Orthodontic FAQs

Below are common questions and our answers about Orthodontic treatment.

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.

What is an orthodontist?

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.

Why should an orthodontist complete my treatment?

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.

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.

Will my teeth straighten out as I grow and get older?

No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

Is it too late to have braces if I’m already an adult?

No patient is "too old" to wear braces! A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health and happiness are vitally important to adults, and orthodontic treatment can increase your self-esteem at any age!

How often will I have an appointment?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every five to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly

At what age should I use toothpaste to clean my child’s teeth?

Once your child has a few teeth, you can start using toothpaste on the brush. Use only a tiny amount of fluoridated toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) for each cleaning. Always have your child rinse and spit out toothpaste after brushing. Children naturally want to swallow toothpaste after brushing and swallowing too much fluoride tooth paste can cause teeth to stain. You should brush your child’s teeth for her until she is ready to take on that responsibility herself, which usually happens by age six or seven.

How do I care for 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, which 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 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 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 days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces or after you have your braces adjusted.

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?

Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist at least every six months. 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 other activities like sports or playing an instrument?

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?

Simply call our practice! 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.

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