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FAQ

Dr. Lauren Cai is a family orthodontist who believes you deserve answers as straight as the teeth of your dreams! For your convenience, we have assembled several of the most frequently asked questions about orthodontic care. Whether you have questions about braces, visiting the orthodontist, or early orthodontic care, read through our page to find your answers. If you still have questions, please call our friendly staff or stop by our Woodland office.

WHAT AGE SHOULD MY CHILD HAVE AN ORTHODONTIC EVALUATION?

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends an orthodontic screening for children by the age of 7 years. At age 7, the teeth and jaws are developed enough so that the dentist or orthodontist can see if there will be any serious bite problems in the future. Most of the time treatment is not necessary at age 7, but it gives the parents and dentist time to watch the development of the patient and decide on the best mode of treatment. When you have time on your side you can plan ahead and prevent the formation of serious problems.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT AT A YOUNG AGE?

Research has shown that serious orthodontic problems can be more easily corrected when the patient’s skeleton is still growing and flexible. By correcting the skeletal problems at a younger age, we can prepare the mouth for the eventual eruption of the permanent teeth. If the permanent teeth have adequate space to erupt, they will come in fairly straight. If the teeth erupt fairly straight, their tendency to get crooked again after braces come off is diminished significantly. After the permanent teeth have erupted, usually from age 12-14, complete braces are placed for final alignment and detailing of the bite. Thus the final stage of treatment is quicker and easier on the patient. This phase of treatment usually lasts from 12-18 months and is not started until all of the permanent teeth are erupted.

Doing orthodontic treatments in two steps provides excellent results often allowing the doctor to avoid removal of permanent teeth and jaw surgery. The treatment done when some of the baby teeth are still present is called Phase-1. The last part of treatment after all the permanent teeth have erupted is called Phase-2.

WHAT CAUSES CROOKED TEETH?

Crowded teeth, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, premature loss of baby teeth, or a poor breathing airway caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils can all contribute to poor tooth positioning. And then there are the hereditary factors. Extra teeth, large teeth, missing teeth, wide spacing, and small jaws – all can be causes of crowded teeth.

WHAT FOODS SHOULD I AVOID WITH BRACES?

Braces technology has drastically changed over the years. Depending on the specific type of braces you have, the food restrictions vary. In general, you should avoid foods that are sticky, chewy, or hard. The following foods are examples of some of (but not all) the foods that you should avoid while wearing braces:

    Sticky candy/gum
     Nuts
     Popcorn
     Ice
     Corn chips or taco shells

You can minimize the risk of damaging your braces while eating certain hard foods by avoiding biting into them with your front teeth. Cutting up fruit or meat, for example, and biting with your rear teeth would put less strain on your braces. For more specific questions pertaining to foods in your diet, contact your Woodland orthodontist, Dr. Lauren Cai.

HOW DO TEETH MOVE?

Tooth movement is a natural response to light pressure over a period of time. Pressure is applied by using a variety of orthodontic hardware (appliances), the most common being a brace or bracket attached to the teeth and connected by an archwire. Periodic changing of these archwires puts pressure on the teeth. At different stages of treatment, your child may wear a headgear, elastics, a positioner or a retainer. Most orthodontic appointments are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart to give the teeth time to move.

WILL ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT HURT?

When teeth are first moved, discomfort may result. This usually lasts about 24 to 72 hours. Patients report a lessening of pain as the treatment progresses. Pain medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) usually help relieve the pain.

VISIT YOUR WOODLAND ORTHODONTIST

Orthodontic treatment doesn’t have to be complicated. At Dr. Lauren Cai’s Orthodontics, you can relax, knowing that you are in the hands of an experienced and professional orthodontist. We want our patients to feel fully informed as they undergo orthodontic treatment, so if you still have questions that weren’t answered on this page, fill out an appointment request form, visit our office or call Dr. Lauren Cai Orthodontics at 360-425-8210. We can’t wait to answer your questions!

Dr. Lauren Cai

  • Longview Office - 870 12th Ave., Longview, WA 98632 Phone: 360-425-8210 Fax: 360-577-1605
  • Vancouver Office - 15593 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98684 Phone: 360-882-5090 Fax: 360-882-5121

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