Dr. Wilson and his staff provide exceptional care for my two teenage children. The Novato community is lucky to have Dr. Wilson. I would highly recommend...
I have been pleased with the kindness and professionalism that my daughters have been receiving from Dr. Wilson and his professional staff. They're all...
Novato is so lucky to have an orthodontist with the skill, value and professionalism of Dr. Wilson! With 6 patients in my family, I can tell you Dr. Wilson...
• Why should children be seen by an orthodontist at age 7?
• Why should I have my teeth straightened?
• What kinds of dental conditions may require orthodontic treatment?
• Who can benefit from orthodontic treatment?
• Why should I be concerned about my child’s baby teeth? They’re going to fall out anyway.
• How does orthodontic treatment work?
• What happens at the first visit?
• A digital X-ray? I’m worried about exposing my child to radiation…
• How long will treatment take?
• What if treatment requires something more, like teeth extractions or jaw surgery?
• Are dental braces always needed?
• How do dental braces work?
• What will Dr. Don tell me at the first examination?
• What causes crooked teeth?
Why should children be seen by an orthodontist at age 7?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7, or earlier if there are indications of a problem. A timely screening can lead to significant benefits, including
- Regulation of the width of the upper and lower dental arches
- Gaining space for permanent teeth to erupt properly
- Avoiding the need for extractions of permanent teeth
- Reducing chance of impacted permanent teeth
- Correcting thumb-sucking and other habits that can cause tooth and jaw problems
- Eliminating abnormal swallowing or speech problems
- Less involved treatment
- Monitoring your child’s dental and skeletal development
Click here for more information about early treatment.
Why should I have my teeth straightened?
The most obvious reason for orthodontic treatment is appearance. Orthodontic treatments will give you a beautiful smile and improve the symmetry of your face. More importantly, orthodontic problems can interfere with your or your child’s health. Poorly arranged teeth…
- Are more difficult to keep clean
- Can decrease chewing ability, which affects digestion
- Lead to gum disease
- Damage overall health
- Cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces
- Make speaking difficult or unclear
- Cause excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue
What kinds of dental conditions may require orthodontic treatment?
Not all conditions of the teeth and jaws that require orthodontics treatment can be seen. It’s always best to have an orthodontist evaluate the health of your or your child’s teeth and jaws. Sometimes an early X-ray will catch a developing problem that you can’t see. A few of the types of conditions that indicate orthodontic treatment may be needed include…
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Crowded, crooked, or overlapped teeth
- Gapped teeth
- Jaws that make sounds when you eat or talk
- Frequently biting the cheeks, tongue or roof of your mouth
- Jaws and/or teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
- Finger sucking or pacifier habits beyond the age of six
- Baby teeth that are shorter than the teeth beside them
- Front teeth that bite behind or in front of the adjoining row of teeth
- Weak chin
- Prominent chin
- Teeth that shift after a tooth is lost
- Center of the top and bottom front teeth aren’t in line
- Teeth wearing
- Off center shift of jaws when teeth are together
- An embarrassing smile that you want to hide
Who can benefit from orthodontic treatment?
If you or your child has poorly aligned teeth, it’s obvious. It’s probably more obvious to you than to others. However, just because you can’t see an orthodontic problem doesn’t mean that everything’s okay. Several functional problems can be present behind seemingly perfect smiles.
Some of the most prevalent orthodontic problems and their warning signs are…
Large spacing between teeth, missing, crowding or overlapping of teeth
• Protruding upper teeth, lower teeth or jaws
• Chewing difficulties
• Popping, clicking or painful joints (TMJ)
• Harmful habits (breathing with mouth open, tongue thrusting)
• Bruxism, or grinding of teeth
• Clenching teeth
• Sucking of thumb, fingers, lip or tongue
• Deep overbite (lower incisors biting into roof of mouth)
• Open bite in front or back tooth areas
• Cross bite (lower teeth biting outside upper teeth in front or on sides)
• Lack of proper dental functions
If any of these problems are present, you or your child may be a candidate for orthodontic treatments.
Why should I be concerned about my child’s baby teeth? They’re going to fall out anyway.
Baby teeth maintain spaces for the permanent teeth that will come in later.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Today, orthodontists have many treatment options available. The most common treatment is with dental braces. Dental Braces work by applying gentle pressure to slowly move your teeth in your jawbone. As pressure is applied, the bone slowly gives way for your teeth to move, then the bone fills in behind. An orthodontist uses gentle pressure to shift your teeth into their proper places, so that they’re in a healthier, more attractive alignment.
Since children’s jaws are still growing, an orthodontist can influence jawbone growth in the direction that’s needed to make room for permanent teeth. While an adult’s jaws have grown as much as they’re going to, an orthodontist still has options that will create a straight, healthy, beautiful smile.
What happens at the first visit?
Your initial consultation is COMPLIMENTARY.
We’ll give you a tour of our beautiful, entertaining office, and introduce you to our fun-loving, caring staff.
Dr. Don will do an orthodontic exam, which is comfortable and completely painless, and we’ll take a digital panoramic X-ray of your mouth and jaws, which allows Dr. Don to see problems that may not be visible and to better diagnose whether or not treatment is necessary. This X-ray is also complimentary.
If Dr. Don finds that you or your child would benefit from treatment, he will then make a treatment recommendation based on your specific situation.
Before you leave our office, we’ll make sure to…
- Explain the best way to improve your or your child’s smile using orthodontics
- Estimate how long treatment should take
- Discuss cost of treatment and payment options
- Answer all your questions
If Dr. Don determines you or your child are ready for treatment, and you’re ready to proceed, we can begin by taking impressions of your teeth. This will be all Dr. Don needs to begin customizing a treatment plan, tailored just for you.
A digital X-ray? I’m worried about exposing my child to radiation…
Computers and the digital age have changed orthodontic technology in wonderful ways, and digital X-rays and photographs is one of those ways. Our state-of-the-art X-ray machine uses much less radiation to take much better records.
Digital records provide…
- Improved diagnostic capacity
- Better imaging
- Unbelievable enlargement capabilities and computer enhancement
We can prove it! The top image is of a seven year old child with another office’s conventional, film X-ray machine. Because of his intuition and the way the child’s teeth looked, Dr. Don suspected that there might be a problem he couldn’t see, so he took his own digital X-ray so that he could to use computer enhancement.
The bottom image is Dr. Don’s digital X-ray. You can see clearly the extra tooth. Using digital X-ray technology, Dr. Don was able to diagnose and treat that child at an early age with no complications. This is just one example of how technology can improve Dr. Don’s ability to recognize problems at a young age.
Our digital system also allows us to be green! Digital X-rays and photos and records mean we’re…
- Saving trees (less paper)
- Environmentally friendly (no pollution from chemicals or film)
A digital panoramic X-ray is included in the complimentary first consultation at Dr. Don’s office.
How long will treatment take?
That depends on your or your child’s orthodontic condition, on how well you cooperate with us and follow our instructions, and on your own unique response to treatment. Everyone is different!
Complex or severe malocclusions (bad bites) take longer to fix. Someone who doesn’t wear headgear, or appliances, or rubber bands the way we prescribe or who breaks their braces will take longer. Someone who doesn’t practice excellent oral hygiene will take longer. Someone who misses appointments will take longer. However, if you’re an excellent patient, take care of your appliances and your teeth, and follow our instructions, the average time in dental braces is between 18 – 27 months. Also, if you’re an excellent patient, you can Treasure your Tooth Tokens and earn cool prizes!
What if treatment requires something more, like teeth extractions or jaw surgery?
Dr. Don knows that there’s nothing better than your natural teeth, so if appropriate, he will use the treatment method that will save as many of your or your child’s natural teeth as possible. For children, early treatment frequently means few teeth extractions or no extractions.
Corrective jaw surgery (also called orthognathic surgery) treats and corrects abnormalities of the facial bones, specifically the jaws and the teeth. Often these abnormalities cause difficulty with chewing, talking, sleeping and other routine activities. Orthognathic surgery corrects these problems and, in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, will improve the overall appearance of your or your child’s facial profile.
Using the latest in digital imaging technology, we can demonstrate the overall functional and aesthetic benefits of orthognathic surgery. Computerized treatment planning minimizes treatment times, recovery periods and the overall success of your surgery. State-of-the-art materials such as titanium plates and miniature screws provide stability, strength and predictability to your treatment. These advances in technology, procedures and equipment reduce post-surgical recovery time, thus allowing patients to return to their normal routines soon after the surgery.
Orthognathic surgery may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatments can correct the problem. Since Dr. Don believes in using the least invasive method of treatment he will only recommend jaw surgery if it’s the best alternative for your or your child’s orthodontic condition.
Are dental braces always needed?
Children (and adults) don’t always need braces to correct a misalignment of teeth and/or jaws. Dental Braces are an elective oral health choice that you must make for yourself or your child. However, children rarely grow out of the more severe orthodontic problems. For children, orthodontic treatment, including dental braces, will prevent minor or less severe problems from becoming more complex and costly to treat problems later in life. For adults , there are many options available, including Invisalign, available to improve oral health, overall health and appearance.
The best way to determine whether you or your child would benefit from dental braces therapy is to make an appointment today for a complimentary exam with Dr. Don.
How do dental braces work?
Dental Braces use slow, steady, gentle pressure to move teeth into better alignment. The brace brackets that Dr. Don will attach to your or your child’s teeth will hold a space-age archwire. This wire threads through the brackets. It has been shaped into the ideal arch form for your teeth, and it will slowly and gently return to that shape, applying pressure to move your teeth into a beautiful, healthy alignment. This will all happen very gradually, but due to advances in orthodontic techniques and technologies, faster than ever before. Every time you look in the mirror and see your dental braces, just remind yourself that we’re creating a new smile…your new smile!
What will Dr. Don tell me at the first examination?
Dr. Don believes that the best orthodontic results happen when the patient understands all his or her orthodontic issues and is actively involved in the treatment process. Therefore, any time you don’t understand something, just ask us about it. Dr. Don will be happy to answer all your questions.
At the first exam, you should leave understanding the…
- Reason orthodontic treatments are needed
- Best time to begin orthodontic treatment
- Treatment approach that is recommended
- Pros and cons of recommended treatment
- Length of time orthodontic treatment will take (assuming that you or your child is an active, compliant participant in treatment)
- Frequency of adjustments and appointments
- Changes in appearance that treatment will achieve
- Orthodontic treatment cost
- Financing options
- Outcome if nothing is done
Many of these things—especially treatment length, cost and success—will be determined by how well you or your child practice oral hygiene and follow our instructions.
A child should have an orthodontic exam by age seven or if orthodontic problems are present. How do I tell what these problems are?
Around age seven, most children’s permanent teeth have begun to erupt. While your child’s teething patterns will be as unique as your child’s personality, there are some signs that can be cause for concern, including…
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Crowded teeth
- Too much space between permanent teeth
- Teeth that don’t meet properly
- Teeth that are worn down or chipped
- Front teeth that stick out, sometimes called ‘bucked teeth’
- Top front teeth that bite down behind the bottom teeth
- Uneven eruption, such as baby teeth that aren’t as tall as other teeth
- Clicking or popping jaws
- Jaws and/or teeth that seem ‘wrong’ or out of proportion with the face
- Jaws that shift when biting down
- Frequent biting of cheeks and tongue
- Weak chin or jutting chin
- Thumb-sucking or pacifier use past age six
- Smile that is uneven, unattractive or embarrassing
What causes crooked teeth?
Just as you may have inherited your mother’s eye color or your father’s hair, the features of your mouth, teeth and jaws were inherited from your parents. Genetically, you or your child can inherit a predisposition for crowded teeth, uneven spacing, jaw or tooth protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some irregularities of jaw growth. You can inherit small teeth and a large jaw, or large teeth and a small jaw.
However, some bad bites are acquired from behaviors such as thumb or finger sucking, using a pacifier and from cavities and/or gum disease caused by poor oral hygiene. Crooked teeth or jaw problems can also be the result of trauma or losing baby teeth too early.
Why should I have my or my child’s teeth straightened?
Teeth that are in their best alignment are…
- Less prone to decay because they’re easier to brush and floss
- Less likely to chip or break
- Improve your digestion (badly aligned teeth may negatively affect your ability to chew your food properly)
- Less prone to abnormal wear
- Promote clear speech
- Prevent stress on supporting bone and gum tissue
- Protect your overall health (research shows that the effects of gum disease can affect your heart, liver and kidneys)
- Improve your smile and, therefore, your self esteem (You only have one chance to make a first impression!)