Common Questions

Welcome to our common questions page! Here, you’ll find answers to commonly asked questions about orthodontic treatment and oral health.

Besides leading to a more attractive smile, there are a variety of benefits for undergoing orthodontic treatment including: Improved wear patterns and force distribution of the teeth; Possible increase in self-confidence and reducing appearance-consciousness during crucial teenage and pre-teen development years; Increased ability to keep the teeth and gums clean; and Better overall teeth function.

The mouth, jaw and teeth offer many clues that braces may be needed in the future. For example: Buck teeth or having the upper front teeth excessively protrude over the lower teeth; Overlapped or crowded teeth; Difficulty chewing food; Under-bite or having the upper front teeth situated inside or behind the lower front teeth; Thumb or finger sucking habits that continue past 6 or 7 years old.

Other indications include: Having the center of the upper and lower teeth not line up directly; When biting together, the upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth, resulting in a deep-bite; When biting together, the upper and lower teeth do not even touch, known as an open-bite; Spaces between the teeth; Teeth wearing excessively or unevenly and having the lower jaw shift from one side or the other when biting together.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, it is recommended that a child receives a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than the age of 7 years. There are many reasons your child should undergo an orthodontic check-up at this age including:

Even though your child’s teeth may seem straight, there may be an issue that only an orthodontist can detect. Orthodontists recognize subtle problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth while some baby teeth are still present. The orthodontist may discover that there is no concern with your child’s bite; conversely, they may identify a developing issue but recommend monitoring your child’s development and growth. If indicated, treatment will begin at the appropriate time for your child. In some cases, the orthodontist may find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.

Early treatment can give your orthodontist the opportunity to correct a variety of issues such as: improve the way the lips meet; guide jaw growth; improve appearance; lower the risk of trauma occurring to front teeth that protrude; correct oral habits that may be harmful; and guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position.

Additionally, early treatment may be helpful in preventing more serious problems from developing, which could make future treatment less complicated and shorter. In certain cases, the orthodontist will be able to attain results that may not be possible once the jaws and face have finished growing.

By having an orthodontic evaluation early, you will be giving your child the best opportunity for a gorgeous, healthy smile. Since patients differ in both their treatment needs and their physiological development, the main goal of the orthodontic visit is to provide every patient with the most appropriate treatment options at the ideal time.

Early interceptive treatment, known as Phase I, is limited orthodontic treatment, for example partial braces or an expander prior to all of the permanent teeth erupting. This kind of treatment can take place between the ages of 6 and 10 years old. Oftentimes this treatment is recommended to correct harmful oral habits, under-bites, over-bites, cross-bites and to make more space for developing teeth.

Comprehensive treatment or Phase II treatment involves full braces after all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Phase II treatment typically takes place between the ages of 11 years old and 13 years old.

Approximately 20% to 25% of all orthodontic patients today are adults. Everyone desires a healthy and beautiful smile. Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age.

Braces utilize a gentle, steady pressure in order to gradually guide teeth into their correct positions. Tiny brackets are placed onto your teeth. Afterwards, an archwire is used that connects to the brackets. When the archwire is attached into your brackets, it wants to return to its original shape. As it does this, slight pressure is applied and this is what causes your teeth to move into their new positions.

Every patient’s mouth is different; therefore, treatment times are based on a case-by-case basis. The average length of time people wear braces ranges from 1 to 2 years. Please remember that the length of treatment is also drastically influenced by patient compliance. Keeping your regular appointment schedules and maintaining good oral hygiene are vital for ensuring your treatment time stays on schedule.

Having the brackets and bands placed on your teeth does not hurt. However, once your braces are connected with the archwires, it is common to experience some soreness of your teeth for 1 to 4 days. Your cheeks and lips and tongue will also need to accommodate to all of the metal in your mouth. It may take a week or two to get used to having the braces on your teeth.

No, wearing braces will not interfere with playing musical instruments or playing sports. It is recommended that patients wear a mouth guard to protect their smiles when participating in any kind of sporting activity. Mouth guards are comfortable, inexpensive and available in a wide variety of patterns and colors. With musical instruments, there may be an initial period of adjustment. If you are experiencing any kind of discomfort, brace covers can be provided.

Yes, definitely. It is important to maintain your biannual visits to your family dentist every 6 months for your regular dental check-ups while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Unfortunately, if you did not clean all of the plaque off of your teeth every time you ate some food, decalcification or white marks may be present. These white marks are the early stage of cavities. Actual cavities may occur and look like darker stained areas or holes in the enamel.

When you eat something, the bacteria in our mouths also get fed. These bacteria produce acids for at least 90 minutes when they eat. This acid attacks your enamel and causes the whitish acid burn marks that may develop into cavities. It also causes gingivitis or gum inflammation. Note that the area under the brace has been protected and does not show damage, since we use special glue that seals and prevents cavities under the tooth. We are unable to seal the entire tooth and this is where your great oral hygiene comes in!

Decalcification can happen to all patients, although, its prevalence increases dramatically when wearing braces since it is trickier to clean the teeth. To help our patients prevent decalcification during orthodontic treatment, the following procedures are recommended to our clients:

Educating patients to use a 0.5% fluoride rinse every day; Providing instructions to promote great oral hygiene such as healthy diet habits and brushing and rinsing after each meal; Using dental bonding agents that release fluoride; Minimizing the time that fixed braces are located on the teeth; Asking your dentist to apply fluoride every 6 months during active treatment in order to recharge the fluoride in the bonding agent. Fluoride toothpaste and fluoride rinse can help to re-mineralize shallow decalcification. Over time, the brownness or whiteness may disappear or diminish greatly.

Why Choose Our Practice

Communication is Key

We understand that quality orthodontic care starts with open communication. Right from the beginning, our orthodontists take as much time as necessary to thoroughly explain all of his diagnostic findings and recommended treatment plan(s), including any alternative treatment options.

Relaxed Environment

Our friendly and professional team at Mission Creek Orthodontics takes pride in providing you and your family with a relaxed, warm and comforting environment. We strive to offer a consistent, comprehensive and enjoyable dental experience.

Payment Options

Our team knows that orthodontic treatment can be a big investment. To help fit it into your specific budget, we are happy to offer zero-interest payment arrangements. And our new patient coordinator is here to answer all your questions regarding your insurance.

Our Satisfied Patients

We love hearing from our patients! Read some of the feedback we’ve received from our amazing patients at Mission Creek Orthodontics.