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In search of the perfect smile: Los Altos Orthodontics answers frequently asked questions

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Local orthodontist Dr. David R. Boschken examines Ava Russakow’s orthodontic work during a regular office visit.

But sometimes that smile needs straightening, and Los Altos Orthodontics has been providing the service to children, teens and adults for 38 years.

Established by Dr. Neil Ross and now led by Dr. David R. Boschken - who purchased the practice in 2010 - Los Altos Orthodontics offers Invisalign, Damon System braces, Propel Accelerated Orthodontics, sleep apnea appliances, laser dentistry and Zoom whitening.

Following are Dr. Boschken’s answers to questions he and his team are often asked by potential patients.

What should I look for when choosing an orthodontist?

Choosing an orthodontist should be based on your comfort with the orthodontist and his or her team. Location, office environment, convenience and offering suitable payment plans are all important factors - you will be spending a lot of time at the office. The orthodontist experience and level of expertise will also be important in your decision-making.

Finally, asking your friends, family and dentist for a recommendation is a great way to connect with someone who will ultimately fit your family’s needs.

When is the earliest age to see an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child first see an orthodontist at age 7. While orthodontic treatment may not be needed right away, some children’s orthodontic needs can benefit by interceptive treatment. Your orthodontist can detect crowded or blocked-out teeth and avoid extractions later. He or she can also help guide jaw growth and correct harmful oral habits.

What is Phase 1 Early Interceptive Treatment?

Phase 1 is designed to create space for patients who show excessive crowding or other orthodontic bite problems at an early age. Phase 1 creates room for all the permanent teeth to come in without extractions or getting "stuck" in the mouth. Phase 1 is also designed to improve crossbites, overbites or underbites. Treating these early can help guide jaw growth that might take longer if treated later.

What are the treatment options for teens?

Teens now have more options in orthodontic procedures. In the past 10 years, they’ve been able to choose either Invisalign or braces. Invisalign uses a set of clear aligners to straighten your teeth over time. Invisalign offers a solution for teens and adults without food restrictions and fewer visits. Talk to your orthodontist to find out if your teenager is a candidate for Invisalign.

What are the latest advancements in orthodontics?

There have been many advancements in orthodontics in recent years. Invisalign, as mentioned above, allows you to move through a set of clear aligners without having brackets. With patient compliance, Invisalign is a preferred method of treatment for most adults and teenagers. This allows patients to move through treatment without the visibility of braces. To begin Invisalign, we no longer take impressions to create a reproduction of your teeth. We now use an intra oral scanner (iTero) to take an impression of your teeth. This provides a more accurate model and ultimately a better fit to your device. Gone are the days of "gagging" with impressions to begin orthodontics.

Another advancement is the Damon System, which is a self-ligating bracket that allows movement without elastics over each bracket. The Damon System allows for 30 percent faster treatment and a more precise movement than traditional braces. We also offer Propel, which fast-tracks orthodontic treatments for both braces and clear aligners. This technology allows us to get most patients finished in approximately half the time.

Am I too old for orthodontics?

You are never too old for orthodontics. With the introduction of Invisalign, many adults are motivated to improve not only the aesthetics of their teeth, but more importantly function and access to cleaning. We find that many adults have relapsed from their teenage years or just never had orthodontic treatment. Maintaining a healthy smile will ensure that you keep your teeth in your mouth as long as possible and avoid costly restoration through crowns or veneers later in life.

Once you have decided on an orthodontist and treatment plan for yourself or your child, it is important that you ask about retention. Our philosophy at Los Altos Orthodontics is "Retention for life." When you have completed orthodontics, you will need to wear retainers to hold your teeth in place. You have spent the time and resources to align your teeth, so a retainer is a way of protecting your investment.

Los Altos Orthodontics is located at 826 Altos Oaks Drive, Suite 3. For more information, call 948-3994 or visit losaltosortho.com. ✦

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