Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is sometimes also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics. It is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dentist who has spent two to three years of additional training to become a specialist in orthodontics. An orthodontist can straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile. Our orthodontists are also board certified, meaning they are committed to the highest standards or orthodontic care. Make sure the orthodontist you select is board certified. Why trust your smile to someone who’s not?
What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist by the age of seven, but any age is a great age to improve your oral health and get a beautiful smile. Orthodontic treatment isn’t just for kids – one in five patients currently in treatment is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for your 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. Fluoride strengthens your enamel and prevents cavities.
- If you take out your retainer to eat, remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken. Never leave it in a napkin, as it can be easily thrown away. Brush and floss your teeth before putting the retainer back in your mouth.
- Keep your retainer clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush, toothpaste, or hand-soap. You may also soak it in denture cleaner or white vinegar as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher as this will distort its shape and render it ineffective.
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar. This increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities. It can be harder to keep your teeth clean while wearing braces, so avoid foods and drinks that can contribute to decay.
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.). If you aren’t sure, don’t eat it, and ask your orthodontist for a list of acceptable foods at your next visit.
- 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, removable 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?
Treatment time varies for every patient because each patient’s mouth is different, and everyone’s teeth respond differently to treatment.
Do braces hurt?
Braces should not hurt, although you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a few 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 food 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. Your orthodontist can 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! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. While you are wearing braces, food may get 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?
If you play an instrument or contact sport, you may have a period of adjustment while getting used to your new braces. However, braces won’t stop you from participating in your favorite activities. If you play a contact sport, ask your orthodontist about the best mouth guard for you to protect your mouth and braces from damage.
Aren’t braces just for cosmetic purposes?
While the result of braces will be a straighter smile, wearing them will also improve your oral health. Crooked, misaligned, and crowded teeth can be harder to take care of, leading to a host of dental problems. If you can’t effectively clean your teeth you are more susceptible to decay and gum disease.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our office! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.