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Common Orthodontic Questions

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Are you considering orthodontic treatments for yourself or your child? Do you want to learn more about dental braces and teeth alignment? Then, you've come to the right place.

Orthodontics Of The Black Hills is a premier orthodontic office located in Rapid City, SD, offering multiple services to align teeth and correct bites.

Below are frequently asked questions we often hear from new patients.

Orthodontic treatments exist to help patients develop a healthy "bite." This includes alignment of the teeth and the jaws. When the jaws and teeth are aligned correctly, they can function normally. Conversely, when the jaw and bite are not aligned, a person may experience discomfort, pain, other oral health-related issues, or even general health concerns. A bonus of orthodontic treatments is obtaining an attractive smile that can provide more confidence.

Many people opt for orthodontic treatments to obtain a better-looking smile; however, that is not the only benefit orthodontic treatment offers. Orthodontic treatments can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay and improve biting, chewing, and speaking functions.

Orthodontic treatments can help children chew comfortably, bite properly, and speak clearly. When our teeth work as they are supposed to, they also appear to look more attractive. Orthodontic treatments not only help children achieve beautiful smiles but also develop great self-esteem and self-confidence.

While some orthodontic problems are acquired due to bad habits such as sucking thumbs and fingers, abnormal swallowing, mouth breathing, accidents, poor dental hygiene, dental disease, and poor nutrition, they are, at times, just the "luck of the draw." The good news is that orthodontic treatment can correct many of these problems.

Unfortunately, a child's dental issues may only worsen as they grow older. Untreated orthodontic issues can result in a variety of dental problems which can be addressed easily with early treatment.

There is no perfect age to get orthodontic treatments. It is patient-dependent. However, beginning orthodontic treatment around the pubertal growth spurt is what we shoot for in many cases because we can take advantage of growth. Then there are situations where we would like to start earlier so that we can get ahead of the growth spurt. So, a general guideline is that we like to see children around age 7 to evaluate if we need to intervene early or simply monitor how they are developing. Nevertheless, modern orthodontic treatments can help individuals of any age achieve their desired results with personalized treatment plans.

Technically, any dentist can provide orthodontic treatment, and some are pretty good at it. An orthodontist, on the other hand, is a professional who has specialized in providing orthodontic treatments to children and adults. This means that they have limited their practice to the specialty of moving teeth and developing jaw bones.

If a dentist specializes in orthodontic care and is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, they are an orthodontist. If your dentist provides general dental care services such as routine cleanings, fillings, and crowns, they are most likely not an orthodontist.

Orthodontists can help anyone of any age with dental misalignment and help them look and feel their best about their smile. Although orthodontic treatments for adults may take longer than for teenagers or children, they provide the same fantastic results.

Are you suffering from chronic migraine? Sometimes, your chronic migraine may be triggered by a jaw disorder. TMJ disorders often lead to chronic migraines - which can be cured in many cases. Learn more about TMJ treatment options with Dr. Ross Johnson.

Temporomandibular Joint disorders (TMJ) are unnatural conditions affecting your jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments. Some signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:

  • Jaw muscle pain
  • Headaches or chronic migraines
  • Earcaches
  • Neck pain or discomfort
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Popping or clicking of the jaw
  • Swelling
  • Tooth pain

In many cases, the cause of TMJ disorders may not be clear. Sometimes the main reason TMJ develops is due to excessive strain on the jaw joints and the muscle group that controls chewing, swallowing, and speech. TMJ disorders can be caused by numerous circumstances, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding/clenching)
  • Jaw dislocation
  • Displacement of the jaw joint
  • Stress
  • Trauma to the jaw, head, or neck
  • An improper bite
  • Genetics

Talk to Us Today!

Dr. Ross Johnson is a highly experienced orthodontist in Rapid City, providing services to a variety of patients in South Dakota. His experience serving patients from all backgrounds has allowed him to develop an empathetic approach in his work. Dr. Ross Johnson will guide you through treatment and assist in relieving oral-facial pain or correcting misaligned teeth.

Call us today or send us your questions and concerns. Our staff will get back to you as soon as possible.


Our blog topics offer insights into oral health and the overall well-being of individuals and families. Learn more about dental issues and how you can stay ahead of the curve in maintaining and obtaining excellent oral health.

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