Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialized practice within dentistry that involves diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial abnormalities.
What is an orthodontist?
To be considered an orthodontist, a doctor must first be a dentist and then undergo an additional two-three years of education and experience specializing in orthodontics. Once this training and exams are completed, an orthodontist can straighten teeth, enhance jaw positioning, and allow the patient to have a more efficient mouth function.
What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?
Children are encouraged to receive an orthodontic screening by age seven to identify any developing orthodontic issues and treat them at the optimal time. However, patients of all ages can receive orthodontic treatment including children, teens, and adults.
How care for my teeth while wearing braces or a retainer?
- Maintain proper dental hygiene by brushing your teeth after every meal using fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once per day.
- Keep your retainer in its case to avoid it getting lost or thrown away.
- Clean your retainer by brushing it using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste. Be sure to avoid exposing your retainer to high levels of heat including hot water.
- Avoid consuming foods with a high sugar content because they promote bacteria growth which leads to cavities.
- Avoid foods that can damage your appliance including chewy, hard, or sticky foods.
- Continue to visit your family dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and checkups.
What are braces?
Braces are a type of appliance that an orthodontist uses to shift your teeth into a position that favors the way your smile looks and functions. Several types of braces are available 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 average treatment with braces lasts 22 months. However, this time varies from individual to individual depending on what is being adjusted and how the patient responds to the treatment. Some treatments are completed in as little as 6 months while others take up to 30 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces are not painful but they can be uncomfortable especially when they are first placed and your teeth and mouth are becoming accustomed to them. The sensation should go away within a few days.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
Maintaining an oral care routine while wearing braces is very important to keep your mouth healthy. We recommend brushing your teeth a minimum of three times per day and flossing at least once per day.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes, it is important to continue visiting your dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. With braces, you are more likely to build up bacteria in places where your brush does not reach. A professional cleaning will help keep your teeth at their best.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
No, you can continue to participate in all of the extracurricular activities you enjoy. Playing an instrument or singing may require some adjustment. We also recommend wearing a mouthguard to protect yourself from injury if you play any contact sports.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Scheduling an appointment is very easy, just give us a call and we will coordinate the time that fits your schedule best.