Orthodontics FAQs

Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry dedicated to diagnosing, preventing, and correcting misalignments of the teeth and jaws. Orthodontists focus on straightening teeth, correcting bite issues, and improving overall dental aesthetics and function. They use various techniques and appliances, such as braces, aligners, and retainers, to gradually move teeth into their proper positions.

By carefully planning and customizing treatment plans for each patient, orthodontists help individuals achieve straighter smiles and optimal oral health. Their expertise extends beyond simply straightening teeth; they also address underlying structural issues to ensure long-term dental stability and overall well-being.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven, even if there are no apparent alignment issues. This early evaluation allows orthodontists to assess the growth and development of the child's teeth and jaws, detect potential problems, and determine the optimal timing for any necessary orthodontic intervention.

While not all children will require early orthodontic treatment, early evaluation provides an opportunity to monitor dental development and address any emerging issues proactively. By identifying and addressing orthodontic concerns early on, orthodontists can often achieve more favorable treatment outcomes and minimize the need for extensive interventions later in life.

Braces and aligners are versatile orthodontic treatments capable of correcting a wide range of common orthodontic problems. These include:

While not all children will require early orthodontic treatment, early evaluation provides an opportunity to monitor dental development and address any emerging issues proactively. By identifying and addressing orthodontic concerns early on, orthodontists can often achieve more favorable treatment outcomes and minimize the need for extensive interventions later in life.

  • Crooked teeth: Braces and aligners gradually shift misaligned teeth into their proper positions, improving overall dental alignment and aesthetics.
  • Overcrowding: Braces and aligners create space by gently moving teeth apart, alleviating overcrowding issues and reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Gaps between teeth: Orthodontic appliances can close gaps between teeth by moving adjacent teeth closer together, creating a more uniform and aesthetically pleasing smile.
  • Overbite: Braces and aligners can correct an overbite by moving the upper front teeth backward and the lower front teeth forward, aligning the bite and improving dental function.
  • Underbite: Orthodontic treatment can address an underbite by moving the lower teeth backward and the upper teeth forward, achieving proper alignment of the upper and lower jaws.
  • Crossbite: Braces and aligners can correct a crossbite by repositioning misaligned teeth to ensure that the upper and lower teeth meet properly when biting down.
  • Open bite: Orthodontic appliances can close an open bite by bringing the upper and lower teeth into proper alignment, allowing for improved chewing function and facial aesthetics.

By addressing these common orthodontic problems, braces, and aligners can help patients achieve straighter smiles, improved dental function, and enhanced overall oral health.

Braces work by applying continuous, gentle pressure to teeth over time, gradually shifting them into their desired positions. The braces consist of brackets, which are bonded to the teeth, and wires, which are threaded through the brackets and exert pressure to guide teeth movement. Additionally, elastic bands may be used to apply additional force to specific teeth or areas.

Orthodontists adjust the wires and bands periodically to ensure optimal progress toward straightening the teeth. As the teeth move, bone remodeling occurs around them, allowing them to settle into their new positions. This process typically takes several months to a few years, depending on the severity of the misalignment and individual treatment goals.

The Pitts 21™ Bracket is renowned for its innovative design and advanced features, making it a preferred choice in orthodontic treatment. Its unique low-profile design and rounded edges enhance patient comfort, reducing the risk of irritation and discomfort commonly associated with traditional braces. Additionally, the Pitts 21™ Bracket incorporates precision-engineered features such as proprietary torque values and optimized slot dimensions, allowing for more precise tooth movement and improved treatment outcomes. With its combination of comfort, efficiency, and precision, the Pitts 21™ Bracket offers orthodontists a superior tool for achieving optimal results and enhancing the overall patient experience during orthodontic treatment.

The duration of orthodontic treatment varies depending on several factors, including the severity of the orthodontic issues, the chosen treatment method, and individual response to treatment. On average, orthodontic treatment with braces or aligners may last anywhere from six months to two years or more.

Mild cases of misalignment or crowding may require shorter treatment times, while more complex cases involving severe malocclusions or jaw discrepancies may necessitate longer treatment durations. Additionally, patient compliance with orthodontic instructions, such as wearing rubber bands or aligners as directed, can significantly impact treatment length. The orthodontist will assess your specific orthodontic needs and provide you with an estimated treatment timeline during your initial consultation.

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment is crucial to ensure the health of your teeth and gums. Here are some tips:

  • Brushing: Brush your teeth after every meal and snack to remove food particles and plaque buildup. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and pay extra attention to brushing around brackets, wires, and gumline.
  • Flossing: Flossing is essential for cleaning between teeth and underwires. Use floss threaders, interdental brushes, or water flossers to clean between braces and around orthodontic appliances.
  • Mouthwash: Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce bacteria and prevent gum inflammation. Look for mouthwashes that are alcohol-free and specifically formulated for orthodontic patients.
  • Regular dental check-ups: Visit a dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings every six months or as recommended. Your dentist can monitor your oral health and provide professional cleanings to remove stubborn plaque and tartar.
  • Orthodontic adjustments: Attend all scheduled appointments with an orthodontist for adjustments and monitoring of your treatment progress. Follow any instructions provided by an orthodontist for wearing elastics, rubber bands, or other orthodontic appliances.

By following these oral hygiene tips and maintaining regular dental appointments, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout orthodontic treatment and achieve the best possible outcome.

After orthodontic treatment is complete, several steps are typically taken to maintain the results and ensure long-term success:

  • Retainers: An orthodontist will prescribe retainers to prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original positions. Retainers are typically worn full-time initially, then gradually transitioned to nighttime wear. It's essential to wear your retainers as directed to maintain your newly straightened smile.
  • Follow-up appointments: You will continue to have periodic follow-up appointments with the orthodontist to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your retainers. These appointments allow the orthodontist to ensure that your teeth remain properly aligned and that your bite is stable.
  • Oral hygiene maintenance: Continue to practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using mouthwash. Proper oral hygiene helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental issues that could compromise your orthodontic results.
  • Monitoring growth and development: For younger patients, especially those who undergo orthodontic treatment during adolescence, ongoing monitoring of growth and development may be necessary. The orthodontist will assess your dental and facial growth to ensure that any potential issues are addressed promptly.
  • Dental check-ups: Maintain regular dental check-ups with a dentist every six months or as recommended. They will assess your overall oral health, perform professional cleanings, and address any concerns to help you maintain a healthy smile for years to come.

By following these post-treatment steps and staying proactive about your oral health, you can enjoy the benefits of your orthodontic treatment for a lifetime. Remember to adhere to the orthodontist's recommendations and attend all follow-up appointments to preserve your beautiful smile.

In case of an orthodontic emergency, it's essential to remain calm and take appropriate action to address the issue promptly. Common orthodontic emergencies may include loose brackets or wires, broken or lost retainers, or discomfort caused by orthodontic appliances. If you experience any of these issues, contact the orthodontist as soon as possible for guidance and assistance. In the meantime, you can temporarily alleviate discomfort by using orthodontic wax to cover any protruding wires or sharp edges and taking over-the-counter pain relievers as needed. Avoid attempting to fix orthodontic appliances yourself, as this may cause further damage or prolong treatment. The orthodontist will provide specific instructions on how to address the emergency and schedule an appointment for repairs or adjustments as necessary.


1116 W Main St, Hamilton, MT 59840

Phone: (406) 363-2200

Email: office@carrollortho.com

  • MON - THU8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • FRIBy appointments only
  • SAT - SUNClosed
Contact Us

3920 US Hwy 93, Stevensville, MT 59870

Phone: (406) 363-2200

Email: office@carrollortho.com

  • MON - THU8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • FRIBy appointments only
  • SAT - SUNClosed
Contact Us