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.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to 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 the 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. Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or for 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 in the dishwasher.
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount 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 possibly 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 the types 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
- Gold braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
- Traditional metal braces
How long does treatment take?
Thanks to improvements in technology and techniques, treatment times are generally shorter than they used to be. On average, treatment can take anywhere from 18-20 months, but it depends on everyone's individual case. Fortunately, innovations like self-ligating brackets have been shown to reduce overall treatment time up to six months in some cases. But how long your treatment time will take depends a lot on you, the patient. If you keep your appointments as scheduled, avoid breaking brackets, wear your elastics and keep your teeth clean and healthy, you can avoid a lot of the issues that might prolong your time in braces.
Do you treat adult patients?
Absolutely! In the advent of more esthetic options such as clear braces and Invisalign, about 30% of our patients are adults. Years ago, many adults just expected to lose their teeth later in life... but thanks to today's technology and techniques, more and more grown ups are discovering how easy it can be to not only keep their teeth - but get the beautiful, straight smile they've always wanted. And because of that, the American Association of Orthodontists how estimates that 1 out of every 5 patients nationwide are adults. Bottom line: it's never too late to get the smile you've always dreamed of having. It all start with scheduling your complimentary consultation.
Do braces hurt?
The days of having braces tightened are over and this is due to the type of technology that we utilize. Self-ligating braces have a unique sliding door mechanism that allows us to use less pressure in order to move teeth to their correct positions. In the 1st three to five days, minor discomfort is expected which can be alleviated with advil or motrin.
How often do I need to come in for my appointments?
Not as often as people used to! In years past, treatment typically involved coming into the office every month. But with our new technology, we're able to spread those visits out to every 8-12 weeks depending on your unique case. We try to minimize your number of visits to the office, so you don't have to worry so much about missing school or work.
Are permanent extractions still necessary?
The need for permanent tooth extractions isn't like it was in years past. With today's technology, we find that extraction of permanent teeth has almost become a thing of the past. Expanding and broadening the smile as opposed to extracting teeth if at all possible will give our patients better long term health and esthetics. However, there are still a few cases when permanent teeth extractions are necessary, and this has to do with issues like lip support and the patient's profile. We try to do everything we can to avoid having to remove teeth if it's at all possible.
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. 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?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.
How do I schedule my next appointment? What's the 1st step?
It starts with a complimentary consultation where we will evaluate your case and give you a personalized treatment plan just for you. We will also show you our approach to orthodontics which will not only straighten your teeth, but also give you the broad "Hollywood" smile with better facial balance and esthetics. It's what we call the "brace-lift" Once you start your treatment, you'll come into our office every 2-3 months. You can start to see results in as little as 8 weeks and before you know it, you'll have the beautiful smile you've always wanted and deserved.