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. 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 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 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 for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
How can I take care of my teeth throughout orthodontic treatment?
- 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 or aligner to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its case so that it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your aligners and retainers clean by brushing them gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak the appliance in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainers or aligners 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 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 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.
How long does orthodontic treatment last?
The amount of time spent in orthodontic treatment will vary depending on the individual patient because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months. Our average adult treatment duration is 6-9 months.
What are my treatment options?
There are several different types of orthodontic appliances to choose from, including:
- Invisalign clear aligners
- Ceramic braces
- Traditional metal braces
Will I feel discomfort during orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment does 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 the incremental movement of teeth.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often during treatment?
You should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean during treatment. Brushing and flossing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the teeth. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once you begin treatment.
Do I still need to visit my dentist for cleanings if I am in orthodontic treatment?
Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. As your teeth shift 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.
Will orthodontics interfere with activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth. If a mouthguard is needed during orthodontic treatment we provide a boil and bite free of charge. Patients in traditional braces may have more lifestyle adjustment needs than if treated using Invisalign.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! 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 at your complimentary intial exam (310)545-6525