Your Guide to Orthodontics in Philadelphia
Has your dentist told you that you need to see an orthodontist for treatment, but you are nervous because you don’t know what to expect or how to find the best orthodontist in Philadelphia? Don’t worry. Knowledge is power. Here is your guide to Orthodontics in Philadelphia:
What is Orthodontics
Orthodontics is a special branch of dentistry that focuses on the alignment of your teeth and jaw. Orthodontists use devices and appliances to reposition teeth and remodel the bone underneath. Typically orthodontics is used to correct crooked teeth, bite problems and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.
Types of treatment
For treatment of TMJ pain and discomfort, an orthodontist might use splint therapy to move the lower jaw into a more natural position so it no longer puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves of the joint. After the jaw is repositioned, orthodontic braces are used to keep the jaw from shifting until it is properly stabilized.
The most common orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth is braces. Braces are placed on your teeth to exert enough pressure to gently shift your teeth into better alignment. Today you have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to braces. There are the traditional metal braces which are adhered to your teeth with a special glue. The combination of brackets and wires help with the gradual repositioning of the teeth.
For those patients who want less noticeable braces, there are ceramic, tooth-colored braces and Invisalign braces, which are removable clear plastic aligners. There are even braces that can be attached to the backs of your teeth instead of the front, making them practically invisible to the casual observer. Rubber bands are often attached to the braces to also help move the teeth.
How do braces work? In general it can take anywhere from six months to three years for your teeth to move into their new position. How healthy your teeth are, how much pressure is used, and the type of braces all can influence the timeline. You will be seeing your orthodontist either every two weeks or once a month during treatment and he or she will be able to keep you up-to-date on your progress.
Once the braces are removed, most orthodontists will recommend wearing a retainer for up to a year to keep your teeth from trying to shift back to their old position.
Choosing the right treatment for you
Finding the right treatment plan for you can be a daunting experience, but with all the facts in hand you will be able to be confident in whatever choice you make. To start off, you should set up a couple of initial consultations with orthodontists in Philadelphia and have them evaluate you and offer their recommendations. Then review the pros and cons of each treatment as well as the cost.
The traditional metal braces are more noticeable in your mouth and come with food and drink restrictions. Also, because they are permanently attached to your teeth until the orthodontist removes them, proper brushing and flossing can be more challenging. However, for some conditions this method will give you the best results.
Invisalign aligners are clear and removable so they are not as conspicuous in your mouth and because you take them out when you eat and drink there are no dietary restrictions. You will need to receive new aligners about every two weeks as you make progress in your treatment so you will need to factor in more frequent trips to the orthodontist.
Ask the orthodontist about the price of each treatment. They are mostly comparative to each other, but sometimes Invisalign or the clear braces can be a little more expensive. Also find out how much your insurance will cover and if the orthodontist offers any payment plan options.
Proper oral care during treatment
While you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is crucial to remember that it is still important to maintain proper oral hygiene. You must continue to brush and floss at least twice a day and still make it to your regular dental checkups every six months. If you develop any cavities, lose teeth or develop gingivitis while wearing your braces you could delay your treatment plan. If you play any sports, you should also invest in an orthodontic mouthguard which fits comfortably over your braces and helps reduce the force of impact on your teeth and gums if you are hit or fall on your face during a game or practice.
Finding the right orthodontist
Besides picking the right type of treatment, another important ingredient for a successful treatment is finding the right orthodontist. Here are a few things to look for in an orthodontist in Philadelphia:
- Look at their education and experience. You will want an orthodontist who is board certified through the American Board of Orthodontics and who is skilled in all orthodontic techniques. He or she should also stay up-to-date on all current trends and innovations in orthodontics.
- Do they have before and after pictures on their website so you can see proof of the quality of their work?
- When you have narrowed down your list to a few choices. Set up consultations with those on your short list. Study their chairside manner. Do they and their staff make you feel comfortable and answer all your questions? Is the office clean and modern with all the latest technologies?
- Of course money always has to factor in at some point. Compare the prices they offer for the different types and treatment and figure out how much your insurance covers and who offers the best payment plan.
Once you have all the pertinent information about orthodontics in Philadelphia, you will be able to make the best decision for your particular situation. Remember that it is, regardless of which type of treatment you chose, a big investment in time and money so don’t rush the decision. Don’t automatically go for the quickest or cheapest route. Consider what is best for your oral health and what will get you the end result you desire: a healthier, more beautiful smile.