Orthodontic Q&A

About Treatment Questions

Treatment times vary depending on your age, the severity of your bite issues, your cooperation, and the degree of movement required. The average treatment lasts anywhere from 6 to 30 months or longer.
Extraction therapies involve the removal of some teeth to make room for others. Non-extraction therapies expand your jaw and file in-between the teeth (a procedure called Inter-proximal reduction) in order to help them fit within the jaw. While Dr. Nikaeen makes every effort to avoid extractions, they are required in cases of severe overcrowding.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Comprehensive or Full orthodontic treatment refer to therapies involved in the proper alignment of your teeth and jaws, and the relationship between the top and bottom teeth.

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.

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.

Early Treatment Questions

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.

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.

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.

General Questions

It is not easy to assess if your child requires orthodontic treatment. However, the following can help you determine if you should seek out further advice.

First, ask your little one to open his or her mouth so that you can examine his or her teeth. Your child may need treatment if any teeth are crooked, has narrow arches, you notice gaps between teeth, or if any teeth overlap.

Second, while biting down and flashing a nice big smile, determine if the top teeth line up with the bottom teeth. If the top teeth protrude above the bottom teeth, or the top teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth, or if the top teeth lie behind the bottom teeth, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Nikaeen as soon as possible.

Next, look at the alignment of your child’s jaw. Does the jaw shift off-center when he or she bites down? If you notice any misalignment or jaw shifting, your child may require early orthodontic intervention.

These are just some of the orthodontic problems your child may be experiencing. A free consultation will let you know more.

Orthodontic treatment has advanced in recent years. While it is true that braces can make your teeth sore for a few days, the overall process isn’t painful at all. Present day braces are smaller and more comfortable thanks to the technology used to reduce your discomfort. At Nikaeen Orthodontics, we use the latest orthodontic technology and materials to alleviate your discomfort and length of treatment. Any soreness you do feel can be alleviated with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
If caught early enough, orthodontic problems can be treated more easily than dental care required to treat problems that may develop later in life.
There are several types of malocclusions (also known as “bad bites”). For instance, your jaw could be out of alignment or you could have missing, extra, or crowded teeth. Even though malocclusions can be genetically related, there are several other factors that influence bad bites. Some bad bites can be caused by accidents, the early or late loss of baby teeth, oral habits (patients sucking on their thumb or fingers, swallowing incorrectly), and the environment also contributes to poor development of the upper and lower dental arches/teeth.
Dr. Nikaeen’s treatment may involve alternative appliances that can be used for expansion to create space in the mouth, rather than teeth removal. However, your teeth may need to be removed if it will improve long-term stability and successful orthodontic treatment. Come in for a free consultation to determine if teeth extraction is necessary.
Yes. Missing teeth cause the adjacent teeth to drift into the empty spaces. Over time, this can cause functional, aesthetic or periodontal issues. Orthodontic treatment can correct and prevent these problems so that a specialist can replace the teeth as needed.
These marks are known as “decalcification” and are limited to those patients who don’t engage in regular at-home oral hygiene practices while undergoing treatment.
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
Have other questions that aren’t listed here? Call Nikaeen Orthodontics for answers at (310) 444-1113 or email us today to schedule a free consultation. Now serving patients in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica.


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