Frequently Asked Questions about Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience. Drs. Oliver and McGrath are able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function 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 time to see an orthodontist. Orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens; about one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult.
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. This will help prevent cavities!
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (which increases the amount of bacteria in your mouth, and can cause more plaque and potential cavities).
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes) or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
- When you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth and remember to keep the retainer safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush daily. Do not put it in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
The amount of time spent in braces will vary depending on the individual patient because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times usually take anywhere from six to 36 months, but most standard treatments take about 18-24 months.
Do braces hurt?
Most patients feel some discomfort for several days after braces are initially placed or adjusted. Tylenol® or Advil® can be used as needed.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
With braces, you should brush your teeth after you eat 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 between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. We can show you 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 patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, oral hygiene can be more difficult. Inadequate oral hygiene can cause bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Our office will work closely with your dentist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while you’re wearing braces.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an 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 (store bought, specifically for braces) to protect your braces or appliance.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! Our team will be happy to help schedule your next appointment.