Your Questions

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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 five 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 patient manager 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!

 


First Aid

There are very few true orthodontic emergencies, but we are always available to help you. If you have a broken appliance or are experiencing intense pain, please call us as soon as possible. We will do our best to fit you into the schedule for an appointment. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call immediately to notify us that you need an appliance repaired.

Surprisingly, most orthodontic problems can be remedied at home. While you await your appointment, these guidelines will help you resolve minor problems. Please know that even if you alleviate the pain caused by your broken appliance, you still need a repair appointment.

Lost Separator

Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but please call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.

Sore Teeth/Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment

Right after you get your braces, and sometimes after you have an adjustment appointment, your teeth and mouth will feel sore. To alleviate the pain, you may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. You can also gargle lukewarm saltwater, which is a mixture of one teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of water. A warm wash cloth or a heating pad may also reduce the soreness in your jaws.

Wire Irritations

Try moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol.

Loose Bracket

First, call our office to see if the bracket needs to be re-fitted. If you have a situation where you must cut the wire or slide a bracket off the wire, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day to schedule a repair appointment.

Loose Wire

Try putting the wire back in place using tweezers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If that does not work, try putting wax over the wire where it is poking you. If you have a situation where you must cut the wire, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Cut the wire behind the last bracket in which it is secured.

Headgear Doesn’t Fit

If your headgear is causing pain, it’s usually because it isn’t being worn long enough. Please adhere to your orthodontist’s instructions, and wear your headgear for the instructed amount of hours each day. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for an appointment. Do not try to adjust it yourself.