Orthodontics LA

Orthodontic FAQ

Posted on November 30, 2018

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a special type of dentistry that is dedicated to correcting the position of the teeth and jaws for a healthy, functioning bite. Common orthodontic treatments include braces, aligners, headgear, and palatal expanders. A balanced bite is important for daily activities like eating, speaking, smiling, etc. The goal of orthodontics is to achieve both a beautiful smile and healthy, strong teeth that will last a lifetime.

According to the American Academy of Orthodontics (AAO), orthodontics is classified as the branch of dentistry that prevents, diagnoses, and treats dental and facial irregularities. Treatment can improve the appearance of teeth, but it can also lead to better speech function and protect from damage or decay.

When should I see an orthodontist?

You can schedule a free consultation with Orthodontics LA anytime. The orthodontist can help correct your smile if you are insecure about your smile or if you face functional problems with your mouth. Orthodontic treatment can treat jaw disorders and trouble speaking, as well as make it easier to clean your teeth.

Before getting orthodontic treatment, it’s important to have strong and stable gums and bone structure. Your teeth will be under a lot of pressure from the braces to move teeth out of place. Without stable gum health, that could lead to lost teeth or worse. Your orthodontist or dentist can refer you to a periodontist to prepare you for orthodontics if you’ve had a history of periodontal disease and cavities.

When should I take my child to see an orthodontist?

You can take your child to an orthodontic evaluation as early as 7 years old, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. By this time, the orthodontist can assess how the teeth and jaws are developing to see if there any major structural problems. These can include:

  • Uneven jaw growth
  • Improper bite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Abnormal palatal development

At an early orthodontic screening, the orthodontist will use x-rays and a visual examination to see if there are any abnormalities. If there are none, you probably don’t need to take your child to see the orthodontist until early adolescence, when all their permanent teeth have grown in.

If there are problems, the orthodontist may recommend early intervention. This is a treatment allows the orthodontist to detect and prevent issues like malocclusions, gaps, and crowding with orthodontic treatment. Many pediatric dentists recommend early orthodontic intervention for children, so they don’t need to extract permanent teeth in the future.

What is two-phase treatment?

Two-phase treatment is composed of early intervention (stage 1) and regular orthodontics (stage 2). This staggered approach to orthodontic correction places more focus on long-term, stable results and correcting structural problems.

Kids can get two-phase treatment to fix developing alignment issues with the teeth and jaws. When the dental arches, teeth, or jaws are not in the optimal position for a healthy bite, this can place pressure on the wrong parts of the mouth, leading to joint disorders, unhealthy habits, and pain. Two-phase treatment seeks to fix these issues early on when the bones are still soft and growing.

Crossbites, underbites, overbites, underbites, protruding teeth, and severe crowding can be easier to fix when the bone is still growing and soft. Phase 2 occurs after all the permanent teeth have grown in. It addresses alignment issues and root parallelism for adult teeth.

Should I get Invisalign?

Many of our patients are interested in getting Invisalign, a clear aligner system that is virtually invisible (hence the name). It’s great for adults and teens because it’s completely removable and undetectable, so it doesn’t get in the way of day-to-day activities. Invisalign works by providing a small amount of tooth movement with each aligner tray. You will be given several customized trays at a time and each set of trays will be worn for two weeks each.

However, Invisalign is not always as effective as metal braces for extreme orthodontic issues. It is extremely versatile, but it can only fix mild to moderately crooked teeth or malocclusions. Ask our orthodontists at Orthodontics LA if Invisalign is right for you in a free consultation!

What payment options do you accept?

Orthodontics LA offers in-house financing at 0% with no credit check.  We offer low monthly payments that are interest-free. With flexible low down payment and zero-interest financing, we will work to find a payment plan that works for you and your budget. Our office takes most insurance providers, including Cigna, Metlife, Aetna, United Concordia, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Guardian, Ameritas, GEHA, United Healthcare, Denti-cal, and Care Credit.

How long will braces take?

Orthodontic treatment can last from 6 months up to 36 months, but it depends on what type of treatment you choose. For example, the average time is 18 months to 24 months for braces, but the average time for Damon braces is 6 – 12 months. A consultation with your Orthodontics LA orthodontist will provide a custom treatment plan that will meet your needs.

What type of braces do you offer?

At Orthodontics LA, our orthodontists understand that every patient needs individual, custom treatment, so we offer many orthodontic options that can be personalized. Our orthodontic providers are well-trained in administering treatment for Damon (self-ligating) braces, clear braces, traditional metal braces, and Invisalign clear aligners. After your initial consultation, the orthodontist can help you choose an orthodontic treatment that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Where is Orthodontics LA located?

Orthodontics LA has two locations in Los Angeles, CA, so patients can get their orthodontic work completed conveniently. Our main office is in Encino, CA in the Wall Street Village Plaza and there is free parking in the plaza.

Our second location is in Glendale, CA, a nearby city for patients who live a little further inland. We’re only at our Glendale office on Tuesdays, but we can make special accommodations for patients who make appointments ahead of time!

Gummy Smile

Can adults get braces?

There’s a misconception that only children and adolescents get braces, but we actually have many adult orthodontic patients at Orthodontics LA. Many adults are coming in for orthodontic treatment whether it’s their first time or they want a second round of orthodontics to realign teeth that may have moved out of place. It’s important to keep the teeth and jaws in proper alignment, so they don’t cause painful jaw problems, bruxism, etc. These issues only get more difficult to fix and harder to manage over time. We have many subtle but effective orthodontic options for adults who want straighter smiles without the inconvenience of traditional braces. Popular orthodontic treatments for adults include clear braces, Damon braces, and Invisalign.

I go to orthodontist appointments all the time, do I still need to see my family dentist?

Even though orthodontists are technically dentists, you still need to visit your general dentist every six months. Orthodontists do not provide the care, cleaning, exams, and procedures that that general doctors do because orthodontists specialize exclusively in realigning the teeth and jaws.

It’s very important that orthodontic patients recognize this and schedule their regular dental checkups every 6 months. Dentists can professionally clean your teeth to prevent cavities and gingivitis. This way, your teeth will be clean, healthy, and straight by the end of your treatment!

Do braces hurt?

It’s normal for patients to feel extra sensitive the first time they get their braces fitted because there’s enormous pressure being exerted on the teeth to move. The soreness usually lasts for the first week or two as the mouth is adjusting to the changes. To alleviate the pain, you can gargle salt water or if it’s extremely painful, you can use mild painkillers with the approval of their provider.

The new appliances in your mouth could be very agitating if the metal wires and brackets are poking into your skin. Our orthodontists are happy to adjust your braces as much as possible and provide wax to cover the sharp edges to reduce irritation. While your teeth and gums are tender, we recommend eating soft foods that don’t require excessive chewing.

How do I take care of my braces?

Patients with braces are encouraged to pay special attention to their oral hygiene when they have braces. Sugar and food particles can easily get stuck between brackets and wires, resulting in plaque and dental decay. To avoid this, orthodontists recommend patients brush their teeth after each meal and floss at least once a day. If you’re a big snacker, rinse your mouth with water after you eat.

What can’t I eat with braces?

While your braces are strong, they can’t withstand everything. Once you get your braces, there are foods that you’ll be advised to avoid. Your orthodontist will provide you with a more exhaustive list, but in general, you’ll want to stay away from hard, chewy, crunchy, or sticky foods. Examples include popcorn, taffy, caramel, bagels, crunchy fruits, chips, beef jerky, etc. Try cutting up your food to make it more bite-sized and easy to chew. That way, there’s less risk of popping off a bracket or wire.

Do I need a retainer?

After you complete your orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist will create a custom made retainer to keep your teeth and jaws aligned. Since your body is always changing, it’s very possible that your teeth will shift out of place without support. At first, patients are recommended to wear their retainers 24/7 for 3 – 6 months. After that, retainers can just be worn at night. The longer and more frequently you wear your retainers, the more stable your results will be!