We know you have a lot of questions about orthodontic treatment and your care, so we’ve taken a moment to answer some of the ones we often hear. If you have additional questions or would like more information, please give us a call so that we can assist you!
Q: What is orthodontics?
A: Orthodontics is a particular field of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental issues related to misalignments of the teeth and jaws.
Q: What is an orthodontist?
A: An orthodontist is a specialized type of dentist. We’ve received additional training, usually two to three years. Our specialties including straightening teeth, correcting jaw misalignments, and improving your smile’s appearance and function.
Q: Is it too early or too late to start seeing an orthodontist?
A: Depending on you or your child’s specific needs, you can start visiting an orthodontist at any time! We agree with the recommendation made by the American Association of Orthodontists, which suggests that your child’s first orthodontic evaluation take place around age seven, but orthodontic treatment is certainly not limited to kids. More and more adults are now seeking out orthodontic care; in fact, one in five orthodontic patients is now aged 21 or over!
Q: Caring for my teeth seems so challenging with braces or an appliance. Do you have any tips?
A: Absolutely. Brushing and flossing around braces and appliances can feel a little awkward at first, but (like anything else) practice makes perfect! Follow these suggestions for the best results:
• Brush your teeth after each meal and floss daily at bedtime.
• Use fluoride toothpaste and check with either your orthodontist or your primary dentist to see if a fluoride rinse is appropriate for you.
• Do you remove your retainer to eat? Keep it in its container so it doesn’t get broken or lost. Be sure to brush and rinse your mouth before you replace it.
• While you are undergoing treatment with us, avoid sugary foods when you can. The bacteria in your mouth love sugar and thrive in a sugary environment, which increases your risk of developing cavities.
• Avoid foods that are likely to damage your braces or appliance. This includes hard foods (nuts, hard candy), sticky foods (chewing gum, caramel), and foods that have a tendency to get caught in wires and brackets (corn on the cob, taffy, ribs, soft bagels).
• Continue to visit your regular dentist for your check-ups and examinations every six months.
Q: What are braces?
A: “Braces” is the term that is used to describe appliances used to move your teeth into their correct position. While the first image that probably popped into your head was metal brackets and wires, that’s not always the case anymore, and we have other options available, including clear braces, ceramic (tooth-colored) braces, and lingual braces (e.g., braces that go on the back of the tooth, so you can’t see them when you smile). We also offer self-ligating braces (which don’t require rubber bands) and invisible braces, like Invisalign.
Q: How long will I need to wear my braces?
A: Everyone’s treatment time is different. Your length of treatment will depend on how many teeth need to be moved, how far out of alignment they are, whether we are treating bite misalignments, and whether the back teeth need to be involved. In general, treatment times can last anywhere from six to thirty months, but 22 months is often the standard. Your orthodontist will give you a treatment time estimate at your consultation.
Q: Will my braces hurt?
A: Most of the time, no. You might feel some discomfort when your braces are new since the soft tissues in your mouth will take some time adjusting to the new sensation, but once you get used to your braces, you’ll be fine.
Q: Should I brush more often while I have braces?
A: Since it’s easy for food to get trapped in your wires and brackets, it’s important to brush after each meal. Brushing removes the plaque and other debris, which can accumulate around the brackets. If the plaque is left in place, you might have damage to your enamel once the brackets come off, and we don’t want that. Flossing can be a little bit trickier since you have to weave the floss between the wires, but we’ll show you how to make the process easier.
Q: Will I still need regular check-ups every six months?
A: Definitely! Now more than ever, it’s important that you keep up with your regular dental visits. Since your brackets could prevent your toothbrush and floss from reaching all the areas they need to, you’ll need your professional cleanings to make sure that every trace of tartar and plaque is removed from your teeth. We want your teeth and gums to be healthy following your orthodontic treatment, and your regular check-ups will help to make sure that that’s the case.
Q: I participate in a lot of activities like band, choir, and after-school sports. Will my braces be a problem?
A: You may need to make some adjustments to your embouchure when playing brass or woodwind instruments with braces, but once you get used to that, you’ll be fine. Your braces should not stop you from enjoying your favorite activities. We do recommend that those playing sports wear a sports guard to protect your braces – and your teeth!
Q: How can I schedule my appointment?
A: Give our office a call! Call our Phoenix office at (602) 242-3289, or if you live in Scottsdale call (480) 451-3088 today.
We are happy to help you schedule an appointment at a time that works for you. Are you a new patient or referral? No problem! Just let us know so that we can help you get started!