Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental 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 beyond dental school. 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?
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be ideal 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. 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.
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:
- Traditional metal braces
- Clear braces
- Gold braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be greeted by our staff and doctor. The doctor will then complete thorough examination and may request additional diagnostic records and X-rays to make a proper diagnosis. There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:
– Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
– What must be done to correct the problem?
– Will any teeth need to be removed?
– How long will the treatment take to complete?
– How much will the treatment cost?
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 from 6 to 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 24 months.
Do Braces Hurt?
Braces do not “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. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all!
Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth / Phase I orthodontics?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin. The primary objective for Phase I or early treatment is to address significant problems in order to prevent them from becoming more severe and also to improve the patient’s self-esteem and self-image.
Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Our goal is to achieve the best dental and facial results without removing teeth. But sometimes, extractions are necessary to obtain straight teeth and a balanced facial profile.
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 everyday.
- 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 keep the retainer safe in its container so it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and water. 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 foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and potential 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 every six months.
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 between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to brush and floss properly 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 your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and 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.
What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
If something with the braces breaks, or is poking your gums or cheeks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.
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 office at 704-487-9399! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.