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Frequently Asked Questions in Orthodontics

Frequently Asked Questions in Orthodontics

Dr. Karen Conn of Bryn Mawr Orthodontics answers the most frequently asked questions in Orthodontics

by Dr. Karen Conn, DMD, MS

At Bryn Mawr Orthodontics, we understand that choosing to receive orthodontic treatment is a big decision.  That's why we want to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from our patients.  We hope this information will help you feel more informed and confident as you consider treatment.

Q: What is orthodontics?

A: Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.  Orthodontic treatment typically involves the use of braces, clear aligners (Invisalign), and other orthodontic appliances to straighten teeth and improve the bite.

Q: Why should I see an orthodontist?

A: An orthodontist is a specialist with at least two additional years of extensive and specialized clinical training after dental school in straightening the teeth and aligning the jaws.  For more information on our doctors’ credentials and experience, click here.

Q: Do I need a referral to see an orthodontist?

A: Nope!  Many of our patients are referred by their general dentist, but many other patients take the initiative to schedule a consultation themselves.  At Bryn Mawr Orthodontics, we endorse the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) guidelines, which recommend that all children have a screening with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7.

Q: Who needs orthodontic treatment?

A: While orthodontic treatment is most commonly associated with children and teenagers, it may actually be suitable for patients of all ages.  Many adults are now seeking orthodontic treatment to improve their oral health, correct their bite, enhance their appearance, and boost their confidence.  

Q: What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?

A: Orthodontic treatment can provide numerous benefits, including straighter teeth, improved bite function, easier cleaning and maintenance of teeth, improved speech and pronunciation, and a more confident smile.  Without treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) reports that orthodontic problems can lead to tooth decay, gum (periodontal) disease, bone loss, speech impairment, unnecessary tooth loss and other associated dental injuries.  By addressing an issue early, orthodontics can prevent unwanted skeletal changes and complex treatments.

Q: Will front teeth straighten out as they grow in?

A: No.  The space available for a person’s front teeth does not increase over time.  After a person’s permanent molars erupt, the space available for front teeth generally decreases with age.

Q: What is Phase One or Early Treatment? 

A: Phase One treatment, if necessary, begins on children between the ages of 7 and 10.  Phase One treatment generally lasts about 9 to 12 months.  The primary objective of Phase One treatment is to address significant problems and prevent them from becoming more severe.

Q: How long does orthodontic treatment take?

A: The duration of orthodontic treatment varies depending on the individual case.  Treatment times typically range from 12 to 36 months, depending on the severity of the dental and facial irregularities being corrected.  The average treatment time in our office is 12-18 months.  We make sure that each office visit is efficient and effective so that your treatment can be completed in a timely manner.  

Q: What is Invisalign and how do I know if I am a candidate for Invisalign?

A: Invisalign uses clear, removable aligners to perfect smiles without the need for wires and brackets.  As a Top 1% Invisalign provider, Dr. Karen Conn and Dr. Ross Segal have extensive experience and expertise in treating complex cases and can tell you whether you’re a candidate for Invisalign during your complimentary consultation.

Q: What types of braces are available?

A: At our practice, we offer a variety of braces options, including traditional metal braces, clear LightForce braces, and Invisalign aligners.  Each of these options has unique benefits, and we can help you determine which option is best suited for your needs and lifestyle.

Q: Does orthodontic treatment hurt?

A: Generally, braces or Invisalign do not “hurt.”  After the first visits, teeth may feel sore for a few days similar to the way your arm may become sore after throwing a ball around for several hours.  In rare situations, OTC pain medications such as Tylenol will be recommended to ease the discomfort.  However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all.  We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

Q: How do I care for my braces or aligners?

A: Proper care of braces or aligners is essential to ensure the success of your orthodontic treatment.  We will provide you with detailed instructions on how to care for your braces or aligners, including tips for brushing and flossing, avoiding certain foods, and maintaining good oral hygiene habits.

Q: What if I have an emergency?

A: We’ve got you covered.  Our office provides full time emergency coverage and provides every patient with the doctor’s cell phone numbers.  If your braces or Invisalign are causing discomfort or if something breaks, simply call our office and someone will be available to assist you.  In most cases, we can address an issue over the telephone.  If an emergency appointment is required, we will set aside time for you.

We hope that these answers to some frequently asked questions have helped to address some of your concerns and questions about orthodontic treatment.  If you have any additional questions or would like to schedule a complimentary consultation, please don't hesitate to contact us.  We look forward to helping you achieve a healthier, more confident smile!

Karen Conn, DMD, MS is a Board-certified orthodontist and co-owner of Bryn Mawr Orthodontics (Bryn Mawr, PA), where she specializes in Invisalign and braces for children, teens and adults.  She has been recognized as a Philadelphia Magazine Top Dentist, Main Line Today Top Dentist, Suburban Family Top Orthodontist, and is among the nation’s top 1% of Invisalign providers.  Dr. Conn received her undergraduate and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.  She completed her residency in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics at Temple University, where she also earned a master's degree in Oral Biology, and published a research thesis on the association between dentofacial genetics and sleep apnea.

Bryn Mawr Orthodontics serves its neighbors in Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, Villanova, Ardmore, Haverford, Wynnewood, Narberth, Radnor, Penn Valley, Bala Cynwyd, Merion, Wayne, and the entire Main Line.

To learn more about Bryn Mawr Orthodontics contact the office today (484-383-0055) or schedule a free consultation online.

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