Treatment

Orthodontic Treatment

At Clark Orthodontics, we offer the latest advances in orthodontic treatment. We use the latest technology, including: digital radiography (less patient radiation), 3D study models of your teeth, indirect bonding (easier “braces-on appointment”), digital treatment charting and patient education software, and computerized treatment planning. Drs. Sarah and Tanner are Invisalign® Preferred Providers and also utilize traditional metal braces and clear, esthetic braces for children, teens and adults.

  • Early Treatment

    Along with the American Association of Orthodontists, we recommend that a child receive their first orthodontic screening by the age 7. By starting treatment early, we are able to recognize potential problems early and correct them before they become more serious. This not only saves you and your child time, but also money.

    + Learn more

    Early interceptive orthodontic treatment has proven to be beneficial for the overall desired result. Because a young child’s permanent teeth have not finished erupting, we are able to thoroughly evaluate the front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships and address any impending problems at its earliest stage.

    During your child’s initial evaluation we will first determine if there are any problems that need to be addressed, such as potential crowding, open bite, overbite or gummy smiles. It is possible that immediate treatment is not necessary at the time or even at all. However, if treatment is indicated, we will create a personalized treatment plan for your child that will prove to be the most beneficial for his/her specific case.

    Early orthodontic treatment varies between patients, but may include removable or fixed appliances that can provide more room for crowded, erupting teeth; preserve space for unerupted teeth; create facial symmetry through manipulating jaw growth; reduce the possibility of tooth extraction; and reduce overall treatment time in braces.

    To find out if your child is a candidate for early interceptive treatment, contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

  • Adult Treatment

    Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. A new smile can begin today.

    + Learn more

    Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ/TMD) pain.

    Good news! The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time and may allow you to choose from several options. Your options may include metal braces, translucent braces or transparent aligners that can be worn at night to improve mild cases of misaligned teeth.

    During the initial examination, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your individual needs. During this initial examination, we can outline the treatment plan, time of treatment expected and the approximate cost.

    A large percentage of our patients are adults, and they agree that it’s never too late to improve their greatest asset – their smile.

  • Types of Braces

    Thanks to today’s technology, patients now have more options when it comes to wearing braces. While regular metal braces are still widely used, clear braces are becoming increasingly popular along with removable appliances that can be used for mild cases of misaligned teeth.

    + Learn more

    Metal Braces

    Metal braces are the most common type. They are made of high-grade stainless steel. Today’s metal braces are smaller, more comfortable and more attractive.

    Ceramic Braces

    Ceramic braces are made of translucent (clear) material. They are most popular with adult patients, due to their cosmetic appeal. The only drawbacks to ceramic brackets are that they are more fragile, and the elastic ties can discolor between orthodontic visits.

    Lingual Braces

    The term “lingual” refers to the inside (tongue or palate) surface of the tooth. Lingual braces are attached to that inside surface unlike traditional braces which are fixed to the outside of the teeth. With the braces positioned on the inner surface, it makes them practically invisible. If you are concerned about wearing braces that are visible, lingual treatment may be an option for you.

    Invisalign

    The Invisalign System is a series of clear overlay templates—called aligners—that have been generated by computer simulation to gradually move the teeth. This system is available to adult patients with certain orthodontic bite problems. Ask us if you are a candidate for the Invisalign system.

  • Invisalign

    Invisalign straightens your teeth without wires and brackets, using a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. It’s virtually undetectable, which means hardly anyone will know that you’re straightening your teeth.

    + Learn more

    The Invisalign System combines advanced 3-D computer graphics technology with 100-year-old science of orthodontics. Invisalign aligners are designed to move your teeth in small steps to the desired final position prescribed by your orthodontist. Each aligner is precisely calibrated and manufactured to fit your mouth at each stage of the treatment plan. Your first step is to visit our office to determine if Invisalign is right for you. After sending precise treatment instructions, Invisalign uses advanced computer technology to translate these instructions in a sequence of finely calibrated aligners — as few as 12 or as many as 48. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks and only taken out to eat, brush and floss. As you replace each aligner with the next, your teeth will begin to move gradually — week-by-week until the final alignment prescribed is attained. Then you’ll be smiling like you never have before!

    If you want to learn more about Invisalign and how it works, please visit the Invisalign Homepage.

    To ensure the best possible results, only an orthodontist who has been trained and certified by Align Technology can diagnose and treat using Invisalign. Invisalign is not intended for children and is not appropriate for every adult. Only an orthodontist can determine if this treatment is an effective option for you. To see if Invisalign can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, contact us to make an appointment.

  • Retention

    When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.

    + Learn more

    Clear, removable retainers are the most common type of retainers we provide patients after they have their braces removed. They are used to keep your teeth from shifting so you can maintain the beautiful, straight smile your braces have achieved. They also prevent teeth clenching and grinding at night. Clear, removable retainers offer comfortable, long-term stability so your new smile will last a lifetime. We guarantee our retainers will last a year, but most tend to last longer.

  • Orthognathic Surgery

    Corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) treats and corrects abnormalities of the facial bones, specifically the jaws and the teeth. Often, these abnormalities cause difficulty associated with chewing, talking, sleeping and other routine activities. Orthognathic surgery corrects these problems and, in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, will improve the overall appearance of the facial profile.

    + Learn more

    Using the latest in digital imaging technology, we will demonstrate the overall functional and aesthetic benefits of orthognathic surgery. Computerized treatment planning minimizes treatment times, recovery periods and the overall efficacy of your surgery. State-of-the-art materials such as titanium plates and miniature screws provide stability, strength and predictability to your treatment. These advances in technology, procedures and equipment reduce post-surgical recovery time, thus allowing patients to return to their normal routines soon after the surgery.

    Orthognathic surgery may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatment can correct the problem. With the latest advances in orthodontics, this is sometimes the case. We will determine if orthognathic surgery is the correct treatment option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

    No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

  2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

    The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

  3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

    No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

  4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

    If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office or send us an e-mail. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.

  5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

    Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam.

  6. What will I learn from the initial examination?

    There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

    • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
    • What must be done to correct the problem?
    • Will any teeth need to be removed?
    • How long will the treatment take to complete?
    • How much will the treatment cost?
  7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

    Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.

  8. How long will it take to complete treatment?

    Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.

  9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

    It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

  10. How often will I have appointments?

    Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every five to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

  11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

    Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled five to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

  12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

    Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with their patient manager before dropping off their child.

  13. Do braces hurt?

    Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

  14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

    Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

  15. Do you give shots?

    No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

  16. Do you use recycled braces?

    Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

  17. Can I still play sports?

    Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

  18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

    Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

  19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

    Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

  20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

    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 their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.

  21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

    If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

  22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

    Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

  23. What is Phase One (early) treatment?

    Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-21 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.

  24. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?

    It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

  25. Will my child need an expander?

    At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.

  26. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

    A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!