Orthodontic FAQs

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is an ADA recognized dental specialty focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental malocclusion 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.  Many general dentists these days may “do orthodontics” or “do Invisalign,” but this does not make them orthodontists.  Trust your smile to a trained specialist!

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist by the age of 7.  Orthodontic treatment is no longer only for children and teens. About one in every five orthodontic patients is 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 (approved by the ADA) that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • When 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 by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste or soap (depending on the type of retainer and your individual instructions). 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 food 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 at least every six months.

What are Braces?

Braces or orthodontic appliances are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of appliances to choose from, including:

  • Ceramic/Clear braces
  • Traditional metal braces
  • Lingual (behind your teeth) braces
  • Clear Aligners (invisible aligners like Invisalign that can be removed to eat and drink, and during social situations)

If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?

The amount of time spent in treatment will vary depending on the individual patient. Every smile responds differently to treatment, therefore, treatment times can range from as little as six months to 30 months.  Most comprehensive treatments take between 18-24 months.

Do Braces Hurt?

Braces often don’t 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.

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.  We recommend an electric toothbrush to minimize the risk of decay during treatment.  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 undergoing 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 which 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?

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 the information you need.