Benefits of Treatment

At Dr Carlsonʼs office, our emphasis is always on friendly service and personal attention. Our goal is to provide the best care that is technically available, in an open environment. We strive to integrate the needs of our patients with the best of the many treatment solutions available. Dr. Carlson provides excellent technical results using individualized treatment plans. Our highly trained and friendly team ensures a rapid hassle free process, in a warm and comfortable atmosphere. Dr. Carlson will give you a wonderful attractive smile and a comfortable bite that will increase your self- confidence, and overall oral health.

General Treatment Questions

When should orthodontic treatment start?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child first be seen as early as age 7 and earlier if a problem is noticed by a parent or the family dentist. The timing of orthodontic treatment is extremely important and greatly affects the treatment result and the amount of time it takes to treat.

We focus on starting orthodontic treatment at a time when we can achieve the best results possible in the shortest period of time. Since no two patients are alike, there is no specific age that is best to begin treatment.

What are the different phases of treatment?


Early treatment can often provide significant benefits, especially for children with jaw irregularities. Treating your child during their growth stages (Phase I) allows us to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaw bones have developed. This early treatment can usually be accomplished in 10-12 months and can significantly simplify or minimize future care. However, in most cases, a second set of braces is applied during adolescence.


We often see a boost in self confidence associated with having a new healthy and beautiful smile. Treating your child during adolescence (Phase II) allows us to align all of the newly erupted permanent teeth and create a healthy bite that will last a lifetime. This phase is the most common and typically includes a full set of braces for 12-14 months.


Adults can benefit equally from orthodontic treatment. Many of our patients are between the ages of 18 and 70 and are often surprised by how quickly treatment progresses. New technology and materials have resulted in braces that are hardly noticeable and easy to wear. We will work with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan that best addresses your specific needs.

How do braces work?

Braces use constant, gentle pressure, which over time, move teeth into their proper positions. Your braces are at work every moment of your orthodontic treatment. The two main components of your braces are: the brackets that are placed on your teeth and the main archwire that connects them. The bracket is a piece of shaped metal or ceramic that we affix to each tooth. The archwire is bent to reflect your "ideal" bite. In other words, it reflects the way we want you to look after treatment.

The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to move your teeth. Picture your tooth resting in your jawbone. With pressure on one side from the archwire, the bone on the other side gives way. The tooth moves. New bone grows in behind.

Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed every day.

What types of braces are there?

Metal Braces

Metal braces are the most popular with kids and teenagers. They love using different colors of ligature ties. These braces are much smaller than ever before.

Clear Braces

To get the results of perfect teeth without the look of conventional braces, try revolutionary clear braces. These braces give you the same results associated with regular braces. Unlike previous designs, they will not stain or discolor. Ask Dr. Carlson about clear braces, and be surprised at how inconspicuous they can be! Worry no more about getting braces; See how you can get a dazzling and healthy smile without having the metallic look of braces! 
Translucent clear ceramic braces are the most popular with adults. You have to be very close to someone to be able to see them. Yet, because they are a ceramic material, they are more fragile.


Dr. Carlson offers treatment using new Invisalign technology. This technology combines three-dimensional computer graphics to design and manufacture custom orthodontic appliances called “Aligners”. They are virtually undetectable, easy-to-use and comfortable to wear. This new technology is not suitable for everyone. If you are interested in Invisalign please call our office.


Orthodontic headgear is a very important part of the treatment for some patients. Headgear creates forces that guide the growth of the face and jaws. It also is used to move teeth into better positions or to prevent teeth from moving.
Maintaining constant use of your headgear will achieve the best results. If instructions on usage are not followed, treatment will take longer and our treatment plan may have to change.

  • Always be careful when removing your headgear. If the headgear is removed carelessly, the part that fits in your mouth and attaches to your teeth could injure your lips, cheeks, face and possibly your eyes.
  • Never remove the headgear until the straps have been disconnected.
  • Never lift the headgear over your face.
  • Never wear the headgear when running or playing sports.

Take your headgear with you to every appointment. If it becomes soiled, Dr. Carlson or an assistant will tell you how it should be cleaned.
Your teeth may be tender for the first few days of wearing your headgear. This tenderness will disappear as you adjust to the new pressures.

Let us know if you continue to be uncomfortable for more than a few days. Wearing headgear is necessary for your treatment. Follow the instructions exactly, and you will complete your treatment without any changes in your treatment plan.

Removable Appliances

Removable appliances, unlike conventional braces, are used to retain teeth in their corrected positions and in some cases, to influence growth of the jaws in order to effect changes in facial structure. In addition, they are often used before and in conjunction with fixed appliances.

Removable appliances are not utilized to treat all orthodontic problems. It takes skill, and experience to recognize conditions that will respond favorably to removable appliances. Timing of such therapy also is very important.

Although the patient can easily take out removable appliances, there may be a tendency not to wear them as we have prescribed. This means your teeth, jaws and muscles may move back toward their original positions.

Removable appliances require care. Although you may notice an effect on eating and speaking along with an increase in the flow of saliva, you will eventually adjust to the appliance.


Once the active period is completed, your braces are removed. The next step is called retention. Retainers are utilized to hold your teeth in their new positions until your bone, gums, and muscles adapt to the new teeth positions. You must wear your retainer as instructed, otherwise your teeth may move toward their original positions and the benefit of wearing your braces will be lost.

Dr. Carlson will determine how long you need to wear your retainer. Time varies with each patient. Some people may need retainers for an extended period of time in order to eliminate shifting of the teeth. In some cases, permanent retention may be necessary.

The retention period is an important part of your overall treatment and should not be neglected!

Remember; wear them in your mouth, not in your pocket. Retainers work when you follow our instructions.

Clean your retainers! After meals, clean all parts of the retainer with a toothbrush cold water and toothpaste.

Handle your retainers with care. Retainers are easier to lose, and expensive to replace. If you take your retainers out, always place them in your retainer case for safety.


Types of Problems and Their Solutions

Crowding of the teeth


Crowding is the lack of space for all the teeth to fit normally within the jaws. The teeth may be twisted or displaced. Crowding occurs when there is disharmony in the tooth to jaw size relationship, or when the teeth are larger than the available space. Crowding can be caused by early or late loss of primary teeth, or improper eruption of teeth.

Crowding should be corrected because it can:

  • Prevent proper cleaning of all the surfaces of your teeth
  • Cause dental decay
  • Increase the chances of gum disease
  • Prevent proper functioning of teeth
  • Make your smile less attractive

Extra space can be created orthodontically by expansion of the arches or extraction of teeth. Once space is created, braces will eliminate the crowding and align the teeth. Correction of crowding can help prevent dental decay and periodontal disease by improving the ability to remove plaque from the teeth.

Spacing of the teeth

Spacing, the opposite of crowding, is an excess of space for your teeth, resulting in gaps between your teeth. This generally occurs when the teeth are smaller than the available space. Protrusive teeth, missing or impacted teeth, or abnormal tissue attachments to the gums can also cause spacing.

Spacing should be corrected because it can:

  • Result in gum problems due to the lack of protection by the teeth
  • Prevent proper functioning of the teeth
  • Make your smile less attractive

Spacing of the teeth can be corrected orthodonically by moving the teeth together and properly aligning them within the arch.

Increased overjet

Overjet is also known as protrusion. It is where the lower teeth are too far behind the upper front teeth. This can be caused by an improper alignment of the molars (Class II Relationship); a skeletal imbalance of the upper and lower jaw; flared upper incisors; missing lower teeth; or a combination of all the above. In addition, oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking or tongue thrusting can exacerbate the condition.

Overjet should be corrected because it can:

  • Prevent proper functioning of the front teeth
  • Lead to premature wear
  • Make your smile less attractive

Overjet can be orthodontically corrected through growth modification using a functional appliance and/or elastics to reduce the skeletal imbalance or extraction of teeth.

Increased overbite

Overbite occurs when the upper front teeth overlap excessively over the lower front teeth. Generally there is no contact between the upper and lower front teeth. Often you cannot see the lower incisors. Overbite is due to a disproportionate amount of eruption of front teeth, or over development of the bone that supports the teeth, and a front to back discrepancy in the growth of the upper or lower jaw (Class II Relationship). Overbite is also known as a deep bite.

Overbite should be corrected because it can:

  • Cause improper functioning of your front teeth
  • Result in the lower front teeth biting into the gum tissue of the upper palate leading to tissue problems.
  • Unusual wear of the lower front teeth
  • Cause jaw or joint problems
  • Make your smile less attractive

Overbite can be orthodontically corrected through moving the front teeth up and/or bringing the back teeth together, which will "open" the bite so the teeth are properly aligned and the deep bite is eliminated.


Crossbite can occur in the front and/or the sides of the mouth. One or more upper teeth bite on the inside of the lower teeth. This can occur with a single tooth or multiple teeth. Early correction of crossbite is recommended.

Crossbite should be corrected because it can:

  • Cause premature wear of the teeth
  • Cause gum disease including bone loss
  • Cause asymmetrical development of the jaws
  • Cause dysfunctional chewing patterns
  • Make your smile less attractive

If there is a single tooth crossbite, the tooth can be moved with braces into the correct position. In some cases, a retainer can be utilized. With multiple teeth in crossbite, the arch needs to be expanded with braces or other intra-oral appliances.


Underbite occurs when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth. An underbite is usually caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or a combination of the two (Class III Relationship). Underbite can also be caused by flared upper incisors, missing lower teeth or a combination of all the above. Early correction of underbite is recommended.

Underbite should be corrected because it can:

  • Prevent proper functioning of the front teeth or molars which can lead to premature wear of the teeth
  • Cause chewing or eating problems
  • Cause jaw or joint problems
  • Make your smile less attractive

Underbite can be corrected orthodontically through growth modification of the jaws; extraction of teeth; and in some cases surgical correction of the jaws.

Impacted teeth

Impactions can be caused by improper positioning of the developing tooth bud. This can cause the tooth to fail to erupt into the mouth. Early loss of primary teeth or crowding of teeth can also cause impactions. Wisdom teeth are the most commonly impacted teeth, but canines and premolars are also commonly impacted.

This problem should be corrected because it can:

  • Cause damage to the root structure of adjacent teeth
  • Interfere with the sinus cavity
  • Leave unwanted spaces
  • Lead to improper functioning of the teeth
  • Cause premature wear of the teeth
  • Cause asymmetric alignment of the teeth

Usually the impacted tooth is exposed over the course of a few months and brought into the correct position of the mouth. Correction of impacted teeth may involve a minor surgical procedure performed by an oral surgeon working closely with our practice. This will allow us to then guide eruption of the impacted tooth into proper position.

Missing teeth

Missing teeth is the absence of a tooth or teeth that should normally be present. This can be caused by trauma or lack of development.

This problem should be corrected because it can:

  • Cause improper functioning of teeth
  • Cause premature wear of teeth
  • Cause asymmetric alignment of the teeth
  • Make your smile less attractive

Depending upon the situation, the space can be closed with braces or opened for tooth replacement. A bridge or dental implant (shown below) are restorative options if a space is created.



Patient Safety

What is your sterilization process?

We understand that safety is a concern for everyone. Our office is committed to providing all of our patients with the latest infection control and sterilization guidelines.
While they are not new to our office, we have upgraded these procedures as new guidelines and equipment have become available. Our goal is to provide the highest level of safety and for you to feel comfortable knowing that these procedures are being routinely performed.

They include:

  • Dry Heat Sterilization of all tools and instruments after each patient, killing all organisms with heat.
  • Individual Set-Ups for each procedure with cassettes of sterilized instruments, open just prior to use.
  • Disposable Items are used whenever possible and are always discarded once used or exposed to the treatment environment.
  • Disinfectants are applied to all surface areas to ensure a healthy working environment.

We are committed to staying current with the latest in infection control, sterilization guidelines and equipment. When you visit our office, you can feel confident that your health and the health of your family are always protected.