We understand that as a new patient of Haas Orthodontic Arts, you may have many questions. Because we’re here to guide you through the process, we’ve compiled many of the frequently asked questions our patients have, especially when making the decision to begin treatment. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please contact one of our orthodontic offices in Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, and Akron/Canton.
Why should I pursue orthodontic treatment?
There are a number of reasons to pursue orthodontic treatment. Cosmetic improvement is the main concern of most patients. However, a bite discrepancy may cause other problems, such as premature wear of the teeth, accelerated loss of gum and bone support to the teeth (with eventual loss of the teeth) and chewing difficulties. In some patients, the alignment of the teeth can prevent normal lower jaw function, leading to eventual pain in the jaw muscles or a breakdown in the lower jaw joint.
When is the best time for treatment?
Although orthodontic treatment can be completed at any point in a person’s lifetime, the best time to pursue treatment is typically during the adolescent growth spurt. This growth period varies from case to case. Girls, in general, mature earlier and faster, so timing in their cases is more critical. The average starting age for girls is between 9 and 11 years. Boys will typically start between ages 10 and 12. These are general guidelines and as always there are “exceptions to the rule.” Some cases may require earlier intervention. Other patients have slow erupting teeth, which may require starting later.
Our recommendation is to see a patient prior to the “typical” starting age (approximately 8 for girls and age 9 for boys). This allows us to complete a growth study if the patient is not ready to start. If the patient is ready, we will let you know. Occasionally, your dentist may see something in the bite, which may require more immediate action. If this is the case, we would be happy to see the patient as soon as possible to evaluate.
How long does treatment take?
Treatment time varies widely depending on a number of variables. In general, more difficult cases take longer. The rate and direction of jaw growth and tooth eruption can have a significant impact on treatment time. Another important variable is the patient’s commitment to following the treatment plan.
The average case takes approximately 24 months to complete. Some cases can take as little as 6 months, while more complicated cases can take as long as 36 months. The best way to determine treatment time is to schedule an orthodontic evaluation.
Does my dentist need to make a referral?
No – you do not need a referral from your dentist to schedule an orthodontic exam. Some patients may seek out an orthodontic evaluation at the suggestion of their dentists. However, many patients come to us on their own. Some may be “between dentists,” while others have an orthodontic concern that has not been addressed by their dentist.
Does orthodontic treatment hurt?
In general, the teeth will be sensitive for 1 to 3 days, following an adjustment of the braces. The sensitivity is similar to the muscle soreness you might feel after a good workout. No “shots” are given with orthodontic treatment, so if you have a fear of needles, there’s no need to fear orthodontic treatment.
Is orthodontic treatment the same for everybody?
No – treatment times and techniques vary widely, so there are no two orthodontic treatment plans that are exactly the same.
Numerous treatment techniques have been developed to address the variations found in individual cases. Often times, orthodontists will vary in their treatment approach. For example, some orthodontists may recommend extraction of permanent teeth to resolve a crowded condition, while others may recommend using jaw growth. In some cases, both options may be presented. If you have any questions about a proposed treatment, please ask your orthodontist. If questions persist, you can always consult another orthodontist for a second opinion.
Is adult treatment possible?
We can complete orthodontic treatment at any time. Adult treatment may take longer than in the adolescent, but the rewards can be just as great. Adult orthodontic treatment is now the fastest growing area of our practice and today comprises about 35 percent of our patients.