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Frequently Asked Questions

We believe that choosing an orthodontist that’s right for you and your family and making the commitment to a happier, healthier smile together is an important decision – and making a decision this big should come with a lot of questions. To be helpful, we’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions we receive from patients, but know, and take comfort in the fact, that we pride ourselves on taking all the time necessary to answer your questions so you can make informed decisions every step of the way.

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What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

Who is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is specialist who, after receiving a degree in dentistry, continued his/her education for two to three years to gain the necessary training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile. The important point to remember is that all orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are licensed orthodontists.

When Should I Visit an Orthodontist? Is There an Ideal Age?

If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age is appropriate to see an orthodontist. That said, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) 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.

Are There Different Types of Braces I Can Choose From?

Absolutely! There are several different types of orthodontic treatment options available, including:

  • Clear Ceramic braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisalign® aligners
  • Traditional metal braces

At the end of the day, though, they all serve the same function and purpose: to straighten your teeth and give you a healthy smile.

Do I Need to Brush My Teeth More Often with Braces?

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, whether you have braces or not, to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between your braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush is unable to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.

Will 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 retainers.

What Purpose Do Braces Serve?

Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile by straightening teeth and, if necessary, correcting misaligned jaw structure.

How Do I Take Care of My Teeth While 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, too, 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, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (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 your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

Will I Still Need Dental Checkups Every Six Months When Wearing Braces?

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.

How Long Do I Have to Wear Braces?

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 22 months.

Do Braces Hurt?

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.

How Do I Schedule My Next Appointment?

Simply call our practice. Our staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience.

How Do I Prepare for My First Visit?

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. You also can check our First Visit information so you will know what to expect and can have necessary forms completed in advance.