Frequently Asked Questions In Orthodontics

Below you will see a list of frequently asked questions from our patients in Doylestown, PA and the surrounding areas concerning orthodontics and the several forms of care. If you have a question that is not addressed below, please feel free to contact us.

Common FAQs

What are the benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more eye-catching smile
  • Better teeth function
  • Increase in self-esteem
  • Reduced appearance-consciousness during adolescence and beyond
  • Easier to clean the teeth
  • Enhanced force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
  • Increased long-term health of teeth and gums
  • Guide permanent teeth into more aligned positions
  • Reduce the risk of injury to protruding front teeth
  • Aid in optimizing other dental care needs

How do I know if I need braces?

  • Upper-front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, also known as bucked teeth
  • Upper-front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper-front teeth are behind or inside the lower-front teeth (under bite)
  • The upper and lower-front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Continued finger- or thumb-sucking habits
  • Problematic chewing
  • Teeth wearing unsymmetrically or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Gaps between the teeth

Should I continue seeing my general dentists while undergoing orthodontic care?

Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.

What is a good age to get orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment can begin at any age; however, orthodontic problems are easier to solve if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can evade surgery and more serious problems. It is widely recommended that every child first visit an orthodontist by age seven or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child’s physician.

Is it ever too late to have braces as an adult?

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, one in four of all orthodontic patients are over 18 years of age. Health, happiness and self-confidence are greatly important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!

How do braces work?

Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their aligned positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the arch wire that connects them are the main components. When the arch wire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to shift your teeth to their new, straighter positions.

How long is the treatment process?

Treatment times differ on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth, and complexity of the problem. Treatment length is also contingent upon patient compliance and understanding. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping consistent appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

What does Phase I Treatment mean?

Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have broken the gum line. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes used to make more space for developing teeth, correction of cross bites, overbites, under bites, or unsafe oral habits and sometimes to reduce spacing. Phase II treatment is called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

Will my child need full braces after Phase I treatment?

It is safe to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the “growth and developmental phase” during which growth and tooth eruptions are closely supervised. During this period, parents and patients will be kept in the loop of future treatment suggestions.

Why is an orthodontic specialist needed?

Teeth, and in some cases entire facial structures are drastically improved by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Dr. Welsh has extensive and specialized training that enables him to provide professional, custom care.

Early Treatment

How will my child benefit from early orthodontic care?

By evaluating potential problems early in a child’s growth, you allow for a greater opportunity to straighten your teeth. Attentiveness and early intervention will help guide healthy growth and development. This will help to prevent serious problems moving forward. Even if intervention isn’t necessary, Dr. Welsh can oversee your child’s growth and better judge when it may be needed.

Why so young?

As early as age 7, a child’s first adult molars have begun to erupt, initializing the position of the back bite. It’s at this time an orthodontist can begin to assess the relationships between the child’s teeth. Early, cautious screening decreases the probability of future problems developing.

What are the main advantages of early treatment?

There are plentiful advantages to starting treatment early in a child’s upbringing. Some of these advantages include making room for crowded teeth that are just beginning to come through, influencing jaw growth to ensure facial symmetry, leaving room for teeth that have yet to erupt, and reducing the threat of facial strain due to projecting front teeth. Early treatment with braces also greatly reduces the amount of time and money spent as compared to an adult.

Is my child a good prospect for early treatment?

There is more to orthodontics than just beautifying the smile. Treatment also improves bad bites, which can lead to larger medical problems later in life. A bad bite is known as a malocclusion, which can transpire as a result of misalignment in the teeth or jaw. These malocclusions can have an undesirable effect on not only smile, but the way you eat, your ability to clean, and your overall self-esteem.

Braces

Can braces be painful?

The placement of your braces will not hurt at all, although there may be some soreness or discomfort in the hours and days immediately after placement. Over-the-counter medications can help with soreness or muscle ache, but make sure to talk to your doctor before you take anything.

How frequently will I have to see the doctor?

Appointments for adjustments are commonly scheduled 6-8 weeks apart.

Are there alternatives to metal braces?

With advances in technology, your options are as diverse as the patients we see at our office! From traditional metal wire-and-bracket braces to the more concealed lingual and Invisalign options, you can choose whatever treatment fits best for you.

What foods are not okay to eat with braces?

Once treatment begins, we will give you instructions and provide a complete list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods like caramel and taffy. You can dodge most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following the doctor’s recommendations.

How many times should I brush my teeth a day while undergoing treatment?

Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss his or her teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a particular fluoride, if needed.

Can I play sports or play musical instruments while wearing braces?

Yes. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting or extracurricular activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Invisalign

How are aligners made and what do they look like?

The virtually invisible aligners, which are made of a thermoplastic material uniquely developed for the Invisalign treatment plan, look similar to teeth-whitening trays. A series of Invisalign aligners are personalized just for you, to move your teeth in a gradual fashion.

How do the aligners straighten teeth?

Over the course of your treatment plan, you will be supplied with a series of aligners. Each aligner will make slight adjustments to tooth position, a process that is mapped out in advance by your doctor, specifically for your situation. When the aligners are placed on the teeth, they cause the teeth to gradually shift from their current position. After roughly two weeks, you will begin using the next set of aligners, which will keep the teeth straightening process alive.

How long is the Invisalign treatment process?

While the specific length of treatment will depend on the complexity of your case, and should of course be determined by Dr. Welsh, the average length of treatment for adults is right around twelve months. For teens that amount of time can vary drastically, so be sure to consult Dr. Welsh.

How frequently should I wear my aligner trays?

It is recommended that aligners are worn 20-22 hours/day to maximize effective treatment. Only remove your trays when eating, brushing, and flossing.

How many visits to the doctor will be required?

You and Dr. Welsh will work out a specialized treatment plan tailored to your needs, though largely speaking you will see your doctor every four to six weeks.

What is the best way to clean my aligners?

The best way to clean your aligners is to use the Invisalign Cleaning system, available for order at www.invisalignstore.com As another method, however, your aligners can also be cleaned by brushing them and rinsing them in warm water.

How do I prevent my teeth from moving after treatment?

This varies from person to person and depends on the result of the treatment. Some patients might need a positioner, or conventional retainer. Other patients might need a clear plastic retainer similar to the ones Invisalign makes, which can be worn at night. Discuss this with Dr. Welsh.

How much does Invisalign cost?

We know cost is a big concern for anyone considering orthodontic work. In most cases, Invisalign treatment is comparable to the cost of traditional braces. However, as with other medical treatments, only your doctor can determine the cost, based on your specific needs. Other factors may include your treatment goals, the complexity of your case, how long you are in treatment, where you live, your orthodontic insurance coverage, and additional factors determined by your dentist or orthodontist. In the U.S., the cost of Invisalign treatment ranges from $3,500 to $8,000, with the national average at about $5,000.

Adult Treatment

Do adults need orthodontic treatment?

Of course adults can need orthodontic treatment! Untreated childhood issues with the jaw and teeth as a child can create developmental problems in adulthood. Other times adults may have received treatment as children and not worn prescribed retainers to hold the new position of the teeth. The result of this can be crooked and misaligned teeth. Regardless of your age, orthodontics is a wonderful solution to adults who desire a healthy smile.

Is there an age limit?

Of course not! Orthodontic treatment is blind to age. The myth that treatment is only for kids has been proven progressively wrong. Today more adults are getting their teeth straightened with braces than ever before. Whether it’s a health concern or merely aesthetic, braces are for people of all ages.

Why would an adult get braces?

The bigger question is why wouldn’t an adult get braces? Reasons can range considerably, a new job, a wedding, or just a want to improve your confidence; your reasons are your own. Orthodontic treatment will give you a healthy bite, a rejuvenated smile, and help you keep your teeth for life. With amazing advances in orthodontics, your can be sure that your beautiful smile will last for your entire life.

Incognito

Who makes a good candidate for Incognito braces?

Incognito braces are suitable for all age groups, children, teens and adults who want to fix their tooth position. Dr. Welsh will be glad to provide you with more information. In most cases people elect for Incognito braces as they do not want their braces to be visible for professional or aesthetic purposes.

What do Incognito braces look like?

Incognito braces have a very unique design. The bases of the brackets are formed to fit the tongue-side surfaces of your teeth, creating a higher performing function and a prime fit. Their low profile design means they are much less likely to be seen or for you to hear any effect on your speech. Custom-made arch wires are also precisely designed to your orthodontic plan to ensure the quickest adjustment of your teeth.

How do Incognito braces differ?

As opposed to traditional braces, Incognito braces are fit to the lingual sides of your teeth, creating a low profile solution to your orthodontic plan. They are custom-created and fit to your mouth, utilizing the latest in CAD/CAM imaging and robotic prototyping technology.

AcceleDent

What is AcceleDent?

AcceleDent utilizes micropulse technology to quicken the orthodontic process. By placing the mouthpiece in your mouth and turning on the activator for 20 minutes per day, you can speed up the process of getting a beautiful smile by up to 50% faster, with the added bonus of making your treatment schedule more comfortable as well.

Can I wear AcceleDent overnight?

No. You should NOT wear or try to use AcceleDent while sleeping.

When should I recharge my AcceleDent appliance?

Recharge your AcceleDent Activator every three days, or when the battery indicator lights are no longer visible.

Retention

How long do I have to wear retainers after treatment?

That all depends on you! The answer can vary based on your length of treatment, how well you’re keeping up with your appointments, and your tendency for relapse. Dr. Welsh will develop a specific set of instructions for you so be sure you follow them accordingly.

What should I do with my old retainers?

Hold on to them just to be safe. They can come in handy if you break or lose your primary retainer.

How do I clean my retainer?

Make sure to brush your retainer whenever you brush your teeth. Give them a rinse with mild soap and water as well and keep them in a safe place, preferably in a small plastic container.

How do retainers usually break?

Your retainer will be custom-fit and created to fit your mouth and your mouth alone, but teeth can move, and a retainer can break if it is forced onto your teeth after a shift has occurred. Retainers are also subject to explosions and fire, as well as hungry pets. Keep your retainer in a safe spot!

Orthognathic Surgery

What is Orthognathic surgery and why do I need it?

Orthognathic surgery involves a single or double jaw operation to correct misalignment of the jaw. Bad bites can result in jaw pain, headaches, neck pain, and a misaligned facial structure. Once the jaws are placed back in alignment, the health of your soft tissue improves greatly.

What is malocclusion?

A malocclusion is a misalignment or improper relation between the teeth of the two dental arches when they approach each other as the jaws shut.

Why is surgery needed?

Proper jaw function is affected by bad bites, and can result in the improper chewing of food. Contact between the upper and lower jaws are impeded and can cause negative influence on things like digestion and overall body health. When your teeth are crowded, as happens with bad bites, food can build up, leading to tooth decay, gingivitis, and poor overall oral hygiene.

^