When should I take my child to the orthodontist?

It is often difficult for a parent to determine if treatment is indicated. There may be serious orthodontic problems even if your child’s front teeth appear straight. Sometimes, issues that may seem intense are easily treated by our Clifton dentistry team. Your son or daughter’s first exam takes just a few minutes and is complimentary.

What dental issues can early orthodontic treatment help?

Early treatment from an orthodontist can prevent serious problems from occurring, and obtain results unachievable after a child’s jaws and face has finished developing. Early orthodontic care at NJ Perfect Smile can help:

  • early or delayed loss of baby teeth
  • discomfort with biting down, or chewing
  • mouth breathing, bad breath
  • Thumb-sucking habits
  • Speech impediments
  • Teeth that protrude or stick out

Will growth allow "self-correction" of crowded teeth or bite problems?

Generally not, the jaws grow in the back to allow for eruption of the 12-year molars and wisdom teeth, but not in the front. In most children, the amount of available space DECREASES as the permanent teeth erupt. Either in children or adults, untreated orthodontic problems usually become worse. Orthodontic treatment is often less expensive than the additional dental care needed to treat serious problems that often develop later in life.

Can you be too old for braces?

When it comes to braces, age is not a determining factor. Any adult with a healthy bone structure and healthy gums is a viable candidate for braces. We’re proud to say over 20% of our orthodontic patients are adults!

Will it hurt?

Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule, braces make your teeth sore for a day or 2 after they are placed or adjusted, but it is not "painful". Today's braces are smaller and more comfortable. High tech wires move the teeth more efficiently and with less discomfort.

Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?

Yes. When teeth are missing adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space. This often causes functional, aesthetic or periodontal problems. Orthodontic treatment can close the space or provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.

What are the benefits of braces?

  • Having straight teeth that fit together properly improves function. Your teeth and jaw joints can work more efficiently.
  • Straight teeth are easier to clean.
  • Should you ever need a filling, crown or bridge, your dentist can usually do a better job if the teeth are properly aligned.
  • The appearance of the smile and face are improved. Having a pleasing smile can improve self-esteem, confidence, and a feeling of acceptance in daily life.

What is a "malocclusion"?

Malocclusion literally means "bad bite"

What’s the difference between Phase 1 and Phase 2 treatment?

Also known as the planning stage, stage 1 treatment helps to prevent issues that may occur in the future. Until age 7, an orthodontist can have more control over where permanent teeth develop in the mouth. After age 7, a child’s mouth is developed and may require Phase 2 treatment. Phase 2 treatment is more invasive and may require longer treatment time.

What is Full or Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment?

This is another name for orthodontic treatment in the permanent dentition at any age. It is more commonly used when a Phase I treatment was not performed.

Does everyone need a Phase I treatment?

Absolutely not! Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most or all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

Can I wait on Phase I/Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment until my child is older?

Failure to provide appropriate Phase I treatment at the correct time can limit later treatment options, compromise stability of the result, and necessitate extractions or surgery.

How long will treatment last?

Treatment typically lasts from 6 months to 30 months depending on the age of the patient, severity of the problem, and the level of patient cooperation.

What is extraction and non-extraction therapy?

Selected permanent teeth are removed in extraction therapy to make room for crowded teeth, to correct bite relationships, or to change the facial profile. non-extraction therapy does not require the removal of permanent teeth. The doctors will discuss the "pro’s and con’s" of different treatment options at your New Patient Examination, and again at the Consultation Appointment.

What is orthognathic surgery?

In order to create a harmonious balance among the jaws, teeth and facial structure, this orthodontic treatment manipulates the jaw and corrects jaw imbalance and incorrect bite. Orthognathic surgery- or corrective jaw surgery improves swallowing, breathing, protruding jaw, appearance and a variety of other dental issues.

What does "orthognathic" mean?

The word "orthognathic" was coined by an oral/maxillofacial surgeon and means "straight jaws," just as orthodontics means "straight teeth." Prior to that time, the term surgical orthodontics or "facial orthopedics" was used to describe this medical specialty.

Am I a candidate for orthognathic surgery?

If you’re affected by the following issues, you may be a candidate for corrective jaw surgery:

  • Speech impediments
  • An open bite
  • TMJ pain, or chronic jaw
  • A protruding jaw
  • Difficulty breathing, biting, chewing, or swallowing

What are the basic goals of orthognathic surgery?

The specific goal for orthognathic surgery will vary from patient to patient, depending on the actual diagnosis. In general, the team will address the following:

  • function (normal chewing, speech, ocular (eye) function, and respiratory function)
  • aesthetics (establish facial harmony and balance)
  • stability (avoid short- and long-term relapse)
  • minimize treatment time (provide efficient and effective treatment)

How long is corrective jaw surgery?

Corrective jaw surgery may take between 2 to 4 hours. Our team will be with you every step of the way to ensure the best, safest outcome possible.

How long is recovery after corrective jaw surgery?

Following corrective jaw surgery, you can resume light activities within 2 weeks. The dedicated team at Harmony Dental Arts will help monitor your healing process.

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