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The Expert: Dr. Mason Bates | Bates Family Orthodontics

I thought orthodontists just straighten teeth, what is “smile design?”
In the digital age that we live in, where selfies, FaceTime, and zoom meetings abound, our smiles are often the first thing that others notice. “Smile design” refers to the thorough analysis of the position and anatomy of your teeth relative to your facial esthetics. This includes the width of your smile, the position of your upper teeth in relation to your lips, dental and facial midlines, tooth shape/proportions, gum levels, and relationship of your jaws, in addition to the alignment of your teeth and how they fit together (your “bite”). Dr. Bates uses this outside-in approach to orthodontic treatment to create a personalized treatment plan that ensures you not only have wellaligned (“straight”) teeth and a healthy, functional bite, but also a beautiful smile that projects confidence, joy, and personability.

Other than improving esthetics, what are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?
Aligning your teeth and correcting your bite can lead to significant improvements in your overall dental health, function of your teeth, and prevention of long-term issues such as excessive tooth wear, periodontal issues, and jaw joint problems.

I was told I would need braces, can I do Invisalign instead?
Invisalign clear aligners are simply another tool that orthodontists use to apply controlled forces to your teeth to accomplish desired tooth movements. Though there are some instances where he does prefer braces, Dr. Bates is able to treat even complex cases with Invisalign.

What is the average length of treatment?
The average length of comprehensive treatment with Invisalign at our practice is 14-18 months, with appointments typically every 12 weeks. Minor touch ups with Invisalign average 3-6 months, sometimes even shorter. The average length of comprehensive treatment with braces at our practice is 20-22 months, with appointments every 6-8 weeks.

At what age should my child have their first orthodontic evaluation?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have an orthodontic exam at, or around, age 7. Most often no intervention will be recommended at this age and your child will be placed on yearly observation. If indicated however, early intervention (Phase I) often reduces the likelihood of more complicated treatment in the future, such as extraction of permanent teeth or the need for surgical procedures.



Dr. Mason Bates is a board certified orthodontist with extensive training in all areas of orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign and braces for all ages, jaw surgery interdisciplinary care, and craniofacial syndromes.
Dr. Bates and his team pride themselves on designing confident, beautiful smiles while also building lasting relationships that allow them to love, serve, empower, and impact their patients and community.
Outside the office, Dr. Bates maintains a strong commitment to ministry, mentorship, and giving back to our local community.

Bates Family Orthodontics
1925 Thomson Drive
Lynchburg, VA 24501

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