Orthodontic Questions & Answers
All orthodontists are actually dentists, but only about six percent of dentists are orthodontists. They are dental specialists who are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists also are very skilled in preventing future dental issues. After completing dental school, future orthodontists must complete 2 to 3 years of specialized medical training and experience in an orthodontic residency.
If you have questions about the alignment of your teeth, you should consider an appointment with an orthodontist. Parents often seek consultation with an orthodontist if their child has noticeably crooked or crowded teeth. Malocclusions like underbites or overbites are also common reasons to seek orthodontic treatment. If your dentist has expressed concern over a “bad bite,” seeing an orthodontist – like one of the doctors here at OX Orthodontix – is a good step to take.
Other reasons to see an orthodontist include:
- Clenching or grinding teeth
- Difficulty chewing properly
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb or finger sucking in children
- Traumatic injury
- Cleft lip and palate
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist at age seven. This is when permanent teeth are coming in, so it makes sense to schedule an appointment around this time. However, orthodontic treatment can be started at any age.
Certain orthodontic problems that can be treated more effectively at a younger age. Once the permanent teeth have all come in and the jaw has matured, some cases can be more difficult to correct. Early treatment (also known as Phase One) can begin as early as age six. Phase Two begins at age 11 or older. The goal of early treatment is to correct jaw growth and certain bite problems, while also making room for permanent teeth to come in properly.
Even if it isn’t time to begin treatment for your child, it’s best to have him or her under observation with an orthodontist so you’ll know when the perfect start time arrives. At OX Orthodontix, your initial consultation is free — and there will be no charge for follow-up observations until your child is ready for treatment.
When you hear the word “orthodontist,” do you automatically think about braces? While braces are central to the work of orthodontists, that is far from their only specialty. Orthodontists like the doctors at OX Ortho use different techniques and treatment approaches to improve your smile – including Invisalign® clear aligners, orthodontic appliances and many different types of braces. Technologies like AcceleDent® Aura and Dental Monitoring® can speed up the effectiveness and shorten treatment time. The latest developments bring new ways for orthodontists to improve their patients’ smiles all the time.
This is often one of the first questions we get from people considering orthodontic treatment. Without having a consultation and looking at your or your child’s x-rays or bite photos, we can’t provide an exact price. Each patient’s treatment costs differ with approach, and treatment time! You can call our office to schedule a free new patient exam to find out exact costs, treatment options and possible payment plans.
No! You are never too old to improve your smile. OX has patients in treatment from age 6 to age 80. Some adults who’ve had braces as a teen and have had movement. Or an adult who wants to gain confidence from a more beautiful smile, or a senior who wants to protect your dental health — OX Orthodontix has a treatment plan for you.
Absolutely! OX Orthodontix accepts and works with all dental insurance providers, so we’re happy to talk with your insurance company to determine your exact benefits for orthodontic treatment. We do this before or during your free new patient exam. Usually, if your insurance covers braces, it also will cover Invisalign® and other types of orthodontic treatment. Our insurance experts will file your insurance for you so that you can receive the maximum benefit allowed by your plan.
Since everyone’s smile is different, your time spent in braces or Invisalign® will depend on what issues need to be corrected and how you respond to treatment. Treatment time also can depend on a patient’s compliance with wearing bands, aligners or retainers. In general, treatment times can take anywhere between six and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 18 months. BRO offers Dental Monitoring that can help speed treatment with improved doctor oversight and less actual trips to the office!
People in Howard County (and beyond) improve their smiles with braces and invisalign for different reasons:
Straightening to correct crooked, crowded or misaligned teeth
Correcting a malocclusion, or bad bite, to address jaw pain or discomfort when chewing
Improving oral health by making brushing and flossing easier
OX Orthodontix offers adults, teens and children a variety of braces and orthodontic treatment options. You can visit our Kids, Teens and Adults pages for even more information, but here’s a breakdown of the different types of braces we offer:
Traditional metal braces
LightForce custom printed braces
Clear (ceramic) braces
Invisalign® clear aligners
Impressions home-based Invisalign® treatment
Traditional metal braces are what most people think of when you say “braces,” but today’s braces are more comfortable than ever. First, small metal brackets are attached to the front of each tooth. The orthodontist then places a thin wire through each of these brackets. Rubber bands are added last, in colors that patients can choose to create a uniquely colorful smile. Patients come back to the office every 6 to 10 weeks, so the orthodontist can adjust their wire. This process applies a gentle pressure that moves the teeth into alignment over time.
Everyone wonders what to expect on the big day that they get their braces! Getting braces put on your teeth doesn’t hurt. There’s no need for numbing injections or anything painful. Putting on most types of braces takes about an hour and a half or less. For traditional metal braces, the process goes like this:
- One of our orthodontic assistants will clean and dry your teeth thoroughly.
- Bonding glue will be carefully applied to your teeth in order to attach each bracket.
- Brackets will be carefully placed on the teeth and expertly positioned by your orthodontist, then the glue will be hardened by a blue light.
- An archwire will then be run through the brackets.
- Finally, the archwire will be secured in place with your choice of colored (or clear!) elastic bands.
You may have heard about Invisalign® which uses clear aligners or trays that are comfortable, removable, and nearly invisible. Teeth are gradually adjusted, just like with traditional braces. Since you can take your aligner out, you can eat or drink whatever you want, and brushing and flossing are easy. Invisalign® is available for both adults and teens at OX. See our Invisalign® page for more details.
You will likely experience some soreness during your first couple of days of having braces. This is perfectly normal as your teeth, gums, and mouth get used to your new braces — and should start to subside after a few days.
Depending on your smile, orthodontic treatment may last as little as 3 months or up to 3 years. Most standard treatment takes about 24 months. Following instructions, keeping all appointments and brushing and flossing properly can sometimes shorten treatment time. OX uses Dental Monitoring, an app that can help patients speed through treatment by getting the most out of every aligner or braces adjustment.
This is often one of the first questions we get from people considering braces. Without having a consultation and looking at your or your child’s x-rays or bite photos, OX can’t provide an exact price. Each patient’s treatment costs differ with approach and treatment time. So call our office to schedule a free new patient exam to find out exact costs, treatment options and possible payment plans.
You should brush your teeth at least three times a day if you have braces. This keeps your teeth, gums and mouth healthy and removes food that may be caught between your braces. You also should floss daily to clean where your brush can’t reach. Flossing especially is different with braces than without, but we’ll show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are in place.
Absolutely! Seeing your dentist every 6 months for a check-up is even more important now than when you didn’t have braces. Since it’s now easier for food to get stuck in places you can’t see or your toothbrush can’t remove, regular cleanings and exams are essential. No one wants you to develop cavities, gingivitis or gum disease while you are wearing braces or Invisalign. Your OX doctor and your dentist work together to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy during your orthodontic treatment.
Once your braces are on, your OX Orthodontist will usually see you every 6 to 10 weeks. Of course, this schedule will vary.
If you have a loose wire or band, please contact OX Orthodontix at 410.740.0002 as soon as possible. We’ll schedule an appointment to check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, please save it and bring it with you. You can temporarily fix a loose wire with the eraser end of a pencil. Just gently and carefully push the wire back into place. If wire is irritating your cheek or lips, put wax over the broken wire to cushion the spot and relieve pain
Phase One, also known as early intervention, is orthodontic treatment before a child has all of his or her permanent teeth. Usually occurring between ages seven and ten, Phase One treatment is intended to fix problems that are best corrected at an early age and to make Phase Two treatment easier. The goal is to help the jaw develop to accommodate all permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together.
Phase Two is designed to finish straightening the teeth and correcting the bite once all the permanent teeth have come in. This usually involves full upper and lower braces.
Wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your usual school activities or hobbies. If you play a sport, the OX Orthodontists might recommend that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth, braces, or appliance. When you come in for your new patient exam, talk with us about what you love to do and any concerns you have. Invisalign® may be an option – and could make it easier if you play a wind instrument, are a performer, or just want a less visible treatment approach.
Invisalign® is a company which produces virtually invisible aligners (or trays) after your orthodontist designs your smile. The aligners will gradually move your teeth into place for a beautiful smile.
Using 3D computer imaging, Invisalign® will show your entire treatment plan — from where your teeth begin to the final desired position. Then a series of clear trays are custom-made for you, to move your teeth in the way determined by your doctor. Each is worn for about 1-2 weeks before you switch to the next set of aligners in the series. Aligners are worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. This straightening process continues until the planned new smile is achieved.
- Discreet: Nearly invisible, no one will notice that you’re wearing Invisalign®.
- Removable: Take out your aligners to eat, drink, brush, and floss. No wires or brackets mean unrestricted eating, nowhere for food to get caught, and nothing to break.
- Comfortable: The smooth, closely fitted trays don’t irritate like wires or brackets can.
- Convenient: Play a sport or an instrument? Keep up with your activities without worries or changes in routine.
- Easy: Fewer appointments are needed, since you just switch to the next tray instead of having an in-office braces adjustment. And the appointments you do have take less time.
- Fun: We can show you how your teeth will look at the end of treatment right when you begin! Instead of imagining how much better your smile can be, you’ll be able to see it for yourself.
No! Since the aligners are removable, you can eat and drink whatever you want. In fact, you have to remove your aligners to eat and drink. So, unlike with conventional braces that use wires and brackets, there’s no need to restrict any favorite foods or snacks unless your doctor instructs otherwise. To maintain fresh breath and good hygiene, you should brush your teeth after each meal and before you reinsert your aligners.
At OX Orthodontics you’ll pay exactly the same price for Invisalign® and braces. We want you to be able to choose the treatment option that you are most comfortable with, not the lower-cost one.
Also, Invisalign® treatment is covered by many dental insurance policies. So if your policy covers braces, it usually will cover Invisalign®, too. When you come in for your first exam, we’ll verify any insurance benefits and develop your flexible payment plan
With Invisalign,® and Dental Monitoring you only have to come in when you need to! We can see your progress through your phone so you only need to come in when it’s truly time. This saves you time and energy.
We seldom see Invisalign® patients who need a comfort appointment or have an urgent issue, but the OX team is here if you need us!