Frequently Asked Questions

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training specific to alignment, function and esthetics of the teeth face and jaws. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.

What do orthodontists do?

Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose and treat problems with the position, alignment or spacing of the teeth, and related irregularities in the face and the jaw. We use a number of special treatments, including braces and other oral appliances, to correct these problems.

What is 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 before 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.

If I have braces, 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. 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 will treatment take?

It's different for each person, but generally the active stage of treatment (that is, wearing braces or other appliances) may take from 6-30 months. After that, a retainer is worn for a length of time determined by your orthodontist.

Does getting braces hurt?

Having braces put on is generally painless. Some people experience minor aches and pains in the first couple of days or so, as they adjust to wearing their appliances; periodic adjustments may sometimes cause soreness as well, though it typically lasts only a short time. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to alleviate any discomfort, but are usually unnecessary.

What are the colors used for?

The colors are elastic ties/rings that hold your wires into the brackets to cause the teeth to move into the desired location. Picking out your colors.

Do I need a special toothbrush?

A special toothbrush, although not necessary, has some advantages to a standard toothbrush. The constant mechanical motion of the bristles can be helpful and reach into the deepest recesses between your teeth. Ask one of our staff members about the different brands. The most important action with any toothbrush is to be thorough and repetitive, every day.

Why are my gums swollen and red?

A buildup of plaque and food mater in your teeth and gingiva leads to negative effects. Bacteria live in the plaque in different quantity and varieties. The produce an acid which demineralizes your tooth enamel and also rests down in your gingiva causing the gums to become inflames and even bleed on touching. This is easily corrected with good oral hygiene measures to removed the offending plaque and bacteria.

What is the purpose of wearing rubber bands?

The elastics, or “rubber bands” you may be instructed to wear settle the opposing teeth into a tight occlusion with each other. There are different directions which you may be instructed to wear them and the doctor or staff will show you how to place them. The better you wear the rubber bands for the durations you are instructed to the better and quicker your orthodontic results will be!

Will my braces interfere with playing sports?

Braces should not be a hindrance for anyone with an active lifestyle, such as playing sports (football, softball, baseball, soccer, basketball, etc.). No matter how aggressive the sport, precautions are necessary for your well being. If you wear braces you need to protect your teeth and your orthodontic appliances from any injury that may occur. We always recommend that a patient wear a mouth guard while playing any sport. We provide our patients with a special mouth guard specifically for braces, unlike the one you buy at a sports store. You do not boil and bite the orthodontic mouth guard, it is ready for wear when we give it to you. A few important reasons to wear your mouth guard, first, it protects your teeth if someone should hit you or a ball hits you in the face. Additionally, if you are hit in the face, your mouth guard helps stabilize your teeth, protects your lips and cheeks, and prevents you from biting your tongue. Mouth guards may also help reduce the severity of a concussion. If you follow the instructions that your orthodontic team provides to you, you will find it easier to protect your teeth from severe injury.

Will my braces interfere with playing a musical instrument?

Playing a musical instrument with braces on will require some adjustment after your braces are placed. You will learn to adapt to your new oral environment in order to reach the proper tone and notes of your musical instrument.