We’ll be glad to answer any additional questions you have!

Call us at 707-829-5513.

The American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Woo recommend that your child be evaluated by the age seven. This age allows for early detection of orthodontic problems and gives Dr. Woo the ability to take any early corrective action, avoid more difficult treatment later, and time your child’s treatment with their development. Parental or guardian diagnosis is discouraged because children can have orthodontic issues even when the teeth externally appear straight.  A general dentist can also be a good reference, but we recommend being seen by an orthodontic specialist for the most accurate analysis of your child’s needs. Dr. Woo will only recommend treatment when necessary. Call us to schedule a free initial exam!

You are never too old!  You can be treated at any age.  In both children and teens, Dr. Woo utilizes developmental jaw and tooth changes to maximize treatment. In adults, orthodontics can address both functional and aesthetic concerns. More than 30% of our orthodontic patients are adults!

Modern orthodontic treatment is designed to minimize any discomfort. As a rule, braces will make your teeth sore for a few days after they are put on or an adjustment. However, patients can take an over-the-counter pain reliever to dull any initial discomfort. The process of putting on and removing braces should not be painful either. We use the latest in miniature braces and the highest quality orthodontic materials in order to reduce discomfort and treatment time.

Yes! A missing tooth can cause functional, aesthetic, and/or periodontal problems which can be resolved through orthodontics! Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems from continuing and provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.

Both orthodontists and dentists attend dental school, but orthodontists become specialty doctors by attending 2-3 years of orthodontic school afterward. While many dentists are offering orthodontic treatments now, it is important to understand that they do not receive the same level of training as orthodontists. For example, a dentist who wants to offer Invisalign is required to attend Invisalign workshops but might not have experience or general education in how to safely and effectively move teeth.

On the other hand, orthodontists focus on orthodontic care as their specialty. They straighten teeth almost daily and remain up-to-date on the latest industry practices. They also have the latest equipment and often participate in continuing education classes focusing primarily on orthodontics. Most importantly, an orthodontist understands the long-term process of aligning teeth and can visualize what should be happening at various stages of treatment.  If you had a foot issue, would you prefer to be seen by your general physician or a podiatrist? Choosing between a dentist and an orthodontist for orthodontics is a similar decision. Both can give you advice and treatment but an orthodontist is a safer investment because you are paying for their depth of knowledge and consistent results. 

Phase I, or Interceptive Treatment, typically starts around the age of seven when a child has most of their baby teeth and some of their front teeth. Phase I treatment is mainly preventative; the goal is to intercept a moderate/severe orthodontic problem early to reduce or eliminate it. Such problems include skeletal dysplasias, crossbites, and crowding. Phase I treatment takes advantage of the child’s growth spurt and turns what would be a difficult orthodontic problem later into a more manageable one. Phase 1 aims to reduce the need for extractions or surgery and allow for more treatment options in the future, meaning better long-term results. Most Phase I patients require a Phase II treatment in order to achieve an ideal bite. Not everyone needs Phase 1 treatment, Dr. Woo always informs patients if Phase I is needed during the patient’s initial exam. 

Phase II treatment, or Comprehensive Treatment, usually occurs a number of years after Phase I or is the only phase of treatment for patients who do not seek orthodontics until adulthood. For children who have already undergone Phase 1, Dr. Woo waits for 12-16 more permanent teeth to erupt before beginning Phase II. Most commonly, this occurs between the ages of 12 to 14 years. The result will be the “final product” of your orthodontic treatment: a glowing smile with an ideal occlusion (bite) for healthy functionality.

Delaying Phase I treatment is not recommended because its purpose o is to prevent larger orthodontic problems or stop problems from progressing to a difficult level. These types of problems should be addressed as soon as possible and often save the patient money, treatment time, and invasive procedures in the future. Treatment options can become limited if no action is taken with such cases, and the child’s case may become more complex and lead to extractions, oral surgery, and increased costs.

Length of treatment varies greatly case-to-case, but most patients have braces for 6 to 30 months. Treatment length greatly depends on the age of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patient’s cooperation, and the degree of movement possible.

Orthodontic treatment is an important investment and the cornerstone of a healthy, long-lasting bite.  Orthodontics is often less costly than the dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop later without orthodontics. Many insurance plans now include orthodontics and our office offers flexible payment/financing plans to make it affordable. Orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products and are regarded as dentistry’s best value.

We have a whole page on this! Self-assessing if you need orthodontic care isn’t always accurate because many orthodontic problems begin below the surface. This is why Dr. Woo recommends coming in for a free initial exam so that he can do a professional assessment of your needs. However there are a few orthodontic issues that are obvious, so visit the “Signs You Need Orthodontics” page on our site and follow the steps for a self-assessment.

Current Patients! For troubleshooting questions about braces, Invisalign and retainers, visit Current Patients > Troubleshooting before calling our office. Most problems are an easy at-home fix. 

We’ll be glad to answer any other questions you have!

Call us at 707-829-5513.