FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ORTHODONTICS
WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities with a focus on facial balance.
WHAT IS AN ORTHODONTIST?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist has the knowledge to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the overall function of your smile.
WHAT’S THE BEST AGE TO VISIT THE ORTHODONTIST?
Healthy teeth can move at any age. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven. It is important to remember that orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
HOW CAN I TAKE CARE OF MY TEETH IF I’M WEARING BRACES OR A RETAINER?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
- 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, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean, too, 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 that grows 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?
Braces are used by your orthodontist 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 amount of time spent in braces will vary depending on the individual 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 a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any debris that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach.
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 that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
WILL MY BRACES INTERFERE WITH MY SCHOOL ACTIVITIES LIKE SPORTS, PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT, OR SINGING?
No! There may be a bit of a learning curve as you learn to use your mouth with braces. However, you can continue to play an instrument or play contact sports with boys. For contact sports, we recommend wearing a mouthguard.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE MY NEXT APPOINTMENT?
Just call our office! We will be happy to find a date and time that is convenient for you.