Orthodontics FAQs

Orthodontics FAQs

Orthodontics FAQs in Downey

One of the most important parts of having a beautiful and functional smile is straight teeth. And that is exactly what an orthodontist does—straightens teeth. Downey Dental Arts offers a variety of orthodontic treatments for people of all ages, from children to adults. Through our effective approaches, including traditional braces and Invisalign® clear aligners, Downey Dental Arts can help you and your family obtain amazing, fabulous smiles that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

What Is Orthodontics and How Does It Relate to Dentistry?

The field of dentistry has many specialties. One of the most important specialties is orthodontics. Orthodontics is the specialization in dentistry that focuses on correcting alignment problems in the mouth called “malocclusions.” Misalignments may not just be with the teeth—the jaw and bite can also be misaligned.

What Type of Training Does an Orthodontist Get?

Orthodontists are actually advanced dentists in that they get all the traditional training a dentist gets, plus at least two additional years of training to learn orthodontic concepts and techniques.

Why Do Teeth Become Misaligned?

Teeth misalignments can occur for a variety of reasons, some of which are simply genetic. Teeth often come in a little crooked for a variety of reasons. Once one tooth starts to get a little crooked, it can then affect the teeth on either side of it, which can become a domino effect.

Certain types of teeth tend to cause more problems when they appear in the mouth. Of note are the wisdom teeth, which are the last molars to erupt in the very back of the mouth. These are large teeth that often crowd the rest of the teeth, which is why they are typically removed when they come in.

Why Does the Jaw or Bite Become Misaligned?

When teeth come in too crowded and/or crooked, they can end up messing up the bite. Perhaps the top teeth no longer fit over the bottom teeth. This then affects the way the teeth come together, further causing teeth to become misaligned, which can then ruin the bite of the jaw. When the bite is misaligned, it puts stress on the muscles of the jaw, causing tension and possibly pain, such as TMJ.

The bite and jaw can also be misaligned due to genetics; some people are simply born with underbites or overbites. Jaw misalignment can also happen as a result of an accident.

Why Should I Get My Teeth Straightened?

Many people want to get their teeth straightened purely for cosmetic reasons. Straight teeth simply look better and can help us feel more confident and secure in ourselves. But having straight teeth has more than just cosmetic benefits. It actually helps with your overall oral health and well-being.

What Happens When the Teeth and/or Jaw Become Misaligned?

First, misaligned teeth may be harder to clean (more food can get stuck in the mouth!) and thus cause more problems such as cavities, gingivitis, and potentially periodontitis. It can become harder to chew. If the bite is misaligned, the mouth may need to work harder in speaking and consuming food, causing stress to the jaw. This can lead to chronic pain problems such as TMJ syndrome.

Who Can Benefit From Seeing an Orthodontist? Is It Just for Kids?

People of all ages can benefit from seeing an orthodontist if they have crooked or misaligned teeth or bite and jaw problems. Braces are often seen as a kids’ thing, but adults can benefit from braces too. Sometimes patients just didn’t get the braces they needed as a child for whatever reason. Downey Dental Arts offers great options for adults that work as virtually invisible braces, porcelain ceramic braces, and Invisalign® clear aligners.

When Should I Bring My Children to the Orthodontist?

Children should have their first checkup with our orthodontist at Downey Dental Arts around the age of 7. This visit is to examine and assess the permanent teeth that are starting to come in. Sometimes early treatment can help prepare a child for braces and improve outcomes.

What Are Traditional Metal Braces?

One of the most popular and tried-and-true ways of correcting crooked teeth is with traditional metal braces. How do they work? Traditional metal braces utilize brackets that are adhered to the teeth that connect to each other via wires. The wires are given a little bit of tension to slowly and surely guide each tooth into the correct position. Cost-effective and great for younger children, today’s metal braces offer multi-colored elastic bands so kids can customize their look.

What Are Porcelain Ceramic Braces?

Porcelain ceramic braces are like traditional metal braces but are much less conspicuous, thanks to the brackets made out of porcelain ceramic. These alternatives to traditional metal braces are often chosen by adult professionals as well as older teens. The porcelain ceramic is slightly more fragile than metal, which means these braces will take a little longer for results. This is because the wires have to be tightened a bit more slowly over time.

What Are Invisalign® Clear Aligners?

Invisalign® clear aligners are extremely popular with both kids and adults, especially older teens who don’t want to bother with braces. Instead of brackets being secured to the teeth, clear plastic removable trays are used. These trays are custom made using digital technology and move the teeth into their correct positioning over time.

What Are Retainers?

Removable retainers are small, discreet appliances worn in the mouth, usually after your braces or Invisalign® treatment is complete to “retain” the changes. Retainers are also sometimes prescribed when some alignment is needed, and a full set of braces isn't necessary to get the job done.

How Do I Get Started With Orthodontics in Downey?

The first thing to do if you think you or your child could benefit from our Downey orthodontist in Southern California is to contact us at Downey Dental Arts at (562) 445-3363 for a consultation. Our orthodontist will start with a comprehensive examination to determine what exactly is going on. Digital X-rays will be taken to get a clearer picture of the whole scene in your mouth. Any issues will be discussed with you, and a treatment plan will be created that works with you and your lifestyle.

What Does Orthodontic Treatment in Downey Cost?

Because there are so many different kinds of orthodontic treatments, an exact cost for orthodontics isn’t possible to estimate. It depends on the individual treatment. However, you can expect that long-term treatments like braces or Invisalign® may cost a few thousand dollars. But your dental insurance may cover some of the costs. Downey Dental Arts also provides flexible financing options, which can bring the cost of braces down to an affordable monthly payment.