Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
Define orthodontics, please…
Orthodontics is also called “dentofacial orthopedics.” It’s a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of facial and dental abnormalities. Orthodontists take care of the alignment and function of the teeth and smile while taking into account the optimal face esthetics.
Who’s an orthodontist?
In short, an orthodontist is a dentist who has chosen to specialize, spending two to three additional years in training to learn orthodontics. An orthodontist straightens teeth, corrects misaligned jaw structures, and improves the function of smiles. The orthodontists in our office are board certified and are specifically committed to the highest standards of care. Whichever orthodontist you choose, make extra efforts to ensure they are board certified. Don’t trust your smile to anyone who is not.
At what age should one visit an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children visit an orthodontist by seven years of age. But remember, orthodontic treatment is not just for children or adolescents. Today, 20% of orthodontic patients are over 21 years of age. In fact, it is never too late to enjoy a perfect smile! If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child or yourself, the best time is now.
Key tips for wearing braces or retainers
- Make your toothbrush your best friend! Brush after each meal and remember to floss daily.
- Use a toothpaste that has fluoride and you can ask your orthodontist for a fluoride rinse. Fluoride can strengthen the enamel to thwart cavities.
- While eating, be sure to remove your retainer and keep it safe by placing it in the container provided by Dr. Gire and Dr. Salmassian. Never wrap it in a tissue, napkin, or paper towel as it may be thrown away. Brushing and flossing your teeth before you put your retainer back in is highly recommended.
- Keep the retainer sparkling clean. Brush it gently using a toothbrush, toothpaste, or even hand-soap. An option is to soak it in a denture cleaner or white/clear vinegar. Don’t ever put your retainer in or near very hot water or the dishwasher. They will melt, distort the shape, and make it ineffective.
- Avoid foods with lots of sugar. Sugar increases the number of bacteria which can cause more plaque and cavities. It is often more difficult keeping your teeth clean as you wear braces, so avoiding foods that contribute to cavities is recommended.
- Stay away from sticky, crunchy, and chewy foods like gummy bears, gum, and caramels. Avoid hard foods like pizza crusts, toasted bagels, ice, nuts, and hard candies. Avoid any foods that might get stuck in the braces such as taffy, ribs, or corn on the cob. If in doubt, do not eat it. Ask your orthodontist about it at your next appointment.
- Schedule routine checkups with your dentist. Continue to visit your general dentist every four to six months.
What are braces?
Braces are tools orthodontists use to improve your smile, correct misaligned teeth, and improve your overall oral health. There are several different kinds of braces to choose from, including:
- Traditional metal Braces
- Invisible or clear Braces
- Tie-less or self-ligating Braces
- Behind the teeth or lingual Braces
- Ceramic or porcelain Braces
- Removable Braces
Each choice offers something different with some having the ability to be colored, while others offer a much less noticeable treatment, giving you several options.
So how long?
Treatment time is like each patient: unique. The length of treatment depends on the age of the patient, the type of brace chosen, and the extent of the treatment required. On average, braces stay on your teeth for between eighteen months and two years, with some being shorter and others longer. However, using the latest technology, some can finish their orthodontic treatment in as little as a few months! Dr. Gire and Dr. Salmassian will always let you know how long the treatment will last.
Will my braces cause discomfort?
This is a concern for many people. A lot of folks worry that their braces will be painful throughout their treatment. Braces should overall be a comfortable experience. Aside from a little soreness for a couple of days, the overall experience is super easy. Within a week, you’ll forget that they’re on your teeth!
Should I brush my teeth even more frequently when I wear braces?
While wearing braces, you should brush your teeth after every meal. What?! Easily said than done, right? It’s important to remember that frequent brushing helps remove food that gets stuck in the braces, and it is important to floss at least once a day. The friendly staff at Ladera Orthodontics will show you the proper methods and techniques regarding home care.
Do I still need to visit the general dentist?
Absolutely! It’s a challenge to navigate around all the hardware and you may want to frequent your regular dentist’s office even more than the regularly recommended six months. If your home care isn’t great, it can lead to food and plaque pockets that can cause other problems including cavities and periodontitis (gum disease). We can work closely with your general dentist to create a program that fits with your treatment.
Will braces interfere with school-related activities such as singing, playing an instrument, or sports?
You may require a short period of adjustment to get used to the braces. They should not interfere with participating in and enjoying these activities. If there is any danger of contact with the face, ask your orthodontist for a mouth guard to protect your cheeks, lips, teeth, brackets, and wires.
What are some other reasons for wearing braces other than to get a pretty smile?
Straightening and enhancing a smile may be the most common use of braces, but they are great for improving overall oral health as well. Crowded, misaligned, and crooked teeth inhibit your ability to thoroughly clean your mouth and teeth. Orthodontic treatment aligns your teeth so your home care can improve, making it easier to care for your teeth long term.
Ok, I’m ready! How do we start this process?
Give us a ring! Our friendly scheduling coordinators are ready to find an appointment day and time to suit your schedule. If you are new to our practice or have been referred, please let us know so that we may provide all the information you need.