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Frequently Asked Questions

What is orthodontics?
There are various branches of dentistry, and one of them is orthodontics. Orthodontics focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of malocclusions, or bad bites. Orthodontics involves the use of corrective devices such as braces to move the teeth, laws, and lips into correct alignment for better function and facial form.
What is an orthodontist?

In order to become an orthodontist, a person must complete two more years (at minimum) of graduate training after finishing dental school. An orthodontist has received specialty training in the evaluation and treatment of problems with jaw and teeth development and position.

When you think of an orthodontist, you may just think about retainers and braces, but there is more to this specialty known as Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics. Beyond the treatment of patients with retainers and braces, orthodontists will see patients in need of jaw surgery, complex dentofacial abnormalities, and cleft lip or palates.

Dr. Watson has years of post-orthodontic school training. OrthoTime works with your family dentist and any other needed dental specialists, providing comprehensive care with a team approach.

What are the benefits of braces?
Most people believe that a more beautiful smile is the number one reason to straighten misaligned teeth with braces, but there are other benefits as well. Crooked and crowded teeth make practicing proper oral hygiene difficult, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and, eventually, tooth loss. Orthodontic issues can also contribute to abnormal wearing of the teeth, gum tissue stress, problems with chewing, and problems with the jaw joints. Over time, these things can cause headaches, neck pain, and facial pain.
What is the best age for braces?

Because an orthodontist can detect problems earlier than a general dentist might, we recommend children be seen by an orthodontist by age 8 for a checkup. Should a problem be present, the orthodontist may recommend monitoring the development to see if the problem goes away, or he may recommend treatment. Either way, an orthodontic checkup with Dr. Watson around age 8 allows us to keep bite problems to a minimum and leads to more successful treatment.

Taking care of orthodontic problems early allows us to positively influence jaw growth, lessen the need to eventually extract permanent teeth, reduce the risk of injury to front teeth, and counteract bad oral habits.

What if my child is older?
If your child is older but has never had an orthodontic checkup, he or she should still be seen as soon as possible. The earlier we detect problems, the better the course of treatment will go.
What are the phases of treatment?

When treating younger children between the ages of 7 and 11 who suffer from serious problems such as facial deformities or chewing problems that may be leading to teasing or psychological issues, we will often provide treatment in two phases. The first phase tackles the most obvious problems, while the second phase focuses on the more routine problems.

Phase one treatments include palatal expansion, alignment of severely crowded or protruding teeth with partial braces, correction of habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting, and full alignment involving teen orthodontic treatments starting around age 11 or 12.

Ultimately, the goal of phase one or early interceptive treatments are a more beautiful smile and better oral function. We fix certain problems early while we wait for other teeth to erupt and facial growth to take place.

How do braces work?
Here in our office Dr. Watson uses Self-ligating braces. These are brackets that are placed onto each tooth and allow the wires to align the teeth gently with minimal friction and pressure. Traditional style braces require elastics to hold arch wires in place. Those elastics are wrapped around each bracket and cause pressure and friction as the teeth are trying to move. This results in longer treatment time and less comfortability. With self-ligating braces the brackets hold the wire in place by a sliding gate that clips over the wire instead of an elastic band. This allows the wire to slide between the brackets letting the teeth move and align smoothly without as much pressure and pain. Learn more about Self Ligating Braces.
How long do braces take?
Generally, full orthodontic treatment takes about 18 months to 2 years with the Damon system for a typical case. It will take longer with a complicated case or if your do not follow the orthodontist’s instructions.
Do braces hurt?
Generally speaking, Damon Braces won’t hurt. You may experience occasional soreness after an adjustment, but this can be alleviated with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Because Damon Braces do not require tightening, the pain is less than what you would experience with traditional braces.
What if my child plays sports?
We definitely recommend that your child use a custom protective mouthguard when participating in sports or any physical activity. Let Dr. Watson know which activities your child participates in so he can recommend the right protective mouthguard.
What if my child plays a musical instrument?
While playing wind or brass instruments will require some adjustment, braces will not cause long-term problems with playing a musical instrument.