Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the correction of dental malocclusions (misaligned teeth and bite issues) as well as jaw discrepancies.

What should I look for when choosing an orthodontist?

Look for the qualifications and commitment to the latest technology, but also one who values your time and one who is involved in the community.

Why is visiting an orthodontist important?

An orthodontist like Dr. Frial can tell you the benefits of orthodontics, different treatment options, and the timing of when to start, especially for younger patients that need treatment while the jaws are still “pliable,” thus allowing correction of their jaw discrepancy. They can also inform you of underlying issues that you may be unaware of.

What’s involved in my first visit?

At your first visit to our Laguna Niguel orthodontic office, you will meet Dr. Frial and our orthodontic team. Dr. Frial will do a thorough exam and discuss different treatment options available if treatment is necessary. We will discuss payment options as well as insurance coverage if feasible. We will also be happy to answer any questions you may have.

What kind of orthodontic issues do you treat?

We treat anything from overcrowding, protruding (“buck”) teeth, spacing, bad bites like an overbite and openbite, and jaw discrepancies such as narrow jaws and underbites.

What services do you provide?

We provide comprehensive orthodontic care, including early orthodontic treatment (Phase One) for jaw problems. We also provide traditional braces or clear braces as well as Invisalign®. Dr. Frial is well known for his early orthodontic treatment and he was an early provider for Invisalign. He has offered Invisalign since it was first introduced in 1998.

What is early interceptive or Phase One treatment?

Phase One is typically done between seven and nine years of age when the patients have mixed dentition (baby and adult teeth). There are three main reasons to do Phase One: the jaws are not growing correctly (ex. small jaws), a harmful habit (thumb sucking or tongue thrusting), and teeth are in a position that can cause damage to the teeth or gums. It is best to treat conditions that fall into these categories early and not to wait until all the permanent teeth erupt.

The goal of early interceptive or Phase One treatment is to correct moderate to severe orthodontic problems early. Some common problems that may require early treatment are crowding, excessive spacing, "buck" teeth, gummy smiles, overbites, underbites, crossbites and openbites. When early treatment is called for, it can result in a number of benefits such as improved dental arch width, prevention of permanent teeth extraction, a reduction or elimination of the need for jaw surgery, a lower risk of trauma to "buck" teeth and the correction of harmful oral habits. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic screening by age seven.

If I my child has early treatment (Phase One), will additional treatment be necessary?

Yes, in most cases. This stage is called Phase Two treatment and involves full braces or Invisalign. Phase One and Phase Two do two different things. Phase One is more for jaw correction and lays down the foundation. After the permanent teeth have grown in, Phase Two treatment is usually necessary to finalize the work that we started in Phase One. The objective is to position the permanent teeth in the optimal position for function, cosmetics, and stability.

Does everyone need Phase One treatment?

Absolutely not! Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most or all of their permanent teeth erupt. An orthodontic screening exam can determine if Phase One is necessary for your child.

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