Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
If you’re considering braces or you have orthodontic treatment orthodontic-treatments/planned in the near future, you may have a few questions in mind. At Foley Wilde Orthodontics, we know that getting braces can seem like a daunting task, but our team is always on hand to help make the transition a smooth one. Here are just a few of the common questions we hear from patients about to undergo orthodontic treatment:
- What is Orthodontics?
- What is an Orthodontist?
- What’s the Best Age to Visit the Orthodontist?
- How to Care for Your Teeth if Wearing Braces or an Orthodontic Retainer?
- What Are Braces?
- What Are the Different Types of Braces?
- How Long Will I Have to Wear Braces?
- Does It Hurt to Get Braces Put On?
- Do You Need to Brush Your Teeth More Frequently with Braces?
- If You Have Braces, Do You Still Go to The Dentist?
- Can You Still Play Sports with Braces?
- Will Braces Affect My Singing?
- Will Braces Change my Face Structure?
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics, dentofacial orthopedics or orthodontia, is a specific form of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and correcting misplaced or poorly positioned teeth as well as facial abnormalities.
What is an Orthodontist?
Although many assume that orthodontists and dentists are quite similar, their roles are quite different. A dentist will focus on the health of teeth, the mouth, jaw, gums and nerves found in this region, whereas an orthodontist’s focus is a little more specialized. An orthodontist is a dental professional or specialist whose primary focus is to straighten misplaced teeth. They will work to diagnose and prevent malpositioned teeth and develop treatment plans specific to the patient.
What’s the Best Age to Visit the Orthodontist?
The right age to start visiting an orthodontic professional can vary depending on the patient. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists suggests that children should have their first visit around the age of 7. However, this is not a firm age, as some dentists may recommend a consultation earlier. It’s also important to note that braces and orthodontic treatments are not unique to children and teens. Orthodontic treatment can begin at any age depending on the patient’s needs.
How to Care for Your Teeth if Wearing Braces or an Orthodontic Retainer?
- Remember to brush your teeth after each meal
- Be sure to floss daily
- To prevent cavities during your orthodontic treatment, use toothpaste that contains fluoride or use a fluoride rinse if recommended by your orthodontist
- If you are using a removable retainer, be sure to take out your retainer before eating and keep it safe in its travel container to avoid damage when it’s not being worn
- Keep your removable retainer clean by brushing it gently daily with a mild toothpaste and gentle toothbrush
- When wearing your braces, avoid sticky, hard foods with excess sugar. This will prevent bacteria that can cause plaque, which can lead to cavities
- Do not put your removable retainer in boiling hot water or the dishwasher as this can alter the shape and size of your retainer
- During your orthodontic treatment, avoid sticky foods such as chewing gum, gummies and caramel, hard foods such as ice cubes, nuts and hard candy, as well as foods that can easily get stuck in your braces such as corn on the cob, taffy, ribs etc.
- Be sure to schedule regular follow up appointments with your orthodontist and continue seeing your family dentist every 6 months
What Are Braces?
Braces are orthodontic appliances that are applied to teeth by an orthodontist and used to straighten and reposition teeth while also improving a patient’s bite. Braces are also used to help to close and fix gaps in teeth placement.
What Are the Different Types of Braces?
There are several styles of braces available. The right style of braces for a patient should be determined by your orthodontist. The team at Foley Wilde Orthodontics can help choose the right style based on your lifestyle and the treatment required. Styles include:
How Long Will I Have to Wear Braces?
The length of treatment can vary depending on the patient. Typically, treatments can last anywhere from six to thirty months, however, the average length of standard treatment is roughly 22 months.
Does It Hurt to Get Braces Put On?
Getting braces put on does not hurt, but you may feel some discomfort for the first few days. The discomfort is manageable, and your teeth, gums, cheeks and mouth will start to adjust to the new appliances over time.
Do You Need to Brush Your Teeth More Frequently with Braces?
To avoid the buildup of plaque and the development of cavities, you should be brushing your teeth at least three times a day. Food can easily get caught in your brackets and wires, so it’s important to keep the appliances clean.
If You Have Braces, Do You Still Go to The Dentist?
Absolutely! Regular checkups every 6 months are important, especially when you are receiving orthodontic treatment. Food can easily get caught between your braces, causing a potential buildup of bacteria that can lead to issues such as gum disease, gingivitis and cavities. Your dentist can help monitor for these concerns and will work alongside your orthodontist to ensure your teeth stay clean throughout your orthodontic treatment.
Can You Still Play Sports with Braces?
Yes! Playing sports while wearing braces may take some slight adjustments and getting used to, but you’re still able to participate. It is recommended to wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or orthodontic appliances when playing contact sports.
Will Braces Affect My Singing?
Braces may not directly impact your voice when it comes to singing, however, you may need to get used to the way your lips, cheeks and tongue rest against your teeth. Your mouth movements will change when you have braces put on, so there may be a period of discomfort and adjustment when singing after you’ve had braces put on.
Will Braces Change my Face Structure?
Depending on the patient’s treatment and cause for getting braces, there may be some slight adjustments to a patient’s facial structure in the lower half of the face. For instance, if braces are used to correct an overbite, the orthodontic treatment will correct the way that the jaw and teeth are aligned – resulting in a more unified facial layout.