Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also called dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial abnormalities.
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist with two to three years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist can straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.
What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great age to see an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of 21. So whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or a child, any time is an excellent time to visit the orthodontist.
How can I care for my teeth if I wear braces or a retainer?
- Always brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once daily.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
- If you take out your retainer to eat, brush your teeth, or floss, remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or the dishwasher.
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the number of bacteria in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.
What are braces?
Your orthodontist uses braces to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
- Traditional metal braces
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
The time spent in braces will vary depending on the patient because every smile responds differently to a treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between six and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 22 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces do not often hurt though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple of days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times daily to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food caught between the braces. Also, floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush can’t reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to brush and floss once your braces are correctly placed.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! It’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up, leading to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to ensure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
Will my braces interfere with school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any school activities. If you play a contact sport, wearing a mouthguard protects your braces or appliance.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. Also, if you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know, and we will provide you with all the information you need.