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Deborah L. Schafer ORTHODONTIST IN WAYLAND, NY

Orthodontics

Orthodontics refers to a specialized branch of dentistry that corrects poor tooth positioning and improper jaw alignment. This treatment is used to correct both cosmetic issues and problems with chewing function. Genetics and growth rates of your oral structures contribute to alignment problems and crowding.


Dr. Deborah L. Schafer will evaluate your jaw and tooth alignment by using the latest technology including comprehensive x-rays of your jaws and supporting structures. Our orthodontist will formulate a treatment plan designed to correct your cosmetic and functional issues and provide you with your newly straight smile. Dr. Deborah L. Schafer can partner with you and correct issues including:

  • Moving crowded or overlapped teeth to give you a cosmetically beautiful smile.
  • Restoring good chewing function by correcting poor bite alignment.
  • Closing gaps or spaces between teeth for a great smile.
  • Positioning twisted or rotated teeth correctly to prevent excessive wear.

Now, thanks to modern dental materials and techniques, your orthodontist can offer a number of options to correct jaw issues and straighten your teeth. You can choose from:

  • Invisalign, which is the virtually invisible method of straightening your teeth; Invisalign uses clear plastic trays called aligners.
  • Conventional orthodontics, using metal brackets and wires; this is what most people think of when they hear the term “braces.”
  • Conventional orthodontics, using tooth-colored or clear brackets and wires; this method provides a more cosmetically beautiful look.
  • Lingual braces, which are cemented to the tongue sides of your teeth for better aesthetics. Orthodontic treatment for adults can begin at any time. Just remember it may take a little longer to gradually move your teeth, but you are never too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment.
  • Orthodontic treatment for children should begin when your child is seven years old because the first permanent molars have erupted, allowing your general dentist or orthodontist to fully evaluate jaw movement and tooth alignment.

Orthodontic FAQs

Who is an Orthodontist?

Orthodontists are specialists that have undergone two to three years of advanced training in the field of orthodontics. Orthodontists are the most qualified doctors in the field of dentistry to treat all orthodontic problems. Their level of expertise far exceeds those of the general dentist.

What do orthodontists do?

Orthodontists diagnose and treat problems with the position, alignment or spacing of the teeth, and related irregularities in the face and the jaw. A number of special treatments, including braces and other oral appliances, are used to correct these problems. Also, in conjunction with oral surgeons, orthodontists are able to treat severe jaw discrepancies. 

Why should I (or my loved ones) get orthodontic treatment?

There are two good reasons: aesthetics and function. Having an attractive smile not only changes the way people see you — it enhances your own self-image as well. Orthodontic treatment also allows your teeth to function better and makes it easier to keep them clean, which can improve your overall health.

When should orthodontic treatment be started?

You're never too old to begin orthodontic treatment — but if you start at an earlier age, your problems may be easier to treat. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child who may need orthodontic treatment should come in for a first visit around age 7.

How can I recognize a potential bite problem?

Teeth that are protruding, crowded together or erupting out of position are clear indications that treatment is needed (View Examples). Less obvious signs are mouth breathing, frequent biting of the cheek or palate, speech difficulties, and thumb sucking that goes past 3-4 years of age. If teeth don't meet properly when the mouth closes, or if jaws make sounds or shift as they move, this may also indicate an orthodontic problem.

Does getting braces hurt? What about wearing them?

Having braces put on is generally painless. Some people experience minor aches and pains in the first couple of days or so, as they adjust to wearing their appliances; periodic adjustments may sometimes cause soreness as well, though it typically lasts only a short time. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to alleviate any discomfort, but are usually unnecessary.

How long will treatment take?

It's different for each person, but generally the active stage of treatment (that is, wearing braces or other appliances) may take from 6-30 months. After that, a retainer is worn for at least several months more.

How often will I come in for an appointment?

It depends on what's being done, and how often you need to be monitored. During active treatment, you'll typically visit the office once every 4 to 10 weeks.

Will I need to have any teeth extracted?

If your teeth are severely crowded (because your mouth is too small to properly accommodate all of them) — or if you have impacted teeth (teeth that are trapped beneath the gum line by other teeth) — then extraction may be necessary. In the case of younger patients, early treatment may make extraction unnecessary.

Will I have to watch what I eat?

Yes — you should pass up the types of foods that could damage or become trapped in your braces. Some of these include raw vegetables, hard candy, caramel, taffy and ice cubes (fortunately, ice cream is OK). You will receive a list of foods to avoid.

Will I be able to play sports/ play my instrument?

In a word: Yes. Of course, whether you wear braces or not, we recommend you wear a mouthguard when playing most sports. Musicians are generally able to play their instruments just as they did before, but they may need a short adjustment period after getting braces.

Do I still need to see my regular dentist while I'm getting orthodontic treatment?

You do — in fact, it's more important than ever! Keeping teeth free of plaque (and potentially, decay) can be challenging when you're wearing braces. Your dentist can help you avoid these problems with frequent cleanings and exams.

Will I wear a retainer when my braces come off?

Almost always, the answer is yes: If you don't wear a retainer, your teeth can rapidly shift out of position — and then all the effort put into your treatment is lost! Your retainer helps you maintain that good-looking smile for a lifetime.

Is orthodontic care very expensive?

Orthodontic care is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. Yet its cost hasn't increased as fast as many other consumer prices, and many financing options are available that make orthodontic care affordable. Weighed against the true cost of living with problem teeth, however, orthodontic treatment can be a wise investment indeed.


If you are considering orthodontic treatment and want to discuss your options and the results you can expect, call Dr. Deborah L. Schafer at Schafer Smiles if you're near Wayland, NY or the surrounding areas of Dansville, Bath, Hornell, Naples and Canisteo NY at 585-728-3830. Call today and find out more!