Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals with improving the appearance and function of the teeth and jawbones. This type of dentistry aims to promote proper tooth and jaw alignment to address dental and facial irregularities.
What Does an Orthodontist Do?
An orthodontist is a dental professional who addresses irregularities in teeth and jaw placement to improve the functioning of the mouth. They can help prevent, diagnose and treat issues like crooked or misaligned teeth and malpositioned upper or lower jaws.
An orthodontist is trained in general dentistry and undergoes an additional two to three years of education and training to specialize in orthodontics.
At What Age Should I See an Orthodontist?
Patients of all ages can benefit from orthodontic care. If you are interested in improving the health and appearance of your smile or bite, no matter your age, it’s a great idea to visit a qualified orthodontist like those at Lozman Orthodontics.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), children should have their first checkup with an orthodontist by seven years old. At this age, children generally have a mix of permanent (adult) and primary (baby) teeth, so it’s important for an orthodontist to assess how their permanent teeth are coming in. A child under seven with an indication of an orthodontic problem should be seen as soon as possible.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, it’s never too late in life to see an orthodontist. While some people think of braces and aligners as something for children and teens, many adults benefit from orthodontic treatment. In fact, one in three orthodontic patients is over 18 years old, and increasing numbers of adults are seeking orthodontic care.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces are a type of orthodontic appliance made of metal, ceramic or plastic that are either attached to the teeth with brackets or designed to be removable. Braces apply gentle but consistent and controlled force on the teeth to move them until they are straighter and more appropriately aligned to improve the appearance and function of your smile.
What Types of Braces Are There?
When it comes to straightening your teeth and improving your bite with braces, you have multiple options. While metal brackets and wires may be what initially come to mind when you think of braces, the following more comfortable and convenient types of braces are also available:
- Clear braces
- Colored braces
- Ceramic braces
- Self-ligating braces (which use built-in clips instead of elastic bands to hold the archwire)
- Clear aligners (Invisalign)
At Lozman Orthodontics, our father-daughter team can explain all of your options and help you choose the best type of braces for your needs. Our braces are generally less noticeable and more effective than braces of the past.
How Quickly Do Teeth Move With Braces?
Treatment with braces or aligners can vary dramatically based on the type of braces, the issue that needs correcting, the extent of adjustment needed and other individual factors. In general, most people wear braces or aligners for 22 months, but this timeframe can range from six to 30 months.
The more diligent you are about caring for your braces and teeth, the faster you will see ideal results from your braces. Younger patients who receive treatment as soon as an issue is detected also tend to need braces for less time than older patients whose concerns have had more time to develop.
Are Braces Comfortable?
Many people wonder if braces hurt or are uncomfortable but are pleased to find out that they quickly become used to them without any pain. While you may experience some initial discomfort as you get used to this oral appliance, it typically resolves within a couple of days.
If you are concerned about any irritation or discomfort, your orthodontist can recommend ways to make your experiences with braces as comfortable and pleasant as possible.
How Should I Clean and Care for My Teeth With Braces?
- Brush regularly: Brush your teeth after each meal (wait 30 minutes after eating to allow your enamel to harden after being softened from acidic foods or beverages).
- Floss daily: While flossing after each meal would also be ideal, it’s important to floss at least once daily, preferably before bedtime.
- Use fluoride toothpaste: Fluoride can help prevent cavities. You can also ask your dentist or orthodontist about a fluoride rinse.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks: Sugar increases the bacteria in your mouth, which can contribute to plaque and increase the risk of cavities.
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods: Food and snacks like taffy, gummy candies, gum and caramel can get stuck in your braces and be difficult to remove, which is a cavity risk.
- Avoid chewing on hard food and ice: Hard food and snacks can potentially damage your braces and your teeth.
- Visit your orthodontist and dentist regularly: Make sure to come to all follow-up orthodontist appointments while you have braces, and visit your dentist for routine cleanings every six months.
How Do I Care for My Retainer?
- Store your retainer in its case: Any time you take your retainer out of your mouth, place it in its container to prevent it from getting lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean: Gently brush your retainer with a toothbrush and toothpaste to remove any food particles and buildup, and soak it in a denture cleaning solution. (Do not attempt to clean your retainer with boiling water or in the dishwasher, as these may damage it.)
Do I Need to Brush My Teeth Three Times a Day With Braces?
If you have braces, we recommend brushing your teeth a minimum of three times per day. This should be done about 30 minutes after each meal to remove any food particles that may be stuck in your braces. Flossing daily can also help remove food that brushing can’t reach.
If you need help learning how to brush or floss with braces, don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to guide you.
Do I Need a Dental Checkup Every Six Months With Braces?
Getting dental checkups and cleanings every six months is vital while you have braces. This is because brushing and flossing can’t fully remove the plaque and bacterial buildup that contributes to cavities and gum disease.
Will Braces Prevent Me From Participating in Activities Like Sports and Playing an Instrument?
You can still play sports and musical instruments (and sing!) if you wear braces. If you played before getting your braces, you may need some time to adjust, but you can still play just as well with braces.
For contact sports, we recommend wearing a mouthguard to reduce the risk of oral injuries and damaging your braces.
How Do I Schedule My Appointment at Lozman Orthodontics?
To schedule your orthodontic appointment, give us a call at (518) 785-9441. We will be happy to help book your visit and answer any questions you might have.
Lozman Orthodontics is devoted to providing quality orthodontic care to help our patients achieve the smile of their dreams and enjoy the confidence that comes with it.