Frequently Asked Questions
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialty in dentistry that diagnoses, prevents and treats dental and facial irregularities caused by crooked, crowded or protruding teeth or poorly aligned jaws.
Why is it important to correct these problems?
First, crooked, crowded teeth are difficult to clean properly, leaving the patient at risk for increased cavity development. Second, poorly aligned teeth and jaws can result in a non-functional bite, risking the breakdown of teeth and even the bone that secures them. Later in life, this may cause tooth loss. A final concern lies in the potential irritation of gum tissue that can result from poorly aligned teeth and jaws. Good dental health is dependent on both clean teeth and irritation-free gum tissue.
Will braces hurt?
While every orthodontic patient reacts to treatment differently, most patients experience some discomfort the first week after their braces or other appliance is put on and right after the braces are adjusted. Patients can take Tylenol, Advil or any other over-the-counter pain medication to ease the discomfort.
At what age should an orthodontist see my child?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be evaluated by age seven.
What is Phase I treatment?
The goal of early, interceptive or Phase I treatment is to correct moderate to severe orthodontic problems. Some common issues that may require early treatment are crowding, excessive spacing, "buck" teeth, gummy smiles, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and openbites. When early treatment is called for, it can result in a number of benefits such as improved dental arch width, prevention of permanent teeth extraction, a reduction or elimination of the need for jaw surgery, a lower risk of trauma to "buck" teeth, and the correction of harmful oral habits. An ideal time to do Phase I treatment is usually between eight to nine years of age. However, in some cases, treatment may be needed as early as five years of age.
Does everyone need a Phase I treatment?
No! Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most or all of their permanent teeth erupt. An orthodontic consultation can determine if Phase I treatment is necessary for your child.
How long will orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment time varies for each patient and depends on how much the patient's jaw needs to change and how far the teeth must move. Generally, teeth move into their optimum position within a 24 to 30-month period.
Are retainers necessary and how long will I have to wear them?
Time in a retainer is just as important as time in braces. A retainer allows teeth time to become firm in their new position while the bone around the teeth hardens and stabilizes. The longer a patient wears their retainer, the better their chances are of preventing tooth relapse (return to a crooked position).
Will I still be able to play sports?
Yes. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles and ortho appliances by wearing a mouth guard while playing any sport. Upon request, we can supply patients with an orthodontically-approved mouth guard.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. Orthodontic wax to cover the braces can be provided to prevent discomfort.
Am I too old for orthodontics?
No! About 25% of orthodontic patients today are adults. Many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children. Children, teens and adults can all benefit from orthodontic treatment and achieve the satisfaction of a perfect smile.
How much do braces cost?
Costs vary depending on the type and complexity of treatment. For your convenience, Dr. Doulaverakis offers a variety of budgeting options. In addition, many health insurance policies include orthodontic benefits. If you have insurance, we will do everything we can to maximize the benefits you are entitled to receive.