Embrace Orthodontics Answers Your Common Orthodontic Questions
New to braces? Dr. Li can help. Get answers to the most common orthodontic questions in Ann Arbor.
If you don't see your question listed, always feel free to call our office, and our helpful team members can answer all your questions.
Answers to Common Questions
Selecting an orthodontist in Ann Arbor who can help you achieve your smile dreams is important.
Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities.
This means they're better qualified to give you the smile of your dreams than you could get from aligners in the mail.
An orthodontist has to be a dentist first. After completing dental school and dental board exams to become a dentist, an orthodontist needs to complete additional 2-3 years of advanced training at a CODA-accredited orthodontic program.
They’ll learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and dentofacial structural changes during orthodontic treatment.
Since teeth and sometimes facial structures are permanently altered by orthodontic treatment, seeking treatment with an orthodontist will ensure appropriate care is provided, and the best results are achieved.
Dr. Li from Embrace Orthodontics has achieved this specialization and is an active member of AAO.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends every child to be checked by an orthodontist no later than age 7.
Although it may seem early, it is a great age to evaluate the bite and available space for future adult teeth. By this age, most children have several permanent teeth that have erupted, letting us evaluate their orthodontic needs.
When discovered early enough, certain simple things can be done to prevent future problems and avoid much more complicated treatment later on.
A board-certified orthodontist is an orthodontist who has voluntarily and successfully passed the certification process administered by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO).
ABO the only orthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists.
When an orthodontist completes board-certification, they demonstrate a commitment to providing the highest standard of patient care and treatment.
Dr. Li is a board-certified orthodontist who is committed to providing you the highest quality of patient care with the latest technology and her most contemporary clinical skills.
Absolutely! No one is ever too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment. In fact, 20-25% of orthodontic patients seeking orthodontic treatment nowadays are adults.
If metal braces don’t seem appealing to you, we have clear braces or Invisalign aligners to make your treatment more esthetically and socially acceptable to you!
Everyone is different. Treatment time varies based on the severity of the malocclusion that needs corrected, growth rate during treatment, and patient compliance.
Treatment time typically ranges from 6-30 months, with an average of 22 months. If you want to finish your treatment sooner, be sure to do your part!
The cost of orthodontic treatment depends on many factors, including the severity of the problem, how complex the problem is, and how long treatment lasts.
Dr. Li will be glad to discuss the cost of treatment and your financing options with you before treatment begins.
The good news is that braces are more affordable today than ever. Our staff also works with insurance companies and offers payment plans that meet your family’s budget.
Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems.
Other oral problems are caused by thumb- or finger-sucking, dental disease, accidents, the early or late loss of baby teeth, or other causes.
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain.
A bad bite can wear down teeth, make it hard to chew and talk and create stress on supporting bone and gum tissue.
Without treatment, many problems become worse and can require additional dental care later in life.
Orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the doctor and patient.
Dr. Li provides custom-made fixed or removable appliances that use gentle pressure to move teeth into their proper positions.
Your job is to follow your orthodontist’s instructions, keep scheduled orthodontic appointments, and maintain excellent oral hygiene to get the best results.
You will also need to see your general dentist as recommended to continue your general dental care.
If you notice an unwanted change in your smile or bite, contact us for a free consultation.
You might need an orthodontic tune-up to regain proper alignment.
Not necessarily. Research suggests there is NO correlation between the wisdom teeth (3rd molars) coming in and lower front teeth becoming crooked.
However, evidence showed the relationship between (late) lower jaw growth and lower front teeth crowding. In any case, if you had orthodontic treatment, your teeth will remain straight for a lifetime as long as you wear your retainer as directed.
We cannot stress enough the importance of retainer compliance!
In most cases, wisdom teeth are removed for general dental health reasons rather than for orthodontic health.
Your family dentist or Dr. Li can help determine whether or not your wisdom teeth need to be removed.
Dr. Li will recommend how long to continue wearing your retainers, whether they are removable (the kind you put in and take out) or fixed (bonded behind your teeth).
Wearing your retainers as prescribed is the best way to keep your teeth from moving after your orthodontic treatment.
There are many reasons teeth may move following orthodontic treatment. Teeth are not set in concrete, they’re in bone.
Because the bone around your teeth is continually changing (breaking down and rebuilding), your teeth may shift after your braces are removed.
By wearing your retainers, your teeth are more likely to remain where Dr. Li has placed them through braces treatment.
The small changes that happen after braces are removed are due to settling in as you use your teeth for biting and chewing.
The more serious and unwanted changes may be traced to genetics or later-than-normal growth, which is unpredictable.
Movement is most common in lower front teeth. This is particularly true if the teeth were extremely crowded before treatment. Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon.
The best way to keep your teeth from shifting is to wear your retainers as prescribed. If you notice movement after your braces are removed, please contact Embrace Orthodontics.
At Embrace Orthodontics, you will be evaluated by Dr. Li during the free consultation. You’ll only start treatment if you absolutely need it.
Therefore, in many cases, children may not be ready for treatment yet. Your child will be placed in our observation program and be seen periodically by Dr. Li until she/he is at the ideal time to start treatment.
Phase one, or early treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment usually between the ages of 6-10 before all adult teeth come in.
These may be recommended when kids present with severe crowding, overbite, underbite, deep/impinging bite, anterior or posterior crossbite, or harmful oral habits.
When done properly at the ideal time, phase-one treatment may help avoid a much more complicated treatment later on.
Phase-two, also known as comprehensive treatment, involves full braces (or aligners) when all of the adult teeth have come in. It usually takes place between the ages of 11-14, or later in life.
The fact is that throughout your lifetime, even though you have had orthodontic treatment, you can expect changes in tooth position.
Many factors at work may cause teeth to shift. Such changes are different for everyone, and most of the time, they are hardly noticeable.
However, on occasion, changes can occur that are disappointing to both the patient and Dr. Li. Changes in tooth position are not a failure of your orthodontic treatment.
They are a natural process. We expect changes in our bodies as we grow older, and teeth are no exception.
To help control and limit these changes, retainers are prescribed after your braces are removed.
No. Retainers stabilize and preserve the alignment of teeth and jaws that orthodontic treatment achieved.
Many people wear removable retainers nightly for the rest of their lives. Ask your orthodontist for guidance about your long-term retainer use.
You should be able to enjoy participating in extracurricular activities with braces. If you are involved in contact sports, wear a mouthguard designed to fit over braces to protect your teeth and mouth from potential trauma and irritation and prevent damage to braces.
You may find a period of initial adjustment while playing a musical instrument or singing once you have braces, but you will soon learn how to manage that with little to no problem.
*Some Text Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists