Heredity
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Premature tooth loss
  • Accidents

Benefits of orthodontic treatment:

Appearance -
Correcting a bad bite often creates a more attractive smile, which frequently raises the patient's self esteem.

Preventing Decay -
It also results in a healthier mouth. It is much more difficult to thoroughly clean teeth that are crooked, protruding, overlapped, or crowed. This may allow plaque to build up, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment corrects these conditions, so cleaning can be more efficient.

Avoiding Alignment Issues -
An uneven bite can interfere with the motions of chewing and speaking. This can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel, which may require pricey cosmetic restorative treatments, such as crowns or veneers, to correct. It can also lead to problems with the jaws. Orthodontic treatment lessens the likelihood of those issues, as well.

 

Types of orthodontic treatment:

- Braces: Metal or ceramic brackets are bonded to the front of teeth. Wires and elastics are attached to the brackets to straighten teeth.

- Invisalign®: Advanced 3D computer images of the patients' mouth are used to create clear, custom aligners that slowly move teeth. They are nearly invisible and are more comfortable than traditional braces. They are also removable, which makes it possible to continue with normal brushing and flossing.

- Retainers: A retainer is a removable piece worn inside the mouth that uses pressure to force teeth to move into proper alignment. They are used after braces are removed.

 

Length of orthodontic treatment:
Treatment typically ranges from 12 - 36 months. Factors include the age, cooperation level, and growth occurrence of the patient. The complexity of the case also impacts the treatment time.