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Bandeen Orthodontics

8865 Professional Drive Cadillac, MI 49601 Phone: 1-231-876-2530

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Braces 101

     Questions about braces

  When is the best time to begin orthodontic treatment?


This is a question that is often asked of me by parents, especially as they see other young children in orthodontic appliances.  My specialty training in orthodontics at The University of Michigan places emphasis both on early treatment (7 to 10 years of age) as well as treatment occurring later with all of the permanent teeth present.


Our Answer


I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to treat numerous patients with both techniques and then review them in the following areas: finished results, duration of treatment, number of appointments, cooperation and patient motivation/enthusiasm.  Combining this information with new wire and appliances technology, I have concluded that for the vast majority (approx. 80%) of young patients, it is best to delay treatment until most, if not all, the permanent teeth are in.


The Reasons


The following is a list of the 4 major advantages and benefits of waiting...


1.)  Decreased time in braces and fewer appointments.  This results in:

         a.)  less chance of enamel decalcification and root shortening

         b.)  less time absent from school or work

         c.)  less opportunity for broken brackets

         d.)  less incidence of patient burnout


2.)  Bone growth is occurring more rapidly during the early adolescent years, which also increases treatment effectiveness.


3.)  Understanding and cooperation are better when a child is more mature.


4.) Completing treatment in one phase is less costly than a prolonged two phase program.  During these hard economic times it is the wise choice to make.


The most optimal time to realize these benefits will vary somewhat with the individual child, but for most children it is usually between the ages of 11 and 12 1/2 .  Orthodontic treatment will usually result in braces being on for 18 to 22 months, instead of 3 to 4 years or more.





There are a few orthodontic conditions that do warrant a brief period of early treatment.

These are:


1.)  Most cross-bites

2.)  An under-bite condition

3.)  Space maintenance for early loss of primary (baby)teeth

4.)  Excessive crowding with blocked out teeth


Additionally, if a patient is suffering psychologically or socially from crooked upper front teeth, a brief period (usually 6 months) of partial braces can improve both the smile and a young child's self-image dramatically.  Though full braces will typically be needed when all the teeth erupt.  I do feel that this too is a valid reason for early treatment.


Parting Words


Needless to say, the timing of orthodontic treatment is an important issue that can make orthodontics a rewarding and enjoyable experience or one that is prolonged and tedious.  Our supervision program is set up to allow us to evaluate the patient's dental and overall development on a regular basis in order to begin orthodontic therapy at the appropriate time.


I hope that your child's examination visit and this information will give you both a good orthodontic background knowledge and a positive introduction to Bandeen Orthodontics of Cadillac.   Additionally, I hope you can see that waiting and watching is very often the "best treatment" during the early years.


Please feel free to contact our office. We can assist you with all of your questions. 


Initial examinations, including a digital panographic

x-ray and digital photographs are done at no charge.


Come and find out about us. 

We are sure that you will agree that this is 

the place to be!!  



Eating with Braces
What can you eat? Let's talk about what you shouldn't eat! If you've been wanting to drop a few pounds, the first week wearing braces is just your chance! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. You'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.


Foods to Avoid
     Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice 

Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips 

Sticky foods: caramels, gum 
Hard foods: nuts, candy
Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces.

 Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.


General Soreness
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!

Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions.

Loose Wire or Band
Don't be alarmed if a wire or brace comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.

Care of Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.

If you play sports, it's important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouthguard is advised for playing contact sports. Our office will provide you with an athletic mouthguard at no charge.  In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.

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