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What is malocclusion?
Malocclusion is the technical term for “bad bite.” Malocclusions can be inherited or acquired from external factors such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting or premature loss of baby teeth. Malocclusions affect the alignment of teeth and facial esthetics.
What are some signs that braces may be needed?
  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • 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
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth
What happens at my first visit?
At your first visit, we will provide an orthodontic examination. You can expect to have some photographs and/or x-rays taken. Dr. Tomassetti will indicate whether or not treatment is needed and if needed, when the best time to start treatment would be. Typical steps prior to beginning treatment include gathering orthodontic records to provide specific information to tailor a treatment plan for that patient (see orthodontic records below).
What are diagnostic records?
Diagnostic records include x-rays, photographs, and impressions made of the teeth. These “molds” are used to develop models for closer examination of the teeth and how the upper and lower teeth relate to each other. X-rays are taken to look at the root structure of the teeth and how the jaw bones and teeth relate to each other. Typically facial photographs and intra-oral photographs are taken to evaluate facial proportions, facial esthetics and the health of the teeth and gums. These diagnostic records enable the orthodontist to develop an appropriate treatment plan for the patient.
When should I begin treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age seven. Although only a few orthodontic problems need to be corrected at that age, an early exam allows the orthodontist to offer advice and guidance as to when the appropriate age to start treatment would be.
What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.
How long will my treatment take?
The length of treatment varies for each patient depending on the complexity of the orthodontic problem. Patient cooperation with the directions of the orthodontist is key in determining the length of treatment and the quality of the outcome. We are committed to completing your treatment as swiftly and effectively as possible.
What will orthodontic treatment cost?
Fees vary with the complexity of the treatment. Today many dental policies include orthodontic benefits and we offer a variety of payment plans making orthodontic treatment more affordable than ever before.
Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.
Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.
Do I have to wear a retainer?
Yes, a retainer is a device worn full or part-time after braces have been removed and performs a vital role in your treatment. The retainer is designed to prevent your teeth from drifting or moving back towards their original positions. Wearing your retainer as instructed is the key to maintaining the success of your orthodontic treatment.