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What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who diagnoses and treats problems with the position, alignment, or spacing of the teeth, or other problems of the face and jaw. Orthodontists receive 2 years of additional training following dental school to treat these issues.

Why should I receive orthodontic treatment?

There are two reasons why people seek orthodontic treatment: aesthetics and function. Aesthetics, the appearance of your smile, has an effect on the way others see you and on the way you perceive yourself. A beautiful smile provides an immense boost to your self-confidence. Orthodontic treatment also helps your teeth function correctly and makes them easier to keep clean and healthy, which improves your oral and overall health.

When should I begin orthodontic treatment?

There is never a wrong time to begin orthodontic treatment. Treatment is available for patients of all ages, and you can receive it as long as your teeth, gums, and other oral structures are healthy. However, beginning treatment at an earlier age makes your problems much easier to treat. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their initial orthodontic screening by age 7.

How do I recognize problems with my bite?

Teeth that are protruding, crowded, or erupting in the wrong positions are indications that you need orthodontic treatment. Other, less obvious, signs of problems that require orthodontic treatment include mouth breathing, frequent biting of the cheek or palate, speech difficulties, teeth that do not meet properly when the mouth closes, jaws that make sounds when they move, and thumb-sucking beyond the age of 3-4.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment length varies between individuals. On average, orthodontic treatment takes between 6-30 months to complete.

How often will I need to come in for an appointment?

You will need to visit our orthodontist regularly to have your braces or other appliances adjusted. Depending on the treatment, you will need to visit our office every 4-10 weeks.

Will I need to have teeth extracted?

We try to avoid extracting teeth for orthodontic treatment. However, if your teeth are severely crowded or impacted (trapped beneath the gum line by other teeth), then extraction may be necessary.

Will I need to stop eating certain foods?

Yes. You should avoid eating foods that could damage or become trapped in your braces, such as raw vegetables, hard candy, caramel, taffy, and ice cubes. Our orthodontist will give you more detailed instructions when your braces are placed.

Will I be able to play sports or a musical instrument while wearing braces?

Yes. We recommend that you wear an athletic mouth guard while playing sports. You may need a short period of adjustment after getting braces to play an instrument as you did before, but should be able to play normally following that time.

Do I still need to visit the dentist if I’m receiving orthodontic treatment?

Yes! In fact, visiting your dentist is more important than ever. Your dentist will help you keep your teeth clean and free from cavities and other problems.

Will I need a retainer after my braces come off?

Yes. If you do not wear your retainer, your teeth can shift back into their previous positions. Wearing your retainer ensures that they remain in place so that you can enjoy a straight, beautiful smile for a lifetime.

Is orthodontic treatment expensive?

Orthodontic treatment is a long-term investment in your health, wellbeing, and appearance. When weighed against the cost of living with problem teeth and the cost of potential restorative dentistry, orthodontic treatment is a very wise investment. There are also many financial options available to help make your treatments more affordable.

Many people have questions about orthodontic treatment. We have compiled the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions we hear. If you have further questions about orthodontics in Springfield and Eugene, Oregon, or would like to schedule an appointment in with Dr. Matthew Epperson, please call us today at 541-852-2552.

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