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What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the specialised branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis & treatment of problems caused by poor alignment of the teeth & jaws, and is carried out using different types of braces.

What is an Orthodontist?

An Orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has completed a further 3 years full time training on a specialist training programme that is recognised by the Dental Council. For a full list of orthodontists in Ireland, please go to the website of the Dental Council of Ireland.

What is the difference between an Orthodontist and a Specialist Orthodontist?

There is no difference. An Orthodontist is a Specialist.

Who or what is the Dental Council?

The Dental Council is the body established by the Irish State to ensure proper professional conduct and promote high standards of professional education among the dental profession. The Dental Council holds a list of all Specialist Orthodontists in Ireland.

Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialised training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalised treatments.

Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves. However, it is important that you maintain regular check-ups with your dentist throughout orthodontic treatment, and that you have had a check-up no more than six months prior your first appointment with Dr. Crotty.

At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

Dr. Crotty recommends an orthodontic screening at age 8, which is in line with accepted international standards. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition. Occasionally some short intervention is beneficial at this young age to minimise or even sometimes eliminate the need for later treatment. Even if early treatment is not needed, seeing a child at a young age allows Dr. Crotty to monitor your childʼs development and then intervene at the optimal time to provide the nicest smile.

Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

No, they will not. Beyond the age of about 10, the space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth actually decreases with age.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you feel you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an e-mail or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by Dr. Crotty who will carry out a careful examination and explain the general treatment options. It will be necessary to take photographs, X-rays and usually study models to allow us to make a proper diagnosis and to give an exact fee. To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit Page.

What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are five essential questions that we will attempt to cover during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

Dr. Crotty is reluctant to advise removal of teeth, but sometimes it is necessary to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, minimising the need for removal of teeth.

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months, but sometimes can be less than six months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.

How much will braces cost? Are financing options available?

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have carried out a comprehensive examination with full diagnostic records. We have financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these and work with you to assist you.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every five to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled five to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so please ask when picking up your child or making the next appointment.

Do braces hurt?

Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Nerofen, Paracetamol or Calpol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

Do you give shots?

No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

Is Orthodontic treatment worthwhile?

The value of a nice, healthy smile should never be underestimated!

What causes orthodontic problems?

Orthodontic problems are frequently inherited but can be exacerbated by factors such as early loss of baby teeth or sucking habits.

What problems can be corrected through Orthodontic treatment?

Overcrowded teeth are the most common reason that people seek orthodontic treatment, followed by prominent or “buck” teeth. Specialist Orthodontists are trained to address a broad spectrum of dental and facial concerns.

How do braces work?

Dr. Crotty evaluates the growth of your face and jaws, as well as the alignment of the teeth. Then, using very gentle, controlled forces, he guides teeth & supporting bone into the correct position. After treatment has finished, it will be necessary to wear some form of retainers to ensure that teeth remain in the proper place.

What is the difference between braces and retainers?

Braces can be removable or fixed in the mouth. Removable braces are sometimes mistakenly called retainers, but strictly speaking retainers are only used to keep the teeth straight after the braces have finished their work.

What are invisible braces?

“Invisible braces”, strictly speaking, do not exist. Fixed braces can be made less visible by using materials such as porcelain that match the tooth colour better or by placing them inside the teeth. A more recent development is the use of clear plastic materials that fit over the teeth but these are removable braces and, correspondingly, generally suffer from the lack of control that a fixed brace provides.

Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between check-up appointments while you are in braces.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard sweets, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and toffee). However, it is important to remember that chewing on pens and pencils, opening sport bottle tops with your teeth etc. can all damage the brace. You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by being careful and gentle with your brace all the time.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least three times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. Once the braces are fitted, you will be given instructions on how to clean them and will be given a starter-pack. We also recommend using a fluoride rinse on a daily basis.

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In some cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

What is Phase One (early) treatment?

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.

Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?

It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

Will my child need an expander?

Sometimes an “expander” is beneficial to widen the arches and provide extra space. However, not all patients will benefit from this. At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.

Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!

Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

Crotty Orthodontics