faqs

Orthodontics is a specialty area of dentistry that focuses on diagnosis, supervision, prevention, guidance and correction of teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. The formal name of the specialty is orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
Our financial coordinator will spend time with you to discuss all financial information, insurance options and to come up with a payment plan that works best for you. Our office is committed to helping you maximize your insurance benefits. As a service to our patients, we will bill insurance companies for you. We offer flexible interest free payment plans. If you ever have any questions, our courteous staff is always available to answer them.

Smile Specialists – Orthodontists
An orthodontist is to teeth what a cardiologist is to the heart. Orthodontists are highly trained specialists who partner with your dentist to provide you with the best oral health care.

Orthodontists are qualified dentists, who after graduating from dental school, go on to an additional full-time education in an accredited orthodontic residency program supervised by orthodontists. That training lasts at least two academic years—sometimes more. By learning about tooth movement (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are the uniquely trained experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws.

Orthodontists diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. The majority of members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) limit their practices to orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Orthodontists treat a wide variety of malocclusions (improperly aligned teeth and/or jaws). They regularly treat young children, teens and adults.

Selecting an orthodontist who is a member of the AAO is your assurance that you have chosen an orthodontic specialist: the dental specialist with at least two years of post-doctoral, advanced specialty training in orthodontics in a program accredited by the American Dental Association. Specialty education includes the study of subjects in biomedical, behavioral and basic sciences; oral biology; and biomechanics.

Only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Creating beautiful smiles through orthodontics is our business.

We follow the American Association of Orthodontists recommendation that every child have an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. The timing of orthodontic treatment greatly affects the treatment outcome. Although treatment may not be started until years later, early examination allows the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems and plan appropriate treatment. In some cases, early treatment may be initiated to prevent more serious problems from developing. This early intervention may often make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.

In addition, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of 21. Whether you are considering treatment for yourself, or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist. It’s never too late! Healthy teeth can be moved at any age.

Straight teeth help an individual to effectively bite, chew and speak. Straight teeth contribute to healthy teeth and gums. Properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent physical health problems. Teeth that work better also tend to look better. An attractive smile is a pleasant “side effect” of orthodontic treatment.

An attractive smile is a wonderful asset. It contributes to self-esteem, self-confidence and self-image—important qualities at every age. A pleasing appearance is a vital component of self-confidence. A person’s self-esteem often improves as orthodontic treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion. In this way, orthodontic treatment can benefit social and career success, as well as improve a person’s general attitude toward life.

There are psychological aspects that are also important. It has been clinically proven that a beautiful smile leads to higher self-esteem. Confidence generates success. People with beautiful smiles have a lot to be happy about.

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger sucking or other oral habits
  • Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or retrude
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth

Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (e.g., expander and/or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of five and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.
Early interceptive treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:
Guide jaw growth
Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
Correct harmful oral habits
Improve appearance
Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and face
Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile.

Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

With modern technology including space age materials used in orthodontic treatment, most patients experience very limited discomfort usually the first days after initial braces placement and occasionally after an adjustment appointment. This mild discomfort usually can be improved significantly with over the counter pain medication.

Yes- with practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of wind or brass instruments. We also provide wax and brace covers to aid in the adjustment.

Yes. Mouthguard wear is strongly recommended with all contact sports during active orthodontic treatment. Our office provides mouthguards specially designed to protect your teeth and braces.
Treatment time varies with each patient depending on the complexity of the case. By following the instructions we provide you on how to take care of the braces and by wearing the required appliances (headgear, elastic, retainer) as instructed will allow us to provide you with the best treatment result in the shortest treatment time.
A retainer is worn full time right after your braces are removed. This prevents your teeth from moving back to their original position. The longer you wear your retainer, the better chance your teeth will not relapse. Dr. Cheng will continue to monitor your retainer until you can just wear your retainer at night.
My teeth have been crooked for many years – why should I have orthodontic treatment now?
It’s never too late! Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Orthodontic treatment can restore good function. Teeth that work better usually look better, too. A healthy, beautiful smile can improve self-esteem, no matter the age.
Absolutely! Often when teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space causing a periodontal (gums), esthetic or functional problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent this from happening and also provide the proper alignment for your dentist to replace missing teeth. In addition, some patients have congenitally (from birth) missing teeth and want to have the spaces filled in with a bridge or implant. Orthodontic treatment can open or close space to the exact size of the natural tooth that is to be restored.
Yes. Patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods, or hard objects, such as pens, pencils or fingernails. Keeping the teeth and braces clean requires more precision and time, and must be done every day if the teeth and gums are to be healthy during and after orthodontic treatment. Clean, healthy teeth move more quickly.
Yes. Regular checkups are even more important while in braces. We strongly recommended seeing your dentist at least every 6 months while you are in braces. This will minimize the chance of developing permanent scar marks and cavities. Your dentist will work closely with Dr. Cheng to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
Costs vary depending on type of treatment and length of treatment. Today, most dental insurances cover orthodontics making treatment more affordable and we offer many no-interest financing options. Just ask Joanne – our financial coordinator and she will be happy to assist you.