Your Common Orthodontic Questions
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Get answers to the most common orthodontic questions from people like you in Portland and Windham.
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Answers from Adult &
The American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Joanna Yu recommend an orthodontic screening at age seven. By this age, most Portland and Windham children have several permanent teeth that have erupted, letting us evaluate their orthodontic needs.
By this age, Dr. Yu can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.
That’s important, because some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found early at Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics.
Most orthodontic patients at our Portland and Windham offices begin active braces treatment between ages 9 and 14.
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at almost any age. In fact, about one in every four orthodontic patients today is over age 18.
Thanks to today’s smaller, less visible and more comfortable orthodontic appliances (including options like Invisalign, Damon metal braces, and Damon Clear ceramic braces), adults find treatment appealing.
It’s critical to find an orthodontist in Portland or Windham who can help you achieve your dream smile. Orthodontists like Dr. Joanna Yu are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial irregularities.
This means Dr. Yu is more qualified to give you the smile of your dreams than you could get from aligners in the mail.
She received an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.
Only those like Dr. Yu with this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists,” and only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).
Dr. Yu from Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics has achieved this specialization and maintains an active member status in the AAO.
Patients who need orthodontic treatment generally have one to three years of active treatment.
This can be determined through a free consultation at our Portland and Windham offices.
The cost of orthodontic treatment depends on many factors, including the severity of the problem, how complex the problem is, and how long treatment lasts.
Dr. Yu will be glad to discuss the cost of treatment and your financing options with you before treatment begins.
The good news is that braces are more affordable today than ever. Our staff also works with insurance companies and offers payment plans that meet your family’s budget.
Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems.
Other oral problems are caused by thumb- or finger-sucking, dental disease, accidents, the early or late loss of baby teeth, or other causes.
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain.
A bad bite can wear down teeth, make it hard to chew and talk and create stress on supporting bone and gum tissue.
Without treatment, many problems become worse and can require additional dental care later in life.
Orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the doctor and patient.
Dr. Yu provides custom-made fixed or removable appliances that use gentle pressure to move teeth into their proper positions.
Your job is to follow your orthodontist’s instructions, keep scheduled orthodontic appointments, and maintain excellent oral hygiene to get the best results.
You will also need to see your general dentist as recommended to continue your general dental care.
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed.
We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.
If you notice an unwanted change in your smile or bite, contact us for a free consultation.
You might need an orthodontic tune-up to regain proper alignment.
Not necessarily. Research suggests that wisdom teeth don’t always cause teeth to shift.
In most cases, wisdom teeth are removed for general dental health reasons rather than for orthodontic health.
Your family dentist or Dr. Yu can help determine whether or not your wisdom teeth need to be removed.
If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the phone.
If you need an emergency appointment, we will absolutely set aside time for you.
Dr. Yu will recommend how long to continue wearing your retainers, whether they are removable (the kind you put in and take out) or fixed (bonded behind your teeth).
Wearing your retainers as prescribed is the best way to keep your teeth from moving after your orthodontic treatment.
There are many reasons teeth may move following orthodontic treatment. Teeth are not set in concrete, they’re in bone.
Because the bone around your teeth is continually changing (breaking down and rebuilding), your teeth may shift after your braces are removed.
By wearing your retainers, your teeth are more likely to remain where Dr. Yu has placed them through braces treatment.
No. Retainers stabilize and preserve the alignment of teeth and jaws that orthodontic treatment achieved.
Many people wear removable retainers nightly for the rest of their lives. Ask your orthodontist for guidance about your long-term retainer use.
Yes. You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.
Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy).
The small changes that happen after braces are removed are due to settling in as you use your teeth for biting and chewing.
The more serious and unwanted changes may be traced to genetics or later-than-normal growth, which is unpredictable.
Movement is most common in lower front teeth. This is particularly true if the teeth were extremely crowded before treatment. Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon.
The best way to keep your teeth from shifting is to wear your retainers as prescribed. If you notice movement after your braces are removed, please contact Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics.
The fact is that throughout your lifetime, even though you have had orthodontic treatment, you can expect changes in tooth position.
Many factors at work may cause teeth to shift. Such changes are different for everyone, and most of the time, they are hardly noticeable.
However, on occasion, changes can occur that are disappointing to both the patient and Dr. Yu. Changes in tooth position are not a failure of your orthodontic treatment.
They are a natural process. We expect changes in our bodies as we grow older, and teeth are no exception.
To help control and limit these changes, retainers are prescribed after your braces are removed.
*Some Text Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists