What should you do in an orthodontic emergency?
In the event of an orthodontic emergency, remain calm and take immediate action:
- Assess the situation and determine the severity of the issue. If a wire is poking or causing discomfort, try using orthodontic wax to cover the sharp end.
- Contact us immediately for guidance. We can provide specific instructions for what to do and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
What can you or your child expect from orthodontic treatment?
The experiences patients have with orthodontic treatment are always unique. However, there are some general things people who turn to us can expect.
Your First Visit
We love first visits at our office because they are a time for us to meet new patients and begin developing a plan to transform their smiles. You can expect your initial appointment to last about an hour.
During this time, we will:
- Take photographs of existing teeth and x-rays to identify potential issues.
- Potentially take impressions of the teeth. Doing so gives a replica of the bite, which can provide direction for what problems our treatment should address.
- Examine all the information we have gathered and ask questions regarding difficulties with eating or unexplained jaw noises.
- Finalize our treatment plan and present it. You or your child may not even need treatment right away. In this case, we will likely suggest following up with us later. If immediate treatment would be best, we will detail what you need and the timeline for it. We will also explain our fees and discuss payment plan options.
- Leave ample time for you to ask questions or raise concerns. We know that orthodontic treatment might be new, and you could feel overwhelmed. Do not worry. Our team will gladly take the time to explain everything so you can feel confident moving ahead.
What are the signs your child needs to see an orthodontist?
Some common signs include:
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that are crowded together
- Teeth erupting out of position
In addition to these, there are other less obvious signs:
- Frequent mouth breathing
- A habit of cheek or palate biting
- Speech difficulties
- Thumb sucking that goes past age three or four
- Teeth not meeting properly when the mouth closes
- The jaw making a sound or shift as it moves
If your child exhibits any of these signs, do not hesitate to contact us. We would gladly set up a free consultation to assess what type of orthodontic treatment could benefit them.
Why is orthodontic care important?
As we see it, there are two primary reasons you or someone you love should receive orthodontic treatment:
- Aesthetics: Having the smile you always wanted can enhance your self-image and boost your confidence.
- Function: Orthodontic treatment allows your teeth to function better and makes it easier to keep them clean. This can improve your overall health.
What does an orthodontists do?
Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose and treat problems with the position, alignment, and spacing of teeth. They can also address irregularities in the face and jaw. To accomplish these things, orthodontists use various appliances, including braces, palatal expanders, clear aligners, and retainers.
No matter the method, the aim of our orthodontists, Dr. Betsy Ulrich, D.D.S., M.S., is to leave patients with functional, healthy, and beautiful smiles.
Why should I (or my loved ones) get orthodontic treatment?
There are two good reasons: aesthetics and function. Having an attractive smile not only changes the way people see you — it enhances your own self-image as well. Orthodontic treatment also allows your teeth to function better and makes it easier to keep them clean, which can improve your overall health.
When should you start orthodontic treatment?
You are never too old to receive orthodontic treatment. However, starting young can make it easier to address problems. The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) suggests that children see an orthodontist for an initial checkup before they turn 7.
How can I recognize a potential bite problem?
Teeth that are protruding, crowded together or erupting out of position are clear indications that treatment is needed (View Examples). Less obvious signs are mouth breathing, frequent biting of the cheek or palate, speech difficulties, and thumb sucking that goes past 3-4 years of age. If teeth don't meet properly when the mouth closes, or if jaws make sounds or shift as they move, this may also indicate an orthodontic problem.
Braces: Do They Hurt? How Long Is Treatment? What Can You Not Do with Them?
Having braces put on is generally painless. Some people experience minor aches and pains in the first couple of days or so, as they adjust to wearing their appliances; periodic adjustments may sometimes cause soreness as well, though it typically lasts only a short time. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to alleviate any discomfort, but are usually unnecessary.
Having braces put on is mostly painless. However, you may experience minor aches and pains in the days following. Similarly, you could feel discomfort after we periodically adjust your braces. These pains do not last for very long. You can use over-the-counter pain relievers to alleviate any discomfort.
You can expect to wear braces between six and thirty months. We understand this is a wide range. Every person’s situation is different, so the amount of time that braces necessary will vary. After braces, you will likely wear a retainer for several months or more.
With braces, it is important to avoid the following foods:
- Raw vegetables
- Hard candies
- Ice cubes
Sports, Musical Instruments, and Other Activities
Playing sports and musical instruments and participating in other kinds of physical activities with braces is possible. We always recommend wearing a mouthguard during sporting events and practices. Musicians can generally play their instruments just as before but may need a short adjustment period.
Routine Orthodontic and Dentist Appointments
During active treatment, appointments at our office are necessary every four to six weeks. Seeing a dentist regularly is also important. Keeping teeth free of plaque (and potentially decay) can be challenging with braces, but a dentist can help you avoid these problems with frequent cleanings and exams.
Extractions and Other Treatments
You could need treatment beyond braces. This can include tooth extractions, palate expansion, orthognathic surgery, and more. You can rest assured that whatever we recommend will be best for your smile and overall dental health.
The Cost of Orthodontic Care
What you may pay for orthodontic care will vary depending on the type of care and its duration. We work hard to make our prices affordable. Plus, we take most insurances and can set up payment plans. We want it to be possible for you to invest in your child’s smile or your own.
How long will treatment take?
It's different for each person, but generally, the active stage of treatment (that is, wearing braces or other appliances) may take from 6-30 months. After that, a retainer is worn for at least several months.
How often will I come in for an appointment?
It depends on what's being done, and how often you need to be monitored. During active treatment, you'll typically come in to our office once every 4 to 10 weeks.
Will I need to have any teeth extracted?
If your teeth are severely crowded (because your mouth is too small to properly accommodate all of them) — or if you have impacted teeth (teeth that are trapped beneath the gum line by other teeth) — then extraction may be necessary. In the case of younger patients, early treatment may make extraction unnecessary.
Will I have to watch what I eat?
Yes — you should pass up the types of foods that could damage or become trapped in your braces. Some of these include raw vegetables, hard candy, caramel, taffy and ice cubes (fortunately, ice cream is OK). We will give you a list of foods to avoid.
Will I be able to play sports/ play my instrument?
In a word: Yes. Of course, whether you wear braces or not, we recommend you wear a mouthguard when playing most sports. Musicians are generally able to play their instruments just as they did before, but they may need a short adjustment period after getting braces.
Do I still need to see my regular dentist while I'm getting orthodontic treatment?
You do — in fact, it's more important than ever! Keeping teeth free of plaque (and potentially, decay) can be challenging when you're wearing braces. Your dentist can help you avoid these problems with frequent cleanings and exams.
Will I wear a retainer when my braces come off?
Almost always, the answer is yes: If you don't wear a retainer, your teeth can rapidly shift out of position — and then all the effort put into your treatment is lost! Your retainer helps you maintain that good-looking smile for a lifetime.
Is orthodontic care very expensive?
Orthodontic care is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. Yet its cost hasn't increased as fast as many other consumer prices, and many financing options are available that make orthodontic care affordable. Weighed against the true cost of living with problem teeth, however, orthodontic treatment can be a wise investment indeed.
Do You Have More Questions? Schedule a Consultation!
Find out more about our office and what treatments you or your child could benefit from in a free consultation. To schedule yours, simply get in touch online or give us a call. We look forward to meeting with you!
You can reach us at (217) 769-8089 or via our online contact form.