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?
A dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience past dental school. They are trained specifically to be 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 one around the age of 7; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, with about 1 in every 5 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 long can I expect treatment time to be?
The amount of time spent in braces or aligners 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 22 months.
Do braces hurt?
They do not often hurt, though you may feel some soreness for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to them.
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, 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, 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 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 still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. 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 treatment 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 they 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.