What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is the specialty of dentistry that focuses on the alignment of the teeth and the jaws: the maxilla and mandible.

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 bite and smile.

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not limited to children and teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being 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?

  • Brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, 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. 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, avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the risk of getting white spots and cavities on the teeth.
  • 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.)
  • Schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

What are braces?

Braces are used by your orthodontist to improve the look and feel of your bite and smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:

  • Clear braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Lingual 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 the individual patient because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between six and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 24 months.

Do braces hurt?

Braces usually do not hurt. However, you may experience some discomfort for a couple days as your teeth and mouth adjust 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 toothbrush isn’t 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’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, some food can get trapped in places where your toothbrush can’t reach. This can cause plaque to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure 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 teeth and braces.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Simply call our office! 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.