What is Orthodontics

What is Orthodontics? A specialty of dentistry concerned with correcting misalignment of teeth. The orthodontic department, with Dr. Kerisa Harriott at the helm, provides children and adults with a variety of options, either via braces (metallic or porcelain), INVISALIGN (clear aligners) or SIX MONTHS accelerated braces. Early intervention in the mixed dentition (when both baby teeth and adult teeth are growing in the child's mouth) is emphasized. Our experience tells us that many malocclusions start to develop early. During regular examinations with our pediatric dentist, the developing misalignment is observed. In many instances early intervention makes orthodontic treatment simpler for the patient and sometimes the need for tooth extraction is eliminated.


Q: Are you an candidate for orthodontic treatment?

A: People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The developing child, the adolescent and the adult will benefit through improved aesthetics, self esteem and ability to chew and clean their teeth properly.

Q: Why should malocclusions be treated?

A: According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Cross bites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile- it creates a healthier you.  

Q: What are braces like?

A: Different orthodontic appliances work in different ways to benefit each individual's malocclusion problems. Some are fixed; others are removable. Your dentist will explain which appliance is best for your child, what the treatment can do, and how long it will take.➥

Q: What happens when braces are removed?

A: When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you've put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.

Q: What are retainers?

A: Retainers can be fixed, made out of clear material or removable. The fixed retainers are specially molded thin wires that are bonded to the inside of your upper/lower teeth. The removable retainers are made out of a combination of acrylic and wires that are custom made in the laboratory to fit your upper and lower jaws. These retainers can be taken out while eating and playing sports and should be cleaned daily with a toothbrush and toothpaste or even denture cleaner. The clear retainers are similar to an INVISALIGN retainer. Your orthodontist will advise you on the type of retainer best suited for your case.