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We love sharing our knowledge and enthusiasm for orthodontics. Browse some of the most commonly asked questions at our DC practice below. Need more answers? We’re here with guidance! Call or text us 202-686-2108.

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialized area of dentistry focused on diagnosing, preventing and treating dental and facial irregularities.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who completed two to three years of additional training in an orthodontic residency program. Orthodontists like Dr. Sonia Talley and Dr. Katie Clark use their knowledge to straighten teeth and fix misaligned jaw structure with orthodontic appliances.

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

If you want a more confident smile or a healthier bite, then any age is an excellent time to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist. Orthodontics isn’t just for kids and teens. In fact, nearly one in four patients is an adult.

That said, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children have their first orthodontist visit at around age seven. This is because research has shown that early intervention can be effective for addressing certain issues non-surgically.

Can kids start orthodontic treatment if they still have baby teeth?

For some orthodontic problems, starting treatment while a child still has baby teeth is actually ideal. In these cases, the orthodontist can use an appliance to guide jaw growth. This creates more room for the permanent teeth to erupt so they come in straighter and centered in bone for a healthier smile and stable bite.

Dr. Talley likes to use a parking garage analogy when she’s talking to her young patients. Think of all of the adult teeth as cars and the mouth as a parking garage. Every tooth needs to have a spot to pull into. If there isn’t enough room, it will cause a traffic jam. We can often spot these traffic jams on an x-ray before they occur.

When that happens, an appliance like an expander could be indicated. The expander widens the jaw to create the skeletal space needed for the permanent teeth, preventing that traffic jam.

What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?

The benefits of orthodontic treatment include:

  • Reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, because straight teeth are easier to clean
  • Preventing uneven or excessive wear of tooth enamel
  • Bringing the jaw, teeth, chewing muscles and temporomandibular joints (TMJ) into alignment, which may alleviate headaches, jaw pain, TMJ dysfunction and other issues
  • Encouraging proper chewing and clear speech
  • Creating ideal spacing and eliminating gaps to prevent jawbone loss and promote healthy gums
  • Opening the airway, in some cases
  • Creating facial symmetry for a more attractive appearance
  • Giving you a stunning smile
  • Boosting self-esteem and confidence

What happens at my first visit at Bird Smiles Orthodontics?

At your initial consultation, you’ll receive a warm welcome. We’ll show you around our office and a team member will take digital x-rays. Dr. Talley or Dr. Clark will perform an exam. They’ll use their findings, along with your x-rays, to develop an accurate diagnosis.

You’ll chat with the doctor about your or your child’s diagnosis and they’ll help you create a customized treatment plan. Finally, your treatment coordinator will go over the cost of orthodontic treatment and our flexible financing options.

Do I need a referral to see an orthodontist?

We appreciate and welcome referrals from dentists and other healthcare professionals. However, you don’t need a referral to come in for a consultation. Simply text or call us at 202-686-2108 to book your appointment!

How do I schedule my next appointment?

You can request an appointment right here online. You can also call or text us at 202-686-2108 to schedule a visit. If you’re a new patient, let us know and we’ll be happy to provide you with all of the information you need.

Schedule your complimentary consultation today!

Every beautiful, confident smile we create starts with a consultation. Schedule an exam for you or your child at our boutique orthodontic practice today! We are conveniently located in Tenleytown, DC with easy access to the Tenleytown-AU metro station, bus stops and street parking.