As an orthodontist, we focus on straightening teeth and transforming smiles. At our Monrovia office, we work with both adults and children, helping patients to receive the perfect smile they desire. A beautiful smile improves confidence and self-esteem. At Kathleen C. Hwang Orthodontics we are privileged to turn ordinary smiles into beautiful ones each and every day. It can be challenging to understand the difference between orthodontic options and providers. With that in mind, here are answers to commonly asked questions and what you need to know prior to beginning. We invite you to call (626) 425-9986 and ask any additional questions that you may have. You can also schedule a consultation with Dr. Hwang.
Differences Between an Orthodontist and Dentist
Why should I visit an orthodontist instead of a dentist?
An orthodontist has additional schooling and hands-on experience in straightening teeth. Also, an orthodontist must first become a dentist, so their initial education is the same. Just like a doctor must continue with the proper education to become a surgeon, a dentist must continue in order to become an orthodontist. This additional two to three years of training makes it possible for an orthodontist to solve more complex cases that go beyond moving teeth into position. As a California patient looking to straighten your teeth, we recommend that you seek treatment from an orthodontist. This way, you can benefit from working with a provider that has advanced knowledge and training.
Do I have to wear metal braces?
No, advancements in technology allow an orthodontist to offer several ways for straightening teeth. During your consultation Dr. Hwang will let you know which treatment will be best for accomplishing your smile goals. Teeth can be straightened by wearing traditional metal braces or clear aligners. You may also qualify for clear ceramic braces or wearing braces behind your teeth as a way to straighten them discretely.
What is an expander?
Some people do not need to wear braces immediately, but need their palate expanded instead. We treat patients throughout Monrovia, many of them children. A common problem that children have is baby teeth falling out too early. When they do, the other teeth start to shift out of place and can move into the position that was once held by the missing tooth. The spot taken up by the other teeth was supposed to be reserved for an adult tooth and can cause problems for the child. When the adult teeth start to come in, there will not be enough room for them. In order to treat this problem, we secure a metal expander to the roof of the mouth and slowly push outwards until the palate broadens. This creates more room for teeth so that they do not need to be pulled. If you live in Monrovia, CA, schedule a consultation to see if this is a good option for you or your child.
What is the process of straightening teeth?
As an orthodontist, there are three main areas that we must address while straightening teeth and we are highly trained in each area. Before your braces can be removed, we must first:
There needs to be enough room in your mouth for all of your teeth. Before we start moving your teeth into position, we must first ensure that your teeth have somewhere to go. As an orthodontist, Dr. Hwang will typically recommend wearing an expander in order to push your palate outwards and make room for your teeth. We can use this solution in both children and adults. If you have teeth that are impacted and need to be removed, we may refer you to an oral surgeon in the local area.
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Orthodontic Procedures to Enhance Your Smile
Once there is room in your mouth for all of your teeth, we can start the process of moving them into the correct position. At Kathleen C. Hwang Orthodontics, we offer several options for doing so. The traditional method is wearing metal braces. Technology has improved greatly over the past two decades and braces are now more convenient than ever. Both the metal brackets and wires are smaller than they used to be, which makes them more comfortable and less noticeable. Some patients may qualify to wear braces behind their teeth, while others may benefit from clear ceramic braces. Which option is best suited for your particular needs will be determined during a consultation with Dr. Hwang. If braces are not for you, we suggest that you consider wearing clear aligners. Aligners are clear plastic trays that look like a retainer. They straighten your teeth over time, just like braces would, but without changing your physical appearance. If you live in the local area, we invite you to schedule an appointment and learn more about your options.
Adjusting the Bite
As an orthodontist in Monrovia California, we do more than straighten teeth. We also move bites into alignment. A misaligned bite can create a variety of problems for the individual. Some reactions of a misaligned bite include headaches, pain in the face, a sore neck, your jaw popping while eating and a sore jaw when you wake up in the morning. It can also create TMJ symptoms. At Kathleen C. Hwang Orthodontics, we can help by moving your bite into position while straightening your teeth. This includes correcting overbites, underbites and crossbites. Dr. Hwang moves bites into position using a variety of methods including headgear and rubber bands. Rubber bands might be strung from a bracket on your top teeth to one on your bottom teeth to hold the jaw in the right position. This way, your jaw will know where it is supposed to be and gradually become accustomed to staying there. This will improve both the appearance and functionality of your mouth.
As an orthodontist, our goal is to help you to stay in optimal oral health while straightening your teeth. We will show you how to care for your braces or aligners so that you can stay cavity free while having your teeth straightened. Dr. Hwang is here to help in the Monrovia area. We welcome you to call 626-425-9986 and schedule a consultation to learn more about how an orthodontist can help you.
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