What is Orthodontics? 

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who, after finishing traditional dental school, received additional training and education in the field of orthodontics.

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more attractive smile and positive self-image
  • Better function of the teeth in biting and chewing
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth, possibly preventing grinding
  • Better long-term health of teeth, gums and mouth
  • Guiding permanent teeth into healthier, aesthetically pleasing position
  • Reduce the risk of injury to protruding teeth
  • Aids in optimizing other dental treatment

What are some signs that braces may be needed?

  • Teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (overbite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Difficulty chewing or biting down
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting
  • Spaces or gaps in-between teeth

At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

Treatment can begin at any age, though for most cases it is preferable to begin during childhood, during which time the orthodontist can guide the growth of the mouth and jaw to more easily correct future problems. Some treatments however, must wait until all permanent teeth have appeared and the jaw has finished growing during teenage years. We recommend consulting with an orthodontist for children near age seven for an opinion on whether treatment will be necessary.

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to 25 percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Overall treatment time can vary based on the individual patient, but typically treatment lasts one to two years. During your initial consultation, Dr. Russell will give you an overview of your treatment schedule. Remember that good oral hygiene and being diligent with making your appointments and wearing your appliances will help keep your treatment as short as possible.

Do braces hurt?

When braces are installed there is typically no pain whatsoever. The first few days after receiving braces or adjustment, it’s typical to have a few days of soreness, especially when biting down. Be sure to stick with soft, easy to chew foods and ask your orthodontist if a mild pain reliever may be appropriate during this time.

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

No, you’ll be able to enjoy any activity you did before you received braces. It is highly recommended that you invest in a braces-friendly mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliances if you do play sports, though.

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

Typically, no. However, if you are used to playing an instrument that involves your mouth you may need some time to adjust to your appliances before you’re able to play as you normally did.

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

Yes, it is in fact more important to see your dentist during orthodontic treatment as good dental hygiene is very important in correcting imperfect bites and smiles. Your dentist and orthodontist will also work together to make sure you end up with a perfect smile!