Ortho Problems & Solutions

Jon J. Menig, DDS

As an established orthodontic office with decades of experience, we know you will have many questions and concerns throughout your orthodontic care process. Our helpful and friendly staff is here to provide all the answers you need and address each and every one of your concerns. We’ve answered a few of the most common questions here:

General Orthodontic Questions:
Q) When should my child start the orthodontic process?

A) There is no “cookie cutter” one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The timing of when to start orthodontic treatment can drastically impact how efficient and effective the treatment will be. This decision, if made correctly, can save time and money while delivering the best possible result.

We typically choose to start orthodontic treatment at a stage of development that will keep the time in braces to a minimum. Starting orthodontic treatment prematurely will lengthen treatment unnecessarily, placing the health of the teeth and gums at risk. We advise seeing children as soon as their general dentist recommends it or you as a parent see concerns within your child’s mouth.

In general, orthodontic problems become evident once the permanent incisors replace the small baby front teeth around the age of 6-7. We routinely see children in the 6-9 age range for orthodontic evaluation to address certain issues that can benefit from early treatment, however most children are advised to wait until around the time the last baby teeth are being lost (age 10-13) before starting orthodontics.

Q) What is One-Phase Treatment?

A) One-stage orthodontic treatment is usually initiated just prior to the loss of the last baby teeth or after all the adult teeth have erupted. Corrective braces are applied to improve bite crowding, etc. The average time for one-stage treatment is 16-22 months, depending on the nature and severity of the problems. The second stage of a two-phase treatment (below) is very similar to a single stage treatment.

Q) What is Two-Phase Treatment?

A) Two-phase orthodontic treatment begins with an initial course of treatment (braces) starting around the ages 6-9 and lasting approximately one year. At this stage of development the child has a mix of adult and baby teeth. A rest period follows the completion of the first phase, with a retainer being worn at night, while the remaining baby teeth are replaced by adult teeth (usually by age 12). Once all the adult teeth (except wisdom teeth) have fully erupted, braces are put back on for a period of 1-2 years to complete the process.

Q) Who Needs Two-Phase Orthodontics?

A) Most children who need orthodontic treatment will not need two phases of treatment. There will be no difference in the final result in terms of esthetics, function or stability. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, and approximately 15% of the children we see will benefit from a two-phase treatment plan. Serious orthodontic cases including significant bite issues, disfiguring smiles, extreme crowding, and problems with tooth eruption are some issues that can benefit from starting at a younger age (6-9 years).

Orthodontic Care & Problems:
Q) What’s the best way to floss and brush with braces?

A) It can be tricky to figure out how to keep your teeth and braces clear of food debris while undergoing orthodontic treatment. For brushing, using a soft bristle toothbrush, take your time and brush in a gentle, circular motion above and below the braces, and on all other tooth surfaces. To floss, insert dental floss behind the wire and gently pull up between teeth to clean the sides of teeth and under gums between all teeth. You may find it helping to get floss threaders to help get the floss under the wires.

Q) What do I do if a bracket or band is loose?

A) If a loose bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it in place, covering it with wax if it is uncomfortable. Schedule an appointment right away to have it replaced. If the bracket or band falls out completely, bring it with you to your appointment. Never attach headgear or elastics to a loose band!

Q) What do I do if I lose a tie wire or elastic, or if headgear doesn’t fit?

A) Call for an appointment!

Q) How should I care for soreness from braces?

A) Rinse the mouth with warm salt water, or if necessary take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Q) How do I deal with wire problems?

A) If the wire is out of the tube, is rotated, or is poking the inside of the mouth, there are a few ways to address it. You may gently try to place the wire back in its correct spot with tweezers, or bend it back away from the gums/inside of the mouth. If your attempts are unsuccessful, cover the wire with wax and call for an appointment as soon as possible.

For other questions, concerns, or incidents involving your teeth and orthodontic treatments, feel free to call the office at any time! Our staff will be happy to help advise you and book appointments as necessary to ensure your complete care.

Jon J. Menig, DDS Jon J. Menig, DDS