Orthodontics is the area of dentistry concerned with the supervision, guidance and correction of the dentofacial structures. Orthodontic treatment uses braces, retainers and other appliances to correct any dentofacial abnormalities. Regular dental check-ups and orthodontic treatment are proven to be effective tools in helping establish and maintain good oral health for people of all ages.
An orthodontist is a specially trained dentist who has attended an advanced education program for a continual training period of 2 to 3 years. All members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have received the appropriate training. Some doctors go on to get board certification through the voluntary examination process of The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). Once certified, the orthodontist is awarded Diplomate status. Involvement in the certification process is a demonstration of the orthodontist’s pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence. Dr. Lovinggood is a Diplomate of The American Board of Orthodontics.
Some orthodontic corrections need to be made as early as 3 to 5 years of age, but ordinarily children should visit an orthodontist at the time permanent teeth begin to erupt in order to detect any deficiencies in the child’s teeth formation. This is usually between 7 and 10 years of age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist no later than age 7. Adults should visit an orthodontist to improve the appearance of their smile and their overall dental health at any time. It’s never too late to have a beautiful smile!
Your initial visit to the orthodontist will give you an opportunity to meet the doctor and our knowledgeable staff, who will answer any questions you may have. You will receive a complimentary clinical examination to determine whether orthodontic treatment is necessary and will be beneficial. A course of treatment, as well as an estimate of the treatment duration and fee, will be decided. If treatment is required, the clinical staff will take the required x-rays and a convenient appointment will be made for your fitting.
Braces may be worn by both children and adults, not only to improve the attractiveness of their smile, but also because braces correct improper alignment of teeth that can lead to gum disease and early tooth loss. Left untreated, crooked teeth with irregular spacing make cleaning harder and allow cavities to more easily develop. Properly aligned teeth also make it easier to chew all types of food, and eliminate the headaches and pain caused by uneven chewing. Uneven teeth may result in weak enamel, gum problems and jaw misalignment.
Braces are lighter and more comfortable today than ever before. They come in a variety of color and material choices. Ask the office staff about what options are available. Other appliances include colorful bands, elastics and retainers, which are custom-made, removable orthodontic appliances that help keep teeth in their new straightened position after braces have been removed.
Braces exert a gentle pressure on teeth over time to straighten them. The two main components include the brackets placed on the teeth and the arch wire that connects them. The bracket is a specially-shaped metal or ceramic affixed to each tooth and the arch wire is bent to reflect the bite that the patient should have after treatment. The wire threads through the brackets. As the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to move the teeth.
There have been some fantastic advances in modern orthodontics to make treatment more comfortable for patients. There are now smaller, smoother brackets and gentler wires which provide a continuous small force over a long period of time rather than a strong force for only a short period. Typically there is some discomfort two to three days after each adjustment. Over the counter pain relievers may be used in case of any significant pain.
You should be able to play just about any sport or activity. However, we recommend wearing a mouth guard in contact sports or any sport where there is a chance you can get hit in the face.
Retainers help keep your teeth straight at the completion of treatment. If they are not worn as instructed, your teeth will move or tend to relapse. Retainers are particularly important right after the braces are removed while the teeth stabilize.
Treatment may last from 18 to 30 months, though this will vary depending on your individual case. Your cooperation in keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments, maintaining proper hygiene and taking care of your braces may allow you to finish your orthodontic treatment early.
Orthodontic fees depend on the complexity of the case, the age of the patient, the type of appliances used and the estimated length of treatment. Since each case is different, a visit to the office for a complimentary examination will allow you to get a better idea of the fee. We offer flexible payment plans that make orthodontic care affordable with low monthly payments. See the Finance link for more specific information.
Check with our office for a list of insurance providers. We accept and file most insurance. Please provide us with your insurance information before your first visit.