Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also known as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial abnormalities.
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist with two or more years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist can correct your misaligned jaw structure, straighten your teeth, and improve the function of your smile.
What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?
If you’re looking to improve the feel and look of your smile, then seeing an orthodontist at any age is great. However, according to The American Association of Orthodontists, children should make their first visit to an orthodontist around the age of seven.
Orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to teens and children, as about one in every five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. So, whether you’re considering orthodontic treatment options for yourself or your child, any time is a good time to see an orthodontist.
How can I take care of my teeth if I'm wearing braces or a retainer?
- Always brush your teeth after eating and ensure that you floss at least once a day.
- Make sure to use fluoride toothpaste, and ask your family dentist or orthodontist if you need a fluoride mouthwash or rinse. This can help prevent tooth decay!
- If you remove your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and keep the retainer safe in its container so that you won’t lose or damage it.
- Brush your retainer gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean it. You can also follow your orthodontist’s instructions to soak it in a denture cleaner. Avoid putting your retainer in the dishwasher or in boiling water.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar during your treatment, as they can increase the number of bacteria in your mouth, causing more plaque and tartar formation and possibly cavities.
- Avoid chewy and sticky foods (such as gummy bears, chewing gum, caramel), hard foods (such as ice cubes, candy, hard nuts), or any foods that could get stuck in your braces.
- Ensure that you schedule your routine dental examination with your family dentist. Visiting your dentist every six months is recommended.
What are braces?
Braces are orthodontic appliances your orthodontist uses to straighten your teeth and improve the look and feel of your smile. There are many different types of braces available for you to consider. These include:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
- Traditional metal braces
How long do I have to wear braces if I get them?
How long you need to wear your braces depends on your orthodontic issue and how fast you respond to the treatment. Since every patient is unique, their smiles will respond differently to this orthodontic treatment.
Treatment with braces can take anywhere between 6 and 30 months to complete. However, most standard treatments take about 22 months to complete.
Do braces hurt?
Braces do not often hurt. However, as your mouth, cheeks, teeth, and gums get used to your new braces, you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple of days.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
Yes! With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times daily to keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy and clean. Regular brushing will help remove any food particles lurking behind your teeth or caught between your braces.
Also, you should floss daily to access the tiny spaces between your teeth and braces that your brush cannot reach. Your orthodontist can guide you on how to brush and floss properly 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 you visit your dentist regularly when you’re receiving orthodontic treatment. With braces, food particles may be caught in areas your toothbrush cannot reach. This causes plaque buildup, leading to tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.
Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to ensure your teeth remain healthy and clean while wearing orthodontic braces.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
Wearing braces will not stop you from singing or participating in any of your school activities. However, playing a contact sport or an instrument may require some adjustment when you first get your braces. If you play a contact sport, you must wear a mouthguard to protect your mouth and your orthodontic appliance or braces.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice on (919) 276-8499 to book an appointment with your Cary orthodontist or learn more about orthodontic treatment in Cary, NC. Our front desk staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have and help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our orthodontic practice in Cary, NC, please let us know, and we will provide you with all the information you need.