Orthodontic treatment is the correction of tooth position and the guidance of facial development. Only a qualified orthodontist is trained to evaluate and treat orthodontic conditions including:

  • crowded or crooked teeth

  • malocclusion or “bad bite”

  • improperly spaced teeth

Any of the above conditions left untreated may lead to dental health problems.  Crowded teeth are difficult to clean, and may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. 

Bad bites can also result in wearing down of tooth surfaces, difficulty chewing, and damage to supporting bone and gum tissue.  Poorly aligned teeth can contribute to pain in the jaw joints, including disorders of the temporomandibular joint.

Affordable orthodontic care

Our orthodontic treatment plan is highly affordable, compared to most private practice plans. Further, we offer treatment for both adolescents and adults. We also provide orthodontic treatment for children younger than 12 at Children's National Medical Center.

Our team

At MedStar Health, our team of qualified orthodontists is trained to evaluate and treat orthodontic problems. State-of-the-art facilities and hospital-based treatment provide excellent clinical conditions for our experienced orthodontists.

Orthodontic care for adolescents

It is important for adolescents and pre-adolescents to be evaluated by a qualified orthodontist to determine if they require orthodontic treatment.

Some signs or habits that may signal a need to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist include:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth

  • Mouth breathing

  • Thumb or finger sucking

  • Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth

  • Narrow upper jaw

Our orthodontists are trained to evaluate orthodontic problems and create an individualized treatment plan appropriate for each patient.

Who should evaluate my child?

Orthodontists are trained to spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. Only a qualified orthodontist can determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment.

If not treated for orthodontic problems, children may experience dental crowding, too much space between teeth, and sometimes jaw growth problems.

What should I expect from my initial visit?

When you make your appointment, you will be asked to bring several forms with you.

  • You will be asked questions about your child's overall health, family history, and any current medical problems.

  • Your orthodontist will examine your child carefully, including the mouth, jaw, face, and neck.

  • If it is indicated, the orthodontist might take diagnostic records, including x-rays, photographs, and articulated study casts or your teeth to aid in the diagnostic process.

  • After discussing possible treatment options, your orthodontist will work with you to create the treatment option that is most appropriate for your child. Treatment for orthodontic conditions include:

    • Braces

    • Retainers

    • Other appliances

  • After deciding on the appropriate treatment, your orthodontist will set up a treatment plan. This plan will include periodic check-ups, possible additional appliances, and an overall timeline for treatment.

How long will treatment for orthodontic problems take?

Your orthodontist should be able to give you an approximate timetable for the length of time your child would need orthodontic treatment.

Adult orthodontic care

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. Treatment for orthodontic problems as an adult may be needed if you experience any of the following:

  • Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth

  • Teeth grinding

  • Malocclusion (“bad bite”) or the feeling that your teeth don't fit together

  • Jaw pain, including popping or grinding while moving your jaw

  • Unattractive smile

Orthodontic treatment is important not just to correct your bite, or the function of your mouth, but also for aesthetics. If you are unhappy with your smile, the appearance of your teeth, or your bite, you should make an appointment with a member of our team of qualified orthodontists.

I'm an adult. I don't want to wear braces.

The misconceptions about orthodontic treatment include the idea that braces are the only form of orthodontic treatment. We have many treatment options for adults, and braces are only one of them. We specialize in creating a treatment program that is individualized for you, with your activities, lifestyle, and goals in mind.

Who should evaluate me for possible orthodontic treatment?

Your dentist will usually recommend you be evaluated by an orthodontist. Be sure to select an orthodontist who is board certified and a member of the American Association of Orthodontists.

What should I expect from my initial visit?

When you make your appointment, you will be asked to bring several forms with you.

  • You will be asked questions about your overall health, family history and any current medical problems.

  • Your orthodontist will examine you carefully, including your mouth, jaw, face, and neck.

  • If it is indicated, the orthodontist might take diagnostic records, including x-rays, photographs, and articulated study casts of your teeth to aid in the diagnostic process.

  • After discussing possible treatment options, your orthodontist will work with you to create the treatment option that is most appropriate for you. Treatment for orthodontic conditions include:

    • Braces

    • Retainers

    • Other appliances

  • After deciding on the appropriate treatment, your orthodontist will set up a treatment plan. This plan will include periodic check-ups, possible additional appliances, and an overall timeline for treatment.

How long will treatment for orthodontic problems take?

Treatment times vary depending on the complexity of your problems, your own biology, and your compliance with treatment recommendations. Most treatments are completed within 6–24 months.

Your orthodontist should be able to give you an approximate timetable for the length of time you would need orthodontic treatment.

Types of braces

The main function of orthodontic treatment is to align the teeth, as well as modify and correct problems with facial growth. Your orthodontist will use different kinds of appliances to accomplish these goals.

There are two types of appliances:

  • Fixed appliances: These are fixed or glued to the teeth and don't come out of your mouth.

  • Removable appliances: The patient can take them out of their mouth.

Your orthodontist will select fixed or removable appliances based on your individual treatment plan.

Benefits of each kind of appliance

Fixed appliances are worn all the time and are used to treat problems that require a more aggressive or time-sensitive treatment.

Removable appliances are easier to keep clean but can be lost or misplaced.

Patients who have trouble wearing removable appliances can often be treated with fixed appliances.

Fixed appliances

Examples of fixed orthodontic appliances are the brackets, bands, and wires most often associated with “braces.” Brackets can be made of:

  • Metal

  • Ceramic

Metal brackets are silver-colored. Ceramic brackets are typically clear or tooth-colored and are generally used by patients who want to minimize the visibility of their braces.

Rubber bands, or “elastics,” are used in almost every treatment to help move teeth into a correct position.

There are other fixed appliances your orthodontist may use to move your teeth and reshape the way your teeth fit together or your bite.

Retainers

Retainers are removable orthodontic appliances. Wearing of retainers is an important part of treatment needed to maintain the proper positioning of the teeth.

Retainers can be either active or passive:

  • Passive retainers hold teeth in their new positions after active orthodontic treatment (braces) is complete

  • Active retainers can be used to move or straighten teeth through the use of springs or elastics. They can be used for minor tooth movement.

Invisalign

Invisalign is another orthodontic appliance. This system uses a series of clear plastic aligners that are custom molded to fit you. The virtually invisible aligners gradually reposition your teeth.

Commonly asked questions about Invisalign include:

  • Do I wear my aligners all the time?

    Yes, you should. However, you should also remove your aligners to eat, brush, and floss.

  • How long will I have to wear my aligners?

    Total treatment time will vary according to the severity of the patient's problem and the cooperation of the patient. Most treatments last from 4-18 months.

  • How often should I change my aligners?

    You should change your aligners every two to three weeks.

  • How often should I see my orthodontist?

    You should have regular check-ups with your orthodontist. These check-ups are usually scheduled every month.

Our providers

African American female dentist treating patient at clinic

Expert orthodontic care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our orthodontists.