Review our FAQ page to learn more about orthodontics in Thornton, Colorado! If you have more questions, please contact Shine Orthodontics at 303-452-7777. Our team will be happy to provide more information and help you schedule a consultation with Dr. Brandon Scheer.

Who is a good candidate for orthodontic treatment?
The short answer is virtually anyone! Your teeth will always move in response to consistent force being applied to them at any age. Adults and children alike, just about anyone who would like to see improvement in the alignment of their teeth or their bite.

What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dentist who has also completed an additional two to three years of specialized education in orthodontics after dental school.

What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on straightening teeth and correcting the relation of the upper and lower teeth (referred to as the “bite”), thereby improving jaw function, airway and gum health, as well as your beautiful smile.

What are braces?
“Braces” can refer to several different types of appliances used for moving teeth. The most commonly used appliances are:

  • Metal braces
  • Clear braces
  • Invisalign® aligners
  • Lingual braces (braces hidden on the inside of your teeth)

In addition to tooth-moving appliances, some patients may need auxiliary appliances when there is a significant enough discrepancy in the shape of the jaws.

How do braces work?
Clear braces and metal braces are the combination of brackets, which are glued to the teeth, and memory wires, which engage the brackets and align the teeth. Clear and metal braces work very similarly with only minor technical differences. There is a sequence of wires that generally progresses from small and flexible to large and rigid. Each wire will move the teeth closer to their ideal orientation.

Is Invisalign® treatment a good choice for me?
Invisalign treatment can be a great choice for the right case, usually mild-to-moderate in severity. Sometimes it is hard to determine how complex your case actually is, which is why visiting an orthodontist is the best first step in determining if you are a candidate for Invisalign treatment.

How does Invisalign® treatment work?
The Invisalign company is the leading producer of an orthodontic appliance called a “clear aligner.” Clear aligner therapy differs from braces in how it works, but for mild-to-moderate cases, a similar result can be obtained. Shine Orthodontics uses the latest technology of 3D scanning to get a digital impression of your teeth, and Dr. Scheer then uses that to begin planning your treatment. Extreme care is given to the final prescribed position of the teeth, as well as the feasibility of how they are moved. An orthodontist is an absolute must for this mode of treatment because failure to take into account all aspects of how the teeth are moving relative to each other and failure to consider the inherent limitations of using plastic to move teeth will result in an appliance that does not work well. However, our orthodontist can design a system of tooth movements for you that will deliver an exceptional smile, and a healthy bite. Dr. Scheer is an advanced Invisalign provider and has completed the company’s Orthodontic Masters Program, available to only orthodontists, as well as the company’s Advanced Orthodontic Masters Program, which is only available to a select few orthodontists. After the case has been designed, you will get a series of aligners to wear for about one week each. Each aligner will move the teeth a little closer to their final position.

How do lingual braces work?
Lingual braces work very similarly to traditional braces except that the brackets are on the back side of the teeth. The word “lingual” comes from the Latin word “lingua,” which means tongue, and it refers to the surface of the teeth that is facing the tongue. Each bracket has to be custom-made for each tooth because the surface anatomy on the lingual side of the teeth has much more variation.

Do braces hurt?
Within a few hours of initially having the braces placed, the teeth will begin to become sore. The soreness will usually peak about 24 hours later and typically lasts for a total of 3 days up to a week. Typically, it is mild discomfort that can be alleviated with over-the-counter Tylenol or Advil. Luckily, we have excellent technology available to us and can deliver very low levels of force still capable of moving the teeth. The result is that braces just don’t hurt as much as they did in previous decades.

What is the best age to start orthodontic treatment?
There is no best age at which to start orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists® (AAO) recommends that a child have their first orthodontic evaluation between the ages of 7 and 8. The first reason for this recommendation is because the timing to initiate treatment is determined more by development of the teeth than by age, and there is a big difference between the two. The second reason for the AAO’s recommendation is that it allows any significant orthodontic issues to be detected and intercepted before they turn into something more serious, thus turning a potentially compromised case into an easy, predictable case.

Why are some people starting braces at a much younger age than others?
There are some orthodontic problems that may arise during a child’s development that are best treated early prior to getting all of their adult teeth. Some of these issues can negatively affect the growth and development of the jaws, and an early treatment called a Phase 1 treatment is needed. Phase 1 treatment will correct the problem in 6 to 12 months and will allow a more favorable growth pattern to follow while the child still has a lot of growth remaining. When they are older and have all of their permanent teeth, a second phase of treatment called Phase 2 treatment is indicated to finish the case to a perfect result. Typically, the amount of time wearing braces whether doing a Phase 1 followed by Phase 2 or just doing one comprehensive treatment will be about the same. The advantage of breaking up treatment into two halves like this is you can fix a bad growth pattern of the jaws early and allow future growth to normalize.

What are the reasons to do a Phase 1 treatment rather than wait?
In general, the goal of Phase 1 is to correct problems that may lead to unfavorable growth of the jaws. This is one of the reasons that the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advocates that a child have their first orthodontic evaluation when they are 7 to 8 years old. The majority of children will not need a Phase 1 treatment, and our orthodontist can help you make that decision.

Will braces interfere with school activities such as playing an instrument, singing or sports?
Having braces may require some adjustment initially but will not stop you from participating in school activities. Most musicians and singers report that they are able to perform at the same level with braces as they could without braces. If you play a contact sport, the only thing you will need is a mouth guard, which is a good idea anyway.

How will braces affect the health of my teeth and gums?
Plaque on the teeth causes all sorts of problems, such as inflammation of the gums and decay of the teeth. Having braces on the teeth makes it more difficult to clean plaque off of the teeth, and good oral hygiene is critical. There are products available, such as a Waterpik, that can help. At Shine Orthodontics, we work diligently with our patients to ensure that oral hygiene is not a problem for their orthodontic treatment.

What is TMJ/TMD?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is your jaw joint. When there are diseases of the jaw joint, it is referred to as temporomandibular dysfunction, or TMD. TMJ/TMD is a complex issue that may be made worse if the teeth don’t fit together properly. Along with straightening the teeth, making them fit together properly (i.e. fixing the “bite”) is one of the major goals of orthodontic treatment. A healthy bite helps prevent damage to your teeth throughout your life, and it also helps correct and prevent problems in the jaw joint. At Shine Orthodontics, every patient is screened for TMJ/TMD issues, and if there is an issue, we will help you correct it.

What about airway and breathing problems?
Airway and breathing problems are a hot topic in orthodontics because recent advances in technology have allowed us to study the problem in more detail than we could before. People who have inadequate airways may experience improper breathing when they sleep, which results in decreased oxygen saturation of the blood. In its most severe form, it is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). For these people, it is a major problem because it can lead to daytime sleepiness and decreased cognitive ability, stress on their relationships, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke and decreased life expectancy. At Shine Orthodontics, every patient is screened for airway and breathing problems. If a problem is detected or if you suspect that you or your child may have this problem, then our orthodontist will be a part of your team to help fix the problem. Our orthodontist can expand your upper jaw, which will allow better breathing through the nose and help change the position in which the tongue rests inside your mouth, and we may make you an appliance to wear at night to help you breathe better. Ultimately, though, you will want to see a sleep medicine specialist to manage your care. We will help point you in the right direction.

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