11620 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 440, Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 444-1113
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Invisalign, Braces, and Invisalign Teen FAQs for Los Angeles Orthodontic Patients

 

About Treatment Questions

  1. What is the length or duration of orthodontic treatment?
  2. What is the difference between extraction and non-extraction therapies?
  3. How long will treatment take?
  4. What are the different types of braces?
  5. What are lingual braces?
  6. Are there less noticeable braces?
  7. What is a retainer?
  8. What is a headgear?
  9. What is full or comprehensive orthodontic treatment?
  10. What are Phase I (Interceptive Treatment) and Phase II treatment?
  11. Does everyone need a Phase I treatment?

Early Treatment Questions

  1. How do I know if my child is in need of orthodontic treatment?
  2. At what age should my child see an orthodontist?
  3. Can I wait on Phase I/Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment until my child is older?

General Questions

  1. What are the early symptoms of orthodontic problems?
  2. Will it hurt?
  3. Is orthodontic care expensive?
  4. How are orthodontic problems corrected?
  5. Will I need to have any teeth removed?
  6. Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?
  7. Will braces leave marks on my teeth? 
  8. Can you be too old for braces?

Q: What is the length or duration of orthodontic treatment?

A: Treatment may last anywhere between 6 months to 30 months, or longer, depending on the age of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patient’s cooperation, and the degree of movement required.
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Q: What is the difference between extraction and non-extraction therapies?

A: Extraction removes some teeth to make room for the other teeth. Non-extraction therapy expands a patient’s jaw and/or adjusts the size of some teeth to make them fit within the jaw. While we make every effort to avoid extractions, they often are required for cases where there is severe crowding.
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Q: How long will treatment take?

A: Although average treatment time is about 24 months, the length varies with each patient and their age. Other factors to keep in mind are the severity of the problem; the health of your teeth, gums, and supporting bone; and how closely your follow instructions. While orthodontic treatment requires a time commitment on the part of the patient, most people feel the benefits are well worth the time invested.
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Q: What are the different types of braces?

A: Metal braces, made from stainless steel, are most popular with kids and teenagers as they love the different colors available for ligature ties. Metal braces are smaller and more comfortable than ever before.

Translucent or clear ceramic braces are very popular with adults. They’re much less noticeable than conventional metal braces. However, because the ceramic material can be abrasive to enamel, they usually can be placed only on the upper teeth. They’re also more expensive.

Invisalign is a new treatment option that utilizes clear, plastic “aligners” to move the teeth. This is a brand new treatment option that is limited only to adult patients with fairly simple orthodontic problems. Dr. Nikaeen can tell you if you’re a candidate for Invisalign braces.

Lingual braces are mounted behind a patient’s teeth and are barely visible. They were used many years ago, before the advent of more cosmetic-style braces. Generally, lingual braces are more uncomfortable than standard braces.

You may have heard of “speed braces.” Self-ligating braces, also known as “speed braces,” don’t need the elastics or metal-tie wires required for traditional braces to hold the arch wires in place. This method places less strain on the patient’s teeth and gums. Several self-ligating braces use different methods. Dr. Nikaeen offers the popular Damon Braces Therapy.
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Q: What are lingual braces?

A:Lingual braces are mounted behind a patient’s teeth. They were used many years ago, before the advent of more cosmetic types of braces. Lingual braces are rarely used anymore. Generally, lingual braces are more uncomfortable than standard braces.
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Q: Are there less noticeable braces?

A:Yes! If Dr. Nikaeen finds you are a candidate, she can use Invisalign, a state-of-the-art alternative to braces that is virtually undetectable to other people. Instead of using brackets and wires, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners.

Today’s braces are generally less noticeable than those of the past. Brackets, the part of the braces that hold the wires, are bonded to the front of the teeth. These brackets are usually metal. However, you also can request clear and less-noticeable ceramic brackets.
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Q: What is a retainer?

A: After your braces are removed, you’ll wear a retaining appliance to hold your teeth in position. Retainers are just as important as braces in the treatment plan. Dr. Nikaeen will choose the right type of retainer for your situation.

You’ll need to wear your retainer until your teeth settle into a better bite and your bones and muscles adapt to their new dental arrangement.
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Q: What is a headgear?

A: Headgear is an appliance worn mostly at night and used to reduce overbites or to correct teeth-crowding problems, primarily in growing children. Headgear occasionally is used for adults.
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Q: What is Full or Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment?

A: Comprehensive orthodontic treatment refers to therapies that involve the alignment of your teeth, how your jaw operates and how your bottom and top teeth meet.

Comprehensive orthodontic treatment is used to correct any of these problems and restore your bite to its optimum position. Treatment can begin at nearly any age and may consist of several different phases, depending on the problem being corrected and the goal of treatment. Other therapies used may include periodontal (gum) care; oral surgery (including jaw surgery or tooth extractions); and restorative treatment (crowns, bridges, fillings, implants, etc.)
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Q: What are Phase I (Interceptive Treatment) and Phase II treatment?

A: Phase I, or Interceptive Treatment, usually begins while children have most of their baby teeth and a few of their permanent front incisors. This often occurs around age seven. The goal of Phase I therapy is to treat a moderate or severe orthodontic problem early in life, so as to reduce or eliminate it. These problems include skeletal discrepancies, crossbites and crowding.

Phase I treatment takes advantage of a child’s early growth spurt and turns a difficult orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This often helps reduce the need for extractions or surgery and delivers better, long-term results and treatment options. Most Phase I patients require a second phase of treatment to achieve an ideal bite.

Phase II treatment usually occurs at a later age. Usually, it’s important to wait for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt before Phase II begins. This most commonly occurs at age 12 or 13. The goal of Phase II treatment is to achieve an ideal bite with all of the permanent teeth.
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Q: Does everyone need a Phase I treatment?

A: Absolutely not! Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most, if not all of all child’s permanent teeth erupt. However, it is important that every child be evaluated by age seven.
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Q: How do I know if my child is in need of orthodontic treatment?

A: It’s usually difficult to determine if treatment is necessary because, even when the front teeth look straight, there may be many other problems. Also, some problems that look intimidating and complex on the surface will resolve on their own. While your family dentist can provide general information, an orthodontist is your best resource. Our initial exam is complimentary. Dr. Nikaeen would be more than happy to examine your child and make any necessary recommendations.
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Q: At what age should my child see an orthodontist?

A: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends evaluating children by age seven. Difficult treatment later in life can be avoided through early detection and corrective care.
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Q: Can I wait on Phase I/Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment until my child is older?

A: Delaying treatment isn’t recommended. If your child needs Phase I treatment, it usually means they have a more complex problem that requires immediate attention. Without early orthodontic action, treatment options will become limited; more difficult; and the long-term stability of teeth may be compromised. In addition, your child may require extractions, oral surgery and increased costs in later life.
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Q: What are the early symptoms of orthodontic problems?

A: Although it can be difficult to assess if you need orthodontic therapy, the following information may help in prompting you to seek out advice.

Ask your child to open their mouth so you can examine their teeth. Your child may need orthodontic treatment if you find any sign of crooked teeth, gaps between teeth or overlapping teeth.

Ask your child to bite all the way down with their lips open. Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom teeth? Do the top teeth protrude above the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50-percent of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? All these symptoms indicate a potential orthodontic problem.

Examine your child’s jaw alignment. Does it shift off-center when he/she bites down? If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, your child may have a skeletal problem that requires early orthodontic intervention.

These are just a few of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.
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Q: Will it hurt?

A: Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule, braces make your teeth sore for a few days, but the overall process isn’t painful. Today’s braces are smaller, more comfortable and use technology that reduces discomfort. We use the latest orthodontic technology and materials to reduce your discomfort and length of treatment. You generally can alleviate any annoyances with over-the-counter pain relievers.
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Q: Is orthodontic care expensive?

A: If implemented at the proper time, treatment often is less costly than any dental care required to treat the more serious problems that may develop later in life.

Orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products. Financing usually is available and we offer many payment programs to meet your individual needs. Many insurance plans also now include orthodontics.
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Q: How are orthodontic problems corrected?

A: There are several types of malocclusions, or “bad bites.” Examples include jaws out of alignment and crowded, extra or missing teeth. Most malocclusions are genetic. Some, however, can be caused by accidents; early or late loss of baby teeth; or sucking a thumb or fingers for a prolonged period of time.
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Q: Will I need to have any teeth removed?

A: Teeth may occasionally need to be removed as part of an orthodontic treatment. Dr. Nikaeen will recommend removal only if it improves your prospects for successful treatment.
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Q: Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?

A: Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, esthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems and will also provide proper alignment for Dr. Nikaeen to replace these teeth.

Missing teeth also can make treatment more difficult. In such cases, adaptation and/or compromises of orthodontic therapy may be necessary and a modified ideal outcome may be the result.
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Q: Will braces leave marks on my teeth?

A: These marks are called “decalcification” and are strictly limited to patients who don’t maintain proper oral-hygiene practices during treatment.
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Q: Can you be too old for braces?

A: Age is not a factor. The health of your gums and the bone supporting your teeth is the most important factor. About 25-percent of Dr. Nikaeen’s orthodontic patients are adults, and that number continues to grow
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Please call us at (310) 444-1113 or send an email to schedule your free initial consultation. We serve Southern California including Los Angeles (LA), Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica.

We look forward to hearing from you!