What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
I have TMJ/TMD and am hoping orthodontics will cure me…
There is no evidence to prove that orthodontics will cure or cause TMJ/TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders). It is important to have your jaw evaluated by a TMJ/TMD specialist first. When your jaw problems are under control, we would be happy to work on your smile and bite.
Am I too old? Nobody my age has braces.
There is no age limit to orthodontics. As long as your teeth, gingiva and surrounding bone are healthy there is nothing stopping you! You may be surprised to know that 1 in 5 orthodontic patients is an adult. There are approximately one million adults in orthodontic treatment today.
What foods should I avoid with braces?
We ask you to avoid hard, crunchy, sticky, chewy and high sugar foods. These foods can get caught on the braces, bend wires, pull off brackets and bands and cause permanent white scars on your teeth. You can still eat a lot of the same foods, but you may need to alter the way you eat them. Cutting things up into small pieces and primarily using your back teeth is a good strategy. Learn more about what foods to avoid.
How do I clean the braces? Do I need a special toothbrush?
Our motto is “the best toothbrush is the one that gets used”.
How long will I be in braces?
This will vary from case to case and the orthodontist’s treatment estimate is exactly that – an estimate. The national average is 24-28 months, but treatment can last anywhere from 9-36 months depending on the severity of the problem and the compliance of the patient. One should not choose an orthodontist based on the number of months they estimate treatment to take. Many orthodontists will underestimate treatment times simply to gain you as a patient.
If my child has Phase I – is there a Phase II?
Most of the time (~90%) children who undergo a Phase I treatment still need a second phase of treatment. Research has shown that children who have Phase I do not have a shorter or less complicated second phase of treatment. There will be situations where a Phase I is necessary to help avoid more serious problems. If there is any question, bring your child in for a consultation.
Do I need to have teeth pulled?
With advances in technology, the need for removal of permanent teeth has significantly decreased. In certain situations, however, extraction of permanent teeth is still necessary to provide optimal facial and dental esthetics. In situations where removing teeth is necessary the spaces will be closed and no one will ever know you had them out.
How long do I have to wear my retainers?
Research has shown that teeth shift over time with or without braces. No treatment is 100% stable. This is why retainers are a lifetime commitment. We will ask you to wear your retainers full time (24/7) for the first 6 months, every night for 2 years and then at least 3 nights a week for life.
What types of retainers are there?
There are many types of retainers. It is important for Drs. Courtney and Matthew Dunn to look at your case and give you their recommendations for what is best for you. Of course, we also want your input. Generally there are 4 types of retainers:
- Invisible retainers (clear trays that cover the teeth)
- Hawley retainers (plastic and wire retainers)
- Permanent retainers (glued to the inside of the teeth)
- Positioners (looks like an upper and lower mouthguard glued together)
Are braces expensive?
Orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products. The treatment fee will vary depending on the severity of the case. Drs. Courtney and Matthew Dunn will work with you to create a financial arrangement that works best for you. Dunn Orthodontics offers interest free financing as well as sibling and military discounts. The average monthly payments may be lower than you think. We do not want finances to get in the way of the smile of your dreams.
How does insurance work?
We accept almost all orthodontic insurances – we can file with any PPO plan. Do not be fooled by outdated internet provider lists. Call our front desk and we can look up your insurance benefits before your first appointment. Usually your insurance will cover part of the fee and you will be responsible for the rest. We are happy to work with your insurance companies to maximize your benefit.
What about sterilization?
Our patient’s health, safety and peace of mind are very important to us. Therefore, we use state-of-the-art sterilization techniques for all of our equipment and surfaces. Our staff is OSHA trained and follows all guidelines carefully. If you have any questions about our procedures, please ask.
What are rubber bands?
Rubber bands are a very important part of treatment. These are removable elastics that help us get the upper and lower teeth to fit in an ideal position. Braces alone cannot move your teeth without the constant force of the rubber bands guiding them into position. It is very important you wear your elastics as prescribed. If you don’t wear the elastics, treatment will take longer and you may end up with a compromised result. Most people only need to wear elastics for six months of their total treatment time. Isn’t it worth it for the smile of your dreams?
Can I get my teeth bleached/ whitened with braces?
No. You can, however, whiten your teeth before you get braces or when you are finished with braces. While we do not offer tooth whitening directly, we can refer you to a general/ cosmetic dentist that will be glad to provide such services.
What are Damon braces?
Braces use gentle pressure to move the teeth into the ideal position. The braces have a prescription built into the bracket that has the ideal torque, tip and position for each tooth.
Why choose an orthodontist to straighten my teeth?
Just as there are specialists in medicine (such as cardiologists, obstetricians, dermatologists etc.), there are specialists in dentistry. There is a difference between an orthodontist and a dentist who does some orthodontics.
Orthodontists are licensed dentists, who once completing dental school, choose to continue full-time university education at an accredited orthodontic training program administered by licensed orthodontists. This intensive orthodontic training lasts 2-3 years and is solely focused on orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. With their increased knowledge and experience with tooth movement along with guidance of facial development, orthodontists are the experts with the unique training in dentistry to align teeth and jaws.
An orthodontic specialist is an expert on moving teeth and helping jaws develop properly. Orthodontists completely limit their practice to orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics to assure you that you are receiving the highest quality care. Most orthodontic insurances only pay for braces once in a lifetime. Have an orthodontic specialist do it right the first time!
What is a board certified orthodontist? Aren’t all orthodontists board certified?
A board certified orthodontist has completed a graduate program in the specialty of orthodontics that is accredited by the American Dental Association. Completion of an accredited orthodontic specialty program makes the orthodontist eligible to become board certified through the voluntary examination process of The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). The ABO is the only certifying board recognized by the American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association. Involvement in the certification process is a demonstration of the orthodontist’s pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence.
The certification process involves a thorough Written Examination covering all areas of orthodontics and facial growth. Successful completion allows the orthodontist to present treated cases to a Board of expert examiners. Upon successful completion of case presentations and oral examination, the orthodontist becomes a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and can then call themselves board certified. Only 38% of orthodontists in the United States and Canada are board certified. Both Drs. Matthew and Courtney Dunn are proud to be board certified orthodontists.
Do I need a referral to see an orthodontist?
Absolutely not!! Unlike medical insurance, you do not need a referral from your general dentist. You can make an appointment for a free exam without any worries. We love to meet new patients. If you are new to the area and looking for a dentist, we would also be glad to give you recommendations.
Are braces necessary?
No. But, well aligned teeth aid a person to efficiently chew, bite and speak. Straight teeth contribute to healthy teeth and gums. Well aligned jaws and teeth can relieve and even prevent multiple health issues. Teeth with improved function also tend to look nicer. An beautiful smile is a nice “side effect”.
When should I look for orthodontic problems in my children?
As soon as their permanent teeth start to erupt, you can start to look for developing orthodontic problems. Here are some signs that may indicate the need for an orthodontic evaluation:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Crowded or blocked out teeth
- Teeth that do not meet at all
- Teeth and jaws that are not proportional with your child’s face
- Habits (like thumb sucking) continued after the permanent incisors erupt
- Upper teeth that “stick out”
When is the best time to see the orthodontist? Do all the permanent teeth need to be in?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have their first orthodontic screening by age 7. Drs. Matthew and Courtney Dunn are trained to spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth even while baby teeth are present. The advantage of early detection is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if found and treated early. 85-90% of the time, we will just monitor the growth and development of your child every 9-12 months until he/she is ready for full treatment.
Remember – there is no age limit for orthodontics!! At Dunn Orthodontics, we love to treat adults as well as children.
Who should we bring to our initial consultation?
It is best to bring all decision makers to the initial consultation. This gives everyone the opportunity to ask questions and fully understand the treatment plan. We can also better explain our treatment findings and solutions by using visual aids. If everyone cannot come, we are always available to answer questions via telephone.
What type of information will I receive at the consultation?
During the first appointment Drs. Courtney and Matthew Dunn will:
- Welcome you to the office
- Review your health history
- Do a complete orthodontic exam
- Summarize your specific orthodontic problems
- Explain possibilities for correction
- Identify the best time to start treatment
- Estimate how long treatment will last
- Tell you how much treatment will cost and how much your insurance will cover
We strive for a very open, friendly and caring environment in the office. So, we encourage you to ask questions throughout the exam. We want you to feel confident and informed when you leave the office.
What are the benefits of early treatment?
Some advantages of early treatment include:
- Stop harmful habits
- Lower risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Improve appearance and self-esteem
- Correction of problems that cause unfavorable growth issues
- Guide eruption of permanent teeth.
For each patient who needs treatment, there is an ideal time for it to begin in order to achieve the best result. Dunn Orthodontics would love to help you determine when the treatment is right for your child.
How do braces give me straight teeth?
Braces use gentle pressure to move the teeth into the ideal position. The braces have a prescription built into the bracket that has the ideal torque, tip and position for each tooth. The wire that we use has the “ideal
Can I straighten my teeth without braces and wires?
Absolutely. There are many people that are candidates for Invisalign. Drs. Matthew and Courtney Dunn are Invisalign certified and have been studying and using this technology since their orthodontic residency. This is a way to use a series of removable invisible aligners to straighten the teeth without brackets or wires. This advanced technology does not correct bite problems and candidates for Invisalign should screened carefully.
We urge you to choose a provider with a formal orthodontic education who can adjust your treatment accordingly if things do not go as planned. Many patients can complete treatment with just aligners. Some patients will receive a superior result with a combination of a short period of traditional braces to correct problems that are difficult for aligners and the majority of treatment with invisible aligners undetectable to the human eye. An orthodontist has the armamentarium to offer you many options for your optimal result.
If you are not a candidate for Invisalign, we offer clear braces which are much less noticeable and a popular choice for adults and teens alike!
I’m not a candidate for Invisalign – what can I do?
We offer ceramic (clear) braces that are much less noticeable. From a distance, people may not notice them or think you are just wearing a retainer. The technology is advancing at a great pace to make wires less noticeable as well. Many celebrities (Tom Cruise, Fantasia, Dakota Fanning) are wearing or have worn the clear braces instead of Invisalign.
What is SureSmile?
SureSmile is state-of-the-art orthodontic technology that combines 3-D digital imaging, advanced computer treatment planning and robotics to improve your orthodontic experience. Patients love SureSmile because it is clinically proven to shorten their time in braces by 7 months on average compared to traditional orthodontic treatment. Dentists love SureSmile because it is clinically proven to have a high level of precision – meaning great results!