FAQ’s about Orthodontics

WHAT DO ORTHODONTIST'S DO?

Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose and treat problems with the position, alignment or spacing of the teeth, and related irregularities in the face and the jaw. We use a number of special treatments, including braces and other oral appliances, to correct these problems.

WHY SHOULD I (OR MY LOVED ONES) GET ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?

The magic of orthodontics video

There are two major reasons: aesthetics and function. Having an aesthetically pleasing smile will not only change the way people see you, but will enhance your own self-image and confidence as well. Orthodontic treatment will, most importantly, allow your teeth and bite to function better, making it easier to keep them clean and improve your overall health.

 

WHEN SHOULD ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT BE STARTED?

You're never too old to begin orthodontic treatment — but if you start at an earlier age, many problems may be easier and to correct. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child who may need orthodontic treatment should be seen for a first evaluation around age 7.

HOW CAN I RECOGNIZE A POTENTIAL BITE PROBLEM?

Teeth that are protruding, crowded together or erupting out of position are often clear indications that treatment is needed (View Examples). Less obvious signs are mouth breathing, frequent biting of the cheek or lips, speech difficulties, and thumb sucking that goes past 3-4 years of age. If teeth don't come together properly when the mouth closes, or if jaws make sounds or shift as they move, this may also indicate an orthodontic problem.

DOES IT HURT TO GET BRACES?

Having braces put on is generally painless. Some people experience minor aches and pains in the first couple of days after the braces are placed until they adjust to wearing their appliances. Periodic adjustments may sometimes cause tenderness as well, though it typically lasts only a short time. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to alleviate any discomfort, but are usually unnecessary.

HOW LONG WILL TREATMENT TAKE?

It will be a different timeline for every person, but generally the active stages of treatment (wearing braces or other appliances) may take anywhere from 6-30 months. Afterwards, a retainer should be worn long-term in order to keep all the teeth in the corrected and straight position.

HOW OFTEN WILL I COME IN FOR AN APPOINTMENT?

It depends on the treatments being done that will determine how often you (or your child) will need to be monitored. During active orthodontic treatment, you will typically come in to our office once every 6 to 8 weeks.

WILL I NEED TO HAVE ANY PERMANENT TEETH EXTRACTED?

If your teeth are severely crowded (because your mouth isn't sized to properly accommodate all of them) — or if you have impacted teeth (teeth that are trapped beneath the gum line) — then extraction may be necessary. In the case of younger patients, we may recommend you visit your dentist to have some primary teeth removed, but this early treatment may help to prevent any future permanent tooth extraction.

WILL I HAVE TO WATCH WHAT I EAT?

Yes — we recommend that you pass up the types of foods that could become trapped in your braces or damage and break them. Some of these include raw vegetables, hard candies, caramels, taffy and ice cubes (fortunately, ice cream is OK). When you get your braces on will give you a list of recommended foods to avoid and answer any questions.

WILL I BE ABLE TO PLAY SPORTS OR MY INSTRUMENT?

Yes! Of course, whether you wear braces or not, we recommend you wear a mouthguard when playing most sports. Musicians are generally able to play their instruments just as they did before, but it may require a short adjustment period after getting braces.

DO I STILL NEED TO SEE MY GENERAL DENTIST DURING ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?

Yes — and in fact, it is more important than ever to continue seeing your dentist regularly! Keeping teeth free of plaque (and potentially, decay) can be challenging when you have braces and your dentist can help you avoid these problems with frequent dental cleanings and exams.

WILL I WEAR A RETAINER AFTER MY BRACES COME OFF?

Almost always, the answer is yes! Your teeth want to return to the position they started in and if you don't wear a retainer, your teeth can rapidly shift — then all the effort put into your treatment is lost! Your retainer helps you maintain a straight and healthy smile for a lifetime.

IS ORTHODONTIC CARE VERY EXPENSIVE?

Orthodontic care is a long-term investment in your (or your child's) health and well-being. The cost for orthodontics hasn't increased as fast as many other consumer prices and many financing options are available to meet your needs and make orthodontic care affordable. Weighed against the true cost of living with problem teeth, however, orthodontic treatment is a worthwhile investment indeed.

Related Articles

Orthodontics - Dear Doctor Magazine

The Magic of Orthodontics Proper alignment of the teeth is basic to “Smile Design.” Their position dictates how they work together and affects the way you look and smile. Only orthodontic treatment can move teeth into the right position. Simply put, when things look right, they probably are right. Learn the basics of smile analysis and design and whether the magic of orthodontics will work for you... Read Article

Adult Orthodontics - Dear Doctor Magazine

Orthodontics for the Older Adult Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so there's no such thing as “too old” for braces. In fact, nowadays about one out of every five orthodontic patients is an adult. Yet this figure represents only a small portion of adults who could actually benefit from orthodontic treatment... Read Article