Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is one of the nine recognized dental specialties. It focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of dental and facial abnormalities.

Who is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who, after completing dental school, goes on to receive two to three years of additional training.  Orthodontists can straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaws, and improve the function of the bite. All orthodontists are dentists but not all dentists are orthodontists. Trust your smile to a specialist.

What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?

A better smile and properly functioning bite can be achieved at any age, but the ideal time to visit a dentist is at the age of seven. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends this age because the orthodontist can take advantage of a jaw that is still growing. However, today more adults than ever before are discovering the power of orthodontics with one in five patients being over the age of 21.

How can I take care of my teeth if I'm wearing braces or a retainer?

Taking care of your teeth is always important, but especially when you are in orthodontic treatment. We need your teeth to be healthy in order to be able to ensure treatment is effective. Remember to brush after every meal and floss at least once a day. Use fluoride toothpaste, and ask your dentist if your smile could benefit from additional fluoride treatments. Don’t forget to clean your Invisalign aligners or retainer. You can soak them in denture cleaner to remove any build up. Never place them in hot water or in the dishwasher. Remember to avoid foods that are sticky, crunchy, chewy or hard to you don’t damage your brackets and wires. Maintain regular checkups with your dentist to ensure your smile remains healthy enough for treatment.

What are braces?

Braces are appliances that guide your teeth to their most ideal locations, helping to create a more harmonious and beautiful smile. There are many different options, including metal braces, clear or ceramic braces, and invisible braces. For more details see our ortho dictionary.

If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?

Treatment times vary, depending on your individual needs. Every smile will respond to treatment differently. Treatment can last anywhere from six to 30 months, with most falling somewhere around 22 months.

Do braces hurt?

Braces should not hurt, but there will be periods of discomfort. This is especially true in the first few days or weeks of having them placed, and then in the days immediately following an orthodontic visit.

Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?

While in braces, you should aim to brush your teeth after every meal, and even after snacks if you can. We want your smile to stay as healthy as possible so your treatment can be effective. Braces create a lot of nooks and crannies for food particles to get stuck, so it’s important to take your time and brush effectively.

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! During orthodontic treatment, it’s of the very important to maintain all regularly scheduled dental visits. Your braces provide a lot of hiding places for food and bacteria which can lead to cavities and gum disease. We want your smile to stay healthy, so visit your dentist every six months or more often if that is recommended.

Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?

While there may be an adjustment period as you are getting used to your braces, orthodontic treatment shouldn’t hold you back from anything. If you play contact sports, you will need to wear a mouthguard to protect your mouth.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Call or email our office to schedule any appointments you may need. Our staff is ready to help you schedule your appointment at a day and time that is convenient for you. If you are a new patient, please let us know and we will be happy to provide you with the information you need prior to your first visit.

Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. If needed, early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.