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Orthodontic FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics 

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure and improve the function of your smile.

What age should an orthodontist see my child?

The American Associate of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age 7. Early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early corrective action and avoid difficulties later on.

How do I know if my child is need of orthodontic treatment?

It is usually difficult to determine if treatment is necessary for your child. There are several problems that can occur even though your child’s teeth look straight. Additionally, there are some problems that look intimidating and complex which will resolve on their own. Asking your general dentist is a good place to start, but your orthodontist is your best resource.

What are braces?

Braces are used by your orthodontist to help improve the look and feel of your smile. There are many different types of braces to choose from including: clear braces, ceramic braces, traditional metal braces, invisible braces, self-litigating braces, and lingual braces.

Can you be too old for braces?

No, age is not a factor, only the health of your gums and bones that support your teeth.

How long do I need to wear braces, if I get them?

There is no definitive answer for the amount of time spent in braces; it varies on the individual client. Every smile responds differently to treatment. Standard treatment takes about 22 months and can vary between 6-30 months.

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple of days as your teeth, gums, cheeks and mouth get used to your new braces.

Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?

Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should brush your teeth at least 3 times a day to keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy and clean.

Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?

Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into an empty space. This will cause a functional, esthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems to provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing tooth.

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

Yes, in fact it is 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 will result in bacteria 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 healthy while wearing braces.

Will my braces interfere with my school activities?

Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces. However, wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any type of school activity. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouth guard to protect your braces.

How do I properly take care of my teeth while wearing braces or a retainer?

  • Remember to ALWAYS brush your teeth after EVERY meal.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or general dentist if you need a fluoride rinse.
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss and remember to keep it in safe container.
  • Keep your retainer clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush or toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner. Do NOT ever put your retainer in boiling water or the dishwasher.
  • Try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing plaque and may lead to cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods such as caramel, gum and certain candies. Also, avoid hard foods such as hard candy, nuts and ice cubes. Foods that can stuck in your braces such as corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs and taffy are good idea to pass on as well.
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist every six months.
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