Orthodontics

Orthodontics for Adults

Do you feel like you’re too old for orthodontics? You’re not! 

According to the AAO, 1 in 5 orthodontic patients are over the age of 21.  In fact, adult treatment is the fastest-growing part of our office—about 25% of our patients are adults!  From moms and dads who’ve watched their children’s smiles transformed by Drs. Small and Piers (and are now ready for their own beautiful smiles!) to adults concerned about the long-term health of their teeth to those who need orthodontics prior to dental work, we have treatment options to meet the needs of any adult who wants to have a winning smile.

Not into wearing your favorite sports team’s colors on traditional braces?  We get it!

We offer clear aligner treatments such as Invisalign® and Clarity™, as well as clear braces with tooth-colored ties for those who want to improve their smiles discreetly.  We even offer “champagne”-colored braces for those who want to add a little style to their smiles!  One of our mottos is “Get things straight, look good doing it”—and we’re committed to offering you the most esthetic options on the market.

Unclear on clear aligners?

Clear aligner treatment uses esthetic, nearly invisible aligners or trays paired with tooth-colored “attachments” to align your teeth gradually without metal wires or brackets.  These aligners are removable and custom-made using a 3D scan of your teeth.  You’ll switch out your aligners for a new set once every 1-2 weeks for a continuous, comfortable and discreet straightening process that continues over the course of your treatment until we’ve created your healthy new smile.  Learn more about it here!

Is there anything that could prevent the straightening of your teeth?

Again, age is not a factor—the key factor is the health of the bones and gums supporting your teeth.  We’ll conduct a thorough clinical exam and review your X-rays to make sure that you don’t have any dental or periodontal problems which would preclude or delay orthodontic treatment.  While jaw growth slows as an adult (no surprise there!), tooth movement is still possible for patients of any age.  We have transformed the smiles of countless patients in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s with both braces and Invisalign®!

Will you pay more for “clear” braces?

Not at Small and Piers Orthodontics!  Our practice includes all of our esthetic braces options in the basic fee. We want you to look and feel your best during treatment!

Can you still have orthodontic treatment if you have missing teeth?

Definitely! When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth can drift into the empty space, sometimes causing functional, esthetic or periodontal problems. Orthodontic treatment can correct these problems or prevent them from developing.  It can also position the remaining teeth so that your dentist can replace the missing teeth ideally.

Why should you be concerned about a “bad bite”?

Well, a misfit of your teeth—also known as a “bad bite” or malocclusion—can be detrimental to your dental health.  It can give rise to problems like premature tooth wear, loose teeth, gum recession, or jaw joint problems, and it can create challenges to cleaning your teeth, which is the best way to prevent cavities and gum disease. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to align your teeth and jaws for optimum appearance, function, hygiene and joint health.

Is adult orthodontic care affordable?

When orthodontic treatment is started at the proper time, it is often less costly than the dental care needed to treat the more serious problems that can develop later on from a damaging bite.  Fortunately, orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products.  The exact cost of your orthodontic care, as you might imagine, depends on you—and specifically, your teeth and bite.  We treat a wide variety of problems—from straightening single crooked teeth to positioning all of the teeth prior to the movement of both jaws with orthognathic surgery.  After your initial examination, we will review the exact costs involved with your treatment.  Financing is often available, and our office offers customized and flexible payment programs designed to meet your needs. 

Will insurance pay for adult treatment?

Today many dental policies include orthodontic benefits!  If you provide us with the necessary information, we will be happy to contact your insurance carrier for you to determine your orthodontic benefits. Our goal is to have you leave your initial consultation knowing exactly how much orthodontic treatment will cost and how much your insurance plan will cover.  Give us a call and we’ll schedule an initial examination to discuss all of your treatment and financial options at no cost!

Orthodontics for Teens

Hey, adolescence is hard enough as it is! 

We’ve all been there.  That pimple in the middle of your forehead on prom night, that voice-crack during the middle-school musical… there are some things about living through your teenage years that you just can’t control.  But having a beautiful smile that makes you feel confident no matter what?  That’s something we can help with.

Here at Small and Piers Orthodontics, we want to help teens in our community through the jungle of middle and high school—not only by offering a caring environment and a listening ear, but also by giving every one of our patients a smile that makes them feel like a rock star.  This mission is personal!  Dr. Piers’ front teeth stuck out so far in middle school that he couldn’t close his lips, and orthodontic treatment changed his life.  No kidding.  He went from being afraid to talk to anyone to… well… you’ll see how things have changed.  (Maybe he could stand to talk to people just a TINY bit less.)  Our goal is to have the same impact in the lives of all of our teens.

So why is orthodontic treatment during the teen years so popular?  

Teens are often entering their “adolescent growth spurt”—that time when they start growing out of all their clothes and shoes—and often have most or all of their permanent teeth erupted.  This makes adolescence a perfect time for comprehensive orthodontic treatment.  Tooth movement is quick and efficient for most teens, and having all the teeth in the mouth allows us to position all of the teeth ideally. More importantly, the growth spurt in height corresponds closely with the growth spurt in the jaws, which gives us the opportunity to modify jaw growth, if needed.  (The fancy orthodontic term for modifying growth of the jaws is “dentofacial orthopedics,” and Drs. Small and Piers are both specialists in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.)  All of this together makes the early teen years the perfect time for both comprehensive and “Phase 2” orthodontic treatment (if a patient has already had pediatric or “Phase 1” treatment with our practice).

What are the options for teen treatment?

While we find that lots of our teen patients are interested in metal braces so they can match their color ties with school colors or with their friends, we also find that “clear” or ceramic braces are popular with our older teens.  We’re also proud to offer Invisalign® Teen for our adolescent patients who want a discreet way to straighten their teeth or who don’t want to give up their favorite crunchy and sticky foods!  If you’re interested in any of these options or are just wondering which one might be best for your teen, give us a call so that we can schedule a no-cost examination to talk about ways to achieve that beautiful new smile.

Orthodontics for Children

Sometimes there is a need for a child as young as seven or eight years old to be treated by an orthodontist. 

Pediatric orthodontic treatment, also known as “early” or “Phase I” orthodontics, can be the best way to ensure that your child takes the easiest (and most affordable) path to a beautiful smile.

Says who?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child’s first visit to the orthodontist should occur by age seven. 

This may surprise you, because lots of permanent teeth still haven’t erupted by that age, and we often associate orthodontic treatment with the teen years.  But this is actually an ideal time to treat certain types of orthodontic problems, including underbites, crossbites, shifts in the bite, teeth that are in danger of becoming impacted, and many other issues, because the teeth and jaws are still developing.  If your child is being bullied for the appearance of their teeth, this is also a good time to think about straightening the front teeth to improve your child’s social experience at school.

But wouldn’t it just be cheaper to wait until adolescence to correct all the problems at once?

Great question!  Early or Phase I treatment is almost always done to correct certain issues that will minimize the need for more costly, lengthy, invasive and uncomfortable treatment at a later date, such as extraction of permanent teeth, surgery to expose impacted teeth or orthognathic (jaw) surgery.  Our experience is that performing Phase I treatment, when it is needed, saves parents money in the long run.  It also helps patients to avoid the discomfort of more invasive treatments later.  The only exception to this rule is if early treatment is desired for esthetic reasons only.  We are always happy to improve a child’s smile upon request, but our pledge to you is that we’ll always make the distinction between early treatment that is “needed” and early treatment that is optional.

What if I’m pretty sure that my child doesn’t need orthodontics right now?

Chances are you’re right!  While most of our patients do not require early treatment, the initial examination allows us to ensure that any needed treatment is able to begin at the optimal time (whether that’s soon or much, much later).  This is really important, because some treatment options are no longer an option for older children after certain stages of growth and development are completed.  As certain sutures between bones in the jaw close and solidify, for example, we are no longer able to modify growth of the bones and are only able to move the teeth.  This can commit patients to more costly, complicated, lengthy, and invasive adjunctive treatments. 

Most importantly, recognizing an orthodontic problem at an early age does not always mean early treatment!  After evaluating your child, we may just want to check your child’s development periodically while the permanent teeth are erupting, and the jaws and face continue to grow. In the interest of prevention, we are happy to offer both the initial examination and all follow-up observation visits free of charge!

So what are some signs that early orthodontic treatment is needed?

The following signs may indicate that your child could benefit from early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger sucking
  • Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth
  • Jaws that shift or make sounds
  • Crossbites
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or into the roof of the mouth
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry
  • Lower jaws that protrude or upper jaws that retrude (underbites)
  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth

If you see or suspect any of these issues with your child’s smile, or you’d just like a check-up for some peace of mind, give our office a call and we’ll schedule you for a free consultation. We’ll take some x-rays or pictures, and then you’ll meet with one of our doctors to discuss your child’s smile at no cost.

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