About the Expert
Kimberly Gronberg graduated from Baylor University and Baylor College of Dentistry. She is past president of the Baylor Orthodontic Alumni Association, participates in ongoing dental study clubs, and lectures at Baylor College of Dentistry. She and her husband, Erik, have two daughters and a son. Dr. Gronberg enjoys volunteering at her kids’ school, reading, snow skiing, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.
What benefits do braces provide besides straightening teeth?
Our main goal is always proper function. We want your teeth to fit properly together so they function correctly. Aesthetics is a byproduct. Correcting tooth position and alleviating overcrowding and crooked teeth makes dental hygiene easier and helps avoid unhealthy teeth and gums. Properly functioning teeth means better chewing, better digestion, better speech, better bone structure, and better overall health. And, yes, it also means a beautiful smile.
What’s the best age for my child to have their first consultation?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends we see children by age seven. Braces can generally wait until all the permanent teeth are in. But if, for instance, the child’s palate needs expanding, they may be shifting to one side to chew causing the jaw to develop incorrectly. By evaluating early, we can pick up on this or another developmental issue. At seven, we can check for bite problems like a cross-bite and monitor the eruption of the teeth to prevent teeth becoming impacted later. And early intervention often means we won’t have to extract teeth when the child is ready for braces.
How do I know which type of braces are right for me?
There are positives and negatives to all types of systems—from traditional braces to clear tooth aligners—depending on your bite, the position of your teeth, and your lifestyle. For some patients, the comfort and appearance of braces are most important. For others, it’s the length of treatment or dietary restrictions. It’s my job to educate each patient about their options, make recommendations, then partner with them in whichever treatment they choose. Luckily, there’s a solution for everyone. To learn more about achieving healthier, more aesthetic smiles in a high-tech, comfortable setting, visit our website at GronbergOrthodontics.com.
How have braces evolved?
As with any industry, there have been exciting technological advances. We now have a 3D scanner that uploads an image of the patient’s teeth onto a computer where we can diagnose and develop a treatment plan. We also use self-ligating brackets that don’t need elastic, rubber bands, or metal ties. Instead, there’s basically a door on each bracket that opens and closes to hold the wire making it much easier for us to change out wires. Self-ligating brackets enable us to have less friction between braces and wires, so leveling of teeth can happen faster and many patients report less discomfort. Office visits are shorter and less frequent with less discomfort than with traditional braces.
Am I too old for braces?
You’re never too old to have your teeth moved. We can move teeth at any age and, with new clear aligner technology like Invisalign, there are good aesthetic options for adults. Even if we decide not to go with Invisalign, we have clear brackets and braces. Dentists sometimes send older patients to us to have a tooth moved to accommodate a bridge or crown and avoid a root canal. In fact, 20 percent of my patients are adults. And we love working as a team with our patients’ dentists and other specialists to offer their patients beautiful, fully functioning teeth.