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Thinking of getting braces?

Can you be too old for braces?

There is no age limit for braces. As long as you have good periodontal health, braces can be used to straighten your teeth and correct your bite. More people over the age of 30 are getting braces today than ever before.

Many adults "finally get their teeth done" when their kids go in for orthodontic treatment. It’s more common than you think!

What is a malocclusion?

Occlusion is another word for your bite – how the teeth in your top and bottom jaw meet with each other. So, a malocclusion means a bad bite – a bite with problems.

What are the causes of a malocclusion?

A malocclusion is most often caused by hereditary factors, such as an abnormal relationship between the size of the teeth and the size of the jaws. A malocclusion may also result from missing teeth or from habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.

Can I get braces just on the top or bottom?

That depends on your case. Orthodontics isn’t just about making your teeth straight or making them look better. Our doctors take a lot of things into consideration when recommending treatment, such as:

  • how the top and bottom teeth meet with each other (i.e. your bite)
  • how well you can chew your food
  • whether you have a tongue thrust problem
  • whether extractions or surgery will be necessary to correct your problems
  • whether you will need any appliances in your treatment, such as a palate expander or headgear (yes, some adults do wear headgear)

It isn’t just a matter of making your teeth look pretty. There are lot of other factors to take into consideration. This is why you sometimes need a full set of braces, even if you think you only need them on top or bottom. Of course, some people are lucky. Their bites are good and perhaps they only need a bit of straightening. People in this position can often get braces on just the top or bottom teeth.

When will I begin to see changes in my teeth after the braces are put on?

According to some informal research, most people begin to see changes in their teeth in the first 2 to 6 weeks of treatment.

Are people going to think I look nerdy or weird with braces on my teeth?

Of course you’re self-conscious because it is YOUR mouth, but frankly most people don’t give a hoot! Your braces are a conversation piece for about three minutes, after that nobody pays much attention. And most people DO NOT think you look nerdy! In fact, they probably think you look cute or applaud that you are doing something positive to improve your appearance and your dental health. Whenever you become self-conscious about your braces, think about how great you’ll look once they come off!

Do dental plans cover the cost of braces?

Most dental plans cover children up to age 18; however, they do not cover adult orthodontics. If your plan covers adult braces, consider yourself in the lucky minority.

Remember, most dental plans do not cover treatment that is already in progress. So, if you are going to sign up for a dental plan, do it before any treatment begins. Also, be aware of any waiting periods your dental plan may enforce. Jaw surgery or extraction is sometimes covered under your medical plan, so be sure to look into this too.

Should I get teeth extracted as part of my orthodontic treatment?

It depends on your specific case. If you are young and your jaw is still growing, we can work with your growth to straighten teeth, often without the need for extraction. If you are an adult, we are a little more limited. Extraction may be the only way to successfully straighten your teeth and correct your bite; however, it will depend on your individual case.

The decision for extractions must consider a number of factors and it is vital to achieve a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. At The Ortho Practice we aim to keep as many teeth as we can and therefore do not take the extraction decision lightly. We will often arrange a separate consultation to discuss the reasons for the need of extraction(s). If we cannot logically explain the need for the extractions in straight forward terms then we have not done our job in communicating, because at The Ortho Practice we don’t hide behind our degrees to confuse and bewilder!

How long does it take to close gaps between teeth after an extraction?

That depends on your unique body type. Gaps in teeth on the lower jaw tend to close slower than on the upper jaw. It can take anywhere from a few months to a year to close extraction gaps.

Can I get those invisible braces instead of traditional ones?

That depends on your specific case. Invisalign® involves the use of clear plastic aligners which are almost invisible. While they do work very well, they do not suit all types of malocclusions.

Do I have to change my diet when I wear braces?

Yes you do, to some extent. At first your teeth will hurt and you will not be able to bite into hard foods, big sandwiches, or anything too chewy or crunchy. It is best to stick to soft foods until your teeth begin to feel better, usually in a week or so.

I wore my retainer when I was younger, however my teeth shifted years later. Is this common?

Yes, it is more common than you think. The teeth are actually more dynamic than you’d expect. Often your bite can change in adulthood as teeth move throughout life. A number of adults are in braces for a second time to get back that perfect smile.

Why do I need to have spacers put in before braces?

Sometimes there isn’t enough space between certain teeth to insert a metal band or other appliance. Spacers help move the teeth slightly to create space that is needed for your treatment.

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