Orthodontist Decision Guide and How to Confidently Select an Orthodontist

Selecting the best orthodontist in Miami area can be a challenging process. Many people consider orthodontics at some point in their life. Hopefully, this guide will provide the information to help you and your child with your orthodontic treatment.

At what age should your child see the orthodontist?

As a parent you may ask yourself when is the correct time and age at which you should seek an orthodontist for your child. Did I bring my child too early? Did I bring my child too late? These are some of the most frequent questions I receive as an orthodontist. Few parents are proactive and take initiative to bring their children in before or at the age of five or six; at that age, we only have baby teeth, and the definitive position of the permanent teeth is a guess at best. Few parents have a sufficiently knowledgeable dentist to recommend the first orthodontic evaluation at the time when the child is starting second grade. I’d recommend parents have their child’s first orthodontic exam at age of seven because at that time the front permanent top and bottom teeth are developing, and they lay the framework for the top and bottom jaws. An orthodontist can rule out potential problems at that age. The American Association of Orthodontists also recommends the first orthodontic exam be arranged at age seven. About nine out of ten children will not need any treatment, and they will be placed on a follow-up watch or evaluation appointment to monitor growth and teeth development.

Is my child not too young for braces at the age of 7?

Nine times out of ten this is a valid question and that is correct. For most children an orthodontic exam at the age of 7 will just be an exam and only monitoring the growth and development until your child is ready for braces. That being said, early treatment at the appropriate age can prevent potential:

  • serious problems with teeth/jaw alignment such as crossbites
  • excessive teeth wear, chips or fractures of teeth
  • periodontal gum problems such as recessions
  • teeth that do not have enough space or will not have enough space to come out
  • insufficient confidence, difficulty cleaning teeth, awkward social interactions

Some problems are best corrected at an early age. Correction at the appropriate time will save you time, finances, and help prevent problems that become more difficult and costly to fix as time goes by.

In the past, an orthodontist would recommend braces for young children with the primary goal of preventing the removal of permanent teeth. With advances in orthodontics and technology we started asking ourselves does early treatment always help or is there no difference if orthodontics is postponed until 11 to 13 years of age? Well, there are two different views some orthodontists believe strongly. There are those that believe in children having early treatment while others believe that treatments should be postponed until 11-13 years of age. Who is right? Good question. The answer will have to depend on what condition your child presents with. When it comes to correction of class 2 malocclusion and severe overjet, 2 studies from the USA (Florida and North Carolina) and one study from Great Britain found that early treatment had no benefits compared to treatment that began in adolescence. On the other hand, if the child has narrow top jaw or deficient top jaw when compared to the bottom jaw, the best time for treatment would be at an early age because the bones are softer and more moldable leading to more predictable results. Your orthodontist can guide you in determining the appropriate time for correction of those conditions. Another scenario is if your child is teased or bullied at school because of crooked/uneven teeth. This is a decision you need to make if your child can benefit from early treatment and straight teeth. The orthodontist will be there to point out trouble spots but ultimately it is your decision, your child’s future, and your finances.

What is orthodontics?

The term orthodontics comes from the Latin words “ortho”, which means straight, and “dontics”, which means teeth also known as straight teeth. To get your teeth straight the two main options are braces or clear aligners. The physiology of the process involves gentle pressure on your teeth toward the desired position and there’s a natural process of remodeling in front and behind your teeth so that your teeth move and create your new smile.

Treatment time could be as short as 3 to 6 months or, in very, very extreme cases, as long as 5 years. Average treatment time for orthodontics is 2 years. Factors that help speed up treatment include making your appointments on time, following the instructions of your orthodontist, and good oral hygiene.

What is faster than orthodontics?

Alternative ways of making teeth appear straight include veneers, fillings, crowns or any other type of material that is glued to teeth. One benefit is that results are instant or almost instant. However, some of these restorative materials for veneers, fillings, or crowns eventually may need to be replaced, adding additional cost. Aesthetics might change over time if those restorations start to leak and further removal of tooth structure will be required if replacement is needed. Sometimes the position of the teeth is not normal or the space between them teeth is too much or too little to make normal looking veneers, fillings or crowns. For that reason, your dentist may request that you complete your orthodontic treatment before they do veneers on your teeth. Think of it as a car that has been damaged in a car accident. If the garage technicians only repair the outside visible damage, the internal car damage will be masked and will worsen in time and give you problems down the road. However, the car will look great on the outside. Similarly, just as teeth are crooked, spaced or malpositioned, if you choose to mask their appearance with veneers and/or crowns, their malposition most likely would still remain. These underlying conditions can lead to difficulty in keeping the teeth clean leading to additional bacterial plaque pocket formation and creating other problems in the future. Veneers, fillings, and crowns are great options if used appropriately and have their indications for smile improvement.

Alternative ways of making teeth appear straight include veneers, fillings, crowns or any other type of material that is glued to teeth. One benefit is that results are instant or almost instant. However, some of these restorative materials for veneers, fillings, or crowns eventually may need to be replaced, adding additional cost. Aesthetics might change over time if those restorations start to leak and further removal of tooth structure will be required if replacement is needed. Sometimes the position of the teeth is not normal or the space between them teeth is too much or too little to make normal looking veneers, fillings or crowns. For that reason, your dentist may request that you complete your orthodontic treatment before they do veneers on your teeth. Think of it as a car that has been damaged in a car accident. If the garage technicians only repair the outside visible damage, the internal car damage will be masked and will worsen in time and give you problems down the road. However, the car will look great on the outside. Similarly, just as teeth are crooked, spaced or malpositioned, if you choose to mask their appearance with veneers and/or crowns, their malposition most likely would still remain. These underlying conditions can lead to difficulty in keeping the teeth clean leading to additional bacterial plaque pocket formation and creating other problems in the future. Veneers, fillings, and crowns are great options if used appropriately and have their indications for smile improvement.

IVANOV Orthodontic Experts
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Curcio Stapleton
Curcio Stapleton
04:16 12 Jan 20
I really appreciated that Dr. Ivanov took the time to make sure I got the braces I wanted, not the braces that are the... most. I mean, he does run a business, but it was more important that I was happy with the process and what the end result would be than to get the most profit from either a really expensive treatment or things I didn’t need to have done. Plus, I love being able to get appointments later in the day at a place that is easy to get to in North Miami Beach so I don’t have to miss work to get my braces tightened. You never really associate great customer service with an orthodontist, but perhaps now you should. This is a team that is really passionate about what they do.read more
Rudy Daly
Rudy Daly
02:20 03 Jan 20
I never thought it possible that I would end up wearing braces at the same time as my tween, but when I took her in to... get a consultation I started wondering if the gaps in my teeth could be fixed also, so I booked an appointment for me, too. The day my tween got her braces on I got mine on next to her! She was of course totally embarrassed to know her mom also had to have braces, but hey, it wasn’t possible to get braces when I was a kid in Aventura. I was able to get these really cool ceramic braces so you can hardly tell that I have braces on. My family is totally happy with our care.read more
Claudia Royer
Claudia Royer
03:34 02 Jan 20
Both of my children needed braces. I mean, it makes sense that they would, since they are similar age, but it had me... super stressed when I tried to think how I was going to pay for all of that. But then I found Ivanov Orthodontic Experts and the office team was super understanding. They helped me find the right payment plan to help make that big bill much more manageable. And, they helped me with the insurance coverage part, too. Between the insurance and the payment plan I got both kids all taken care of and since the office is near Bay Harbor, it was easy to get to, too.read more
Gabriel Keys
Gabriel Keys
05:45 31 Dec 19
Let me start off by saying that I do not like going to doctors. I grudgingly go to the dentist every six months to get... my teeth cleaned mostly because it is free thanks to my dental insurance. And nothing really bad happens there. So when my dentist noticed that my teeth were drifting out of alignment, he recommended that I go to see Dr. Ivanov at Ivanov Orthodontics near Bay Harbor. I was less than thrilled. But I went, and I was pleasantly surprised. The office staff were very nice and made me feel welcome, and the waiting area was very clean and well organized. I liked that the paint scheme had a kind of beachy feel to it. I was much more at ease. And Dr. Ivanov himself was very patient with me and got me into Invisalign, so I didn’t have any painful and awkward braces to deal with.read more
Susan Sullivan
Susan Sullivan
01:56 30 Dec 19
I was worried about getting braces for my 7 year old, since it seemed like he was too young for it. But Dr. Ivanov went... over the treatment options and explained why it would be perfect for him to get braces now so that all of his adult teeth would have enough room and he wouldn’t have to have more expensive and painful work done later. The new state of the art tools that orthodontists have come up with are amazing! Timmy didn’t have to have any of that huge headgear like I remember classmates having in junior high in Miami Shores. And, it looks like Timmy won’t have to have braces again later on, although Dr. Ivanov was up front and honest that as kids grow, things might change, but he was optimistic that this was all that was needed. And we love going to the orthodontist! The staff are really nice and the waiting area is so kid-friendly.read more
Saundra Gibbons
Saundra Gibbons
16:37 07 Dec 19
My orthodontic care here has been superb. A cut above the one other orthodontist I tried. Dr. Ivanov is more... compassionate and respectful of his patients time and and concerns. If you decide to entrust Dr. Ivanov with your orthodontic needs, you'll receive complete transparency and dependability from him and the surrounding staff.read more
T Wynn
T Wynn
16:39 19 Nov 19
Very experience, honest, professional and welcoming. It is very hard to find a good orthodontist like Dr.Ivanov. He is... very competent!read more
Gabi Hernandez
Gabi Hernandez
16:32 06 Nov 19
Typical story of someone who had braces 10+ years ago but never wore their retainers so my teeth have started to shift.... I came to Dr. Ivanovo for a consultation for retainers to help move my teeth back in place. My overall experience was great! Dr.Ivanov was very friendly, knowledgeable, informative, and caring. He listened to everything I had to say and answered all my questions. Best part of it all, he didn’t push any treatment on me. Dr. Pavel told me my best options and kept the decision completely up to me. I will be going back to Dr. Ivanov and I recommend him to anyone who wants to better perfect their beautiful smile. PS, his receptionists were also very nice and helpful, and I really appreciate the option of having a free water bottle and coffee while I waited!read more
Julene Peebles
Julene Peebles
21:23 05 Nov 19
My experience with this orthodontist has been above average. Much better than I expected it to be. From the initial... stages of the staff and orthodontist introducing themselves and explaining how their procedures work, until the time my braces were put on, maintained and finally taken off. Excellent experience all around thanks to everyone doing their part.read more
Sabrina Nelson
Sabrina Nelson
19:06 30 Oct 19
Really nice dentist. I love how welcoming and comfortable they make you. Just coming in for a consultation they made... you feel like family. They explain everything well and are willing to work with you. I will definitely be coming back.read more
Shenrica Roberts
Shenrica Roberts
18:26 28 Oct 19
Had my braces since January 2019 and my experience has been amazing so far! The office is super clean and everyone is... friendly! Would definitely recommend!!read more
Jerod Theobrun
Jerod Theobrun
19:17 22 Oct 19
This place is very great for braces. They’re flexible with their appointments and also have very loving and caring... staff members. I would 100% recommend everyone to come here.read more
Leonardo Massinger
Leonardo Massinger
16:30 15 Oct 19
I recommend Ivanov Orthodontic Experts for maintaining their level of commitment during our communication and through... my time with having braces. They really do go above and beyond to answer questions and to make you feel comfortable.read more
Majayura Hurtado
Majayura Hurtado
16:25 15 Oct 19
An excellent experience with Dr. Ivanov and his staff. Everyone is very professional and friendly. Great and reasonable... prices. The service even better. Thank you Dr. Ivanov!read more
Priscilla C.
Priscilla C.
15:39 05 Oct 19
Excellent service, staff is very kind. Dr. Ivanov made sure to explain everything with detail and I was given several... options regarding treatment and financial planning. Overall great experience would definitely recommend.read more
Kyle Flemming
Kyle Flemming
17:23 16 Sep 19
Amazing experience with Ivanov Orthodontic Experts. They really are experts. Not the extremist experts that don't care,... but the ones that take the time to build a relationship with you, understand your sore spots and answering your questions. Throughout the entire time I had braces, I always felt comfortable with them thanks to the openness of my orthodontist and flexibility with them answering questions and providing well fleshed out answers. Thank you!read more
Dean Trammus
Dean Trammus
07:45 20 Aug 19
Dr. Ivanov and his staff are second to none when it comes to quality service and excellent organization. I've never had... any issues with them processing my paperwork or payments incorrectly. Great experience.read more
Ranky Hamish
Ranky Hamish
14:22 14 Aug 19
I wanted to give special thanks to these guys for answering all of my questions prior to putting my braces on. Dr.... Ivanov is willing to be patient with you and provide me with the comfort I needed to move forward with Invisalign braces. So far, I've been adjusting to not being able to eat certain things. It's a struggle but it will be worth it in the long run! I'm in good hands at this orthodontist facility!read more
Ronald Weasley
Ronald Weasley
19:29 10 Aug 19
These orthodontists stand behind their word. Their level of customer service is exceptional. My braces were put on my... teeth without any pain or discomfort. Exactly how Dr. Ivanov promised. I am satisfied with this orthodontist so far.read more
Armando Saunders
Armando Saunders
18:40 25 Jul 19
Very professional orthodontist. Dr. Ivanov explained all of my options to me in a clear and concise manner, making me... immediately feel comfortable and like I was cared about as a patient. This was very refreshing considering I've experienced other doctors who didn't exhibit any nurturing or helpful traits. I will be proceeding with my new pair of braces soon and I'm actually excited to move forward! Thank you Dr. Ivanov and staff!read more
Jamila Ross
Jamila Ross
14:15 23 Jul 19
The feelings I get from this dentist office, I can't put into words.... they are absolutely awesome. They are very... personable and engage each patient on a first name basis. They make you feel right at home. They take their time to walk you through the process and make sure that you are comfortable throughout the entire process... I would recommend Dr. Ivanov to any and everyone. Thank you so much.read more
Jill Joseph
Jill Joseph
20:59 15 Jul 19
Awesome experience! Very pleasant and welcoming environment. My first visit was so great that I’m going to bring my... little brother for a consultation. I would refer this orthodontist to anyone. I visited three different places and this place was by far the most knowledgeable. I came in here for a consultation and he walked me through the steps I would need to take to get my teeth straight. I’ve always wanted to get my teeth straightened as one of the steps towards being my best self. My smile is important to me as I smile a lot, so why not finally get my crooked teeth straightened.read more
Khloe Banks
Khloe Banks
16:49 06 Jul 19
I came in today for just a consultation, and must i say i am VERY VERY pleased ! When you first walk in the atmosphere... is warm and welcoming. I was greeted, my information was taken and then i was offered complimentary drinks. The consultation was wonderful. Dr. Ivanov first listened to my needs and fears and then gave me a detailed conclusion based upon his examinations and different options that will accommodate me. I was very pleased with the consultation and extremely exited to begin my treatment. I have no doubts or worries and trust that Dr. Ivanov will give me my million dollar smile ? and i also wants to thank him for my new electric toothbrush ?read more
Nathalie Alphonse
Nathalie Alphonse
19:31 01 Jul 19
I wanted to live in my full potential and for me, that started with my smile. Dr. Ivanov is a perfectionist in his own... right and is an expert at perfecting smiles. Reflecting on my journey (braces removed this morning) Doctor and his staffs patience, understanding and experience is UNMATCHED! My 2 years wedding Anniversary is coming up and we share this milestone with the team (hubby's braces removed last week). They catered to ALL of our orthodontic needs while planning our big day like, changing adjustment dates so we could be picture perfect. I was so comfortable throughout my transformation that I didn't have to miss a single appointment during pregnancy. I had even gotten an adjustment the day before I was scheduled to five birth! Dr. Ivanov is HIGHLY recommended from my family to yours. Doctor, thank you for the opportunity to smile bright.read more
13:25 18 Jun 19
Grade A quality work, I would recommend their services to anybody who needs dental work done. The team treat's you as... if you're family. Dr. Ivanov is serious about what he does and really cares about his customers opinions. Stephanie is amazing at what she does! I can definitely see the difference in my smile since I've started coming here.read more
Richard Branson
Richard Branson
14:40 13 Jun 19
Getting my braces put on was just as exhilarating as getting them taken off. I followed all of my orthodontists... instructions and because of that, I was able to get my braces off sooner than later. There were some painful moments when my braces were adjusted or tightened. But I do think it was completely necessary to give my teeth the quickest and most effective straightening. I wouldn’t of changed orthodontists if I could go back and do this again. Dr. Ivanov provided me with all the tools and knowledge I needed for a successful transition from no braces to braces. Fantastic experience. Would recommend to others.read more
Steven Elmore
Steven Elmore
03:58 06 Jun 19
Ivanov Orthodntic Experts are just that, Experts. They don’t rush during the procedure of putting braces on your... teeth and make sure to explain every detail of what to expect during the procedure. I was very comfortable, which is what’s most important to me. Stephanie, the orthodontic assistant was fantastic and so was the orthodontist, Dr. Ivanov. They compliment each other very well. I’d gladly recommend this orthodontist to others who are looking into braces.read more
James Eisenhardt
James Eisenhardt
14:39 25 May 19
A year ago I sat down for a consultation with three different orthodontists in my area. Two of them were very well... known. The third was not known in the area but had good reviews. It was quick to tell the difference by just asking a few questions. His answers gave me a good feeling of how he was going to use appliances to treat teeth coming in on top of each other. If you saw the x-rays you too would wonder; how in the world could you fit all those teeth and make everything straight? I am no doctor but I had done this already once at Nova Orthodontics school several years ago with another child. It has been a year now since we started treatment and not only did he get the teeth all in; he rotated them to be all aligned. Today I said to him, boy that was quick and he said “I know what I am doing” I said, “it shows on how quickly and well you have done it”. He then told me that he graduated #1 from Nova University out of a class of 129. WOW! If you ever have the need for an orthodontist consult, you will find Dr. Ivanov to be very knowledgeable, confident and charming. The staff that works with him is also very confident and skilled in what they do. I am very pleased with Dr. Ivanov’s work, I very highly recommend him.read more
Tiffany Daniels
Tiffany Daniels
21:24 08 May 19
Omg Dr. Ivanov is the BEST, his bed side manner is the best. His staff is amazing and friendly. He is very informative... while he was doing his examination, he really eased my fears I have had a few bad experiences but this I one where I can’t wait to come back!!!!!read more
Oksana Buchik
Oksana Buchik
17:33 08 May 19
What a fantastic Doctor! Best Orthodontist in all greater Miami. He is an Extremely knowledgeable and highly... experienced Doctor who provides his absolute best and attention to detail, he took great care of me and was quick to tell me how everything was going to work and the changes I’ve seen in the look of my teeth have been unremarkable. Dr. Ivanov is super nice and very comforting. I definitely got a Super Smile! Highly recommend to any one! This is for sure the place you want to get your braces. You will be taken care of and happy that you did! You will receive excellent services and true professionalism. 10 Stars. Thank you so much for my amazing teeth !!read more
Trena Wright
Trena Wright
13:21 06 May 19
I’ve been going to see this Orthodontist for almost a year and the changes I’ve seen in the look of my teeth have... been unremarkable. He and his team have been very helpful, courteous and caring. I recommend anyone who is looking to attain that perfect smile to visit the Premier Dental Center at University drive and Sheridan. You won’t regret it.read more
Adelaida Barron
Adelaida Barron
00:13 03 May 19
I cannot begin to express how amazing the service Dr. Ivanov and his staff provided. From the second I walked in I felt... welcome. I got referred to this practice by a very good friend and I traveled all the way from Houston, Tx to Miami just to see Dr. Ivanov. I highly recommend his practice. His level of work is unmatched.read more
21:32 24 Apr 19
Dr. Ivanov is a professional and truly invested. Office and Staff are very proactive and efficient. I highly recommend... this practice!read more
Andrea Nelson
Andrea Nelson
16:32 24 Apr 19
Dr. Ivanov and his staff are great. Professional, fast and friendly. They take good care of you. A doctor that is... knowledgeable and loves what he does I made the right choice.read more
Anthony Tabacco
Anthony Tabacco
18:39 16 Apr 19
Dr. Ivanov is the best. He professional, caring and accommodating. Never too busy to address concerns or just chat. My... kids love his jovial approach and are not intimidated by visits to the orthodontist. Definitely will recommend him and his practice to others.read more
Melissa Ramirez
Melissa Ramirez
17:16 01 Mar 19
I have visited various orthodontists in the past, but never went through with getting my braces put on. I found Dr.... Ivanov via google search and it has been the best find yet. Not only is he great, but every single person on his team is outstanding!read more
Michelle Spry
Michelle Spry
18:18 26 Feb 19
This is an amazing team of professionals. Staff is amazing specially Amy & Helen and the front desk staff. Dr Ivanov... is always so attentive, caring goes beyond and above for his patients. He is an expert in his field. Dental Office is extremely clean all the time and state of the art equipment . Totally recommend him to anyone needing a great Orthodontic . Thank you Dr.Ivanov for being one of kind and making this experience such a great one and having so much patience with me!!!read more
Rose Andre
Rose Andre
17:48 21 Dec 18
I just completed my treatment with Dr. Ivanov and I am so satisfied with my smile. Before I started my treatment, I... consulted with a few other doctors and I did not think that it would be possible to align my teeth without any surgery and I’m glad I was wrong. The whole team, especially Amy and Helen has made each visit a pleasure. I highly recommend them if you are considering orthodontic treatment!read more
Samantha Dumel
Samantha Dumel
15:23 28 Nov 18
Loved my first experied the staff was amazing the place was cute and cozy. They where all attentive I LOVE my... orthodontist and his assistant that was caring for me ( forgot her name). Dr. Ivanov was always checking on me throughout the procedure. The staff even called after I was home to make sure I was okay and comfortable with my new braces. I was even gifted with ice cream! I have already started recommending.read more
Esperanza Avendano
Esperanza Avendano
02:20 27 Nov 18
I can not be any more happier with Dr. Ivanov and his marvelous staff!! They are so awesome and have always been since... day 1! I couldn't have asked for a better Orthodontist for my son Adrian. My son is so happy with the process and results so far! And we just started! Can't wait to see the end! So thankful for Ivanov Orthodontic Experts!!!read more
Dejah Trenae
Dejah Trenae
20:12 19 Nov 18
I LOVE this office. I highly recommend this office. Every time I come they have GREAT customer service and are very... friendly. They make me feel at home every visit. Not only do I feel welcomed but their results are 100% REAL and absolutely AMAZING !!read more
Lidia Lopez
Lidia Lopez
03:09 19 Oct 18
Dr. Ivanov has been the most amazing and helpful Orthodontist. He makes you feel extremely comfortable with the... process. He makes you feel more than just another patient but a friend. I am beyond satisfied and shocked with the results I've seen in the last couple of months with my braces. I definitely recommend with no hesitation. The experience is obviously pricy but it has been so worth it every step of the way. Thank you so much for making me feel so happy with my smile. I am truly grateful and thankful!!read more
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What is orthopedics?

Orthopedics plainly means bone changes. When there is a skeletal imbalance, treatment may require orthopedics at the appropriate age. Sometimes treatment requires both orthodontics and orthopedics also at the appropriate age. If the child has a narrow top jaw viewed from the side or a deficient top jaw viewed from the front when compared to the bottom jaw, the best time for treatment would be at early age because the bones are softer and are more moldable, leading to reducing the chance of surgery in the future. Orthopedics can be explained in this way: if a child is sucking their thumb for periods of time it produces bone changes. In some instances, there is also tooth movement. In essence, the child is doing their own orthodontics and orthopedics combined because of these habits. For those reasons, if there’s a suspected mouth habit, you should discuss this with your orthodontist to find possible solutions.

Why is there an appropriate age to achieve best results?

Well, depending on your child’s mouth conditions it could be as early as 7, it could be 11 -13 years of age or your child might not even need braces at all. There are some children who have perfect teeth and do not require any orthodontics. For other children waiting to 11 -13 years of age can be too late if orthopedics is required, excessive tooth wear is occurring or there are persistent social concerns. Please schedule an orthodontic exam with your orthodontist.

Will I need teeth slenderizing with clear aligners or braces?

What is teeth slenderizing? Good question. It is a procedure that is routinely performed by orthodontists, which involves very minimal reshaping between teeth. Your orthodontist may perform teeth slenderizing to fit your teeth better and to get the optimum aesthetic results regardless of whether you have clear aligners or braces; most of the time you will not even realize that you have had this procedure done on you. This is another reason to select an orthodontic specialist for your orthodontic treatment compared to your family, cosmetic dentist. To give you the best fit of your teeth and the optimal aesthetic results, orthodontists perform these procedures routinely and are very comfortable with them. General dentists perform such a procedure rarely. For example, if your house AC breaks who do you call? Do you call the AC technician or do you call the general handyman? Even though the general handyman may be able to fix the AC, you have a higher chance of getting a more predictable and faster fix from the AC technician. Unlike your AC parts, your smile and teeth are not easily replaceable. So why would you take chances with your smile?

What is the biggest mistake people make?

This question needs to be reworded differently along the lines of what is the biggest regret parents have about their child’s smile and teeth condition? Well, well… It is not bringing their child for an orthodontic exam at an early age so that potential problems can be ruled out. Common responses that I get from parents are, “No one told us,” and, “I wish we knew about this earlier.” Of course orthodontics can be helpful at any age; however, best results are achieved when there is the least amount of damage to the teeth. A single misaligned tooth can wear at such a high rate due to improper teeth position that by the time the child gets orthodontic consultation the tooth might need a veneer, filling or a crown. Improper bite can damage permanently the surrounding gums and cause gum recession. Even though there are many teeth replacement options, I believe that your natural, untouched teeth are the best teeth PERIOD.

How do I find the right orthodontist?

People have two options for their orthodontic treatment. The first is to go to an orthodontist that specializes in straightening teeth and the second is to go to a family, cosmetic dentist. What we see in the medical field is that people who have severe heart conditions go to a cardiology specialist for their heart treatments even though they continue to see their primary physicians on a regular basis. In addition, when a young family is expecting their child, they see an OBGYN specialist for their questions and not a general physician. There is a reason for that. In straightening teeth, the orthodontist is a dentist who has 24 -36 months of additional training specifically to straighten teeth and, when appropriate, to help with bone development. Most likely the orthodontist has treated 100s or 1000s of cases similar to yours. All that experience and training can lead to more predictable outcomes. The fact is that 100 % of orthodontists are dentists but only 6 % of dentists are orthodontists.

To be sure that you are seeing an orthodontist, you could ask the doctor if he has completed orthodontic specialty training 24-36 months past dental school. You can also ask staff members if the doctor performs dental procedures such as fillings, crowns, bridges, and root canals. Orthodontists almost never perform such procedures. Look around in the office for a display of the doctor’s postdoctoral certificate of proficiency in the specialty of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics and confirm if this is the 24 – 36 months training or a weekend course.

When you choose to see an orthodontist for your child’s orthodontic consultation, your child will be seen by a specialist with 24 – 36 months of training specifically in orthodontics. A specialist can rule out potential problems at a young age. Teenage patients that want straight teeth will have an orthodontist create a customized plan for their individual needs. Most likely the orthodontist has treated 100s or 1000s of cases similar to your child’s. All that experience and training is invaluable.

Why is good diagnosis crucial for your final smile result?

The key to a radiant final smile that people notice from far away and compliment you on is good diagnosis. A good diagnosis is everything. The clinical aspect in orthodontics like putting on ties, changing wires, replacing the bracket, activating the expander, and fitting bands is very easy. The skill that makes orthodontics difficult is proper diagnosis. For example, you can choose one of two building contractors to do the foundation of your family dream house. Building contractor number one recommends you build your house foundation in a sandy area with a lot of underground water. Building contractor number two checked previous land history, made sure that there’s no underground water, made sure that the soil is stable and can sustain your house, and then he recommends you proceed further with building your foundation for your family dream house. Who would you trust with this important job that your family livelihood depends on? Will the final outcome be different?

As a clinician you need to be able to diagnose patients with an increase in vertical facial proportions and not extrude molars in their treatments. You need to be able to diagnose patients with large mandibles (class 3 pattern) and to recognize when the appropriate time for their treatments. You need to be aware that there’s no ideal orthodontics system including clear aligners, there’s no ideal bracket, and there’s no ideal wire. You have to know and spend the time learning different techniques so that you can use the correct technique for the appropriate case. Those are just a few examples of the extra knowledge required for proper diagnosis.

What happens at the orthodontist consultation?

Many questions that parents like you have and have shared with me at some point are related to answering what will happen from the time when you call the orthodontist to schedule an exam to the actual orthodontic consultation. This is fairly easy, you will be greeted by a receptionist, who is also your scheduler, she will walk you through the process and to better serve you she will ask you a few questions. Then she will schedule the appointment for your child’s or your consultation at a time that is convenient for you and your child. Following this phone call, you will be sent a packet with general information, health history, and a map with directions to our practice for your convenience and time efficiency. At the day of your appointment, when you walk into the practice, you will be greeted by the receptionist and offered refreshments from the refreshment bar. Then, while enjoying the refreshments, you will be introduced to your treatment coordinator; she will take care of you from now on and review your personal information, health history, and the main concerns for your child’s smile and teeth or your smile and teeth. You could use this time with your treatment coordinator to ask questions that you may have or ask questions that you do not feel comfortable asking the doctor directly. During this time your child will have panoramic and cephalometric x-rays taken. Those x-rays are crucial to help the doctor form the proper diagnosis. When the doctor comes into the room, he will greet you and will try to find out what he can do for your child and handle any concerns you might have about the teeth or the smile. So that you are aware, the doctor might request other records such as pictures or molds of your teeth in order to accurately diagnose the conditions. Sometimes they can be done the same day. The doctor will lean your child back on a chair, he will perform an evaluation, and he will dictate findings to the treatment coordinator. This is a good time for you to become familiar with the situation in your child’s mouth. At the consultation, the doctor will go into detail and explain his findings, potential problem areas, and individualize your child solutions and options. This is a good time to ask the doctor questions and see if you feel comfortable with the orthodontic treatment. Don’t be surprised if the doctor recommends no treatment at this current time and periodic follow-up visits until your child is ready for braces.

If orthodontic treatment makes sense at this time, your treatment coordinator will guide you to the next step. She will be the one to make this fit your budget, work out specifics in financing, and maximize every single dollar for you. There are a few forms that she will ask you to complete before the actual braces or clear aligner treatment can start.

What x-rays are required for a proper orthodontic exam?

Cephalometric and Panoramic x-rays provide important diagnostic information. A Cephalometric x-ray, which is a full side view of the head, provides information about the skeletal growth pattern, position of teeth, bones that are too big, too small, too far apart or too close together. A Panoramic x-ray, which is a view of all teeth and top and bottom jaws, provides information about impacted, missing, extra, misshapen teeth and short, long, or misshapen roots.

These two x-rays will be crucial in determining the appropriate diagnosis, and with the appropriate diagnosis you can further determine if your child will need orthodontics, which plainly means tooth movement, or orthopedics, which means that there is a skeletal imbalance that would require correction of bone deformities at the appropriate age. Sometimes treatment involves both orthodontics and orthopedics and that’s why it is important to have these two x-rays available.

As a caring parent you can verify that both diagnostic x-rays are included in your child’s exam. A Cephalometric x-ray is going to look like a side view picture of the head. A Panoramic x-ray is going to look like a frontal view picture of all teeth and top and bottom jaws.

This is important; again those x-rays provide the orthodontist with all current dental and skeletal information so that he can identify, diagnose, and treat a wide range of dental conditions. Ultimately, diagnosis is the key, better diagnosis correlates with better outcomes.

What is to be expected daily with braces?

Life with braces has improved very much over the last 20 to 30 years. Orthodontic appliances now are smaller, comfortable, and accepted by other individuals as normal. Unlike 20 to 30 years ago, when braces were not common, people today associate braces with high status, taking care of your child’s health and yours. Technology has allowed braces to be more polished, smaller, and less visible than before. Comfort has been improved since the development of nickel titanium wires borrowed from NASA so that teeth soreness is minimized and your day continues as normally as possible.

What are some soft foods ideas?

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Soup
  • Boiled and Poached Eggs
  • Jell-O
  • Soft Fruits
  • Soft Rice
  • Fish
  • Cooked Vegetables
  • Smoothies
  • Shakes
  • Soft Pasta
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal

How can I eat questionable foods?

Some hard foods can be eaten if properly prepared. Normally hard foods need to be cut into small pieces or grated. Meats that have bone need to be separated from the bone.

  • Apples – cut into small pieces, don’t bite
  • Raw Carrots – cut into small pieces or use blender
  • Corn on the Cob – slice off the corn before eating
  • Bagels and Hard Bread – tear into small pieces
  • Chicken Wings and Ribs – remove meat from the bone, don’t bite off

How often should I brush?

TIP: Clean teeth move faster than dirty teeth and this is a great reason to keep them clean ALL THE TIME!

Good news—taking care of braces is easy. After all, you want a nice, beautiful, radiant smile and at the same time a healthy smile. It is important to brush all surfaces of the teeth and especially the border between the teeth and the gums (most commonly missed areas). I recommend my patients to brush and floss in the morning, before they go to bed, and after each meal. If they don’t have available a toothbrush and floss during the day, they should rinse their mouth well with water. Patients often ask me, “Do I need to floss if I use a water pick?” The answer is yes, a water pick is a good additional cleaning aid between meals; however, brushing and flossing is the main way to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Let’s take a second and look into this. If your neighbor’s car was not washed for 5 months, would a spray of water remove the dirt? Obviously not, he would need to scrub it to remove the dirt. The same is true for the spray from the water pick that is unable to remove microscopic food particles that are stuck to the teeth. A good and easy way to keep your teeth healthy is with the help of an electric toothbrush (oral B/sonic care) and orthodontic flossers (Platypus/Plackers).

Non-removed plaque from the teeth can cause cavities and permanent staining regardless of whether you have or you don’t have braces. Non-removed plaque near the gum area can cause infection and the gums to swell and bleed. Normally, when children see their gums bleeding, they stop brushing and flossing those areas. This is counterintuitive and they should be brushing and flossing more frequently in those areas. With better brushing and flossing, within a week or so the swelling and bleeding should lessen or disappear. It is important that you follow up with your regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings. If your child is young or is not brushing properly, make sure you are brushing their teeth for them until they can do it on their own.

Do clear aligners need to be brushed?

Absolutely, you brush your clear aligners from inside and from outside to remove any plaque that has accumulated on them. Most people like brushing their clear aligners in the morning when they wake up and at night before they go to bed. It is important to keep in mind that you should not be eating with them on or drinking liquids other than water with them on. Eating or drinking liquids except water with your clear aligner on can cause sugars/acids to be trapped underneath them and make you more susceptible to cavities and gum-related problems.

Is it normal to feel tender with biting pressure?

Absolutely, once the braces have been placed or adjusted, about 3 hours after you can start to feel the moving teeth and some discomfort may be present. Tenderness on biting pressure is normal and it can continue for the first 4 to 10 days. Of course, not all children are the same and tenderness can vary from child to child. Softer foods are recommended and over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol if needed. Please be sure to follow manufacturer’s recommendations.

What types of retainers are there?

There are three main types of retainers and their variations. There are clear retainers (removable), Hawley retainers (removable), and lingual retainers (fixed). Which one is my child getting? Retainers are selected based on your individual needs and your orthodontist can guide you through the process of choosing the best retainer for your specific needs.

Clear retainers (removable)
Clear retainers are the latest retainer invention in orthodontics. They are custom made to fit perfectly over your teeth and are made of see-through plastic. It is the most invisible option for retainers that hold all teeth and fit your teeth like a hand inside a glove. Your new smile is not going anywhere. Another advantage is that they cover the biting surfaces of your teeth and prevent direct teeth wear from teeth grinding. Obviously, because of their teeth wear protective functions they may need to be replaced more often if you grind your teeth.

Hawley retainers (removable)
Hawley retainers have been in orthodontics for many years. They are many different designs and customizations available (different colors, adding sparkles or even a picture). As a parent, you are probably familiar with them. They have a metal wire that goes in front of teeth that is attached to a solid plastic piece that goes inside the mouth. The good thing about them is that they allow for slight teeth adjustments if needed for your child’s orthodontic treatment.

Lingual retainers (fixed)
Lingual retainers appear as a metal wire glued on the back of your teeth. You might have heard about them being referred as permanent retainers. They generally hold your upper incisors on the top jaw and lower incisors and canines on the bottom jaw. In certain situations, lingual fixed retainers can be very efficient in maintaining the position of the anterior teeth. Two good things to consider are that they stay in place and are generally not removable. However, this makes cleaning and flossing between teeth more difficult. In addition, they are generally placed on the front teeth and hold only the front teeth. They do not provide a barrier to grinding and teeth wear. If your child has lingual retainers, be sure to periodically monitor the retainers for single tooth glue breakage. It is best to fix the broken glue area before any tooth unnoticeably and unexpectedly moves out of place.

Should I whiten my teeth after my braces come off?

Without a doubt this is the number one thing that my patients ask after their braces come off. They want to complete their new smile with a teeth whitening. I think teeth whitening is beneficial even for people who never had braces or clear aligners because we only take care of things we love. If we don’t like something, we ignore it or forget about it. The same is true with our mouth, teeth, and smiles. If we don’t like what we see in the mirror, we don’t take care of it and that turns into cavities, gum disease, and oral systemic health issues. If you try tooth whitening and like the results, your mind is now focused on your mouth and you start brushing and flossing better, seeing your dentist regularly, and even consider straightening your teeth. It’s a win-win situation.



Amazing experience! I’ve had my braces for 6 month now and I’m impressed of how much my teeth have changed. No pain at all. Dr. Ivanov is such a sweet person and very professional, he knows what he’s doing and always cares for patients personal concerns. Highly recommended!

Dr. Ivanov was amazing. When I first got my braces I was scared it was going to last 4yrs for my teeth to look better but it only lasted 2yrs and the results are beyond amazing. I’m really happy with everything and would absolutely recommend him to anyone. Thank you so much.

Very good experience. The attention was great. The doctor is very punctual and they don’t make you wait, which for my busy schedule is super important. Also, the time the doctor told me I had to wear the braces was the exact time I needed and I was very happy with the results. Definitely recommend him.

Dr. Ivanov was amazing. He was very understanding and took the time to explain, every step of the process for my daughters braces. I am proud to say with great care her braces were finally removed and the end result is the beautiful smile she now has. Thank you

Ivan and his staff made my experience a smooth and convenient process. I am absolutely delighted and satisfied with the progress and how far my teeth has come. Ivan and his staff works effortlessly to ensure that my teeth are perfected beyond my expectations. If I had any other choice I would still choose Ivanov Orthodontic experts.

My family and I are so happy with the results of Dr. Ivanov!!! So knowledgeable, kind and always available to answer questions. I am so happy we found him and his staff. I am looking forward to addressing my dental needs now that the family is on track!!! How many can say that about their dental experts. Way to go Dr. Ivanov!!!

He is awesome. You will start seeing changes quick in your smile. He shows passion in his work, he cares about you and your smiles. The office is very nice and great customer service. You will be in good hands if you choose to go with him.

Common Questions


Orthodontics is a field of dentistry that specializes in diagnosing, preventing, and treating irregularities in the teeth (such as alignment and occlusions) and jaws. It comes from the Greek words “ortho” meaning straight and “odontos” for teeth.


It is never too late, and you are never too old to improve your dental condition with orthodontics. Even though the majority of our patients are children or adolescents, we have served patients of over 67 years of age. At Ivanov Orthodontic Experts we are aware that every patient is unique and therefore treatments may vary. We have the most advanced technology in our practice, which makes treatment more efficient, accessible and comfortable for all of our patients.


No. For most people, once their permanent molars have grown, the available space for the anterior teeth will not increase. In fact, the space will actually decrease over the years and the situation can get worse.


No, this is very unlikely to happen. Using orthodontic and orthopedic appliances during treatment allows orthodontists to optimally utilize the growth potential to try to obtain better relationships of the jaw. There are cases where additional growth can actually worsen the problem. An example is someone who’s lower teeth bite in front of their upper teeth. In cases like this it is very important that the problem is evaluated early and treated by an orthodontist.


A headgear is an orthodontic appliance used to produce a force aimed at pushing back the upper teeth. It is strapped around your head and attached to the upper teeth. At Ivanov Orthodontic Experts we use the most advanced methods and techniques, allowing us to obtain the desired results without the need to have our patients ever use a headgear.


No, a referral is not necessary. Even though some of our patients are referred by their pediatric dentist or general dentist, many people decide to consult on their own in order to find out if their children need braces at an early age. Most likely your visit to the orthodontist will be an exam only.


The purpose of the first orthodontic consultation is to evaluate your child’s or your dental condition and make recommendations, if needed, on how orthodontics can prevent, intercept and/or correct areas that can turn into bigger orthodontic problems.


Yes, you can. As long as the tooth’s roots and surrounding tissue are healthy, a tooth with a crown can be moved just like any other tooth. In the case of missing teeth, orthodontics can improve the alignment of the remaining teeth by partially or completely closing spaces left by the missing teeth. Another benefit is that orthodontics can improve the alignment of your teeth and make it possible for better tooth replacement options for your dentist.


No, orthodontists do not replace missing teeth. This is normally done by your general dentist who is better equipped and qualified to do this kind of work. However, if the missing teeth are located in the anterior area, where esthetics can be problematic, a prosthetic tooth will be included in our retention appliance(s) as a temporary solution. This will give you time to plan with your dentist a more permanent solution.


Every patient is different. In cases where teeth repair is needed, we will consult your dentist to evaluate whether it is essential to have the restorations made before or after the orthodontic treatment. Usually, if it’s an esthetic restoration, repair is recommended after the orthodontic corrections. This will ensure that the final restorations are matching as close as possible with the surrounding teeth in their new corrected position. For defective restorations, cavities or important tooth defects repair is recommended before orthodontics.


Tooth whitening can be done before, during or after orthodontic treatment. If you are considering braces treatment, we recommend that you discuss this with us at your consultation appointment.


At Ivanov Orthodontic Experts we do not do restorative procedures that require anesthesia with needles or shots, such as fillings, crowns, root canals, tooth extractions or other dental surgeries. If such a procedure is necessary, we will refer you to your dentist or the proper dental specialist familiar with these procedures.


Normally, having braces doesn’t hurt, but when braces are first put on the teeth or when major adjustments are made, some teeth become sensitive for a few days. A light analgesic such as Tylenol, Advil or whatever you usually take for headaches may help relieve the discomfort.


Yes, it is very important that you see your dentist regularly throughout your orthodontic treatment as per his or her recommendation. Your dentist can do regular check-ups and cleanings while your child or you are wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances. If necessary, we will be glad to remove any part of your appliance to allow your dentist to work more efficiently on your teeth.


Yes, absolutely. It is always recommended that you protect your teeth, no matter what. Wearing braces or most orthodontic appliances should not be a reason not to play sports. If your child practices a contact sport where there are risks of injuries, it is highly recommended that they wear a mouth guard. Mouth guards, if worn properly, can not only protect your teeth but they can minimize the chances of having more serious jaw and head injuries following heavy sport contacts.


Emergencies that require immediate attention are not common in orthodontics. Frequently, home remedies resolve the concern until your next visit with us. If your braces or other orthodontic appliances are causing you severe pain or discomfort, or if they are broken, please give us a call. Most of the time we can solve problems by phone, but if necessary we will schedule an emergency appointment.


Orthodontic retention refers to the period of time immediately following the removal of braces or other orthodontic appliances. Your child or you will be provided with retainers to stabilize the results obtained during the orthodontic treatment. This period may vary.


In most cases, orthodontics can be carried out without the need for surgery. However, in some more severe cases, there are surgical options that can offer dramatic results. If you suffer from jaw bone or bite abnormalities or malocclusion then there are surgical solutions available. Surgical orthodontics is also known as orthognathic surgery.

Ivanov Orthodontic Experts does not specialize in orthognathic surgery, in the case that you may need it we will do our best to answer your questions.


Surgical orthodontics can have a dramatic effect on aesthetics and function if your jaw does not line up properly or you have a misaligned bite. Normally, to be considered for orthognathic surgery your jaw will need to have stopped growing. This means that, normally, surgical orthodontics is only performed on adults over the age of 18. Surgery is usually only performed in severe cases and is the last resort.


Undergoing orthognathic surgery is a major decision; however, the benefits can far outweigh the risks for many people. The results can be dramatic, not only helping you to achieve a beautiful new smile but also helping with confidence and enhancing your appearance in general.

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