626.788.5911

Smilehaus Orthodontics | Dental Braces, South Pasadena, CA | Dr. Karla Thompson

FAQs

How do you know if orthodontic treatment is needed?

It is usually difficult to know if treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Asking your general dentist is a good place to start, but we are the best resource to make that determination, since orthodontics or braces are all we do. Our initial exam is complimentary and we will happily provide our expert recommendations.

What are the signs or symptoms of orthodontic problems?

Although determining if treatment is necessary is difficult for you to assess, the following may help in prompting you to seek out Orthodontic advice: Look at you or your child’s teeth. If you see any signs of crooked teeth, gaps between the teeth, overlapping teeth, orthodontic treatment is indicated.
Bite all the way down, but keeping there lips open so you can see the teeth. Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude away from the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? These are indicators for the need of orthodontic treatment.

Look at the alignment of the jaws. Does the jaw shift off center during biting? If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, it suggests a skeletal or jawbone problem, which requires early orthodontic intervention.

These are the most common and obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.

What age should an orthodontist see my child? Do all baby teeth have to fall before initiating orthodontic treatment?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven. Hence all baby teeth need not be gone before initiating orthodontic treatment. In fact, early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early preventive/intercepting action and avoid more difficult treatment later. Again, since our initial consultation is complimentary, it helps to get a consult as soon as possible.

Can you be too old for braces?

No, age is not a factor. It depends on the health condition of your gums and bone structure, which support your teeth. Orthodontic treatment is recommended at any age. About 30% of our orthodontic patients are adults and that number is still growing! Our oldest patient treated was 72 years old.

Will it hurt?

Orthodontic treatment mechanics have advanced technologically over the last few years. Introduction of new high tech wires, smaller braces, innovative accessories and stress of preventive/interceptive treatments make today’s orthodontic treatment fairly comfortable.  We do not use any anesthetic injections for any of our procedures. As a rule, braces can cause a little discomfort initially until one gets used to them. Teeth can get a little sore a day after the adjustment appointment but they are not painful. This annoyance can be relieved easily with over-the-counter pain relievers, if needed. Most of our patients do not need to take any pain relievers.

Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?

Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, esthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems from happening and will also provide the proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.

QUESTIONS ABOUT ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT

What is Phase I (Early Interceptive Treatment) and Phase II treatment?

Phase I or Early Interceptive Treatment usually starts while the child has most of their baby teeth along with a few of their permanent teeth.  The goal of Phase I treatment, is to intercept a moderate or severe orthodontic problems early in order to reduce or eliminate them. These include jawbone, cross bites and developing crowding teeth problems. This phase does not use full braces, as braces are never put on baby teeth. Generally we use expanders, removable appliances, herbst appliance (instead of headgear) and retainers during this phase. These treatment approaches take advantage of the active growth changes of the jawbone structure to either make extra room or address jawbone discrepancies. This helps reduce the need for extractions or jaw surgery and delivers better long-term results and treatment options. Most Phase I patients require a Phase II treatment in order to achieve an ideal bite.

Phase II treatment involves the use of a full set of braces, to finish the occlusion of bite. It usually occurs when all permanent teeth are present. Many times there is a break in treatment between the two Phases and most commonly occurs around the age of 12 or 13.

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!  But in many cases early intervention helps a lot. We will offer Phase I treatment only if it makes a difference in future otherwise we keep the patients for a complimentary recall consultation every six months.

What is the length or duration of orthodontic treatment?

In our office, Phase I treatment usually lasts 12-14 months. Phase II or full braces treatment may last from 18 to 36 months. In both situations, we generally see the patients every 6 to 8 weeks for their adjustment appointment.
Treatment time and its success depend on multiple factors such as, age of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patient's cooperation and the speed of natural response of teeth movement.

What are extraction and non-extraction therapy, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Extraction and non-extraction therapy make room for other teeth. Extraction therapy is a technique where some teeth are removed to make room other teeth. This is in contrast to non-extraction therapy where it expands a patients' jaw and/or shave some teeth to reduce the width to make everything fit properly. We will make a thorough evaluation at the consultation appointment and discuss which options are best suited for you.

OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the different types of braces?

Metal braces are the most popular with kids and teenagers. They love using different colors of ligature ties. These braces are much smaller than ever before.

Translucent clear ceramic braces are another option and are available at some offices. These braces are more fragile and have some limitations. Our office will discuss the most suited choice of braces during the consultation appointment.

The Invisalign system is becoming a very popular method of orthodontic treatment for some adults. They consist of a series of clear orthodontic appliances called aligners that allow you to straighten your teeth without having to wear traditional braces. Each set of custom-made aligners is worn for about two weeks and moves the teeth in small steps to the desired final position. However this treatment option is not suitable for all orthodontic patients. For more information about Invisalign, please give our office a call to make an appointment for a complimentary exam to see if you are a candidate for this exciting new system.

Is orthodontic care expensive? Do you a have payment plan?

Our innovative business model makes braces or orthodontic treatment affordable, which is very unique.

We offer to all our patients’ financial payment plans, “NO DOWN PAYMENT” and affordable monthly payments. We also do not add any interest to any financial plan. We have found that the initial down payment charged by traditional orthodontists is a hardship to many hard working families, especially those with multiple family members who could benefit from orthodontic treatment.

Please call our office for an appointment. SmileHaus Orthodontics where we,  “We Give You Something To Smile About.”