What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics involves the diagnosis and prevention and treatment of both dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontic treatment involves correcting malocclusion, which is the misalignment of a bite or incorrect spacing between teeth. This is usually accomplished through the use of orthodontic braces or clear aligners.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dentist 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.
What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of 7; 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 are considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
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:
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Invisible braces (clear aligners)
- Traditional metal braces
What are my options if I do not want braces that show?
If your case allows you to be a candidate, our 3M iBraces lingual braces, which are attached behind the teeth, may be a perfect fit for you. Ceramic braces may be another option to lessen the visibility of braces; they blend in with the teeth for a more natural effect. Additionally, the use of a series of Invisalign clear aligner trays (invisible braces) instead of traditional braces may be used to correct some problems. Our orthodontists will discuss with you your treatment goals and options during your complimentary initial consultation.
Can I play sports while wearing braces?
Yes, but make sure you wear a protective mouth guard. Ask your orthodontist to recommend the right kind of mouth guard while you are having orthodontic treatment. Keep your smile beautiful after treatment and wear a mouth guard at every practice and every game.
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient's mouth and face and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment, so treatment time may differ from the original time estimated. The patient's diligent use of prescribed elastic bands is also important in achieving the most efficient and timely treatment. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as six months.
How do braces feel?
Most people have some discomfort after their braces are first put on or when adjusted during treatment. After the braces are on, teeth may become sore and the mouth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. The orthodontist will advise patients and/or their parents what pain relievers to take. Overall, orthodontic discomfort is short-lived and easily managed. Once patients have become accustomed to their braces, they may even forget they have them on.
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 is not 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 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 cannot 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 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 mouth guard 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.