Q: At what age should my child be evaluated for braces? A: Ideally, I would like to see a patient by age 7. I don’t usually put braces on until later, but in some children there is an immediate need, (ie. under-bite, cross-bite, or thumb-sucking habit ). It is always easier, and there are more options when I see patients before their adult teeth come in.
Q: What is the most common reason for needing braces?
A:There are 2 common reasons people need braces. 1.) An overbite usually caused by a thumb or finger sucking habit and 2.) canine teeth (the pointed ones on either side of the front four teeth) coming in on a double row or are really high in relation to the other teeth, but there are lots of different scenarios for why a person might need braces. Some patients, or their parents, may worry they’ll have to get a whole mouthful of braces for 2 years just to fix one single problem, but that should not be the case. I always try to find out what a patient’s goals are in terms of their teeth, and then we plan the treatment accordingly.
Q: I don’t want my teenager to have to go through the same kind of
pain for as long as I had to when I had braces, so what kinds of new
technologies are available today?
A: Gone are the days when kids had to wear braces for years, with headgear, elastics and those dreaded tightening appointments! There are so many different options available now. One of the best, in my opinion, is what’s called self-ligating braces. With these, the need for elastics is eliminated entirely. This means that you don’t have to come in as often, there is no painful tightening of your braces, and your breath is fresher without bacteria-soaked elastics. Self-ligating braces allow your teeth to move faster because they are 100% metal; there is virtually no friction. This decreases the pain felt by the patient and makes the teeth move faster. In fact, most treatments can be finished within 7-15 months. In addition, a technique called indirect bonding makes applying braces faster and more accurate than ever before. Braces are first placed perfectly on a pre-made model of your teeth, and then transferred to your actual teeth. Lastly, digital x-rays are great not only because they emit 1/10 the radiation of traditional x-rays, but, also because they eliminate the need for toxic developing chemicals, which are harmful to the earth.
Q: As an adult with less-than-perfect teeth, I’ve been researching
Invisalign… what can you tell me about this product?
A: Invisalign is fantastic! It puts the orthodontics in your own hands by using removable trays to straighten out your teeth. This means you can take them out to eat, when you need to give a business presentation or for a special occasion. Of course, the more you take them out, the longer the treatment, but with proper use you can have straight teeth and a beautiful smile in just a few months!
Q: How expensive are braces these days?
A: First of all, if you have dental insurance, orthodontics is typically covered as a one-time benefit, even if you are an adult. The typical benefit can be anywhere from $1000 – $2500, depending on your particular insurance plan. In my office, we sit down with each patient, and/or their parents, to figure out your insurance benefits before moving forward with braces. In addition, we offer third-party financing which eliminates the conflict of interest horror stories you may have heard about some orthodontists refusing to take off braces until they get paid. With third-party financing, there is no down payment and low, manageable monthly payments. It’s also perfect for families; no more choosing which child gets braces first or even at all.
If you have any orthodontic or tooth movement questions for Dr. Battle, please email him at DrB@BracesByBattle.com