When is the best time to begin orthodontics?

Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The Canadian and American Association of Orthodontists recommend that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.


What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal. We will offer annual complimentary recall examinations to monitor your child’s jaw growth and dental development until comprehensive orthodontic treatment will be most beneficial. 


The Right Time for Braces

Most people believe that if they didn’t get braces while they were adolescents it’s too late to get them as adults. The truth, though, is that you can get braces no matter how old (or young) you are. Obviously there are some risks involved with putting them in a very young mouth or on baby teeth, because nobody can predict what will happen with the adult teeth once they have grown in. As soon as someone has had his entire set of adult teeth come in, though, he can get braces whenever he (or his parents) wants him to have them.

If you are a mother or father and you have a son or daughter that needs braces, the earlier your child gets them, the better for your child. An orthodontist will even see children as young as second or third grade because it is common for teeth to need to have at least some degree or preparatory work done before the braces can be put once the child has gotten older. If you think your son or daughter might need to have braces, make an appointment with an Orthodontist as soon as your child is old enough for the visit. More than a few people have discovered that if the work gets done early enough in life, the braces don’t have to be kept on the teeth for nearly as long.

Inpiduals who wait to get braces until they are adults are going to have to have the work done over a longer period of time. This is because an adult jaw is completely formed. Your teeth have stopped moving and are in what you believe to be their final spaces. As you grew up, your teeth stayed pretty loose—at least in terms of positions so that there would be room for new teeth as they grew in. After your teeth have stopped growing in, though, the roots become secure and correcting a tooth’s position gets much more difficult.

That doesn’t mean that if you are an adult you can’t get your teeth straight. A lot of people wait until they are all grown up to have work done on their teeth because their parents couldn’t afford to do the work when they were kids. A quarter of all orthodontic patients are grownups.

Basically the right time to get braces is whatever time your mouth is ready to handle them and you are able to afford to have the work performed. Yes, it’s easier to do the work when you’re a teenager since, because your jaw and your teeth are still growing, the work is much easier to do. It also gives you more time for prep work like headgear before you get the braces themselves…not to mention that you won’t have to wear the braces for nearly as long.


Why should malocclusions be treated? 

According to studies, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Cross bites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a beautiful smile—it creates a healthier you

Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. Your journey to a new smile can begin today.

Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ/TMD) pain.

Good news! The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time and may allow you to choose from several options. Your options may include metal braces, translucent braces or transparent aligners that can be worn at night to improve mild cases of misaligned teeth. Many of our adult patients are surprised to learn that some teeth can be straightened without braces. Clear aligners, a set of clear, removable aligners, can occasionally be used in place of traditional braces.

During the initial examination, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your inpidual needs. During this initial examination, we can outline the treatment plan, time of treatment expected and the approximate cost.

A large percentage of our patients are adults, and they agree that it’s never too late to improve their greatest asset - their smile.


Braces and Common Teeth Problems

A lot of people think that the only reason to get braces is to straighten out teeth that might be crooked. The truth is that braces are also quite useful for things like realigning teeth. They can be used to fix a person’s bite. You can even use braces to correct problems that a person might be experiencing with his jaw. There are lots of different reasons to get braces.

Orthodontics1 Crowded Teeth: Sometimes a person’s mouth is too small to hold all of the teeth that he was born with—at least not in a way that is healthy or correct. Usually this person has a dental arch that is too small and that forces the teeth to move toward each other until the only place left to go is either up or down. When a person has crowded teeth, the teeth might get impacted. They will also usually be thin. Both of these things can have an adverse effect on the person’s bite and, because why sugar coat things—his appearance. Typically the best way to correct the problem of crowded teeth is to remove the “extra” teeth (aka the teeth that don’t fit) and then to realign the teeth that are left with braces. This way all of the teeth will be straight and in the right places.

Orthodontics2 Overbite: Sometimes a person has an overbite. This is where the teeth along the upper arch extend out over the bottom teeth. This happens naturally, but sometimes—with an overbite—the gap between the lower teeth and the upper teeth is too large. When the person bites down there is a noticeable gap between the teeth. This might not sound like that big a deal but it can cause a bunch of problems for a person. It can cause injuries to the inside of the lips and to the person’s gum line. It can also cause the lips to become misshapen—it can force the mouth into a permanent puckered position. There are some people who suffer from overbites so bad that they aren’t able to completely close their mouths. This is embarrassing, sure, but it can also become quite painful and that is where braces can help.

Orthodontics3 Underbite: Other people will have what is called an underbite (though it is extremely rare). This is where the teeth along the lower arch like effect on the person’s appearance. extend out and in front of the teeth along the upper arch. Usually this is because the person’s lower jaw is longer than the person’s upper jaw. It has a sort of…bulldog


Orthodontics4 Crossbite: When a person has a crossbite, some of the teeth along the upper ridge bite down inside of the lower teeth. Other teeth line up perfectly fine. A crossbite can cause problems with chewing. The best way to correct this problem is with braces.


Orthodontics5 Open Bite: People who have an open bites usually have incisors that don’t touch. This means that the responsibility for a person’s ability to chew food falls to the back teeth. People who have open bites can sometimes, accidentally, rub his teeth together.


Orthodontics6 Space Problems: Perhaps a person has teeth that are smaller than average. Sometimes a person will lose teeth that are important. Sometimes those important teeth simply don’t grow in. When these sorts of things happen they can cause the teeth to crowd in, to spread out or to bunch up unnaturally. The space between the teeth is usually too big and this can cause any number of problems including the ability to bite down and chew food well.

All of these common issues can be fixed by wearing braces for a while. Sometimes you might need some other type of orthodontic help (like a permanent retainer, headgear, or something else). If any of these problems sound like what you are going through, work with your dentist to figure out if you need to see an orthodontist and get some braces to help you put things where they need to go.



How Long Do You Need To Wear Braces

The length of time you will have to wear your braces is going to have a lot to do with your circumstances. Usually braces get worn anywhere from eighteen months to two full years. For some people though, they have to stay on longer (or not nearly as long). The length of time you wear your braces is going to depend primarily upon the goals of your Orthodontist. For some people, headgear, other types of wires and even retainers are required in addition to the braces themselves.

The good news is that you have a little bit of say in how much time you are going to need to keep your braces and other orthodontic ephemera installed. As silly as it might seem right now, dental hygiene will play a major role in your orthodontics. It’s important to follow the instructions of your orthodontist—it might even cut time off of how long you need to have your orthodontic devices in your mouth.

The length of time that you will need to wear your braces is also going to depend upon how old you were when you had them installed. Studies have proven that the earlier a person gets his braces put on, the faster the process will be. Most people don’t actually become proper candidates for the devices until they’re between the ages of ten and twelve but you can start being treated by an orthodontist as early as the age of seven. Lots of preparation goes into getting a child’s (or your) mouth ready to wear braces. Some of that work reduces the amount of time the braces will need to stay on the teeth. You also drastically reduce your child’s need for surgery, extractions and other problems that could come up later on.



Type of braces

Dental technology has brought us to an exciting time with regards to dental braces. There are many types of braces from metal braces to ceramic braces, from tooth-colored braces to clear braces. It’s no longer a stage that is feared by teens everywhere. Many teens almost look forward to getting braces because it signifies a right-of-passage and shows that they’re not a kid anymore. Review the various types of braces below and fill out our braces referral form to the right to get started.


Metal braces


Metal braces are the most commonly used braces and any orthodontist can provide this system of braces. The system involves brackets that are glued to each tooth.  Read more about Metal Braces.


Ceramic braces


Ceramic braces are created by mixing a couple of inorganic materials together to create a new material.  This permanent type of braces is applied by affixing them to each inpidual tooth. An arch wire then spans the length of the upper and lower set of teeth.  The wire is then tied to the ceramic braces by rubber bands which are also called ligatures.   Ceramic braces are one of the most widely used braces type.

Traditional metal braces are increasingly being replaced by ceramic braces.  They function the same as metal braces but offer a less conspicuous look since the ceramic material is created in a variety of colors to better match your tooth color.  They are also quite tough as the ceramic has the strength of concrete.  Applying ceramic braces is very labor intensive.  This is done in the Orthodontist office.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ceramic Braces


 •The ceramic material comes in many shades and thus blends in nicely with your teeth.

 •Ceramic braces are permanently attached and offer a more comfortable experience

 •The material is strong and breaking one is very unlikely

 •The rubber bands can be exchanged with ease

 •Ceramic braces can fit on a high percentage of patients


 •They cost a bit more than metal braces

 •The length you have these installed may last a bit longer

 •Each inpidual ceramic brace is larger than some of the other types of permanent braces

 •Ceramic braces do have their limitations


Clear aligners



Aligners Braces are one of the newest brace types on the market.  These are not braces like you are used to.  Aligners Braces are not permanent rather they are plastic clear aligner that are worn.  This type of braces is most often used for those who have a simple case of crooked teeth.  How it works is the Orthodontist takes measurements of your teeth, and then sends them out to have plastic trays made.  You wear these plastic retainers for awhile.  On your next appointment, the Orthodontist repeats the process.  This continues over time and slowly with each new aligner, your teeth move into position.

Advantages and Disadvantages of aligners


•They are Invisible hence the name

 •You can easily remove them meals and cleanings

 •They are high tech and your treatment can be computer simulated

 •They will not stain or damage your teeth


 •The price can be high

 •The length of time you wear the aligners is more than traditional braces

 •aligners cannot be used on severe cases

Lingual braces




Lingual braces are totally invisible in that they are placed on the inside of the teeth rather than the outside.  It’s a novel idea if you think about it.  Instead of making the color of the braces the same as the teeth like ceramic braces do, Lingual braces try to hide themselves altogether by residing on the inside of your teeth.

Metal brackets are used and the same techniques are applied just on the opposite side.  In reality the Lingual type of braces has more downsides than ups.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Lingual Braces


 •Lingual Braces are totally hidden since they bracket is on the inside of the tooth


 •Lingua Braces are irritating to the tongue

 •It can take a long time

 •Only a small percentage of people are good candidates for Lingua Braces

 •The price can be high


When we remove your braces, we will begin an extremely important phase of orthodontic treatment, the retention phase. This involves the wearing of retainers or positioners. The purpose of these appliances is to help ‘retain’ the teeth in their corrected position, or in other words, to help prevent or minimize tooth movement back to where your teeth were prior to starting treatment.

The formal retention period extends for approximately 2 years after your braces are removed. The length of this period may vary, and is somewhat dependent upon when growth is complete.

Lost or broken retainers will necessitate a charge for new retainers.

A word about the ‘permanence’ of tooth correction; as we use our teeth following the removal of braces, there will be some adaptive changes that will and must take place through the year. We do not expect your teeth to stay exactly the way we placed them. In particular, you may notice changes in the alignment of the lower front teeth. These changes are natural and occur even in people who have not had orthodontic treatment and had straight teeth to begin with.

It will be imperative that you attend your ‘retention checks’ throughout the retention period.

It is important that your retention appliance(s) be monitored on a regular basis; approximately every 3 – 6 months following the initial one month check. Make sure you bring you retainer(s) to each appointment. Please remember that the responsibility for wearing the retainer and keeping your retention appointment lies with you. In essence, you are now in control of the final outcome of your treatment. If you choose to not wear your retainer or attend your retainer check appointments, your teeth may move back to a position where further active treatment (braces) is required for correction. The original treatment fee does not cover the cost of retreatment.

Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth


Sometimes oral surgery is necessary in conjunction with orthodontics for such things as tooth removal, exposure of impacted teeth, and/or the correction of severe jaw imbalances. Oral surgery presents rare life-threatening risks and potential disabilities. Discuss these risks with your oral surgeon and family dentist prior to making a final decision regarding oral surgery

orthognathic surgery treats and corrects abnormalities of the facial bones, specifically the jaws and the teeth. Often, these abnormalities cause difficulty associated with chewing, talking, sleeping and other routine activities. Orthognathic surgery corrects these problems and, in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, will improve the overall appearance of the facial profile.

Using the latest in digital imaging technology, we will demonstrate the overall functional and aesthetic benefits of orthognathic surgery. Computerized treatment planning minimizes treatment times, recovery periods and the overall efficacy of your surgery. State-of-the-art materials such as titanium plates and miniature screws provide stability, strength and predictability to your treatment. These advances in technology, procedures and equipment reduce post-surgical recovery time, thus allowing patients to return to their normal routines soon after the surgery.

Orthognathic surgery may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatment can correct the problem. With the latest advances in orthodontics, this is sometimes the case. We will determine if orthognathic surgery is the correct treatment option for you

Braces And Dental Health

Taking care of your braces (as well as your other dental work) does not need to be complicated. In fact, taking even basic care of your teeth now could prevent costly dental procedures later. Of course, knowing how to properly care for your teeth involves knowing exactly what is happening when you have those braces glued on.

When you have braces, your teeth are being moved through the gums to new positions. This means that your teeth could feel loose and your mouth could feel pain as the roots of your teeth move through the gums to their new positions. Make sure you pay special attention to any teeth that feel particularly loose—do not wiggle them around yourself or even think about seeing if you can pull them. Instead, immediately call your orthodontist to see what can be done to make the tooth (or teeth) more secure.

Orthodontics12 Orthodontics11 One of the most common problems with braces is the wires of the braces rub against your cheeks and lips and can cause painful sores. Also, as your teeth move closer together, the wires of your braces could end up sticking out of the back of your braces and poking into your cheeks. These pokes could result in oral ulcers, especially if you don’t attend to them. When you get your braces tightened, your orthodontist will most likely send you home with some dental wax to be used just for the occasion of pokey wires and sores. Fix a small amount of the wax to any protruding wires to protect your cheek and call your orthodontist to see if you can get in to have the wire clipped. You could also use the dental wax to “pad” any sores in your mouth to shield them from rubbing against the wires further and making the sores worse.

Obviously while your teeth are adorned with your braces, you will want to take extra care to make sure that your dental hygiene routine is impeccable. One of the best tools for oral care while you have braces is a water pik. This can be used in addition to regular brushing to get the spaces between your teeth clean. Flossing is difficult when you have braces and the water pik helps to clean the places you’ve missed. You will also want to invest in whatever mouth wash your orthodontist recommends as it will help protect your teeth during the day.

Teeth are easier to break down while they have braces fixed to them, so make sure that you eat softer foods and try your best to stay away from the sugars and acidic foods that are bad for your teeth. Follow the directions given to you by your orthodontist and you’ll have a beautiful and healthy smile in no time!


The best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile is brushing and flossing. Food particles can accumulate on teeth and in braces, and over time, turn into plaque. The bacteria that results from this accumulation can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even loss of teeth. To avoid these problems while you are in orthodontic treatment, take special care of your braces, teeth and gums to ensure you will have the best possible result.

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.

Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:

You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash and fluoride treatment throughout your orthodontic treatment and beyond for optimal oral hygiene.


For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day. 

Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your clean teeth. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums. 

If you are flossing without the floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth. 

Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment

Braces And Discomfort And How To Avoid It

 Unfortunately, every person who wears braces is going to experience some discomfort. The worst pain usually happens after the braces have first been put on and then, to a lesser extent, each month after the braces are tightened. Your mouth feels uncomfortable because your teeth are going to be loose (so that they can move). It’s also uncomfortable because your teeth are a lot weaker than they used to be. This is the reason that the foods you would eat regularly can cause so much pain when you try to eat them after your braces have been put on.

Here is the good news: there is quite a lot that you can do to avoid discomfort while you have braces.

Eating soft foods is the advice you will get the most often and for good reason: it’s good advice. For a few weeks after you first have your braces put on and for a few days after each tightening, you are going to have an extra sensitive mouth. During this time you want to eat the softest foods that you can. Soup, pudding, yogurt, milkshakes, Jell-O, mashed potatoes, etc. These foods don’t force you to chew, so you won’t feel much pressure on your teeth.

You should also take care to pay attention to the types of foods and beverages you eat and drink. Things that are high in their acidity levels like sodas can be detrimental. It’s also important to avoid foods that are extra sticky and sugary.

Sadly, by the time you get your braces taken off, you probably aren’t ever going to want to eat pudding or Jell-O again but while your mouth is “in transition” they can be quite helpful.

If you still have pain—even when you aren’t eating or drinking, you can do a lot of things to help yourself. An over the counter pain reliever can be helpful. They can reduce the swelling happening in your gums—just make sure that your orthodontist says that such a practice is okay. You can also try putting a heating pad on your face—the heat helps relax your facial muscles. Cold compresses can also be good because they can alleviate any swelling that might be affecting you.

If you have pain that is severe, you need to call your dentist or orthodontist immediately. Sometimes this kind of pain can be indicative of an infection and you need to be checked out by a doctor.

Unfortunately, it hurts to have braces. This is just a fact of life. The good news is that there is always something that you can do to help yourself feel better.