Amherst Orthodontics

faqs

FAQs

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Q: WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?

A: Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.  The word orthodontics means “straight teeth.”  The practice of orthodontics requires additional training to properly design, apply and control appliances, like braces and Invisalign, to align teeth, lips and jaws. 

Q: WHAT IS A MALOCCLUSION?

A: It can refer to conditions like crowding, spacing, crossbites, and overbites.  Most malocclusions are genetic.  Habits like fingernail biting, thumb sucking, mouth breathing, or even tongue thrusting can also cause malocclusions.   There are two kinds of malocclusions: a skeletal malocclusion where the upper and lower jaws are misaligned; and a dental malocclusion where the teeth are out of alignment.  It is also possible to have a skeletal and dental malocclusion at the same time.  The type of malocclusion helps determine when orthodontic treatment should start, as well as the type and length of treatment.

Q: HOW LONG WILL I BE IN TREATMENT?

A. The length of time depends on the severity of the problem.  Simple problems can treat in as little as 6 months, while complex problems can take 2-3 years. 

Q: HOW CAN I AFFORD TREATMENT?

A: We work hard to work with you!  We recognize that every family has different needs, different benefits, and unique circumstances - even multiple family members who need treatment.  We work with every insurance plan, and coordinate treatment with flex plans (MSA, HSA's, etc).  Family courtesies are offered, and flexible repayment plans are available. 

Q: WHAT KINDS OF BRACES DOES YOUR OFFICE OFFER?

A: Traditional (stainless steel braces), ceramics (clear braces), Invisalign (invisible braces), and Incognito (hidden braces).  During your initial exam, we will let you know your options, but also let us know if you're interested in a particular type. 

Q: WHAT FOODS CAN I EAT WHILE IN TREATMENT?

A: There are many foods you can still enjoy!  Avoiding hard and sticky foods will help keep your appliances from being damaged.  For some recipe suggestions, and a list of suggested food to avoid, click here.

Q: DO YOU USE RECYCLED BRACES?

A: No.  We never have and never will.

Q: HOW ARE INSTRUMENTS CLEANED?

A: We take great measures to ensure our sterilization meets or exceeds the most stringent standards.  All instruments are mechanically cleaned, then heat sterilized. 

Q: HOW OFTEN DO I HAVE TO WEAR RETAINERS?

A: We want you to keep your smile for a lifetime. The American Association of Orthodontists advocates indefinite retention, which means that your retainers should be worn as prescribed to prevent tooth movement as you age.  Just as the rest of your body changes with time and use, so do your teeth; this is true even if you've never had orthodontic treatment!  Tooth movement is normal throughout life, but proper retainer wear helps reduce this.  We will always be available to provide guidance and help you in this phase.

Q: AT WHAT AGE SHOULD WE BEGIN TREATMENT?

A: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an initial screening by age 7.  A referral by your dentist is not needed, and our initial screening is complimentary.  Beginning treatment is a big decision, and not all problems require immediate treatment.  The benefit of an early screening is the opportunity to prevent serious problems like gum loss, jaw asymmetries, and tooth damage.   While many children do not need treatment at an early age, early treatment takes advantage of growth and metabolism and can lead to normalized patterns, enhanced stability, and improved self-esteem. 

Q:WHAT ARE DIAGNOSTIC RECORDS, AND WHY ARE THEY NECESSARY?

A: The best treatment results come from a thorough study of your profile, jaws, muscles and teeth.  Diagnostic records include x-rays, digital imaging, and a space analysis of your teeth.  Your immediate treatment results and future dental health are important considerations when developing treatment plans.  In complex cases, these are taken to consult with your dentist and other specialists. 

Q: AM I TOO OLD FOR BRACES?

A: About thirty percent of our patients are adults.  The oldest patient we have treated was 77 years old!  Teeth will move regardless of your age, as long as the gums and bones supporting them are healthy.

Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT BRACES TO FEEL LIKE?

A: Initially, braces will feel prominent to your lips and cheeks.  This is normal.  Braces are rounded and smooth, but sometimes using wax helps your soft tissues adjust.  Tooth movement with new wires and elastics and make your teeth sore for a day or two after each visit.  However, adjusting your diet, and taking non-prescription pain remedies like Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Advil (ibuprofen) can help.

Q: WILL YOU BE CLEANING MY TEETH DURING TREATMENT?

A: This will continue at your dentist office with your hygienist.  It is important that you keep your routine cleanings while in orthodontic treatment, as your dentist will help monitor your teeth for cavities.  Sometimes, more frequent cleanings are a good idea during treatment to protect your investment.  In adults, alternating cleanings with a periodontist may be advised by your dentist to assure the health of your supporting gums and bone.

Q: CAN I STILL PLAY WIND INSTRUMENTS?

A: Yes!  Initially, you will have an adjustment period, during which you will learn new lip positioning.  Using wax and warm salt water rinses will speed up the adjustment and healing process.

Q: CAN I STILL PLAY SPORTS?

A: Yes!  If you play contact sports, an orthodontic mouthgaurd is required.  We provide these at no charge while you are in treatment.  Just ask! 

 

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Dr. Deb and Dr. Diane of Amherst Orthodontics were 2012 Top Dentists according to New Hampshire Magazine Check out our Amherst Orthodontics Rewards Card Program!

Dr. Deb DeBeradinis and Dr. Diane Shieh specialize in orthodontics for children, teens and adults.
Amherst Orthodontics serves many towns in Southern NH from Brookline and Milford to Bedford
and Manchester, Nashua and Peterborough!

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