Frequently Asked Questions about Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) 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 a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience. Qualifications include straightening teeth, fixing misaligned jaws, and improving the function of your smile.
What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?
Whether you are considering treatment for your child or yourself, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven. However, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens; one in five orthodontic patients are over the age of 21.
What are braces?
Orthodontists use a tool, called braces, to align and straighten teeth. They also help correct a person’s bite as well as other imperfections in a their teeth and jaw.
There are several different types of braces, including:
How long will I have to wear the braces?
Treatment time varies and can last between one and three years, depending on several factors including age, treatment method, and the severity of the case. A big factor in a successful treatment is YOU! The more involved and diligent you are, the more efficient your treatment will be. For children, receiving early treatment can also help in quicker treatment times.
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.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have 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 and food that may be caught between your braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your toothbrush is not able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.
How can I take care of my teeth if I'm wearing braces or a retainer?
- Brush your teeth after every meal and floss once a day.
- Use toothpaste that contains fluoride in it. Ask your orthodontist if you also need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
- If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure to brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep your retainer 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
- Try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria 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.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! It becomes even more important to schedule regular dentist visits when wearing braces. Food can get caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach causing bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to ensure that your teeth remain healthy and clean.
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 adjustments when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not prevent 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.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Contact our office at (281) 752-4222. Our staff will help you set up an 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 the information you need.