With so many new, comfortable options to choose from, orthodontics is easier today than ever before. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed at least two years of additional training after dental school. 

What are some of the benefits of orthodontic treatment?
  • A more attractive smile
  • Better function of the teeth
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Better long term health of teeth and gums
  • Guides permanent teeth into their proper position
  • Reduces the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
  • Aids in optimizing other dental treatment
  • Improves airway for better sleep and overall health
  • Proper jaw position improves joint health (TMJ)
What are some signs that braces may be needed?
  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger or thumb-sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth
At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

While there is no wrong age for orthodontics, the best time for an evaluation is 7 years of age. Initial exams are always complimentary at McLaughlin Spendlove Orthodontics. 

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

A beautiful and healthy smile can be achieved at any age. More and more adults are seeking orthodontic care to get the smile they've always dreamed of.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Braces use steady, gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

Aligners work much the same way but without the brackets and wires. Aligners are changed every one to two weeks, moving the teeth to match the position designed into each new set of aligners.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but our office uses accelerated treatment technologies so our average treatment times are up to 40% faster than previously possible. Treatment times vary from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by the rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

Do braces hurt?

The placement of brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Ask us about a mouthguard for your protection while playing sports.

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace-covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

Yes. You should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.