Offices in Temecula and Lake Elsinore — (951) 699-8011
Payment Options, if QualifiedSchedule a Consultation
Temecula and Lake Elsinore - (951) 699-8011

Frequently Asked Questions About an Orthodontist

Finding the Best Orthodontist in Temecula

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

Orthodontists are dentists that have expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, and correction of teeth and jaws that are uneven, overcrowded, or malformed.

Orthodontic specialists have the goal of aligning teeth and jaws in order to provide the patient with a healthy, straightened smile.  While the most well-known work of orthodontists includes the application of braces to treat crooked teeth, their work encompasses much more.

Orthodontists are trained in being able to perform all of the following:

  • Application of fixed or removable mouth or facial appliances, such as braces, expanders, space maintainers, and clear aligners (Invisalign)
  • Correction of malocclusions (overbite, underbite, crossbite, etc.)
  • Adjustment of the jaw size mismatches
  • Correction of gapped or crooked teeth
  • Improvement of oral issues related to speech, chewing, or gum health
dentist vs orthodontist
Dr. Ryan Redford & Dr. Michael Burke

Orthodontists like Dr. Redford and Dr. Burke at Burke & Redford Orthodontists provide treatment that is unmatched in professionalism to their patients in Temecula and Lake Elsinore.

How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?

The orthodontic treatment available to a patient should be presented by a qualified orthodontist and personalized to their specific issues. First, a medical and dental history needs to be reviewed with the patient to make sure they are in good health and aren’t taking any medications that could compromise tooth movement. In order to identify issues that may be present in and around the patient’s mouth, the orthodontist will utilize tools such as a 2D or 3D x-rays, digital impressions with an intraoral (Ie. iTero) scanning machine, and intraoral photographs. Finally, a visual examination of the teeth will be done.

Orthodontic treatment involves biological changes to teeth, gums, and the bone surrounding teeth. In other words, it involves more than moving just the visible parts of one’s teeth. If this is not done correctly, it could lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, poorly fitting bites, and other issues. Having adequate workup before undergoing orthodontic care is critical.

Based upon the formal diagnosis the patient receives, orthodontic treatment options will be presented, usually either fixed (braces) or removable (Invisalign) appliances.

Whichever treatment method is decided on with the orthodontist’s expertise and patient’s consent, the treatment period will consist of regularly scheduled appointments where treatment is closely monitored and adjusted as needed to obtain the best results.

What is a Malocclusion?

A malocclusion is a fancy term to describe a jaw or bite that is uneven or mismatched. Malocclusions occur for a variety of reasons including genetics, habits (Ie. excessive thumb sucking during childhood, tongue posture or function habits), or irregularly shaped teeth.

Malocclusions can come in various forms, such as:

  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Open bite
  • Deep bite
  • Scissor bite

overbite before and after picturesMalocclusions like those mentioned above can prove to be serious issues not only affecting chewing function and tooth health, but also affecting confidence and self-esteem in a negative way.

Once malocclusions are correctly diagnosed in a patient, orthodontic appliances are used to gradually correct the issues over time.

If you suspect your child has an uneven or mismatched bite, they should be seen by an orthodontist promptly (the American Association of Orthodontists recommends by age 7 or 8). Jaw growth and shape can be influenced positively with orthodontic appliances in growing children. Treatment results are better when treatment is done at the correct time relative to growth.

How Do You Fix an Overbite?

An overbite is a type of malocclusion that occurs when the upper teeth protrude over the bottom teeth. This misalignment of the mouth can be vertical (top teeth overhang bottom teeth) or horizontal (top teeth jut out over bottom teeth) in nature.

The most common solutions for an overbite include:

  • Growth modification (using orthodontic appliances that influence jaw growth around the time of the adolescent growth spurt)
  • Braces or clear aligners in conjunction with elastics (rubberbands)
  • Removal of select side teeth to “camouflage” an overbite jaw size mismatch
  • Surgery (if the jaw size mismatch is severe)

Most overbites are identified in children; therefore, children are usually referred to an orthodontist for assessment and treatment.  If an overbite is not treated during childhood, it can be more challenging to correct during adulthood.

The American Dental Association found that up to 70% of children have some degree of an overbite.

Again, it is strongly recommended that overbites and other malocclusions be addressed during childhood, when the jaw is still in a stage of growth and development.

How Do You Fix an Underbite?

An underbite is a malocclusion where the bottom jaw/teeth set ahead of the upper jaw/teeth. It is estimated that 5 – 10% of people have this type of jaw size mismatch that needs to be treated.

The most common solutions for an underbite are:

  • Growth modification (using orthodontic appliances that influence jaw growth)
  • Braces or clear aligners in conjunction with elastics
  • Removal of select side teeth to “camouflage” the jaw size mismatch
  • Jaw surgery (in the extreme case)

Unlike overbites, underbites tend to get worse through childhood and adolescence as the patient’s jaws grow. The ideal time to influence an underbite jaw relationship is around 8 years old. Being seen at or before this age is critical if you know or suspect your child has an underbite! If treatment for an underbite is put off, more aggressive or invasive treatment options may be necessary for bite correction.

How Does 3D Imaging Benefit Me and the Doctor?

3D imaging allows the doctor to appropriately assess oral issues (such as teeth that are impacted beneath the gums) that may require attention by an orthodontist. This imaging allows for an in-depth look into the problem areas that conventional 2D x-rays don’t always provide. Having a clear image of potential problem areas allows the doctor to accurately and efficiently diagnose what needs to be addressed to obtain an excellent result.

Burke & Redford Orthodontists use the most advanced 3D radiography imaging in order to best serve their patients and foster the most efficient treatment.

What are Self-Ligating Braces?

damon braces before pictures
Damon Braces Before Picture
Damon Braces Before and After Images
Damon Braces After Picture

Compared to traditional braces that use elastic or wire ties, self-ligating braces utilize metal doors on the front surface of each brace to hold the wire in place.  While they perform the same way as traditional braces do in correcting issues related to the teeth, there are several notable advantages to self-ligating braces.

  • Braces are “adjusted” rather than “tightened”.
  • Patients spend less time in the dental chair having the braces adjusted.
  • Longer intervals between appointments and often fewer overall visits to the orthodontist are required.
  • Less opportunities for plaque to build up since elastic ties are not required.

How Do I Accelerate My Time Wearing Braces?

There are many tips and tricks on how to accelerate your time spent wearing braces.  One of the best tips is to closely follow all instructions given by the orthodontist on how to appropriately care for the braces.

Dr. Redford and Dr. Burke might discuss your options to use orthodontic acceleratory devices like Propel or AcceleDent that may reduce treatment times.

Here are some additional tips on how to accelerate orthodontic treatment in braces:

  • Adhere to all restrictions regarding foods that should be avoided.
  • Use the elastic bands given by the orthodontist as instructed. The more consistently elastics are worn, the faster the bite imperfections will be corrected.
  • Do not skip the regularly scheduled adjustment appointments with the orthodontist. The braces (or Invisalign) will need to be continually adjusted and monitored throughout treatment.
  • Brush and floss as instructed by your orthodontist.

Do Orthodontists Offer a Free Consultation?

Burke & Redford Orthodontists understand parents and patients have many questions about orthodontic treatment options and ideal timing for treatment, which is why they are happy to offer free, no-obligation consultations.

Call us at (951) 699-8011 to schedule a consultation with the top-rated orthodontists at one of our offices in Temecula or Lake Elsinore.  For your convenience, an online free orthodontic consultation form is also available below.

Scroll to Top