Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. Orthodontics is commonly thought of as the straightening of crooked teeth; however, orthodontics goes far beyond that to ensure that all potential problems with your smile and bite are considered and improved during orthodontic treatment.
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience specifically in straightening teeth and fixing bites. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misalignment of jaws, and improve the esthetics and function of your smile.
What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a good 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 exclusive 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 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 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, 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 liquid/foaming hand soap (dial, soft soap). Do not use toothpaste! You may also soak it in retainer cleaner (polident) as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
- During your treatment, try to avoid sugary foods (sugar 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 routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months or as otherwise directed by your dentist.
Braces are used by your orthodontist to help improve the look and feel of your smile. The most common two choices for braces are traditional metal braces or clear, ceramic 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 6 and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about two years.
Braces do not often 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. Our orthodontic team members 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, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't 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 mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance. Ask your orthodontist which mouthguard will work best for you. We can provide you with a generic (boil free) mouthguard free of charge upon request.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our office! Our administrative team members will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our office, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.