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Orthodontics FAQ

Any age is a great age to visit an orthodontist because orthodontic treatment can begin at any stage in your life. However, there is an ideal age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children be seen by an orthodontist before the age of 7. There is a high chance that your child will NOT need any braces at this age, but this will allow the doctor to identify any future dental issues and prevent potential complications and damages. Some children may benefit from early interceptive treatment. As an example, for children with severe jaw or bite issues, or impacted teeth, a two-phase treatment involving early child braces and a second round of adolescent braces will help prevent potential complications and provide the best results long-term.

If you child is older than 7 or if you yourself are interested, it is of course never too late to visit an orthodontist. Today, many of our patients are adults. At Hillsdale Orthodontics, we offer a variety of customized treatments using braces or clear aligners like Invisalign for people of all ages – children, teenagers, and adults.

NO! There are absolutely no age restrictions when it comes to orthodontics. At Hillsdale Orthodontics, we craft smiles for people of all ages from 7 to 77, and sometimes beyond! As long as your teeth are healthy, they can be moved at any age. Many of our patients are actually adults who are eager to spruce up their smile with minimally noticeable treatment options. It’s never too late to get the smile of your dreams!

Any gum disease or tooth decay will need to be treated before starting orthodontic treatment, and your orthodontist may recommend interdisciplinary care with other specialists to provide the best long-term results. It may take a bit longer with a little more diligence – like learning a new sport or a language as an adult – but in the hands of a skilled orthodontist, no one is too old for that newly improved smile.

The initial appointment is fairly easy and quick. We’ll take any necessary images of your mouth, such as pictures, a 3D digital impression, and X-rays, so that we can get complete information in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Leemin will complete an oral exam, and then discuss treatment options if treatment is indicated. We will ensure that you have all the information you need to make a decision about your treatment, including the financial and time investments involved. To learn more about your free consultation visit, click here: Your First Visit.

t isn’t always easy to tell if your child needs orthodontic treatment because many children have straight teeth with a nice smile before their adult teeth start to come in. However, some orthodontic issues aren’t immediately apparent to the eye. A common example includes impacted canines or second molars that would only be visible on an X-ray. On the other hand, there are some issues that may at first glance look like orthodontic treatment is required, but as your child grows and their jaw grows along with them, the issues go away on their own. In order to determine if your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, parents are recommended to bring their child in for a free consultation.

If you are a parent and are wondering if your child needs braces, some signs to look out for include:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Extending thumbsucking or pacifier use
  • Problems with speech
  • Crooked or crowded teeth
  • Top front teeth biting behind lower teeth
  • Teeth that bite into the roof of the mouth or the cheeks
  • Inability to comfortably close lips
  • Protruding teeth

The first orthodontic consultation should ideally happen before your child turns 7, which is when your child still has baby teeth. For most young patients, their smiles will simply be monitored to make sure that everything is humming along as it should. Dr. Leemin strongly believes in intervening early at these ages ONLY when it is absolutely necessary. Still, occasionally there are some orthodontic issues that are severe enough that early treatment should begin while baby teeth are still present in the mouth. For those who need intervention, early orthodontic treatment can guide the growth of the jaw and help teeth erupt properly. In turn, this can reduce future complications like dental impactions or severe malocclusions that require surgeries later.

For patients who do not require early interventive treatment, Dr. Leemin will monitor their growth and begin treatment, if needed, at the time it will have the most impact, usually around the age of 12-14.
Any gum disease or tooth decay will need to be treated before starting orthodontic treatment, and your orthodontist may recommend interdisciplinary care with other specialists to provide the best long-term results. It may take a bit longer with a little more diligence – like learning a new sport or a language as an adult – but in the hands of a skilled orthodontist, no one is too old for that newly improved smile.

Many people believe orthodontic treatment is only cosmetic, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Misaligned teeth can be harder to keep clean, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Furthermore, a misaligned bite can cause a host of issues, such as abnormal wear of the enamel, problems with speaking and chewing, and jaw and facial pain. A straighter smile isn’t just a more attractive smile, it’s a healthier one, too.Any gum disease or tooth decay will need to be treated before starting orthodontic treatment, and your orthodontist may recommend interdisciplinary care with other specialists to provide the best long-term results. It may take a bit longer with a little more diligence – like learning a new sport or a language as an adult – but in the hands of a skilled orthodontist, no one is too old for that newly improved smile.

Whether you are seeking to fine-tune your already straight teeth, have noticed your previously-straight teeth shifting around, or you have been recommended by your general dentist to see an orthodontist for a bite evaluation, many patients with seemingly “straight” teeth come to us for a free consultation. Because many orthodontic issues are not immediately apparent to the eye, or do not become noticeable until late adulthood, Dr. Leemin highly encourages that you come in for a quick evaluation for your peace of mind. More often than not, she will tell you that all is well. If she foresees any potential problems brewing in there, you’ll have a chance to get your ounce of prevention!Any gum disease or tooth decay will need to be treated before starting orthodontic treatment, and your orthodontist may recommend interdisciplinary care with other specialists to provide the best long-term results. It may take a bit longer with a little more diligence – like learning a new sport or a language as an adult – but in the hands of a skilled orthodontist, no one is too old for that newly improved smile.

A good comparison is to think about your dentist as you would your primary care doctor. Your dentist helps you maintain your oral health, just as your primary care physician helps you maintain your overall health. But, if you have a concern about your heart, you would see a cardiologist – a doctor who specializes in heart conditions. Likewise, if you have a concern with the alignment of your smile, you want to see someone who specializes in that, and that would be an orthodontist. An orthodontist attends dental school and becomes a dentist, just like your general dentist. However, once dental school is completed, instead of beginning to practice dentistry, orthodontists attend additional years studying the specialty of orthodontics. An orthodontist is a dentist who has not only completed a graduate program in dentistry to receive their DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine), but has also gone through a competitive residency at an accredited orthodontic program for an additional 2-3 years to be trained specifically in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

Credentials and accreditations can be confusing, especially because general dentists are beginning to offer some form of orthodontics in their offices. You may see signs advertising Invisalign providers, or even the American Orthodontic Society. However, this does not indicate that your general dentist is an orthodontist. For the best care possible, seek out a board certified orthodontist. In addition to completing a 2-3 year residency in orthodontics beyond dental school, a board certified orthodontist is an orthodontist who has voluntarily gone through hundreds of additional hours of preparation to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through rigorous written and clinical examinations. Board certification is a voluntary credential that represents an orthodontist’s commitment to providing the highest level of patient care. For more information on board certification, check the following page: Why Leemin

You may have seen treatments like “Invisalign” or even braces being offered by your general dentist. While general dentists are often able to address minor alignment issues, orthodontics is much more than just straightening teeth. It also often entails addressing bite issues and guiding jaw growth, and orthodontists understand the complexity of growth development, facial form, and tooth movement that is required to properly plan and execute complex treatment goals. Many general dentists offer orthodontic treatments, but have not been trained or educated specifically in the field. Even if using the same brand appliance like Invisalign or 3M braces, the background knowledge and expertise in the field that an orthodontist has can greatly affect the actual treatment effect. Choose a board certified orthodontist to receive the best care you and your family deserves.

The average treatment time usually falls between 9 to 24 months. The total duration of a treatment depends on several factors such as the complexity of the case and patient cooperation.

Invisalign is a great treatment option for many patients, but the only way to determine if it is right for you is through a consultation. With your best interest always at heart, Dr. Leemin will examine your overall smile and bite, and recommend Invisalign only if she believes that the results will be as high quality or better than with braces.

With her years of experience as a certified Invisalign provider, Dr. Leemin is able to treat a wide spectrum of orthodontic cases spanning from simple crowding cases to complex surgical cases. Fortunately for all of us, Invisalign treatment is now no longer limited only to those with the most minor malocclusions.

At Hillsdale Orthodontics, we offer a host of orthodontic treatment options to best fit your lifestyle regardless of your age or hobbies. We always recommend solutions that are in your best interest with the least impact on your lifestyle. Your orthodontic treatment will not interfere with most of your daily activities. You can still exercise, play sports, sing and carry on with the things you love doing.

During your initial consultation, Dr. Leemin will go over all the different treatment options available and also determine which plan is best for you from a clinical standpoint. With the advent of clear aligners, such as Invisalign and 3M aligners, we are now able to provide a wider range of treatment plans with minimal impact on your lifestyle.

Many people dread the answer, but braces and Invisalign can be much more affordable than you think, and with flexible payment options, you do not have to wait to reap the benefits of having a beautiful smile!

Your overall investment for braces or Invisalign will depend on several factors, such as the difficulty of the case and the treatment duration among others. In Portland, the fee for a standard orthodontic treatment ranges from $3,000 for limited cases to $7,000 for extensive cases, and most cases fall somewhere in this range. For most patients, this translates to $150-200 per month during treatment.

The actual process of putting braces or attachments on for Invisalign does not hurt at all. A few hours later, as the teeth start to move, teeth will often become sore for a few days. Sore teeth are a normal part of achieving a beautiful smile, but it should never be unmanageable. Try a soft diet, and if it feels necessary, take a pain reliever that you normally take for your headaches – Advil, Tylenol, and Motrin are some examples. Just make sure that you are not allergic to these medications and take them with some food, such as a banana.

100% YES! Even though orthodontists are technically dentists, they do not have the same tools or x-ray machines to check for cavities or gum disease. In fact, when you are in orthodontic treatment, it becomes extra important to see your regular dentist routinely, to make sure that there are no cavities or gum disease brewing around those braces!

Yes! Once your treatment ends, you will receive a set of retainers to wear at night to ensure that your new smile is yours to keep forever. It is crucial that you wear a retainer according to your orthodontist’s instructions to ensure your teeth don’t relapse. They are your best insurance for preserving your beautifully transformed smile!