FAQs about Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics is the specialty within the professions of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial skeletal abnormalities.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience directly in the field of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structures, and improve the function and aesthetics of your smile.
What's 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 around 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. Over half of Dr. Schwartz's patients are of adult age. Whether you're considering treatment for yourself, or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
How can I take care of my teeth if I'm wearing braces or a retainer?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities! Some newer toothpastes such as Colgate Total and Crest ProHealth contain anti-gingivitis agents as well.
- If you take out your retainer to eat, brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken. Never wrap retainers in napkins or tissues as they are easily lost that way.
- Keep your retainer clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities).
- Avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods (caramel, gum, gummy bears, hard candy, nuts, ice cubes) or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc).
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist at least ever four to six months.
What are braces?
Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear or ceramic braces
- Self-ligating (low friction) braces
- Invisible braces (Invisalign)
- Traditional metal braces
If I get orthodontics, how long will it take?
The amount of time spent in orthodontic treatment will vary depending on the individual patient as every smile starts and finishes treatment differently. Typical treatment times are anywhere between 6 and 30 months; however, most standard treatments take about 22 months.
Does orthodontics hurt?
Orthodontics does not often hurt; however, you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth gets used to the teeth moving..
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn't able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.
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 and 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. They may ask that you see go for cleanings every 3, 4, or 6 months during active treatement to prevent any possible problems from arising.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing and instrument, or singing?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know who referred you, and we will provide you with all of the information you need.