Braces for kids

Changing Orthodontists during Active Treatment

Orthodontics LAST UPDATED: MARCH 28, 2017

Is it Possible for a Patient to Change Orthodontists?

You may not think about it before you get braces, but it may become a question you need to address. What if you need to change orthodontists?

FAQ

Why do you need to change orthodontists?

The number one reason people change orthodontists is they are moving. We live in an area where there’s a fairly large military community, and a lot of people move in and out. Sometimes these moves are unexpected and the kids or adults are in the middle of orthodontic treatment. Or, they’ll come from one office in another part of the country to a different one. So, “yes,” it is possible to change orthodontists.

What’s involved in the situation?

It will be harder when you see two or three orthodontists during the course of your treatment because orthodontists’ techniques are often different. Regardless of how things flow, it’s always not as effective when there’s more than one orthodontist working on a patient. With that being said, the American Association of Orthodontics came up with a system that works well, providing forms that address exactly where patients were at the beginning of treatment. Most offices will provide you your initial records, the initial treatment plan and reason for treatment.

How would the payments work out?

Another form offers suggestions on how the initial orthodontist would complete treatment, steps he would take, and how much time is left for the remainder of the treatment. There’s also a financial form.

Usually there’s a formula to calculate how much money you’ve put down with the first orthodontist and how much money the insurance paid out. This way the next orthodontist knows what’s left in the financial contract and can help smooth things out.

But, despite the best efforts of both parties to ensure a smooth transition, there can be hiccups. Is the second orthodontist comfortable using the appliances the first orthodontist used? Every orthodontist is different and there are many different types of braces and appliances that deliver similar results. But, orthodontists are trained differently and more comfortable using one appliance over another. So, before moving, ask if the next orthodontist uses the braces you have. Or, do you have an appliance in your mouth, to correct your bite? Ask if the orthodontist is comfortable using that appliance. These are good things to know before you go.

Unfortunately, most people will pay more for treatment than they would normally due to the up-front costs associated with orthodontists. Initially, you pay more upfront to the orthodontist. Then, you see the second orthodontist longer than you would if you had just continued with the first orthodontist. Unfortunately, the transition is never 100 percent efficient. So, you pay more.

What are some other reasons you might change orthodontists?

If you plan to move, plan accordingly. Even though moving is the main reason for switching orthodontists, every once in a while, patients switch orthodontists because they’re unhappy. That’s more of a difficult transition, due to the situation. Usually, you deal with professionals that transfer the records and can expect the process mentioned earlier. So, regardless of the reason of changing orthodontists, look for orthodontists that use the same appliances, the same braces you have, and ensure they are comfortable using them. Then, your treatment will go as efficiently and smoothly as possible, despite the change in offices.

A young female patient came in a few weeks ago after calling two to three orthodontists. She knew what type of braces she had, but the other orthodontists told her they weren't comfortable with the type. They advised they may need to take her braces off and put different ones on to ensure everything goes smoothly. Obviously, when you have braces on, you don’t want to replace them in the middle of your treatment when it’s unnecessary. When she came in, I assured her I was comfortable using the braces she had. Although, they aren’t the main type of braces we use, I was trained with them. And, her treatment’s gone smoothly.

Before switching orthodontists, always ask yourself if you’re comfortable at that office. And, remember, if you ask the right questions--expect a smoother transition.

At Beecroft Orthodontics we welcome new patients that have moved to the local area. If you are already based in the local area and are using a local orthodontist, it will most likely be case dependent.

For more information, questions and advice, contact Beecroft Orthodontists. We are always happy to help.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr Fredericksburg ,

Virginia Phone: 540-898-2200

Changing Orthodontists during Active Treatment

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Braces Treatment: Retainers Phase

LAST UPDATED: FEBRUARY 28, 2017

How Long Should Someone Wear a Retainer after Braces are Removed?

It’s the first question a patient asks after their braces come off, we've celebrated the momentous occasion, and handed him a retainer: How long do I have to wear my retainer?

It’s a good and valid question.

I’ll highlight the type of retainer used most often, why retainers are so important and how long you need to wear them.

FAQ

When are retainers used most often?

Orthodontists use the clear plastic retainers most often. Even though there are retainers with a metal wire that go across the front of the teeth, there’s nothing worse than getting your braces off and having an orthodontist put a metal wire in your mouth, saying, “You have to wear this full time for a few months.” So, we use the clear plastic retainer, which fits snuggly around the teeth. It won’t allow the teeth move or turn and, it doesn’t irritate the tongue and lips. When it comes to speaking it usually only takes a day or two to adjust.

 

 

Why are retainers so important?

Retainers are important because when you get your braces off, they moved the teeth into a position they’re not naturally accustomed to. Your teeth were crooked for a reason. Most likely, your mouth and its natural habitat (your tongue, lips and cheeks) caused your teeth to go into the position they were in initially. Now we've put the teeth in almost an unnatural position, a position they didn't want to be in at first. So the teeth and mouth have to adapt to the change. The retainer keeps teeth in place as the tongue, lips and cheeks adjust to their placement. And, the teeth reorganize themselves in the bones and almost “solidify.”

How long should you wear a retainer?

We ask you to wear your retainer full-time for three months, when the teeth tend to move the quickest. You can take the retainer out to eat, to brush your teeth, and for special occasions (i.e., big dates and public speeches). But other than that, you should wear it at least 22-23 hours a day. You’ll notice if you take it out, the teeth will move quickly. After about three months, if everything looks good, we’ll switch you to nighttime wear. Then, you don’t have to worry about taking the retainer in and out at lunch, school, or work. You can just pop it in when you go to bed, take it out in the morning, and your teeth should remain in place.

Do you have to wear a retainer for the rest of your life?

If you want a 100% guarantee that your teeth won’t budge, the only option is to wear the retainer. Some people can eventually stop wearing their retainers. Others will wear retainers more, due to teeth placement and the natural environment of the mouth. After about a year of wearing the retainers at night, I tell patients, “Now it’s your turn to be the orthodontist.” When you take the retainer in and out, you want it to feel passive on your teeth. You don’t want that tight feeling to let you know your teeth moved during the day and you need to wear your retainer more.

If you have that passive feeling when taking the retainer in and out, then you can wear it less and slowly wear it off . You can go from wearing it once a week to a couple of times a month to once a month, but, I caution you to always keep it around and try it on to ensure that passive feeling isn't gone. Unfortunately, if you do see movement, it’s usually too late to fix it with the retainer.

Overall, most people are okay with wearing retainers at night. After all, why not continue wearing the retainers at night, so you know the years spent getting your teeth really nice wasn't a total waste? Let’s face it--there’s nothing worse than having a patient return, (after working so hard to have his teeth look nicer) because his teeth shifted from not wearing the retainer enough.

Feel free to contact Beecroft Orthodontics whenever you want information or help regarding any oral problem you might be experiencing.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

Braces Treatment: Retainers Phase

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Overbite: Causes & Treatments

overbite

LAST UPDATED: NOVEMER 29, 2017

What are the most common causes of and solutions for overbites?

Having an overbite is a common problem in the North American culture. In other populations, people are more prone to having underbites where their jaws stick out relative to their upper jaws.

In the United States, the majority of people with bite issues have overbites, meaning the top teeth stick out relative to the bottom teeth. Let’s look at the causes, how to treat overbites and the best time for treatment.

Causes of overbites:

1. Genetics: The genes you got from mom, dad, grandma and grandpa are the No. 1 cause. There are two reasons: 1) Your upper jaw is too developed relative to your lower jaw, sticking out too far. This is uncommon. 2) Your lower jaw is underdeveloped, which is most common.

2. A Habit: You may be a thumb-sucker or sucked on a pacifier when you were younger. Habits are easier to fix because we don’t have to remodel and guide the jaws. We just fix the teeth and bring them back into a proper position.

3. Upper teeth stick out further than the lower teeth: That could just be the position the teeth came in. Again, this is easier to fix by bringing the teeth back into a proper position.

How to Treat Overbites?

Several years ago, it was more popular to use headgear to fix large overbite problems, but I don’t like using it. Headgear attaches to the braces in the back of the upper teeth, pulling back the upper jaw. But, the problem is not usually in the upper jaw. Usually the upper jaw is fine. The reason you have an overbite is the lower jaw is set back or detruded. So, if you use headgear to fix an overbite, you cause the upper jaw to match the lower jaw, which is detruded. So, now your teeth fit together, but you have a detruded upper jaw and a detruded lower jaw, which doesn’t look nice aesthetically. This gives you a flat facial appearance, looking like you have fake teeth. So, instead of headgear, we want to correct this problem by encouraging the lower jaw to grow and match that upper jaw.

We can make changes a couple ways:

1. Use elastics: Elastics attach, depending on which way we want the teeth and jaws to move, from the bottom braces to the top ones or vice versa. This lets the upper jaw come out and the lower jaw go in. In cases where there’s an overbite, we would do the opposite because we want the lower jaw to go out and the upper jaw to come in. We use elastics in less severe cases. In severe cases, we have other ways to help guide jaw growth.

2. Use an appliance: If someone has a large overbite, with the lower jaw set back quite far, we use a spring that sits inside the mouth and cheeks. This allows you to chew and open/close your mouth normally. The spring is constantly working to put out a constant amount of force 24 hours a day. The opening and closing motion will put more force on the teeth, allowing the lower jaw to go into a better position. Again, this appliance is used in severe cases where you could stick your whole thumb in between your upper and lower jaw. And, it does speed up treatment quite a bit compared to wearing the elastics.

Photo credit: Send me adrift. via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Best time for treatment

It’s hard to make the jaw grow more than it would genetically, but timing wise we can remodel the bones to maximize growth potential. The best time is usually before children hit their peak growth spurt--10-11 years old for girls and ages 11-13 for boys. Before they hit the peak growth spurt, their jaws will grow with their lower jaws growing the most.

If you have an overbite, you may want to consider visiting an orthodontist for a consultation. The orthodontists at Beecroft Orthodontics are always happy to help. Visit them today if you have any oral issues.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

Overbite: Causes & Treatments

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