Orthodontic treatment

Your smile is a window.

Your smile is your greeting to the world. It’s also a window to an important part of your dental health — the alignment of your teeth. Not everyone is born with beautiful teeth. Crooked teeth or spaces between the teeth may be a source of embarrassment or self-consciousness. Improperly aligned teeth and jaws called a “malocclusion” also can lead to tooth decay and a host of sometimes painful dental disorders. The good news is that orthodontic treatment can correct malocclusions and help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. What would you like to know about orthodontics? Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about orthodontics.

Give your child a confident smile.

Whether your child has crooked teeth or you simply want to prevent future orthodontic problems, Dr. Holman can help give your child a confident smile for years to come. With over 30 years of orthodontic experience and Board Certification by The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO), Dr. Holman has the expertise to fully care for your child's needs.

As a parent, you want the best for your child. That includes healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. Start with regular dental care. The American Dental Association recommends that a child visit the dentist by his or her first birthday, while baby (primary) teeth are emerging. Your dentist can alert you to any concerns about how the teeth and jaws are developing. But sometimes parents are the first to recognize a problem with the alignment of teeth and jaws. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have a check up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7.

Board Certification

An orthodontist is a dentist who has not only completed a graduate program in dentistry to receive their DDS or DMD (Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine), but has also gone through a competitive residency at a CODA-accredited orthodontic program for an additional 2-3 years to be trained specifically in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.  ABO Board Certification is a voluntary credential that represents an orthodontist’s personal and public commitment to the standards of specialty practice and lifelong learning. The ABO Certification process requires the completion of peer-developed, externally validated written and clinical examinations. A Board Certified Orthodontist has reached this level of achievement by pursuing additional voluntary education and ongoing self-assessment.  Board Certification is confirmation of an orthodontist’s personal commitment to providing lifelong quality patient care. The American Board of Orthodontics is the only orthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists. Dr. Holman was board certified in 2005 and re-certified in 2010 and 2020.

Braces for Children

Well-aligned teeth look good and feel good. They contribute to good dental health and the ability to speak, chew and bite. Poorly aligned teeth can lead to dental problems. Not everyone needs orthodontic treatment. But if your child does need help, a check-up no later than age 7 will help your orthodontist provide the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time. Make sure your child sees an orthodontist for a check-up no later than age 7.

Phase 1/Phase 2

Phase 1 or early orthodontic treatment occurs when the child still has a mixture of baby and permanent teeth. The age that Phase 1 treatment is usually started is between ages 7 - 10. Phase 1 treatment ranges from 12-18 months. Many orthodontic problems can be addressed during Phase 1 treatment. Phase 2 or full orthodontic treatment occurs when all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Patients are generally ready for full treatment starting around 11-13 years old. Because dental development happens sooner with girls, they are generally ready for full treatment earlier than boys.

Why should I spend money on Phase 1 treatment when I can just have everything done at once when all of my child's baby teeth have fallen out?

Though many orthodontic problems can wait to be corrected when all the baby teeth have fallen out, there are some orthodontic problems that are better corrected when the patient is younger. Delaying treatment for some orthodontic problems can lead to increased difficulty in correcting the problem, less stable results, abnormal jaw growth, abnormal tooth wear, or increased risk of chipping a front tooth. Some orthodontic problems that are better corrected early are: severe crowding, eruption problems, open bite, deep bite, cross-bite, large "overbite," underbite, narrow jaws, harmful habits, and severely protruded front teeth.

If my child had early treatment (Phase 1), will he/she need additional treatment when all of his/her adult teeth erupt?

Most of the time, additional treatment will be needed to align the newly erupted teeth and finish correcting any bite problems not fully corrected in Phase 1. This additional treatment using a full set of braces is called Phase 2.

What happens in between Phase 1 and Phase 2?

Your child may need to wear retainers or a space maintainer to hold his/her treatment progress. Your child will see the orthodontist for periodic checks to evaluate his/her jaw development and eruption progress and decide on the optimal time to start Phase 2 treatment.

Can my child have orthodontic treatment with baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems like cross-bites, underbites, and large "overbites" are better corrected earlier rather than later when many baby teeth still remain. Early correction often leads to easier and more predictable treatment after all of the permanent teeth have been erupted.

My child's friends already have braces, but my orthodontist says my child is not ready for treatment yet. Why?

Just as children mature at different ages, their teeth and jaws mature at different ages. Early developers may have all of their permanent teeth erupted (except wisdom teeth) by age 9 while late bloomers may not until age 14 or later. Dr. Holman will be able to determine what stage of development your child is in, and can determine the optimal time to begin treatment.

Braces for Teens

Even though the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child have an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7, not all children need early orthodontic treatment (Phase 1). In fact, most orthodontic care begins when the majority of the permanent teeth have erupted (between the ages of 11-15). Treatment times will vary between individuals, but, in general, orthodontic treatment should be completed with 18-24 months.

Braces for Adults

Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for kids. According to statistics from the American Association of Orthodontists, 1 in 5 patients are over the age of 21. Today, many adults are choosing to receive orthodontic treatment to improve their smile and feel better about their appearance. They understand the importance of good dental health and orthodontic treatment is a part of it. Healthy teeth can be moved successfully at any age. New techniques and material have made wearing braces much more comfortable for adults. Straight, healthy teeth can help boost self-confidence and give a better quality of life with a confident smile.

Surgical Orthodontic Treatment

Sometimes teeth and jaws do not fit together properly. A jaw that's too small, too large, or misaligned can cause problems with chewing, speaking, or even sleeping. The shape of your jaws also affects your facial appearance. Some people are born with poorly aligned jaws. Others develop problems as the bones grow or as a result of an injury. Orthognathic surgery (corrective jaw surgery) in conjunction with orthodontic treatment realigns facial bones, enabling the jaws to work together better and improve their form and function. Corrective jaw surgery can have a dramatic and positive effect on your appearance and outlook on life. If you feel that you suffer from misaligned jaws, contact our office to learn about the best orthodontic treatment option.

What causes orthodontic problems?

Most orthodontic problems (malocclusions) are inherited.  Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth, and some jaw growth problems. Other malocclusions are acquired as a result of thumb- or finger-sucking, dental disease, accidents, the early or late loss of baby (primary) teeth, or other causes.

Why is treatment so important?

Orthodontic treatment creates a better bite, making teeth fit better, and decreases the risk of future, and potentially costly dental problems. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A malocclusion can cause tooth enamel to wear abnormally, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment, many problems simply become worse.

Why select an orthodontist instead of a general dentist for orthodontic care?

While general dentists can address many oral health issues, including routine dental cleanings, cavity fillings, and gum care, orthodontists are specialists who focus specifically on diagnosing, preventing and treating dental and facial irregularities. They receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those who successfully complete this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists,” and only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

When should children get a check-up with an orthodontist?

The AAO recommends that your child get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to determine whether an orthodontic problem exists or is developing. Putting off a check-up with an orthodontist until a child has lost all baby teeth could be a disservice. Some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found early. A check-up no later than age 7 gives your orthodontist the opportunity to recommend the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time. If early treatment is in order, the orthodontist may be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Can adults benefit from orthodontic treatment?

Yes. Age is not a consideration when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Today, adults account for one in every five orthodontic patients. Thanks to the variety of "appliances" used by orthodontists, adults may be able to inconspicuously achieve the great smile they want. Advances in today's orthodontic materials mean patients see the orthodontist only about once every six weeks during active treatment.

What is my role in treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the patient and the orthodontist. The orthodontist provides custom-made fixed or removable appliances that use gentle pressure over time to move teeth into their proper positions. Your job is to follow the orthodontist's instructions, keep scheduled orthodontic appointments and maintain excellent oral hygiene so you achieve your best results. You will also need to see your primary care dentist as recommended.

How long does treatment take?

Orthodontic treatment averages less than two years, but can range from one to three years. When "active" treatment ends, retainers are prescribed for most patients to keep teeth in their new positions.

How much does treatment cost?

The cost of orthodontic treatment depends on many factors, including the severity of the problem, its complexity and length of treatment. Your orthodontist will be glad to discuss fees with you before treatment begins.Many patients find that orthodontic treatment is more affordable today than ever. Most orthodontists offer a variety of payment plans. Employers may offer dental insurance plans with orthodontic benefits, and/or the option to set aside pre-tax dollars in a flexible spending account or other health savings account.

North Mississippi Orthodontic Associates is rated as one of thebest orthodontics in Tupelo, MS. Call for a free consultation with Dr. Holman at (662) 842-1735.

Your smile is an essential part of who you are and how others see you. Orthodontics is an investment in you, your future, your potential.

Smile. Enjoy life.

Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO)

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