About Braces, Invisalign®, and Orthodontics

smiling young patient

Orthodontics is the treatment of irregularities in teeth to give you or your child a healthy, beautiful smile. The majority of what we do is align teeth properly—using braces, Invisalign®, spacers, palatal expanders, or other tools—to help with chewing problems, brushing and flossing issues (which can lead to cavities or gum disease), issues where the teeth are digging into the gums or roof of the mouth, spacing problems that create pain or discomfort, and aesthetic issues—helping both kids and adults feel more confident with their smiles. Orthodontics can even help with speech impediments caused by tooth misalignment.

Start Early!

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be screened by an orthodontist no later than age 7. This early evaluation allows us to make sure that the teeth and jaws are developing properly. If things are not progressing well, we can intercept some of these issues to keep them from becoming bigger problems later in life. If early treatment is needed (often called “phase one” treatment), we will explain the reasons and options and help you get on the road to a healthy smile!

Am I Too Old for Orthodontics?


We love working with patients of all ages! In fact, approximately one in four of our patients are adults. Are you an adult wondering about braces, Invisalign®, or retainers for yourself? It’s a good idea to get evaluated right away. Even if you aren’t ready to begin just yet, we’ll make sure you understand all your options.

If you’re ready for an evaluation, you can schedule your free consultation right away. We can’t wait to meet you!

To learn more about braces, Invisalign®, retainers, orthognathic surgery, and orthodontic emergencies, read on.


About Braces

patients with braces smiling with Dr. Peppers

Braces—they’re what most of us associate with orthodontics! More and more people are seeking orthodontic treatment every year, and contemporary braces are less noticeable, more comfortable, and more efficient than their predecessors.

The question is: do you or your child need them? If so, how long will it take, what’s the process like, and what will it cost?

The answer is that everyone’s orthodontic needs and desires are different—and you need a plan designed especially for you!

If you are interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, schedule a free consultation right now! During that appointment, our orthodontic specialists and will evaluate your unique needs and talk you through our recommendations and your options, including the length of treatment and the cost. We look forward to meeting you!

Types of Orthodontic Treatment

If you do need or want treatment, we offer:

Contemporary Braces

Made in the USA by American Orthodontics—a leader in innovative and ethical manufacturing for over 50 years—our bracket and wire systems are cutting-edge technology designed to help teeth move quickly and comfortably into alignment.

Damon®

Damon® braces are a brand of self-litigating appliances, which means the wire clips directly into the bracket without the use of elastic ties or “color ties.” If you want to learn more about self-ligating brackets and how they work, feel free to ask us! We can help you decide if they would be a good fit for you or your child.

Invisalign®

You may also have the option of Invisalign®—a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners designed to gently move your teeth into alignment.

To find out if you or your child could benefit from braces or Invisalign®, schedule a free consultation with our orthodontic specialists.


Invisalign®

Dr. Peterson and a patient

Designed to align your teeth without the visibility of braces, Invisalign® treatment is a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners that you change every one to two weeks, moving closer and closer to your ideal alignment. The benefits include near-invisibility, as well as the ability to eat and drink what you want (just remove your aligner while eating, clean your teeth afterward, and slip your aligner back in). Aligners also make it easy to brush and floss normally, without the special care required for the wires and brackets of braces.

So, why doesn’t everyone go the Invisalign® route? Well, traditional braces are sometimes more affordable and Invisalign® only works with certain cases. If your teeth require significant shifting, braces might give you the best and fastest result.

And if you’re concerned about the look of regular braces but for any reason are not able to do Invisalign®, we offer a beautiful clear bracket option for you.

The good news is that you don’t have to figure that out on your own. During your first free consultation our doctors will help you understand all your options.


Retainers

retainers in the shape of a heart

After your orthodontic treatment, what comes next? RETAINERS!

As our bodies age and change, our teeth can too – whether or not we’ve had orthodontic treatment. So we recommend wearing retainers in some form forever! We see our patients regularly for at least 12 months after we have finished aligning the teeth; after that, you can always call us if you need us. There are many different retainer options—ask our doctors about which ones are right for you!

In most cases, we will recommend at least one set of removable retainers. You’ll need to wear your retainers consistently, clean them by brushing with toothpaste and water, and keep them in a protective case when they aren’t in your mouth. We will see you every three to four months for at least the first year of your retention phase.

In some cases, we can provide fixed retainers, which are not removable. Every case is different, so ask your doctor about the pros and cons of fixed or removable retainers in your specific case.

Have more questions about retention? Contact our office or schedule your free consultation.

retainer types: hawley, essix, and fixed


Orthognathic Surgery

surgery before and after photos

Some issues with the teeth and jaws are best corrected with a combination of orthodontics and orthognathic (jaw) surgery. Orthognathic surgery may be used for functional changes (such as improving chewing ability or airway issues) or cosmetic corrections (idealizing the smile, facial symmetry, or profile).

We will let you know during your free initial consultation whether you or your child may be a candidate for orthognathic surgery. If you do select a treatment plan that includes surgery, we’ll help you find an excellent surgeon and will work closely with your surgeon and your general dentist to give you the best possible care throughout and after orthodontic treatment.


Orthodontic Emergencies

Smiles at Northern Arizona Orthodontics

If you break or loosen an appliance (a fixed retainer, bracket, or expander, for example), lose a separator, or feel a lot of discomfort, you should call our office right away and let us know—even if you have a regularly scheduled appointment coming up.

One of our doctors or senior staff members is always on-call. We will let you know what to do next, whether it’s waiting till your upcoming appointment, seeing us in the office for treatment, or walking you through a quick fix at home via phone.