Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?
Orthodontics is the treatment of irregularities in the teeth (especially of alignment and occlusion) and jaws, including the use of braces to correct these.
WHO IS AN ORTHODONTIST?
An orthodontist is a dentist specializing in the field of orthodontics, having received an addition two to three years of training and experience after dental school. Your orthodontist will work with you to straighten your teeth, correct misaligned jaws and improve the function and aesthetics of your smile.
WHAT IS THE BEST AGE TO VISIT THE ORTHODONTIST?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children first visit an orthodontist at age seven. The younger the patient, the more the jaw bones surrounding the teeth will re-form correctly. However, there is no age limit to see an orthodontist. If you want to improve your smile, fix misaligned teeth or correct your bite, then by all means—come into our office!
HOW CAN I TAKE CARE OF MY TEETH IF I’M WEARING BRACES OR A RETAINER?
Brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day. When brushing your teeth, use a toothpaste that contains fluoride as this will help prevent cavities. You may even need a fluoride rinse—ask your family dentist the next time you see them.
Keep your retainer clean! If you’re taking it out when eating, keep it clean and clean your teeth before putting it back in. You can also brush your retainer with your toothbrush and toothpaste.
Finally, avoid foods with a lot of sugars. The reason for this is that bacteria like sugar as much as we do! Sugary foods will increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth, causing more plaque and can lead to more cavities. Also avoid foods that can get caught in your retainer/braces; foods like caramel, chewing gym, gummy bears, corn, ribs, taffy, etc. Avoid hard foods—hard candy, nuts, ice cubes.
WHAT ARE BRACES?
Braces are contraptions that slowly straighten your teeth through applied pressure. With traditional, fixed braces a metal or ceramic “anchor” is placed on each tooth and a metal wire is threaded through these. By changing the wire tension, the Orthodontist is able to “train” the teeth into alignment over time. Once the teeth are straightened, the wire and anchors are removed. Modern alternative’s use clear retainers to do the same thing. Come in and our orthodontist will tell you which is best for you.
IF I GET BRACES, HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WEAR THEM?
There is no single answer to this question. The amount of time will depend on individual factors for each patient. Some treatments may require 30 months while others will require less. A general average is closer to 22 months.
DO BRACES HURT?
Braces are applying pressure to straighten your teeth. Because of this, you may feel some discomfort, but you should forget the discomfort after a few days. If your braces are hurting, let us know.
DO I NEED TO BRUSH MY TEETH MORE OFTEN IF I HAVE BRACES?
Floss and brush at least twice a day. But if you can brush after each meal, that would be ideal. Carry a sugar-free gum with you and chew after eating if you’re not able to brush. It will help clean some of the bacteria in your mouth until you have a chance to Floss and Brush. We will show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.
IF I HAVE BRACES, DO I STILL NEED DENTAL CHECKUPS EVERY SIX MONTHS?
Yes. It’s actually more important to visit your dentist regularly when you’re going through orthodontic treatment. It’s easier for food to get caught in your teeth, which can lead to cavities, gingivitis and gum disease. We’ll do our best to prevent this by working with you to keep your teeth clean. But regular dentist visits are very important.
WILL MY BRACES INTERFERE WITH MY SCHOOL ACTIVITIES LIKE SPORTS, PLAYING AND INSTRUMENT, OR SINGING?
Wear a mouthguard! Aside from some small adjustments when playing instruments, wearing braces should not stop you from any of your school activities. But if you plan a contact sport, don’t forget a mouthguard.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE MY NEXT APPOINTMENT?
Contact our office by phone and we’ll help schedule your next appointment. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, let us know and we’ll provide you all the information you need.