Who is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has received 2 to 3 years of additional board certified speciality training and experience. Your orthodontist is a specialist able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age seven or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child's physician.

About Braces

General Soreness

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We will provide this for and you and we'll show you how to use it!

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect  their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when  participating in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of  colors.
 

Will braces interfere with playing musical    instruments?

No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.
 

Do I still need to see my general dentist?

Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit  their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease.
Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
 

Emergencies

Emergencies are very rare in orthodontic treatment.  Don't be alarmed if a wire or band  comes loose. This happens occasionally.  Here are some common issues and the solutions  to try.
 

Poking Wire

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.

 

Loose Bracket

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the band or bracket comes off, put it in an envelope and bring it to your next appointment.

To help eliminate an emergency avoid: 

  • Sticky foods such as; gum, laffy taffy, caramels
  • Hard and crunchy foods:  popcorn, ice, suckers, jolly ranchers
  • Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils, or fingernails) these can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.

Athletics 

A protective mouthguard is advised for playing contact sports. We have them available at our office in different colors for $5.00. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.