FAQ/Glossary

FAQs

At Morita Orthodontics we offer a large variety of traditional and non-traditional teeth straightening services. Accordingly, you might have questions as to what options are best for you and how our practice can better serve your specific needs. Please see below for a list of commonly asked questions, as well as their answers. Should you have further inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us at either our Honolulu or Aiea location, or schedule an appointment with our office for a consultation.

No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred to us by their family dentist in the Honolulu and Aiea communities. However, many other patients take the initiative to schedule their orthodontic examination for themselves.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age seven. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have grown, thus allowing us to effectively evaluate their orthodontic condition.

No, unfortunately they will not. The space available for your front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars appear the space available for front teeth only decreases with age.

If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply contact our Honolulu or Aiea office, send us an e-mail, or fill out an appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. (Please note: when you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.)

Upon arriving at either our Honolulu or Aiea location, you will be seen by the staff and orthodontist who will proceed to acclimate you to our office and prepare you for the initial exam. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam

To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit page.

There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces for is approximately 22 months.

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until one of our orthodontists has examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefits and file your claims.

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every five to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring from our orthodontists, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. Although, because most appointments are scheduled five to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with their patient manager before dropping off their child at either our Honolulu or Aiea location.

Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. But, in truth, after most visits patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with his or her own braces to achieve the best orthodontic results possible.

Yes. Although, we do recommend patients wear a mouth guard for all sports. We provide two types of mouth guards: one for bracesand Dr. Scott’s Sport-Guard if you are not in braces.

Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

Yes. Once treatment begins our orthodontists will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of these foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can best avoid needing emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following these instructions.

Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We show our patients how to floss their teeth while in braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride (if necessary) for best cleaning results.

If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office (Honolulu or Aiea). In most cases, we can address these issues over the phone. If you require an emergency appointment, an orthodontist will set time aside for you.

See more information on common orthodontic emergencies.

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

Phase One treatment (if necessary) is usually initiated for children between the ages of seven and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-21 months. The primary objectives for Phase One treatment are to address significant problems in order to prevent them from becoming more severe later on, and to improve self-esteem and self-image.

It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored by an orthodontist. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

At the completion of the initial examination, an orthodontist will determine whether a patient will need an expander or not.

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25% of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important no matter what age you are. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. And when teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid with the alignment of the remaining teeth.

Teeth and sometimes entire facial structures are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have an additional three years of residency after dental school with extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments to suit their needs.

A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and capable of causing or guiding tooth movement.

A thin metal ring (usually stainless steel) that serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band, with orthodontic attachments welded or soldered to it, is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.

An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth (either by bonding or banding) for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be fabricated from metal, ceramic or plastic.

Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.

Dental misalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.

The removal of cemented orthodontic bands.

Used to move teeth in prescribed directions (commonly connected to molar band and upper ball hook). Found in numerous colors for better appearance.

The tissue that surrounds the teeth, consisting of a fibrous tissue that is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.

Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.

Fixed or removable appliance designed commonly for overbite problems and more.

The process of acquiring representations of structures in either two or three dimensions.

Of or pertaining to the tongue. A term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue.

Orthodontic appliances fixed to the lingual surface of the teeth.

Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.

A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course (accredited by the American Dental Association) of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.

Surgery to alter relationships of teeth and/or supporting bones, usually accomplished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.

Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth, usually measured perpendicular to the occlusal plane.

A permanent image (typically on film) produced by ionizing radiation. Sometimes called an X-ray after the most common source of image-producing radiation.

Any orthodontic appliance (fixed or removable) used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.

The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retaining appliances may be used.

A variation of the edgewise appliance in which brackets are angulated to minimize multiple archwire bends. Brackets and molar tubes have specific orientation in three planes of space.