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orthodontic faqs

Orthodontic FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities, including bad positioning of the teeth and jaws.


Who is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received an additional two to three years of training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure and relationships, and improve the function of your smile so that it lasts your whole lifetime.


What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

Any age is a great time to visit the orthodontist if you want to improve the look or function of your smile! The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven. However, one in every five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21 and seeking to improve the aesthetics of their smiles. 


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 each individual treatment plan. 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 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. With new technology, though, you won't even feel your braces go on or come off!


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 clean and healthy.This will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get 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, and are available to answer any hygiene questions you may have.


If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! 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, which can cause bacteria to build up. This buildup of bacteria can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Our office will work closesly with your general dentist to make sure your teeth stay the healthiest they can be during and after treatment!


How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?

  • ALWAYS brush your teeth after every meal. Flossing at least once a day is always a good idea, and before bed is an excellent time.
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • When you take your retainer out to eat, be sure to brush your teeth. Keep the retainer safe in its case so that it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean 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, as it may change the shape and ruin your amazing results.
  • During 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 potential 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.).


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 non-forming mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance. We will provide one for you.


How do I schedule my next appointment?

Simply call our office! Our staff will be happy to schedule your next appointment. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice by a family member, friend, or dentist, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need.