All About Orthodontics

October 16, 2017 - 16 minutes read

If you have a bad bite, misaligned teeth, or other dental issues that are preventing you from having the smile you want, you may be considering orthodontic treatment. That’s a good decision because realistically, your teeth aren’t going to get more attractive on their own. Dental issues aren’t generally self-correcting, and usually, any type of dental issue that results in a bad bite, or conditions that result in a smile that doesn’t please, is going to require orthodontics treatments.
Sometimes, people are embarrassed because they don’t have a pleasing smile, but the simple fact is that it’s not your fault – sometimes things just happen. Maybe your teeth didn’t grow in the way they should have, or perhaps you took a blow to the mouth that knocked your teeth out of alignment. Maybe it’s something else entirely. Either way, orthodontic treatment can help to give you the smile that you want and deserve. So let’s talk a bit more about how orthodontic treatment can work for you, whether your issue is functional or whether you’re looking for a cosmetic dentistry procedure designed to improve your appearance.

The Process

When you’re considering various types of orthodontic treatments, your first step should be to visit your dentist in Rapid City. He or she can tell you about the various types of treatment that are available, explain how they work, and clue you in as to the benefits that you can expect from the different treatment types.

Types of Treatment

The first step when you visit your Rapid City dentist will be to have a consultation with your dentist, and possibly dental technicians as well. Your teeth will be examined, and clinic personnel will talk with you about what sort of correction you want and might expect. Then you’ll have an opportunity to learn about various treatments like metal braces or Invisalign clear braces and help you to make the choice that is best for you.

Who Benefits?

You might be wondering if orthodontic treatment has anything to do with your age, and the fact is, sometimes it does. Anyone, of any age, can benefit from orthodontic treatment, but the methods used might depend on how old you are.
Just as an example, sometimes when patients are very young, orthodontic treatments are easy. In fact, in the early stages, most of the time a dentist is just going to keep an eye on a young person’s oral health. If the dentist sees a subtle issue in the development of a child’s teeth or jaws, often it can be corrected early, and with far less cost than if the condition went untreated.
On the other hand, if a person enters adulthood never having had orthodontic issues dealt with, the treatment can be more complex, and the cost higher.
What this means is that it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on potential orthodontic issues, at an early age, before they become problematic. Your dentist in Rapid City will be more than happy to closely monitor the development and condition of your child’s teeth, with an eye to catching problems in the early stages.

Examinations are Important

It almost goes without saying that regular dental examinations are important for everyone. When you visit your Rapid City dentist for an initial consultation, you can expect that he or she will do a full examination of your mouth, in order to determine if you have cavities, gum disease, or any other conditions that need to be treated.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Your dentist will also look at how your teeth are growing. If it looks as though things aren’t working as they should, your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatments and will present you with a few options.

Metal Braces

Metal braces are just what they sound like – braces made out of metal. They consist of metal brackets that are placed on your teeth and held in place by means of wires and rubber bands. They’re very effective, but if we’re going to be completely truthful, they’re not all that comfortable. They require tightening at regular intervals, and every time metal braces are tightened there’s a “learning curve” during which the teeth become accustomed to the additional pressure. This can be painful.
Another problem with metal braces is that when you’re wearing them, it’s very difficult to clean your teeth – getting around the braces is difficult enough, and getting under them is impossible. So, metal braces can work very effectively to straighten your teeth, but sometimes they can also lead to other dental problems down the road. With metal braces, good oral hygiene is absolutely vital.

Clear Braces

An alternative to metal braces is available in the form of clear plastic aligners. The most common brand name is Invisalign, and the name is very appropriate since these braces are practically invisible.
As you might expect, one of the main benefits of clear braces is that they’re not nearly as noticeable as metal braces. In fact, unless you’re really up close and personal with someone, the chances are very good that they won’t even notice that you’re wearing braces.

Pretty Braces!

Some people, on the other hand, choose to embrace and announce the fact that they’re wearing braces, and they opt for braces in various colorful hues, wearing them as a fashion statement. Personally, we think that’s a really fun alternative, and kind of a cool way to approach wearing braces, and besides, to each their own, right? And why not?
So those are your options. Now, what about cost?

The Cost and Timeline of Orthodontic Treatment

If you’ve made up your mind that you’re unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, or if you have dental issues that have compromised the function of your mouth, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment. Unless you have a truly stellar dental plan, one of your main concerns is likely to cost.
You can rest assured that your dentist in Rapid City is not going to present you with any surprises. He or she will evaluate your condition, and while you won’t get a “down to the penny” cost estimate, you can be assured that you will at least get a pretty accurate “ballpark” figure.
What you can expect to pay will depend in large part on how severe your orthodontic issues are, and what kind of treatment you want to pursue. Metal braces, for instance, are often the best choice for severe orthodontic issues, because they provide the highest level of correction. Invisalign, on the other hand, will usually be a bit more pricey, but if you’re very much concerned about your appearance, Invisalign might be the right choice for you.
The cost of treatment will also depend very much on how long it’s going to take. If you’re going to require multiple visits to your dentist over the course of treatment, then obviously, you should expect to pay more than if the treatment can be completed in little time with fewer visits.
If you have orthodontic issues, your dentist in Rapid City can give you a reasonable idea of how much the treatment is likely to cost, an idea of how long the treatment will take, and also will be able to offer you with a number of suggestions and options for treatment protocols.

Are You Ready?

If you’ve made the decision that you want to do something about your orthodontic issues, your first course of actions should be to get in touch with your dentist in Rapid City. You’ll want to schedule a consultation, during which time your dentist will take x-rays in order to get a better idea of what’s going on with your teeth. Then, if you feel good about going ahead with treatment, you can book a series of appointments, and talk about financing options. Orthodontic treatments are often a good deal less expensive than you might think, and many dental clinics offer easy financing options that will allow you to spread out the cost over a period of time.
During the consultation process, your dentist will explain to you all the treatment possibilities for your condition, including but not limited to metal braces, Invisalign or other clear braces. Usually, a consultation takes about half an hour, and if at that point you decide that you definitely want to go ahead with treatment, the dentist will take impressions of your teeth, which is the first step toward manufacturing your orthodontic appliances. And finally, you’ll make an appointment to have your orthodontic appliances installed.

Getting Your Braces

You’ll want to set aside a bit of time on the day of your appointment, because whether you’re going with metal braces or Invisalign, either way, it’s going to require about an hour and a half. With metal braces, that’s the time to have them installed. With Invisalign, your Rapid City dentist is still going to need time to show you how your aligners are going to work and tell you about how to care for them. Having devoted a great deal of time to decide that you want orthodontic treatment, and also having spent time during the consultation phase, it really doesn’t make much sense to stop at this point. You’ve already invested a great deal of time, so just continue to be patient. It’s only 90 minutes or so out of your life.


Regardless of what orthodontic treatment you choose, followup is going to be essential. A lot of the time, people get their braces taken off, and they think, “Oh, great, I’m finally free!” But the reality is that very type of orthodontic appliance is going to require the use of a retainer following the initial treatment. So, if your condition is mild enough that you can benefit from Invisalign, that’s great – chances are you’ll probably end up wearing your braces for about a year, as opposed to two or three years if you had metal braces installed. But – you’ll still have to wear a retainer if the level of correction you got from treatment is going to be maintained. It’s just the way it has to be, and it’s the case with every type of braces. Of course, you usually only have to wear an orthodontic retainer at night, so either way, nobody is going to see it.


This is really just a very brief overview of orthodontic treatments. Think of it this way – dentists spend years learning about this sort of thing, so don’t think that we can cover everything in the space of this brief article. If you want to know more about orthodontic treatments and how they can benefit you, though, we’d be glad to talk with you at Loftus Dental in Rapid City. Why not give us a call at 605-341-4521? We’d be happy to give you all the time you need to talk with you about orthodontic treatments.
Maybe you’re not sure if you’d be a good client for orthodontic treatment, so let us help. We can tell you how orthodontic treatments work to align the jaw, and what outcomes you can expect. Whether you’re looking for treatment for yourself or your child, we can give you the information you need to make the right decision.
The simple fact is, nobody should ever have to suffer the pain of a bad bite or the embarrassment of an awkward smile. So if you have issues that could benefit from orthodontic treatment, get in touch with us at Loftus Dental. We’re here to help.