You do not need a referral from your family dentist or health care provider to visit an orthodontic specialist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends the first screening at age 6 or 7. It is a good age to evaluate crowding, crossbites, overbites and skeletal discrepancies. Teenagers are the more commonly recognized orthodontic patients and comprise roughly 50% of the practice. Colored braces, clear braces and Invisalign Teen are all options for the teenager. Adults comprise approximately 22% of the practice and vary in age from 21 to 85. Often times, the adult patient comes from a family that could not afford or have access to orthodontics as a child. Now it's their turn to fulfill the dream of a healthy, beautiful smile.
The initial, complimentary exam takes about an hour. During that time, photographs and digital x-rays will help the doctor diagnose and develop a treatment plan that is in your best interest and fulfill your desires. All questions about cost and payment options, treatment options and duration will be answered in this first visit. Our goal is to have you leave our office with a clear understanding of how we will meet your treatment goals.
The next appointment consists of starting records. This involves impressions for study models and impressions for appliances made in our on-site lab. We do not charge a separate fee for this appointment.
Braces on teeth will accumulate more food and plaque than without. Proper home hygiene will ensure you do not get staining or cavities on your teeth that are expected to last a lifetime.
A toothbrush with soft bristles is recommended. You should properly clean the braces four times a day:
Use a circular motion with particular attention between the braces and the gum tissue. This is the area of greatest buildup and most often missed by patients. Hold the brush on an angle and use a gentle rotary motion. Push the bristles under the wires gently to dislodge any material there. A Christmas tree type of brush is also helpful in getting under your wires. These can be purchased at any drugstore or at our office. A travel toothbrush, which has its own case, is given out at the start of treatment and should be used if away from home or at school.
Dental floss is used to remove plaque and debris between the teeth. A floss threader is a helpful tool to get the floss under the wire. These can be picked up at our office or at most drugstores.
Dr. Murphy recommends a Waterpik for all patients in appliances. These are a tremendous help in removing food particles, plaque and other debris. It reduces the bacteria in our mouth that causes bad breath, stains and decay. They cost about $60-$70 and are a great investment. They usually come with multiple handles for many members of the family. If it saves you from getting one cavity, it has paid for itself four times over. Your mouth will feel cleaner and your breath fresher.
As a general guide, avoid hard, sticky foods which will bend wires and break off braces. Ice and hard candies are common culprits in breaking things. Carrots and apples should be sliced into small pieces. If your teeth are sore at the start of treatment, cut up your normal foods and chew slowly. The soreness will dissipate in a few days.
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