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How long will I have braces?

April 4th, 2019

This may be the most common question I am asked as an orthodontist.  In the digital world that we live in, we have all become accustomed to having things the minute or even the second we want them. While the average length of orthodontic treatment has been significantly reduced as a result of developments in technology over the years, orthodontic treatment is still measured in months and sometimes years, not in days or weeks.

Asking how long braces will be on for is like asking how long it will take to drive to San Diego.  Are you leaving from Philadelphia or from Phoenix?  How long it takes to arrive at your destination depends a lot on where you are leaving from.  The same is true for orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign.  The severity of the bite problems that are in place at the beginning of treatment will significantly affect how long it takes to get to the end of treatment.  Treatment can be as short as a few weeks or as long as a few years depending on the severity of the bite problem to begin with.  We can drive a faster car to shave down the time we spend in the car, but no matter how fast the car is you still have to obey the speed limit and it is still going to take a while.

The “bottleneck” in orthodontic treatment is the rate at which the bone around the roots of the teeth remodels.  Stimulating bone to remodel is how we move teeth with braces.  While there are techniques to speed up this process, bone remodeling is still a relatively slow process.  This is the same reason you have to have a cast on a broken arm for several weeks to allow the bone to set in the proper position.  So hang in there and know that your braces will come off as soon as your smile is perfect.  Good things come to those who wait!  If you have questions about how long braces might take in your individual case, please contact our office at Budd Orthodontics for a free consultation.

Why do children seem to be getting braces at a younger age?

March 12th, 2019

Ideally, everyone would be able to wait until all their baby teeth were gone to begin needed orthodontic treatment, and more often than not, this is the right course of action.  This allows for shorter treatment times and less patient burn out.  However, there are certain problems that if addressed in earlier stages of growth tend to result in better overall outcomes.

Once a patient is done growing or growth has slowed significantly, some options for achieving a great smile simply don’t work as well.  Also, early orthodontic treatment – sometimes referred to as Phase I treatment – makes sense to protect the teeth from chipping, breaking, or wearing unevenly as in the case of severe protrusion of the front teeth.

Other common reasons for Phase I treatment include certain types of crossbite, underbites, severe crowding, and unusual eruption patterns of adult teeth.  Each child is unique, and therefore it is impossible to generalize what will be the best plan for everyone.

We offer free initial examinations to patients, so they can get the information they need to be informed without worrying about the cost.  If you are concerned or even just curious about your child’s orthodontic needs, contact Budd Orthodontics so you can make the right choice for your child’s smile.

What foods can you eat while you are wearing braces?

March 12th, 2019

Some orthodontists have a very specific list of what foods you can eat and what foods you cannot eat that is given to patients at the beginning of treatment.  Personally, I give a list of the foods we most often have problems with but try to avoid long detailed lists and focus more on principles to follow that will minimize any complications with treatment.  This approach was inspired by a patient who once came in with a broken brace who had been asked to avoid Hot Tamales but instead ate Mike and Ike’s – a different flavor of the same candy!

The “glue” that is used to place the braces is designed to be strong enough to withstand the wear and tear of chewing, but not so strong that it damages the teeth when the braces are removed. Some of the braces can get loose when really hard or sticky foods are eaten which acts as a safety mechanism to protect the teeth. We would much rather have a brace come loose than have part of a tooth break or fracture. This is the reason for the need to be a little careful about what you eat while wearing braces.

I simply tell patients that anything really hard or sticky should be avoided, but we don’t expect you to eat soup for the duration of your treatment.  Ice chewers and taffy lovers are going to have problems.  However, most foods can be eaten without any problems with some simple modifications – corn on the cob should be removed from the cob first, apples should be sliced before eaten, etc.

One of the major advantages of Invisalign treatment compared to traditional braces is that there are no diet restrictions because the Invisalign aligners are removable.  If you are not a candidate for Invisalign, however, you will find that with a little creativity most of your favorite foods will work well with your braces.

One side note on gum chewing – I actually encourage chewing an occasional piece of sugarless gum in my office because the chewing stimulates the flow of saliva which protects the teeth from decay. There also are studies that have shown if sugarless gum is chewed immediately after the placement of braces, it stimulates the blood flow around the roots of the teeth and helps reduce soreness.  There is a small risk that the gum can shift the wires in the initial stages of treatment, but the potential benefits far outweigh the potential hazards.  In summary, any concerns you have about what you can eat during your orthodontic treatment should be laid to rest.  You can achieve the beautiful smile you want with very little inconvenience.  Please contact Budd Orthodontics to schedule a free consultation and we can review the options that will work best for your own treatment.

When is the right time to see an orthodontist?

March 4th, 2019

Your smile is the centerpiece of your face. It will be your social signature for the rest of your life. Orthodontic treatment is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to your children. Because of this, many parents wonder if their child will need braces and, if so, when is the ideal time to see an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be seen at the first sign of an orthodontic problem but not later than age 7. Most children will not require orthodontic treatment at this age, but there is enough dental development to spot problems early and evaluate the growth of the jaws and the spacing available for erupting adult teeth.  If no treatment is needed, your orthodontist will likely recommend that your child be reevaluated periodically to ensure proper growth and development.

Budd Orthodontics will complete a free initial consultation to allow parents to receive information regarding their child's dental development before having to commit to any treatment. This is an opportunity to learn if treatment is needed and, if so, how long it would take and how much it would cost.  We also believe it is important for families to have an opportunity to have all their questions answered regarding any recommended treatment so they can feel confident about making an informed decision. Having your child evaluated at the right time will give you peace of mind regarding one of your chid's  most important characteristics - the development of a healthy, beautiful smile.

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