Orthodontics FAQs

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities, including misaligned teeth, bite problems, and certain facial asymmetries.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a highly trained specialist who has completed two to three years of formal training after graduation from dental school. An orthodontist straightens teeth and makes corrections to the bite, facial profile, and facial growth. They also work closely with oral surgeons, periodontists, and cosmetic dentists when a team approach is needed to correct multiple problems.

Why should I choose an Orthodontic Specialist?

An orthodontist limits his or her practice to the specialty, so they devote their entire practice and education to one discipline.

Why should I have orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment can improve your smile and your health. When you feel better about yourself others often feel better about you. Straight teeth will also likely be easier to clean and help you maintain good oral health. Better oral hygiene has been shown in some studies to reduce total body inflammation, thereby lowering your risks for systemic diseases like heart disease. A nicer smile, improved self-esteem, a healthier mouth, and a healthier body!

When should my child be seen?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children be screened around the age of seven. We will evaluate your child and if your child needs treatment we can take corrective action to reduce the severity of a developing problem and possibly avoid costly and uncomfortable treatment later on. While we believe in avoiding early treatment when possible, there are several developmental problems that can arise with the jaws and teeth of children that are better corrected at this earlier age.

What are the early signs of orthodontic problems and how can I look for them?

It is important that you examine your child’s mouth regularly to monitor the oral hygiene as well as the development of the teeth and bite. If the child still has only baby teeth, the teeth should ideally be slightly spaced. This will allow room for the larger permanent teeth to grow in. Baby teeth that are have no spacing, or that already have some crowding, generally mean that the permanent teeth will also be crowded. Other indicators of early orthodontic problems include underbites and crossbites. An underbite is when the lower front teeth are in front of the upper front teeth. A crossbite is when the lower back teeth are on the outside of the upper back teeth. Both bite problems usually indicate a skeletal growth problem that might need to be corrected at an earlier age.

If you see any of the above symptoms, or are just not sure, please bring your child in for an orthodontic evaluation.

What is the treatment goal for adolescents?

The goal is to correct the alignment of the teeth and the jaws during and after the eruption of all the permanent teeth. Treatment time usually ranges between 18 and 30 months. The most ideal time for treatment is during the adolescent growth spurt (puberty) because some growth modification can be done, and most all of the permanent teeth are fully erupted or erupting. In the young person who has moderately crowded teeth it is very important to start their treatment just as the last four baby teeth are due to be lost (the primary second molars). Sometimes this can prevent the loss of permanent teeth.

I’m an adult, what can braces do for me?

Orthodontics can correct the alignment of the teeth at any age. Sometimes we need to work with maxillofacial surgeons for correct jaw alignment in adults as growth is not available to help us achieve treatment goals. Orthodontics can be done at any age if the bone and gum tissue around the teeth are healthy. With adults we occasionally need to make space for crowns, implants or bridges when teeth have shifted to poor positions, often the result of early loss of teeth due to decay, gum disease, or trauma. We also treat adults who were treated as adolescents and experienced relapse due to inadequate retainer wear, physiologic shifting of the teeth, or continued genetic growth patterns that persisted after the original treatment was completed.

Help! I don’t want my braces to show!

If conventional braces are the best treatment for your malocclusion and you want to downplay the appearance of them then perhaps the clear Damon, or all ceramic brackets on your upper front teeth will be what you are looking for. Maybe some type of aligner such as Invisalign will be an option for you as well.

I’ve heard a lot about Invisalign or clear braces. That sounds like something I’d like.

Invisalign or “Invisible Braces” is a series of 3-D computer generated clear removable appliances called aligners. If your malocclusion is appropriate for this type of treatment you may achieve a beautiful smile without traditional braces. With advances in the technology, we can now treat almost any case with Invislaign!

Do I need a referral to see an Orthodontist?

No! Many of our patients come from “word of mouth recommendations” from friends and family members. We appreciate all referrals, whether from your dentist or a friend, and if you like our office we would be thrilled if you would tell others about us.

I like the different colors I see on braces, can I get them too?

With the Damon System we no longer use colored ties to hold the wires to the brackets. There are many advantages to the Damon System – please see our Damon page for details. However if your oral hygiene is absolutely fantastic we can slip the colored ties underneath the wire so they can be seen. We have a variety of different colors that you can choose from. For our patients that still have the traditional brackets we use the little tie-rings called “alastiks” or donuts to hold the wires to the braces. They are usually changed at each appointment so you can choose a different color scheme each month. Some patients decorate themselves according to the holiday season.

I participate in sports. Are there any precautions I should take with my braces?

We recommend wearing a soft sports mouthguard when participating in contact sports. They are also recommended for sports such as basketball where it is possible take a hit to the mouth with another players elbow. We encourage them for weight-lifters also who tend to clench their teeth while lifting.

How long do braces take to put on?

Depending on the case, 1 to 1.5 hours This depends if we place just one arch at a time, or put them on both arches (upper and lower braces) at the same appointment.

I have “TMJ”. Can braces help me?

Everyone has “TMJ”. Mother Nature has given each of us two jaw joints, one of each side of the lower jaw, and they are called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. What you are describing is TMD or some type of temporomandibular dysfunction. Braces may or may not improve jaw joint problems and more conservative approaches should be tried first.

Are braces covered by insurance and do I have to pay for them all at once?

Many dental plans now include orthodontic treatment; however most plans only cover a portion of the treatment costs. Please check with your insurance provider before seeking care to determine if orthodontic procedures are covered. Our office allows you to pay for orthodontic treatment in installments. A down payment is usually required to cover the costs in starting up your case. Once you pay for the initial costs we will usually let you pay for the rest of the treatment in installments.

Will teeth be pulled?

We will prescribe tooth extraction only if there isn’t enough room for all your teeth, or the removal of teeth with enhance your appearance. We will close the spaces during treatment and no one will notice that some are missing.

If you have any other questions we will be happy to answer them for you in person.

Please call the office to set up an appointment. Bee Caves: (512) 402-1501
Circle C Ranch: (512) 394-0930