Orthodontic FAQ

Learn about how the specialty of orthodontics is the key to a healthy grin. Here are answers to some of your most pressing questions.

Q: Why should I visit an orthodontist to straighten my teeth?

A: A Certified Specialist in Orthodontics has the education and expertise to prevent, diagnose and treat malocclusion, or an improper bite. They can determine the underlying cause of your orthodontic issues and create a customized treatment plan for the most effective and lasting results. They’re trained in straightening the teeth with Invisalign, braces and other appliances as well as guiding jaw growth with dentofacial orthopedics. Because of the complex relationship between the teeth and jaws, and the fact that treatment can permanently change your smile and facial structure, seeing a specialist is your best bet.

Q: What is malocclusion?

A: Malocclusion is doctor speak for an improper bite that is misaligned thanks to irregularities in the teeth or jaws. Crossbites, overbites, underbites, crowding and spacing are types of malocclusions. Dr. Chan is an expert in diagnosing your smile issues and coming up with the appropriate treatment plan.

Q: Why should I have my teeth straightened?

A: Aside from getting a beautiful smile and a major boost in confidence, straightening your teeth is good for your health as a whole. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Decreases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease since straight teeth are easier to effectively brush and floss
  • Improves overall health as misaligned teeth or jaws can affect your chewing and cause nutritional deficiencies
  • Evenly distributes bite forces so you can avoid putting too much pressure on the bones and gums, which can cause tooth loss
  • Makes teeth less likely to get knocked out or damaged
  • Helps you avoid permanent, unwanted changes in facial structure and jaw growth caused when people attempt to compensate for bite issues
  • Saves your enamel and wards off the uneven wear that comes with some kinds of malocclusion
  • Decreases headaches, migraines and the pain associated with TMD by balancing bite forces and aligning the jaws

Q: What kind of training does Dr. Chan have?

A: Dr. Chan is a certified specialist in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics meaning he has the training to diagnose and treat any misalignments of the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure. Dr. Chan attended dental school at the UCLA College of Dentistry where he received a doctorate degree. He then completed his specialty training and residency in orthodontics at Ohio State University. As a big believer in the power of technology, he’s trained in a variety of modern techniques including Invisalign, ceramic braces, self-ligating braces, the use of temporary anchorage devices (TADs), soft tissue lasers and more.

Q: When should my child first see an orthodontist?

A: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children visit an orthodontist by the age of seven. This allows Dr. Chan to monitor the development and growth of their teeth, jaws and facial structure and look out for any red flags. We take a conservative approach to treating children, so more often than not, this is just an observational period.

Q: What happens if I put off treatment?

A: While you’re never too old for orthodontic treatment, the earlier we can get to work fixing certain problems, the simpler and speedier the process will be. In some cases, putting treatment off will mean you require jaw surgery or extractions as an adult.

Q: Do I need a referral to see Dr. Chan?

A: Nope. You don’t need a referral to visit Richard Chan Orthodontics. Simply give us a call or fill out the form on our website and schedule your free consultation.

Q: What happens at my first visit?

A: You’ll meet the friendly Richard Chan Orthodontics team. We’ll take x-rays, impressions and pictures to get an idea of your specific orthodontic issues. You’ll sit down with Dr. Chan who will go over your diagnosis and present you with the best treatment options for your smile. He’ll explain exactly what to expect and answer any questions you may have.

Want to Benefit From an Orthodontist’s Expertise?

You don’t need a referral from a dentist to see Dr. Chan. We have locations in Bothell, Mill Creek and Monroe, Washington and Sitka and Juneau, Alaska. Simply contact the office of your choice and we’ll schedule you for a complimentary visit. It’s that easy!
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