Q.Why should an orthodontic specialist complete my treatment?
A.All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. Orthodontic specialists have 2 to 3 years of additional training in the growth and development of facial structures, and how to safely and effectively move teeth. Orthodontic treatment is not just something we do, it is all we do!
Q.At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
A.The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. For most children, several permanent teeth have erupted by this age, allowing the orthodontist to effectively evaluate the patient’s growth pattern and developing bite. This does not mean your child needs treatment at this time, but it allows the orthodontist to screen for any skeletal problems and potentially avoid bigger issues in the future.
Q.Will my teeth straighten out as I grow and get older?
A.No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
Q.Is it too late to have braces if I’m already an adult?
A.No patient is "too old" to wear braces! More and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment every year. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health and happiness are vitally important to adults, and orthodontic treatment can increase your self-esteem at any age!
Q.How long will it take to complete treatment?
A.Overall treatment time depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem(s). In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The "average" timespan a patient wears braces is approximately 24 months.
Q.How often will I have an appointment?
A.Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 6 to 8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly. Occasionally we have patients in Invisalign treatment who do not live in the area, and because of work or school can’t come into the office very often. We are still able to work with these patients and see them every 8 to 12 weeks.
Q.Does wearing braces hurt?
A.Generally, braces do not "hurt." After certain appointments, your teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, over-the-counter pain medications, such as Advil or Tylenol, will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all. We often remind our patients it does not have to hurt to work!
Q.Can I still play sports or play my instrument while wearing braces?
A.Yes! We recommend that patients wear mouthguards while playing sports. Musicians will likely experience an adjustment period of a few days until they are comfortable playing wind instruments while wearing braces.
Q.Do I need to see my general dentist while wearing braces?
A.Yes! Regular check-ups with your general dentist are important while in braces. Your dentist will determine the intervals between each cleaning appointment while you have your braces.
Q.How often should I brush my teeth while I have braces?
A.Patients should brush their teeth at least three times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will also show you how to floss your teeth with braces, and we may provide a prescription for a special fluoride treatment, if necessary.
Q.Are there any foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
A.Yes. Once treatment begins, we will give complete instructions and provide you with a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include ice, hard candy, and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most repair appointments by carefully following our instructions!