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Orthodontist vs. Direct-to-Consumer Braces: What You Need To Know

July 21st, 2021

You’ve probably seen the ads on TV, Instagram, and Facebook for companies offering mail-order aligners and claiming to achieve the same results as orthodontics at much lower fees. There are many questions that come to mind when evaluating a company like this. Will there be fees for visits with a general dentist to obtain X-rays and monitor care? Will you need any dental care prior to starting treatment? Will you ever be seen by a professional in person during treatment? Will your bite get worse during treatment? How will you ensure treatment is progressing well? Here are some more factors to consider!

Choosing expert providers

Who provides your care? When you go to an orthodontist, you can trust their expertise. An orthodontist must complete all the schooling required to become a dentist PLUS two to three years of additional training focused on tooth movement and jaw alignment. Only about 6% of dentists are orthodontists. This process takes over 5,000 hours of specialty training. Experts, like Dr. Hutta and Dr. Price, don’t stop there. With continuing education and a commitment to providing the best services and technologies, specialists deliver top-notch, personalized care that you can rely on.

Direct-to-consumer companies typically have fewer orthodontists on staff and more general dentists. General dentists have less experience and training when it comes to delivering orthodontic care. Some companies are not transparent about which doctor is overseeing your care. Make sure you know who your doctor is and research their background, credentials, and check patient reviews before beginning treatment.

Treatment options

Everyone has different treatment needs, and it takes a thorough in-person exam to fully assess how to work with your teeth, jaw, and goals to create your healthiest smile. Orthodontists personally examine your teeth and communicate directly about your needs and desires—before creating your custom plan. They use digital photos, X-rays, and models; perform a thorough clinical exam; and review your medical history carefully to determine any underlying issues. After evaluating your health, smile anatomy, and orthodontic needs, they can direct you toward treatment options, such as braces, clear aligners, or other appliances, to help aid growth and development. As you progress through treatment, orthodontists use in-person visits to monitor your progress and make adjustments when needed.

Direct-to-consumer companies offer one option—plastic aligners. Since they only have one choice for consumers, they may not direct a patient toward treatment that would lead them away from their services, even if braces are a better option. The aligners can be bulky and uncomfortable if the patient chooses to take their own impression. Plus, it’s rare that your provider would perform a clinical exam or in-person visit, both of which are necessary for reviewing not only the treatment progress, but also your health. The bulk of the work is on your shoulders to confirm that you are healthy enough for treatment, something that should require the opinion of an expert.

Auxiliaries

Part of the marketing for direct-to-consumer aligners suggests that they provide the same product you would get from an orthodontist. However, there are a number of differences between the products and services. When our experts treat a smile with Invisalign® or Smile Envy 3D, they use a variety of tools to deliver a healthy bite and aligned teeth—not just aligners. In order to orthodontically move teeth in all dimensions, tooth-colored attachments (bumps) may be needed. These function like brackets, helping the aligners grip and effectively move teeth. In addition, some bite problems require small elastics. These are worn on hooks that are bonded to teeth. To fix issues related to tooth size discrepancies, it is sometimes necessary to reshape teeth for an ideal bite. None of these things can be sent through the mail or addressed without in-person visits with an expert.

Direct-to-consumer companies only provide plastic aligners without the other necessary items typically needed for comprehensive and safe treatment. Without attachments, aligners can slip off teeth or fail to move a tooth properly. Without elastics or reshaping, a patient’s bite might worsen or not improve.

See our experts!

If you are interested in orthodontics, come see us today! Schedule a complimentary first consultation. Call us directly at (614) 855-8800, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions, get you scheduled, and help you on your smile journey. Every patient has different needs, and we will work carefully at your side to deliver safe, effective, and comfortable treatment that accommodates your lifestyle—whether with clear or metal braces, Invisalign, or an orthodontic touch-up.

Are Braces Painful?

June 18th, 2021

When people think about braces, they often imagine clunky headgear, a mouth full of metal, and some pain. However, while braces in the past may have been like this, at Hutta & Price Orthodontics, our experts provide treatment options that will have you smiling from start to finish! Read on to learn more about what braces feel like, how to enjoy a comfortable pain-free experience, and discover what kinds of oral pain you should never ignore.

Are braces pain free or painful?

What words do you associate with braces: pain, teenager, headgear? Much to our patients’ relief, it’s time to reimagine what you know about braces! These days, transforming your smile is comfortable, possible for patients of all ages, and is convenient and discreet. You can enjoy the incredible results of your braces, pain free! Though there is an adjustment period with new braces, treatment does not cause pain. Instead, anticipate some minor discomfort that goes away within a few days—like sore muscles after a good workout!

So, what causes this soreness?

Many assume that braces work by pushing teeth into new positions. But it’s more complicated than that! Braces apply constant, gentle pressure to reshape your bones. This controlled pressure signals to your bone to break down and rebuild itself on a cellular level, allowing the teeth to move into place. While breaking down and building up bones may sound scary, in the hands of an expert orthodontist, braces are safe and comfortable.

Appliances, like a palatal expander, work similarly. These appliances strategically apply gentle pressure to influence a child’s growth and development. By working with a child’s natural growth cycle, our orthodontists can promote a wide, healthy dental arch using this appliance.

Though braces and aligners work in the same basic way, they do have differences. With self-ligating braces, slide mechanisms—rather than elastic ligatures—apply constant pressure on the archwires as they work to gradually transform your smile. With aligners, like Invisalign®, patients will feel the most pressure on their teeth at the start of new trays.

Why you should visit an expert orthodontist

Because braces and orthodontic treatment impact your bone, jaw, and teeth, it is important that you visit an expert orthodontist for your smile needs. A skilled orthodontist, like Dr. Hutta or Dr. Price, can ensure that every part of your transformation is healthy and safe. Without having your treatment medically reviewed and monitored by an expert, you can risk pain, damage, and a less-than-perfect result.

Another reason to visit a skilled orthodontist is to make sure you receive the most advanced techniques and care. Because the orthodontic field is rapidly evolving, our team is dedicated to remaining cutting edge. Continuing education ensures that every treatment, technique, and technology is the very best. Our office combines the ever-evolving world of braces and teeth with decades of experience to customize your treatment to meet your needs. For instance, self-ligating braces in the hands of our experts make smile transformations more comfortable and hygienic. Plus, we have a variety of in-house diagnostic tools as well as technologies that provide patients cutting-edge care—without relying on outside lab providers.

Your first week with braces

After getting braces, aligners, or other appliances, you may feel some discomfort with your teeth and gums. However, soon you won’t even notice that you are wearing braces!

Sore teeth tips

When you first get braces or an appliance, you may feel a little sore. This is normal, and fortunately, you will feel relief from any soreness within a few hours or days. On that first day of braces, do expect some soreness.

We recommend swishing with saltwater to reduce inflammation and ease any minor discomfort. If needed, use an over-the-counter pain reliever, like TYLENOL®. However, steer clear of ibuprofen since that can slow down your orthodontic treatment. During the first few days with braces or a new set of aligners, biting into firmer foods, like meat sandwiches, may be uncomfortable. Instead, try ultrasoft foods, like soup, ice cream, or macaroni and cheese.

Types of discomfort you shouldn’t ignore

Outside of mild soreness, braces should be comfortable. Some patients may face discomfort related to issues like a poking wire, an orthodontic emergency, or a tight retainer. If this sounds like you, do not ignore your problem. Here are some common sources of discomfort or pain and some solutions:

  • Fixable discomfort: Don’t ignore painful problems that you can easily fix! Have a poking wire? Carefully clip it and cover it with wax. Is an Invisalign or Smile Envy 3D tray digging into your gums? Let us know, and we can help. Is a bracket rubbing your cheek? This will go away with time. Until the skin toughens up, cover it with wax.
  • Orthodontic emergencies: True emergencies are rare—but should never be ignored. If you are hit in the mouth, it can lead to severe injuries, broken appliances, and pain. Always seek the help of your general dentist and our orthodontists if you have an oral injury. Did you bite into a forbidden braces food and damage your appliances? Though a lesser emergency, you will still need to book an appointment to fix the problem, replace your bent wire, or reglue the broken bracket.
  • Cavities or gum disease: You may not consider them emergencies; however, these are always serious concerns. Oftentimes, patients have a more challenging time maintaining proper oral hygiene during treatment with braces. If you are dealing with any oral pain or discomfort, visit your dentist to identify and treat the problem.
  • Pain from noncompliance: Aligners like Invisalign as well as retainers should fit snugly and comfortably—as long as you follow our instructions. However, if you have been noncompliant, be up front with our team. Forcing teeth into trays or retainers once your teeth have shifted out of place is never a good idea. Doing this can make teeth move too quickly and leave you with damage and pain.

A lifelong, healthy smile

To prevent any oral pain during treatment, keep your smile safe, clean, and healthy! Dental hygiene is crucial to protect your teeth and avoid painful cavities or problems with your gums. Make sure to be extra vigilant while taking care of your teeth when you have braces, particularly after eating. Skip non-braces-friendly foods that are sticky, hard, or chewy. Avoiding these types of foods, such as popcorn or gum, while having braces will help you avoid cavities, gum disease, and staining. Always wear a mouthguard when playing sports, and always follow our instructions to keep your teeth on track—whether it’s your first day with braces or years down the line when you wear your retainer.

Book your orthodontic appointment today!

Ready to begin your orthodontic journey? A complimentary initial consultation is at your fingertips! Just fill out our quick online form and we will be in contact soon, ready to help you get started with appointments that work for your schedule. If you have any questions, feel free to call us directly at (614) 855-8800. We want to know your goals for your teeth and work with you for your orthodontic needs.

Complete your virtual consultation

Is your schedule jam-packed? No need to worry! With our virtual orthodontic consultations, you can get started on improving your orthodontic health from home. In just three easy steps from our website’s virtual consult tab, we can help you with your treatment goals.

We will ask you some quick questions about you and your preferences. Then with just a few pictures of your teeth, our experts can create your custom braces or aligner treatment plan. Next, we will contact you so you can review your plan alongside one of our accomplished orthodontists. Whether your first visit for braces or aligners is online or in person, you can always expect the same precise, personalized, and thorough orthodontics experience.

When is a Good Age for Braces?

May 7th, 2021

In the past, braces have been associated with teenage years. However, a trip to the orthodontist is suitable for people of all ages—whether you are a 7-year-old child or a 70-year-old patient! Today, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about orthodontic treatment based on your age.

What is the best age for braces?

Teeth, jaws, and bites can be improved at any age. And there are clear benefits for doing so—no matter how old or young you are. Some of these benefits are…

- To improve dental health

- To reduce pain or discomfort

- To help with teeth function, like speaking or chewing

- To boost confidence

- To optimally position each tooth and your bite

While everyone at every age can benefit from a trip to the orthodontist, if you have a child, we do recommend bringing them in early.

Teeth over time

Over time, the teeth and jaw undergo changes—for children and adults. For a child, these changes include transitioning from baby to adult teeth and completing jaw growth. Without intervention, teeth may become crowded, misaligned, or uncomfortable. Getting braces or appliances as a child can promote a lifetime of better dental health and prevent many of these problems from arising.

If you are an older age and have never visited an orthodontist, choosing braces or aligners also can prevent future issues. For adults, the jawbones continue to narrow with age. This can cause teeth to migrate and become more crowded or misaligned, leading to poor dental hygiene, discomfort, and issues with the bite.

Getting treatment as a child

Wondering when to bring in your child? According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the best age for a child to visit the orthodontist is 7. This may seem young to some parents. However, orthodontic care has evolved tremendously in recent years, allowing an orthodontist to intervene preventatively for your child’s comfort and dental health.

Even if your pediatric dentist does not notice a problem with your child’s teeth or bite yet, it is still a good idea to book an appointment with an orthodontist. At that age, an orthodontist has the extensive training to spot problems and even prevent some from developing. We offer a complimentary program called Growin’ Grinz in our office, where we monitor your child’s dental development and provide checkups. Your child will love Growin’ Grinz’s free events and swag bags; you’ll love knowing that their teeth, jaw, and dental hygiene are set up for success!

Interceptive orthodontic treatment

With advanced imaging and thorough, comprehensive care, Dr. Hutta and Dr. Price can identify potential problems before they worsen or develop. If your child is a good candidate, interceptive treatment may be an option. While kids are still growing, we can help influence jaw, palatal, and facial growth to set up your child for success. Using appliances like braces or palatal expanders, an expert orthodontist can expand the dental arch, improve the airway, prevent adult teeth from crowding, and reduce the chances that your child will need extractions.

Teenagers and braces

Teenagers want a gorgeous, healthy smile—without treatment slowing them down or standing out on their teeth. In the hands of our expert orthodontists, braces are less noticeable and work more efficiently and comfortably. Depending on the needs of your teen child, clear aligners may be an option.

Invisalign® for teenagers

In the age of social media and selfies, your teen may be self-conscious about braces. For teens who want the most discreet transformation, Invisalign may be right for them. These trays fit perfectly to teeth and gradually transform smiles—tray by tray. However, since they are removable, they do require extra compliance.

Because life is busy, if teens begin to get noncompliant with their aligner wear time, we intervene—before it negatively impacts their teeth. Invisalign for teens comes with blue indicators to help us monitor their progress. As long as your child wears their aligners for 20 or more hours a day, those indicators will fade away. This allows Dr. Hutta and Dr. Price to see how well your teenager is doing with compliance and help them get back on track if needed.

Orthodontic care at an older age

Whether you have never been to an orthodontist before or if you didn’t wear your retainer as a child, it is never too late to seek an orthodontist’s help. Aligned teeth and bites aren’t just cosmetic concerns; they also impact your dental health and overall wellness. For instance, teeth that are crooked may be more difficult to clean, while a misaligned jaw can lead to painful TMJ problems.

Traditional braces aren’t an option

In our office, you won’t get the clunky, painful traditional braces of the past. These days, adults have more—and better—options than ever before! If you had braces years ago as a child, you’ll be thrilled with Dr. Hutta’s and Dr. Price’s modern techniques and technologies.

Our orthodontists use Damon self-ligating technology and create custom-fitted parts with Insignia software to ensure you have a one-of-a-kind transformation at any age. These braces are more efficient, comfortable, and discreet than braces of the past. They even come in clear! In addition, our experts can also use Invisalign or Smile Envy 3D aligners to improve dental hygiene, align teeth, and provide a cosmetic boost. Since they are removable, both options are free from the small lifestyle changes that come with braces.

After evaluating your needs, dental health, and aesthetic goals, Dr. Hutta and Dr. Price will create the perfect plan for you, whether it involves aligners or braces. To help us do our job, be open, honest, and communicative with your orthodontist. We are here to support you and your goals—without any judgment!

Smile rules for every age 

Whether you receive braces as a child or as an adult, there are still several rules that apply to every patient. Firstly, set realistic goals. Braces or aligners will absolutely transform your health and aesthetics—but they cannot whiten teeth, change the shape of your teeth, or fix certain cosmetic issues, like chipping. Those are cosmetic dentistry concerns for general dentists. If you are a parent who wants to get braces, don’t expect your plan to be like your child’s—children and adults may have different treatment options. Besides, no two plans are ever identical!

Next, you will need to follow Dr. Hutta’s and Dr. Price’s instructions during every step of your journey. Braces and aligners require compliance to move teeth precisely and healthily. This includes wearing your retainer and avoiding certain foods. No matter your age, maintaining dental hygiene is key for an efficient, cavity-free treatment. If your child has braces, be their biggest cheerleader. Choose braces- and child-friendly foods at home, book them dental appointments and check-ins with their orthodontist, and give them the encouragement they need to succeed.

No matter your age—take a trip to the orthodontist!

Ready to transform your confidence, teeth, and health with braces or aligners? Get started today by calling our team to set up your complimentary consultation for yourself or your child. By choosing an expert orthodontist, like Dr. Hutta or Dr. Price, you can set up your healthiest future!

Not ready for the office? Get your virtual consult

Interested in improving your health—but too busy with kids, work, or school to book that appointment? For your convenience, we offer virtual consults. Just visit our website, select virtual consult, and take a few pictures of your teeth and bite. We’ll ask for your preferences and goals. Then, we’ll devise the perfect braces or aligner treatment plan for you. After we’ve customized your treatment, we’ll contact you to review the plan with one of our expert orthodontists. There are never any strings attached!

April Fools! Busting Braces Myths

April 8th, 2021

Beginning orthodontic treatment can be a big change in your life. You may even be researching how to prepare yourself for this journey. If you are getting ready to transform your smile, don’t believe everything you read! We’re breaking down popular braces and aligner myths so you won’t get fooled this April or beyond.

Myth 1: I can’t play contact sports with braces.

This is a common misconception based on the belief that braces and sports can lead to dental injuries. While not wearing oral protection with braces is very dangerous, if you wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports, you can enjoy sports and a safe smile. If you need help finding a mouthguard that works with your braces, talk to our team!

Myth 2: Braces make it hard to eat good food.

The range of foods you can eat with braces is slightly limited. But, you’d be surprised how many of your favorite items are braces friendly! During treatment, do avoid sticky foods, as these can pull and bend wires, and hard foods that may pop off a bracket. These rules also apply to candies. With a recent visit from the Easter Bunny, be sure to avoid PEEPS® or lollipops. But feel free to say “yes” to that chocolate bunny!

Myth 3: I’m too old for orthodontics.

There is no one who is too old to get orthodontic treatment! Treatment is just as effective for adults as it is for children. If you choose braces or aligners as an adult, you will enjoy many benefits—everything from an improved bite and a more aesthetic smile to reduced TMJ dysfunction and easier-to-maintain oral hygiene. No matter your age, Drs. Hutta and Price can deliver confidence and health through expert orthodontic care.

Myth 4: Braces and aligners are very painful.

These days, orthodontic treatment is more comfortable than ever! While you may feel minor soreness or pressure at first, treatment will eventually feel so natural that you will forget you are wearing braces or aligners at all.

Myth 5: I will get a cavity if I have braces.

Having braces adds extra nooks, crannies, and hard-to-clean areas. However, with proper at-home oral hygiene habits, good brushing techniques, and excellent flossing, you can keep your smile healthy. For extra protection, make sure you regularly visit your dentist for thorough cleanings. As long as you follow our team’s instructions, you can enjoy a healthy and cavity-free smile transformation.

With these myths busted, we hope you are excited about your orthodontic journey. Braces are a life change, but they are so worth it! And remember, if you have any questions about your braces, contact our team for all the information you need. Following inaccurate advice can lead to damage, tooth problems, and extra visits to your orthodontist or dentist. Better safe than sorry!

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