If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, any age can be a great time to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age seven. However, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens. One in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21.
Upper front teeth protrude over the lower teeth
Upper front teeth are behind the lower teeth (“underbite”) Front teeth overlap
The center of the upper or lower teeth do not line up Thumb or finger sucking habits continue after age six Excessive wear of the teeth exists
Gaps or spaces between the teeth exist
Teeth are crowded or impacted
The bite causes TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) pain
Phase I orthodontics is limited treatment (i.e. expanders, retainers or partial braces) that occurs before all permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment usually takes place between the ages of seven and ten. Phase I treatment is often recommended to make space for developing teeth; to correct crossbites, overbites and underbites; or to end harmful habits (such as thumb- sucking). Phase II treatment is also called “comprehensive treatment” because it involves full braces when all permanent teeth have erupted. This usually occurs between the ages of 11 and 13.
Patients will be asked to complete a health history and insurance information form; to save time, both forms may be downloaded from our website and completed prior to arrival. Dr. Reed will complete a clinical exam of the teeth, jaws, bite and TMJ and discuss various treatment options. Afterward, the office provides all financial information, including the cost of treatment, finance options and insurance benefit information.
How much do braces or Invisalign cost? Are financing options available? Do you take all insurances?
Our office will provide an exact cost of treatment and finance options after Dr. Reed completes the initial exam. We have several financing options available to accommodate most patients. Some insurances that we participate with include: UPMC Dental, United Concordia PPO and DHMO, MetLife, Delta Dental, Cigna and Guardian. Regardless of which insurance you have, we will submit all claims for you to ensure that you are maximizing your benefits.
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Treatment time can be affected by jaw growth, eruption of teeth and the severity of the initial problem. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance, maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments (around every six to 10 weeks).
Generally speaking, braces do not hurt. Teeth may be slightly sore for a few days after certain visits, however, over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol or Motrin often ease the discomfort.
No. It is recommended that patients protect their teeth by wearing a mouth guard when participating in sports. We can provide you with a guard that is made especially for orthodontic patients.
Yes, all patients may continue to play with braces.
Yes, you should see your dentist every six months for cleanings and dental exams.
You should avoid hard, sticky or chewy foods because they cause breakage of the braces.
If your braces are causing extreme pain or you experience breakage of your braces, expander or wires, you should call the office. In most cases we can address the issue over the phone. If you loose or break a retainer or Invisalign slip-cover, you should schedule an appointment for a new scan or impression of your teeth so that the retainer can be repaired or replaced.
Early treatment is often recommended if there are structural issues with the teeth and jaws, causing overbite, underbite, crowding or impactions. Limited treatment can be completed between the ages of seven and 11 years. During this age range, jaw growth accelerates. We use this time to address the malocclusion in a more organic manner, as compared to treatment that is started when growth is complete.
It is best to assume that your child will need Phase II treatment once all permanent teeth have erupted (usually ages 12 to 14). However, if all structural problems were addressed during Phase I, the second phase of treatment will likely be uncomplicated and shortened.