Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What exactly is orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics, also sometimes referred to as dentofacial orthopedics, is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. It goes much beyond just making straighter smiles, but also creates harmonious bites and better facial symmetry.
What is an orthodontist?
Every orthodontist is a dentist, but not every dentist is an orthodontist. They both start in the same place – dental school, but upon graduation an orthodontist goes on to an additional two to three years of training to gain their specialty designation. At Gire Orthodontics, our orthodontists are also board certified, which means they have gone even a step further to show their commitment to the highest standards of orthodontic care.
When should my child visit an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist by the age of seven. However, even if your child doesn’t visit us for the first time until later, or even if you’re an adult seeking treatment, any age is the right age to improve your smile! One in five patients today is over the age of 21 so orthodontics isn’t just for children. However, the younger we can start the easier and more efficient treatment may be.
How do I care for my teeth while in treatment?
- Don’t forget to brush and floss. Whenever possible, brush after every meal and floss at least once a day.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste to keep your teeth strong.
- If you take out your removable appliance to eat, don’t forget to keep it in its case so it doesn’t get accidentally thrown away.
- Keep your retainers and aligners clean by soaking them regularly and rinsing them after removing them and before placing them back in.
- Keep your retainer and aligners away from high temperatures as this could warp their plastic and alter their fit.
- Eat a healthy diet and avoid foods and drinks with excess sugar.
- Stick to the foods you can eat in braces to avoid damaging brackets and wires.
- Don’t forget to keep your appointments with your family dentist to ensure your smile stays healthy.
What are my treatment options?
Braces are the appliances we use to guide your teeth to their new locations. Today, there are more options than ever before to choose from:
- Clear aligners
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Traditional metal braces
How long do I have to wear braces?
Treatment times depend on several factors such as age at treatment, type of treatment chosen, and severity of the malocclusion. Every person’s mouth is different and will respond to treatment differently so there isn’t a one size fits all timeline for treatment.
Will orthodontic treatment hurt?
Orthodontic treatment shouldn’t be painful, however, it isn’t without a bit of discomfort. This is especially true in the first few days after your braces are placed as your mouth is getting used to the appliances.
How often do I need to brush my teeth while in treatment?
While in orthodontic treatment, it is important to pay close attention to your oral health to ensure your smile stays healthy enough for treatment. Brush three times a day, or after every meal, and floss at least once a day. If you have questions about how to properly brush and floss with your braces on our staff is happy to help.
Do I still need to visit my regular dentist?
Just because you are visiting your orthodontist regularly doesn’t mean you can skip out on your regular dental visits. Your braces can create nooks and crannies where food can get stuck, leading to bacteria that can cause cavities and gingivitis. Dental issues can set your orthodontic treatment back so it’s important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure your treatment can stay on track.
How will braces impact my life?
Your braces shouldn’t interfere too much with your daily life especially after you’ve gotten used to them. There is an adjustment period to wearing braces, however, you don’t have to stop playing sports or your favorite instrument because you’re in orthodontic treatment.
I don’t care if my smile is perfectly straight, so why would I need braces?
Many people mistakenly believe braces are only for cosmetic purposes only, but their benefits go far beyond a prettier smile. A straight smile isn’t just more attractive, it’s healthier too. Orthodontic treatment can prevent future dental problems that might otherwise arise from a crooked, crowded, or misaligned smile.
How can I schedule appointments?
Call our office and our staff will be happy to help you schedule your next appointment.
Am I too old for braces?
You are never too old to get the smile of your dreams! While the recommended age to visit an orthodontist is seven, you can begin your orthodontic journey at any age. In fact, today nearly a quarter of orthodontic patients are adults.
What happens at my initial consultation?
At your first appointment we will take images of your smile, including X-rays, and Dr. Gire will do a physical examination. These pieces work together to show Dr. Gire a complete image of your smile so that he can craft a treatment plan to meet your specific needs. He will discuss any issues he finds, and go over treatment options if treatment is in fact indicated.
Does insurance cover braces?
Most dental insurances will cover a portion of the cost of braces, however, this is specific to your individual plan. Before agreeing to treatment, be sure you understand what your insurance will cover, and what will be your obligation.