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Salem, OR 97302

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Keizer, OR 97303

Teenage Braces: What is the best time, what are the best treatments, how to find the best orthodontist

Teenage Braces: What is the best time, what are the best treatments, how to find the best orthodontist

Parents want to find the best orthodontist for their children (and themselves).  The Internet has made it easy to search “best orthodontist near me.” But how can a parent or patient know if what an orthodontist recommends is the BEST for a given situation?

Evaluating claims of being the BEST is important because oftentimes, what an orthodontist presents as the best option, if it seems like a good idea to a parent or child, may in fact not be optimal for the patient.

Here are a few common practices which may not be the best for your child:

1. Are full braces better before all the teeth come in better?

Starting braces early means they come off before the 12-year molars come in and, therefore, they may never be straightened properly.

Twelve-year molars are an important part of the bite and are difficult teeth to work with because they’re in the very back of the mouth. If an orthodontist starts and finishes braces before 12-year molars come in, this saves the orthodontist lots of appointments (time) and makes the treatment much more profitable.

Not only that, parents and patients may be excited when told that it’s advantageous to complete treatment early in a student’s school career.

Dr. John believes this is false economy and that it is not good for patients. If 12-year molars come in and are not straight or do not fit well with opposing teeth, orthodontic treatment may fail, and teeth are less likely to remain straight long-term.

2. Are some retainers better than others?

There are two major types of retainers used by orthodontists to hold teeth in place after the braces come off.

(1) The traditional plastic and wire retainer.
(2) A clear plastic (Invisalign-type), vacuum-formed retainer.

The clear plastic retainers have the advantage of being clear, however they do not last nearly as long as the traditional wire retainers. Furthermore, the clear plastic retainers have a significant treatment disadvantage. Because these retainers cover the entire tooth, it prevents the teeth from settling into the natural, best possible bite. This means teeth are more likely to shift when the retainer invariably breaks or disintegrates over time.

Traditional retainers, preferred by Dr. John, have none of the disadvantages of the clear plastic retainers. In fact, Dr. John has had patients return after wearing their traditional retainer for 25 years to have the retainer adjusted.

Furthermore, it is now possible to make these retainers without a visible wire, so they are effectively invisible. This gives them all of the aesthetic benefits of clear, vacuum-formed retainers with none of the drawbacks.

3. Are there ways to make teeth move faster?

Companies are constantly claiming to have invented ways to make teeth move faster. There are devices that vibrate teeth, special lights to shine on teeth, claims that braces will have less friction and gentler movement, and even certain procedures to tweak the teeth in an effort to speed their movement.

Invariably, all of these types of procedures and tools have been shown to be ineffective at speeding up human tooth movement. Even though research has debunked all claims of accelerated tooth movement, a glance through any city’s listed orthodontists will reveal dentists or orthodontists who claim the ability to move teeth faster than their competitors.

Dr. John bases treatment and recommendations on proven methods that are in the best interest of the patient.

4. Are some treatments better than others?

There are lots of meaningless and misleading terms applied to orthodontic treatment claims. Many orthodontists, and dentists who do orthodontics, will use scientific-sounding terms to describe treatments, often claiming to provide an advantage or benefit that other orthodontists are not providing. Most of these terms have no recognized meaning in the profession of orthodontics. Terms like “face-focused orthodontics”, “airway-friendly orthodontics”, “epigenetic orthodontic appliances”, “myofunctional orthodontic treatment”, “postural orthodontics”, “expansion orthodontics”, “DNA appliance orthodontics”, and “100% extraction-free orthodontics”. These are a few of the unproven, hyperbolic types of orthodontic claims you may see advertised.

What are some other ways to find a quality orthodontist in Salem, OR?

First, look for an orthodontist who is board certified. To become board certified requires passing extensive testing, and only about 25% of orthodontists have achieved this status. Of course, Dr. John is board certified and is proud to have achieved this professional landmark.

A list of these orthodontists can be found here.

Second, in orthodontics, experience counts. Generally, orthodontists consider ten years of experience a meaningful level of achievement. Check out the orthodontist’s website to read about his or her education and experience.

Three, there’s no substitute for visiting the office, meeting the orthodontist, and getting an evaluation to find out if you’ve found the best orthodontist for you.  Because orthodontics is generally a one- or two-year process, having a good relationship with your orthodontist is important. Choose an orthodontist who you like and trust but also do your homework to check on other things mentioned in this blog.

If you would like to schedule an introductory consultation with Dr. John, call us at (503) 585-5400.