Q: Why select an orthodontist?
Selecting an orthodontist in Memphis who can help you achieve your smile dreams is important. Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. They receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those with this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists,” and only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Dr. Kyle Fagala from Saddle Creek Orthodontics has achieved this specialization and is an active member in AAO.

Q: When should children get an orthodontic check-up?
The AAO recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. By this age, Dr. Fagala can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. That’s important, because some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they’re found early. Most orthodontic patients begin active braces treatment between ages 9 and 14.

Q: Can adults benefit from orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at almost any age. In fact, about one in every four orthodontic patients today is over age 18. Thanks to today’s smaller, less visible and more comfortable orthodontic appliances, including metal braces, ceramic braces, Incognito, and Invisalign, adults are finding treatment more appealing.

Q: How long does treatment take?
Patients who need orthodontic treatment generally have one to three years of active treatment. This can be determined through a free braces consultation at our Germantown office.

Q: How much does treatment cost?
The cost of orthodontic treatment will depend on many factors, including the severity of the problem, its complexity and length of treatment. Dr. Fagala will be glad to discuss the cost of treatment and your financing options with you before treatment begins. Patients are finding that braces are more affordable today than ever. Our staff also works with insurance companies and offers payment plans that meet many budgets.

Q: What causes orthodontic problems?
Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems. Other malocclusions are acquired by thumb- or finger-sucking, dental disease, accidents, the early or late loss of baby (primary) teeth, or other causes.

Q: Why is treatment so important?
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment, many problems become worse and can require additional dental care later in life.

Q: What is my role in treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is a partnership of the doctor and patient. Dr. Fagala provides custom-made fixed or removable appliances that use gentle pressure to move teeth into their proper positions. For the patient, orthodontic treatment always requires following Dr. Fagala's instructions, keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments and maintaining excellent oral hygiene to achieve the best results. You will also need to see your general dentist as recommended to continue your general dental care.

Q: I had braces as a teen, and now as an adult my teeth are out of place. What can I do?
If you notice an unwanted change in your smile or bite, contact Saddle Creek Orthodontics at 901-209-0647 for information. An orthodontic “tune up” may be necessary to regain proper alignment.

Q: Will wisdom teeth cause teeth to shift?
Research suggests that wisdom teeth do not necessarily cause teeth to shift. In most cases, removal of wisdom teeth is done for general dental health reasons rather than for orthodontic health. Your family dentist or Dr. Fagala can give you guidance regarding removal of wisdom teeth.

Q: How long do I have to wear retainers after treatment?
Dr. Fagala will recommend how long to continue wearing your retainers, whether they are removable (the kind you put in and take out) or fixed (bonded behind your teeth). Wearing your retainers as prescribed is the best way to keep your teeth from moving after your orthodontic treatment. There are many reasons teeth may move following orthodontic treatment. Teeth are not set in concrete, they are in bone. Because bone around your teeth is continually changing (breaking down and rebuilding), your teeth may shift after your braces are removed. By wearing your retainers, your teeth are more likely to remain where Dr. Fagala has placed them through braces treatment.

Q: Why do some teeth shift?
The small changes that occur after braces are removed are due to a “settling in” as you use your teeth for biting and chewing. The more serious and undesirable changes may be traced to genetics or later-than-normal growth, which is unpredictable. Movement is most common in lower front teeth. This is particularly true if the teeth were extremely crowded prior to treatment. Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon. The best way to keep teeth from shifting is to wear your retainers as prescribed. If you notice movement after your braces are removed, please contact Saddle Creek Orthodontics.

Q: What should my long-term expectations be?
The fact is that throughout your lifetime, even though you have had orthodontic treatment, you can expect changes in tooth position. Many factors at work may cause teeth to shift. Such changes vary from individual to individual and most of the time they are hardly noticeable. However, on occasion changes can occur that are disappointing to both the patient and Dr. Fagala. Changes in tooth position are not a failure of your orthodontic treatment but are a natural process. We expect changes in our bodies as we grow older, and teeth are no exception. To help control and limit these changes, retainers are prescribed after your braces are removed.

Q: Can retainers be worn too long?
No. Retainers stabilize and preserve the alignment of teeth and jaws that orthodontic treatment achieved. Many people wear removable retainers nightly for the rest of their lives. Ask your orthodontist for guidance about your long-term retainer wear.

*Some Text Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists