Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about orthodontics

The obvious potential reward for orthodontic treatment is straighter teeth that are less prone to cavities, gum disease and injury – but just as important is the boost to self-confidence that a better smile can provide.

Adults now account for 25% of orthodontic patients. Treatment can be successful at later ages because the biological process involved in tooth movement is the same in adults as it is in children. As you prepare to make decisions about orthodontic treatment, it’s very important to arm yourself with the facts.


General FAQs

No one can deny the importance of a winning smile. It makes a pleasing appearance, promotes self-esteem, and is valuable to social and career success. Creating beautiful smiles is what orthodontics is all about. And today, orthodontic treatment is so convenient and affordable that individuals from childhood through retirement can reap the important benefits. Orthodontic treatment is important not only for a great smile and improved self-confidence, but for better dental health. Braces fit easily into today’s active lifestyles. They’re comfortable, easy to keep clean and less visible than in the past. New techniques and materials can extend the period between appointments, saving time and expense.
Orthodontics can boost a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned — but an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important. Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing and digestive difficulties. A “bad bite” can contribute to speech impairments, breathing issues, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries.
An orthodontist is a dentist who has received two to three years of additional specialty training and experience specific to orthodontics. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the quality of your smile.
Full or Comprehensive Orthodontic treatment includes the full restoration of your smile. Smile correction can include braces, Invisalign, retainers, and any other orthodontic appliances that Dr. Petrous determines to be the best fit for your unique orthodontic situation.
Orthodontic treatment quality and comfort have improved significantly over the years. For the first 3-4 days, braces may leave you a bit sore, but they shouldn’t be painful. Whatever soreness you experience can be relieved with simple over the counter pain relievers. Today’s orthodontic tools are smaller, more precise, and more comfortable thanks to technological improvements. Petrous Orthodontics uses the latest in braces technology and materials to provide the best treatment possible.
The amount of time spent in braces will vary depending on the individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment and every person has different problems to fix. Treatment times can take anywhere between six and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 16-22 months.

Early Treatment

The right age can be any age. Early examination in our office allows us to determine when your child should be treated for maximum improvement – in the least amount of time and at the lowest cost. Certain treatment techniques provide significant benefits for patients between 7 to 11 years old. Treatment during these growth stages can achieve results not possible once the face and the jawbones have finished growing. Full orthodontic treatment with braces generally starts after all the permanent teeth are in place, usually at ages 12 or 13.
At Petrous Orthodontics, we believe in treating only when necessary. The majority of children we see don’t need early treatment. However, if a child does need early treatment and doesn’t get it, this can make future treatment much more difficult. In fact, there are certain types of procedures that can only be accomplished successfully during a small window of time (7-9 years old) while the jaw bones are still “soft”.
Early evaluation of your child’s orthodontic situation can prevent severe orthodontic issues down the road. Early orthodontics can help to create room for erupting teeth, improving facial symmetry, reducing oral trauma, reducing the need for tooth extraction, and more. Dr. Petrous will help you understand all the benefits of early treatment when you come in for your first appointment.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child should get an orthodontic screening no later than age seven. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early, rather than waiting until jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean a patient could avoid having teeth extracted or from needing surgery or other serious corrections later in life.
Untreated orthodontic malocclusions can lead to a variety of oral health issues including difficulty in properly cleaning in between the teeth, increased chance of chipped and broken teeth, uneven teeth wear from crossbites, and even speech impediments from openbites. Dr. Petrous will find the best course of action to handle all your orthodontic concerns.

Invisalign

The most well-known benefit of Invisalign aligners is that they are effectively invisible to others. No one except the most careful observers will notice you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment with Invisalign unless you tell them yourself. Also, the aligners are removable, allowing you to continue with your normal oral hygiene routine during treatment and allowing you to eat whatever you ate before without restrictions. And did we mention that there are no brackets or wires in the Invisalign system? Orthodontic treatment has never been easier.

During Invisalign treatment, you will receive multiple sets of custom-modeled aligners. Each aligner will make slight adjustments to the position of your teeth. This process is mapped out by Dr. Petrous in advance to ensure your treatment guides you to a beautiful smile. When the aligners are worn on the teeth, they gradually shift your teeth to the correct position. Each aligner is worn for approximately one week, and replaced with the next aligner in the set, as scheduled by Dr. Petrous.
Invisalign uses clear thermoplastic aligners that are developed to be a virtually invisible alternative to traditional braces. They look similar to teeth whitening trays, and are custom-made for you, to move your teeth in the path that Dr. Petrous custom maps out for you.
No. Invisalign aligners do not contain any BPAs or other phthalate plasticizers. Invisalign aligners and retainers are made with USP Class VI medical grade, high molecular weight, polyurethane resins.
Dr. Petrous understands the commitment required for anyone considering orthodontic treatment. Invisalign costs are comparable to the cost of traditional braces. However, only Dr. Petrous can determine the final cost of invisalign for your situation. Factors that impact cost can include treatment goals, how long treatment may last, and the difficulty of your specific orthodontic case. Also, it’s worth it to check with your dental insurance — a portion of your treatment may be covered by your dental health plan.

Invisalign Teen

Invisalign Teen is an effectively invisible way for your teenager to straighten their teeth without the restrictions of traditional metal braces. Invisalign uses a set of clear plastic aligners that are worn over the teeth during the course of treatment. There are pros and cons that should be taken into consideration when deciding between braces and Invisalign for your teen that Dr. Petrous can help walk you through when you come in for your complimentary consultation.
Invisalign Teen is available for teens who have all of their permanent teeth. Typically, teens that benefit more from Invisalign as opposed to braces are teens that prefer the flexibility of something that is removable, however, they are typically teens that are self-motivated and disciplined. Dr. Petrous will carefully evaluate your teen’s unique orthodontic needs to determine candidacy for Invisalign Teen treatment.
Yes. When patients follow the careful instructions of Dr Petrous, Invisalign Teen can be as effective as traditional braces for common teeth-straightening issues. This includes treating mild-to-severe cases, including underbites, overbites, crowding, and gaps between teeth.
The average length of Invisalign Teen treatment is comparable to traditional braces, but the actual length of treatment depends on the severity of your teen’s orthodontic case. Dr. Petrous works carefully with you to determine the best treatment schedule for your needs.

Adult Treatment

No, it's never too late because healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Orthodontists can improve the smile of practically anyone. In fact, Dr. Petrous has successfully treated plenty of patients in their in their 50s, 60s and even 70s.
Certainly not the estimated 1 million adults in the United States who have chosen orthodontic treatment as the route to better oral health and emotional well-being. Adults are discovering that today’s high-tech materials are light-years away from the “metal mouth” look they may have been familiar with as teenagers. In addition to traditional braces, Petrous Orthodontics uses Invisalign (clear aligners) and clear or tooth colored bracket options which are recent innovations that use sophisticated engineering to ensure less time is spent in treatment.
Not at all. Braces might not be a tropical vacation, but they are more discreet, more comfortable, and more effective than ever before. You can choose from a variety of orthodontic options including clear braces or Invisalign for a less noticeable look. Technology has greatly improved, giving us many orthodontic treatment options that move teeth quickly and effectively.
The only drawback to getting orthodontic treatment later in life is that teeth move a little slower in comparison to that seen in younger patients.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur, we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We will schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. There are temporary solutions to many problems that you can take care of yourself (see the emergency care section of our website).
During the 3-5 days after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you may feel some soreness and discomfort. We generally recommend that you take an an over the counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g. Advil, Motrin). This, of course, is the protocol only if there are no known allergies to these medications. If you have an open sore, you can rinse with warm salt water to soothe the area or use wax which we will give you at the first visit.
If a brace comes loose from a tooth, it usually remains connected to the main wire and is not cause for an emergency visit. Tweezers can be used to reposition the braces if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office at your earliest convenience if the area is causing discomfort and we can fix it ahead of your next visit, otherwise, you can often just leave it and we can fix it then.
Sometimes a wire can cause irritation. To resolve the discomfort, push the wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a cotton swab. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax or a cotton ball. If the wire is sticking you and wax does not help, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or nail clipper close to the back of the last brace. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, please call our office for an appointment.
If you experience trauma to the mouth, go to your nearest hospital and contact us as soon as you are able. Should you notice a loose expander or other fixed orthodontic appliance, contact us immediately. Your safety and your smile are of our utmost concern.