Q. Why should an orthodontic specialist complete my treatment?
A. Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.
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 orthodontic condition.
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! A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. 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 22 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 5 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
Q. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
A. Yes. We understand your schedule is busy, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check-in with their clinical assistant before dropping off their child.
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 until they are comfortable playing 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 four 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 explain our complete instructions and provide you with a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most repair appointments by carefully following our instructions!