Our team at Santa Monica Orthodontics wants to help you feel comfortable and familiar with your orthodontic treatments in Santa Monica, California. To help you prepare for any treatments or answer any questions, we have provided a list of some of the most commonly asked questions. If you have further questions or would like to discuss your concerns with Dr. Rehana Khan, please feel free to contact our office at 310-393-3344 and schedule an appointment to visit with our orthodontist. We are happy to help in any way!
When is a good time to see an orthodontist?
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The American Dental Association recommends that children seek their first orthodontic consultation by age 7 to see if there may be a benefit to early interceptive treatment.
Some early warning signs may include:
- Crowded or misplaced teeth
- Protruded teeth
- Facial symmetry
- Early or late loss of teeth
- Teeth that do not properly come together
- Speech problems
- Difficulty chewing
- Mouth breathing
- Difficulty closing lips together
- A jaw that shifts to one side
- Aesthetic concerns
What is Phase I?
This phase constitutes interceptive treatment for specific goals.
In certain situations, early treatment is necessary to accomplish specific goals. This can usually be initiated once the 4 permanent molars have erupted, as well as the upper and lower front teeth. Some problems that can be addressed at this early age include:
- Correction of protruded front teeth to reduce risk of injury/fracture.
- Correction of a deep overbite.
- Improving the skeletal relationship of upper and lower jaws. Expansion of the palate may reduce the need for later extractions of permanent teeth as the arch develops, and may prevent the need for later jaw surgery.
- Smile straightening
- Assistance with cessation of finger and/or thumb-sucking habits.
- Management of crowded teeth.
Phase I may reduce, or in some cases eliminate, the need for later full braces treatment.
Once Phase I is completed, we will continue to monitor the eruption of your permanent teeth a few times per year until the complete adult teeth are present. At this point, an evaluate will be made, and the necessity for any additional treatment will be determined.
What is Phase II?
This phase constitutes full treatment after patients lose their baby teeth. At the end of Phase I, all teeth are not yet erupted and, therefore, are not in their final positions.
In most cases, this phase is separated from Phase I by several months to years; however, sometimes, based on the timing of the eruption of teeth, Phases I and II may form a single continuous phase. Patients who are in need of Phase I treatment do not have all of their permanent teeth yet. The orthodontist does not have control over the eruption of the remaining permanent teeth, so once the teeth have erupted, there may be a need for further treatment. Should this be necessary, treatment usually doesn’t consist of full braces or Invisalign® treatment.
For patients who do not need a Phase I treatment, full treatment may be necessary once all permanent teeth have erupted. For most children, this occurs at age 11 to 14. However, there is no age limit as to when you can benefit from orthodontic treatment. In growing children, the treatment time is usually shorter than in adults, as the growing process can facilitate tooth movement; however, adult teeth can also be moved. There are choices of traditional metal braces, ‘tooth-colored’ ceramic braces, and invisible braces (Invisalign®), as well as simple tooth movements with appliances. Dr. Rehana Khan can discuss the different options with you to decide which are best to accomplish your treatment goals.
Why do some children have to wear braces at such a young age?
Usually, this involves a two-stage treatment comprising of Phases I and II. The advantage of starting at such a young age is to utilize the growth of the patient in order to minimize the severity of a skeletal imbalance or crowded teeth, thus producing a stable result.
Do I get to choose colors for my braces?
Yes. We have a wide range of colors, including glow-in-the-dark and metallic. Just ask to see what’s we are offering when you come in. You may even choose new colors or finishes at every appointment.
Why do patients put wax on their braces?
If there is an area on the braces that feels rough on the cheeks or lips, wax can be placed on the braces to make the affected area feel smoother.
Can I still play sports while I’m wearing braces?
Yes, you may wear braces during sporting activities; however, we strongly advise wearing a mouth guard while doing so. Please tell us about your needs, and we will assist you accordingly.
What foods should I avoid with braces?
It is also important to avoid certain foods because the braces bracket is adhered to your teeth. Eating or drinking foods that are high in sugar or acid can cause your teeth to change color. However, the portion of your tooth where the bracket is adhered to will not change color. When your braces are removed, you could have discolored boxes on the front of your teeth.