What is the
Science of Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the specialty branch of Dentistry that involves the
diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of Dental and Facial
irregularities. Orthodontic treatment will straighten crooked teeth,
align jaws, establish balanced facial profiles, and create healthy
and beautiful smiles that with proper hygiene care will last a
What is an Orthodontic Specialist?
An Orthodontist is a Dentist with an advanced degree that has
continued their education and training so as to understand and to
treat the patient with complexities and irregularities in the
developing teeth and facial structures. In addition to receiving a
Dental degree, an individual must complete an advanced training
program that can last two or three additional years after graduation
from Dental school. While any Dentist can "move" teeth to make them
look better, only an Orthodontist has the skill and expertise needed
to provide a comprehensive treatment of a mal-aligned bite. Only a
dentist with the proper training and expertise may call themselves
an Orthodontic Specialist.
How Can I Determine Whether my Dentist is
an Orthodontic Specialist?
Of course the easiest way to determine if your Dentist is an
Orthodontic Specialist is to simply ask him or her about their
advanced training. Any Orthodontist would be proud to discuss their
advanced educational training, and give you a sense of their
experience. Another way to determine the credentials of your
Orthodontist is to look for their membership in the American
Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Only those Dentists who have
completed an advanced educational program in an accredited facility
are eligible for membership in the AAO.
What Causes a Bad Bite?
There are several reasons why an individual will develop a bad bite.
The primary cause is usually hereditary. We tend to grow in a
similar fashion to our parents. So, if Mom or Dad had crooked teeth
or a large overbite, then the chances are great that this will be
passed down to the children. Other factors can also influence the
development of the bite. Physical habits such as thumb sucking, or
tongue thrusting may alter development of the face or the teeth.
Trauma or disease may also play a role in the overall health of the
teeth. Whatever the reason, the Orthodontic Specialist is trained to
diagnosis these problems and recommend the proper treatment at the
What Is The Best Age To Be Evaluated By An
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that an
Orthodontist evaluate a child at the age of seven (7). This does not
necessarily mean that treatment will begin this early. By examining
a child at this age, the Orthodontist can begin to assess the manner
in which the teeth are erupting into the jaws, and most
importantly, determine if the upper and lower jawbones are growing
properly. Often times, by identifying these problems early in a
child's development, an Orthodontist can suggest a first phase, or
"Phase One", of treatment that may prevent further and less
complicated orthodontics in the future.
What Is "Phase One" Treatment?
There are basically two types of problems that concern an
Orthodontic Specialist. The first deals with the position of the
teeth. This can include crowded teeth, rotated teeth, or spaced
teeth. The second type of problem involves the position of the
jawbone. These are the types of problems that can lead to large
overbites, cross bites, facial asymmetries, or long open faces.
These are the most difficult problems to correct because they
require movement not only of the teeth, but also of the underlying
bone structure. Often times, by starting the treatment early enough
in the child's development, the Orthodontist can realign the
jawbones and establish a new position of the teeth and facial
features, such as the chin and lips. This preliminary phase is often
referred to as "Phase One". It is often performed in the early years
of a child's development and can last several years.
If A "Phase One" Treatment Is Recommended,
Does That Prevent Having to Wear Braces In the Future?
There are times when the "Phase One" treatment will be all that is
necessary to correct the problem in the developing child. More often
than not, the child will still need some type of conventional brace
placement to fine tune and detail the bite. This part of Orthodontic
Treatment is referred to as "Phase Two".
What Is "Phase Two" Treatment?
"Phase Two" of the Orthodontic Treatment Plan is the part that
almost everyone is familiar with. It involves the placement of
actual braces on the adult teeth so that they can be moved into the
proper alignment. While the objectives of "Phase One" is to broadly
align jaws and bring the abnormal bite back into proper development,
"Phase Two" treatments are performed when growth and development has
stopped. The objective in "Phase Two" is to completely align the
bite and restore proper function and esthetics to the adult teeth.
What Happens If Orthodontic Problems Are
There comes a point in an individual's development where the teeth
will no longer improve their position on their own. This will
determine the long-term health and appearance of the teeth. Of
course, teeth that are crowded, spaced, or in an improper opposition
will not look right. This may cause an individual to feel
uncomfortable about their appearance or to be self-conscious about
their smile. Feeling good about your teeth is one of the primary
reasons people seek out Orthodontic Treatment. A more important
reason to treat a bad bite is the long-term dental issues that can
arise due to poorly positioned teeth. Increased incidences of tooth
decay, gum problems, bone loss, or weakening of the teeth are just
some of the problems that can occur if the Orthodontic problem is
Does Orthodontic Treatment Benefit The
Of course! Orthodontic Treatment is a benefit at any age. As long as
the teeth and the supporting tissues are healthy, the successful
treatment of mal-positioned teeth can be accomplished in adult
patients. However, there are some additional concerns in adult
treatment that you should understand. First, because facial
development is complete in an adult, the treatment may require a
more complicated technique than that of the younger patient. Second,
because the adult biology does not respond as rapidly as it does in
a child, Orthodontic Treatment in an adult may take longer to
complete. However, neither of these factors should discourage the
well-supervised movement and the successful completion of the
Orthodontic Treatment in the adult.
Do Braces Always Have To Be Metal?
Over the past few years, Orthodontic Technology has progressed to
the point where there are several new systems available, especially
for our adult patients. Braces today are much more esthetic than the
traditional silver, metal braces. The most popular method is the use
of porcelain brackets, or tooth colored braces. These braces are
composed of a very hard glass material that when placed in the mouth
take on the coloration of your natural teeth. The result is a near
invisible appliance that works just as effectively as the standard
metal brackets and bands. The latest technique available to move
teeth and still be esthetic is the "Invisalign" system. While this
method is available for a very select group of patients, it is
another method available to move teeth while being conscious of your
How Much Does Orthodontic Treatment Cost?
The cost of Orthodontic Treatment varies accordingly based on the
severity of each particular case and, on the amount of time required
to complete the case. Options such as porcelain brackets or the "Invisalign"
system will add to the overall cost of the treatment. The best way
to determine the fee is to make an appointment for an Orthodontic
Consultation in our office. At that time, your particular situation
will be properly evaluated and the fee for your particular situation
will be discussed. One note of importance in discussing the cost of
treatment in our office; all of our fees reflect the total cost of
treatment from the initial records to the placement of retainers to
complete your case.
Will My Insurance Pay For Orthodontic
Each person has an individual diagnosis, and each person has an
individual insurance program. Insurance programs have different
amounts of coverage available for Orthodontic Treatment, and in the
majority of cases, those patients that have Orthodontic Benefits
through their employer can expect to receive some type of
reimbursement from the insurance company towards the total cost of
treatment. During your initial consultation, we will discuss with
you how your particular policy handles Orthodontic claims. In the
meantime, you may call your insurance company yourself to request
information concerning your particular Orthodontic coverage. We do
participate in several insurance plans. You may call the office or
call your insurance company to see if we participate in your
particular insurance plan.
Are Payment Plans Available To Cover The
Yes. Most of our patients choose to have the balance of their
Orthodontic Treatment Fee spread out over the approximate duration
of treatment. During your initial consultation, we will discuss a
payment plan, which is comfortable and affordable to your particular
How Do I Schedule An Initial Consultation
It is easy. Just call our appointment secretary to schedule an
appointment. There is no fee for the initial visit. The appointment
takes approximately 30 minutes. During that time the patient will be
evaluated and any problems will be noted and discussed. An
appropriate treatment sequence will be presented, and the cost of
the treatment will be discussed, as well as payment options and your
insurance information. It is most helpful for both of us, if you
have your insurance benefits with you at the time of the
appointment. The goal for this initial visit is to determine whether
Orthodontic Therapy is needed and to answer any questions you may
have regarding the treatment and the cost of treatment.
Why Is Your Office Unique?
Orthodontic offices in our area, and across the country, have
developed a trend in treating Orthodontic patients in volume. Most
practices try to see as many patients as possible in a given time
frame. Sometimes, four to six patients are seen at the same time. To
accomplish this, the Orthodontist delegates tasks to the
Orthodontic Assistant that he or she should be performing. Because
of this type of scheduling they are unable to see the patient on an
individual basis. In our office, we have made a dedicated decision
not to enter into this policy. We see each and every patient on an
individual basis. We pride ourselves on the fact that the Doctor
treats each patient, himself, as we feel it should be. We arrange
appointments so that there is enough time to complete each
procedure, evaluate the progress of each case and address any
concerns that the patient or parent might have. We feel by limiting
the number of patients that pass through our office door in the
course of a day, that we can continue to provide the best in
Orthodontic care possible. We are proud of our results, and are
gratified by our satisfied patients.
Please email any questions you may have, or call our office today.
We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Other Orthodontic Sites of Interest
American Association of Orthodontics
Pennsylvania Dental Association
University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine
New Orthodontic Product for Adults