Frequently Asked Questions

It’s difficult to know if orthodontic treatment is right for you. Even if your front teeth look straight, many other problems can occur that may impact your jaw or your bite.

Speaking with your general dentist can be a good reference, but speaking with Cliff Ridge orthodontist is the best option as braces are all we do. Our initial exam is complimentary – come in for a consultation and we’ll be happy to give you feedback on your smile.

Determining whether or not orthodontic treatment is necessary can be difficult to assess. The following may help as a useful guide. Orthodontic treatment may be necessary if you can identify any crooked teeth, gaps between teeth or overlapping teeth.

Have your child bite all the way down, but keep their lips open so you can see their teeth. Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? These are indicators that orthodontic treatment may be necessary.

Look at the alignment of the jaw. Does the jaw shift off center while your child is biting down? If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, it suggests a skeletal or jaw bone problem, which requires early orthodontic intervention. These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven. It is ok to have baby teeth while receiving orthodontic treatment. In fact, early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early preventive/interceptive action. Early treatment can also prevent against extractions, which may be required in some cases if the teeth get very crowded. Since our initial consultation is complimentary, it helps to get a consult as soon as possible.

No, age is not a factor. As long as the gums and bone which support your teeth are healthy, one can get orthodontic treatment at any age. We treat children and adults of all ages – our oldest patient treated was 72 years old!

Orthodontic treatments have advanced technologically over the last few years. Introduction of new high-tech wires, smaller braces and innovative accessories, coupled with strong physician focus on preventive/interceptive treatments, make today’s orthodontic treatments more comfortable than ever before. We do not use any anesthetic injections for any of the procedures.

Braces can cause a little discomfort initially until one gets used to them. Teeth can get a little sore a day after every adjustment appointment. This annoyance can be relieved easily with over-the-counter pain relievers, if needed. Most of our patients do not need to take any pain relievers.

Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth may drift into the empty space. This can cause functional, aesthetic or periodontal problems. Orthodontic treatment corrects and prevents these problems by providing proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.

Phase I or Early Interceptive Treatment usually starts while the child has most of their baby teeth with few of their permanent teeth. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept moderate or severe orthodontic problems early in order to reduce or eliminate them. These problems include jaw bone problems, cross bites and developing crowding. This phase does not use full braces as braces are never put on baby teeth. Generally we use expanders, removable appliances, herbst appliance (instead of headgear) and retainers during this phase. This treatment approaches takes advantage of the active growth to change the jaw bone structure to either make extra room or address jaw bone discrepancies. This helps reduce the need for extractions or jaw surgery and delivers better long term results and treatment options. Most Phase I patients require a Phase II treatment in order to achieve an ideal bite.

Phase II treatment involves use of full braces to with a goal to finish the occlusion or bite ideally. It usually occurs when all permanent teeth are present. Many times there is gap of time between Phase I and start of Phase II treatment. This phase most commonly occurs around the age of 12 or 13 years.

This is another name for orthodontic treatment in the permanent dentition at any age. It is more commonly used when a Phase I treatment was not performed.

Absolutely not! But in many cases early intervention helps greatly. We will offer Phase I treatment only if it makes a difference for the patient, otherwise we track patient progress through a complimentary recall consultation every six months.

Phase I treatment usually lasts 12-14 months. Phase II or full braces treatment may last from 18 to 36 months. In both cases, patients are generally seen every 6 to 8 weeks for their adjustment appointment.

Orthodontic treatment time and success of treatment depends on multiple factors including age of the patient, severity of the problem, the patient’s cooperation and the speed of natural response of teeth movement.

Extraction therapy is a technique where some teeth are removed to make room for the other teeth in your child’s mouth. This is in contrast to non-extraction therapy where one expands a patient’s jaw and/or shaves teeth to reduce their width to make everything fit. We make a thorough evaluation at consultations and discuss options to determine which procedure best suits each patient.

Metal braces are the most popular with kids and teenagers. They love using different colors of ligature ties. These braces are smaller than ever before.

Translucent ceramic braces are the most popular braces with adults. You have to be very close to someone to be able to see them. Yet, because they are a ceramic material, they are more fragile and have some limitations. Your orthodontist will discuss all braces options with you at your consultation appointment.

We take great care to ensure that all patients have access to payment plans that make braces or orthodontic treatment affordable.

We offer financial payment plans with various down payment options and affordable monthly payments. We have found that the initial down payment charged by traditional orthodontists is prohibitive to many hard-working families, especially those with multiple family members who could benefit from orthodontic treatment.

Please call your closest Cliff Ridge office to discuss our financing plans and start smiling!