Frequently Asked Questions

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What is an OrthodontistTypes & CausesOur Treatment Philosophy

Problems and SolutionsKeeping Your Teeth HealthyProcedures

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 What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist who has attended a graduate program requiring full-time study for 2-3 years or more, exclusively in orthodontics, following dental school and limits the practice to orthodontics. Orthodontics was the first dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association and was the second specialty in all of medicine.


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 Types & Causes

The two general causes of malocclusions are inherited, resulting from genetics; and acquired, which are caused by a variety of situations such as thumb habits, tongue thrusting and sleeping habits.

Most common orthodontic problems can be treated with braces and/or removable appliances. When needed, treatment can be coordinated with an oral surgeon for corrective surgery.

Untreated malocclusions can often lead to problems later in life that are more expensive and time consuming to correct than the original problem itself. Orthodontic care can improve most problems at any age; however, there is usually a "best age" in terms of improvement with the least expense and time involvement. The best time to start seeing a patient is between the ages of eight and nine; earlier if there are obvious problems such as severe crowding, spacing, or crossbites.

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 Our Treatment Philosophy

"Do the right thing at the right time
and do not do too much too soon"

The best time to intercept developing malocclusions is between the ages of eight and nine; earlier if there are obvious problems such as severe crowding, spacing, or crossbites. By starting at this time, we get a head start on heading off problems. This sets your child up for positive and healthy dental development before the teeth settle into their permanent placement. This does not mean placing braces, but it does mean getting an early start on diagnosing the problem when some simple guidance can minimize the developing problem.
Our goal is to get our patients on a path of normal dental development with teeth in a proper path of eruption . . and to do this effectively, efficiently, and cost effectively at the right time with stable results.

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  Problems and Solutions
You may be able to solve many braces problems temporarily by yourself until you schedule a repair appointment with our office. These problems need not cause delay in your treatment.



If band or bracket is still attached to wire, leave in place. If uncomfortable, place wax on it. If it comes out completely,
wrap brace or bracket in tissue.

Try to place wire back in place with tweezers. If that is not possible, clip wire with fingernail clippers behind last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If any discomfort, place wax on it.

Try to push sticking wire down with a spoon or eraser. If not possible, place wax on it.

Notify us at next appointment.

Use warm salt water rinses and/or Tylenol®

Sometimes caused by not wearing as prescribed. If facebow is bent, call office at once.

If appliance is sticking or poking, place wax on it.

If you feel you are unable to handle a problem on your own,
please call us as soon as possible.
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 Keeping Your Teeth Healthy

We insist on regular visits to your family dentist for cleaning and examination at least every six months. This keeps teeth healthy for a beautiful smile when treatment is completed.

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 Procedures and Treatment

Initial Examination: The examination is the first step in evaluating the need for orthodontic care and normally involves taking a current panoramic x-ray of the teeth and associated structures.

"Growth and Observation" or "Recall" Appointments: While many patients are ready to begin orthodontic care after the initial examination, some would be better to wait until other dental care or development has taken place. By examining the patient at regular intervals, the "ideal time" to begin care can be established.

Interceptive Treatment: Many times the proper extraction sequence of baby teeth and/or minor orthodontic procedures can greatly reduce the severity of a case and shorten the length of active orthodontic treatment. Dr. Orr attends meetings and keeps up with all of the developments in techniques and materials that make orthodontic treatment better and more efficient. We are also taking digital photographs for our patient records. This allows us to scan x-rays and photographs to send to the family dentist.

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