Braces FAQs

We know getting braces is a really big decision. We try to make it as easy as possible by giving you as much information as we can.

Braces FAQs

We know getting braces is a really big decision. We try to make it as easy as possible by giving you as much information as we can.
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Braces FAQs

Straight teeth and a correct bite can improve your overall dental health.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions.

We also invite you to come in for a free consultation with one of our caring and experienced orthodontists. That’s the best way to learn how you or your child can have the smile you’ve always wanted!

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What Causes Crooked Teeth?
Many dental problems including crowded teeth, missing teeth or jaw alignment problems are genetic. Other dental problems are the result of bad habits, such as thumb-sucking, using a pacifier, or poor oral hygiene that led to tooth decay and the premature loss of baby teeth.
Why Should I Have My Teeth Straightened?
Orthodontic treatment can do more than make a smile beautiful by correcting gapped, crowded and misaligned teeth. It can also help you chew properly, speak more clearly, reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery, protect your gums from becoming unhealthy, and reduce or eliminate the need for extracting permanent teeth.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces apply gentle, steady pressure on your teeth to move them into their proper positions. A bracket is placed on each tooth. Then we bend a wire called the arch wire into the ideal u-shape we want your teeth to have. The arch wire is threaded through the brackets and as the wire tries to return to the u-shape, it moves the teeth with it.
When Should A Child See An Orthodontist?
The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends children see an orthodontist at the age of 7. Bite problems, called malocclusions, often become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12 as the child's permanent teeth erupt.
What Is Phase I Treatment?
Phase I treatment, which is also called early treatment or interceptive orthodontic treatment, typically begins in children who still have a mixture of baby and permanent teeth. It's typically started when the child is between the ages of 6 and 10. Early treatment is often used to help correct severe crowding, tooth eruption problems, bite problems, narrow jaws and protruded front teeth. Early correction may prevent the need for the extraction of permanent teeth or surgical procedures later. Braces may still be needed when all of the permanent teeth erupt, but the duration of treatment is often shorter.
What Is Phase II Treatment?
Phase II or full treatment occurs when all permanent teeth are erupted, typically after the age of 11. The goal of Phase II treatment is to straighten your permanent teeth and align your jaw. Patients who have undergone both Phase I and Phase II treatment are more likely to have lasting results.
How Often Will I Have Appointments?
Your treatment will depend on your specific needs. Most patients with wire braces visit the orthodontist every 5 to 10 weeks. Patients with clear aligners typically visit the orthodontist once every four to six weeks. Your orthodontist will let you know your schedule.
How Long Will I Need Braces?
Every patient is different. Most people need braces for 12 to 24 months, although some require up to 36 months of treatment.
Do I Still Need To See My Family Dentist?
Yes. You should continue with your regular dental checkups while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Your family dentist will determine the intervals, and can advise you whether you should have your orthodontist remove the arch wires so the general dentist has better access for your dental cleaning. The arch wire would be replaced by your orthodontist after the cleaning.
Are Retainers Necessary?
Yes. We know you're excited about your new smile, but you must wear a retainer to help keep your teeth in their new positions. Most patients wear a retainer for about a year; your orthodontist will tell you how long you need to wear your retainer.
If My Teeth Have Been Crooked For Years, Why Do I Need Orthodontic Treatment Now?
There’s no time like the present, and healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Orthodontic treatment can create or restore good function, and teeth that work better usually look better, too. A healthy, beautiful smile can improve self-esteem, no matter your age.
Do I Need To Change My Oral Hygiene Routine During Orthodontic Treatment?
Yes, keeping your teeth and braces (or other appliances) clean requires a little more effort on your part. Your orthodontist will explain how to brush and floss, how often to brush and floss, and give you any special instructions based on the kind of orthodontic treatment you are having. Be sure to follow your orthodontist’s dental hygiene prescription to get the best results possible. Check with your orthodontist about dental products and tools that might be helpful.

Also be sure to get a professional cleaning and check-up at least every six months during your orthodontic treatment, or more often, if recommended.
I See Ads For Perfect Teeth In Only One Or Two Visits To The Dentist. How Is Orthodontic Treatment Different?
The ads you are seeing may be for veneers. They cover crooked teeth, but do not address the structure in the mouth or how the upper and lower teeth meet. Veneers are not permanent. Some require removal of significant amounts of tooth enamel.

Orthodontic treatment is about aligning teeth and jaws so that they meet and function effectively. It just so happens that when teeth and jaws are functioning well, they look good, too.
What Are My Options If I Don't Want Braces That Show?
Should your case warrant it, you might want to ask your orthodontist about lingual braces, which are attached behind the teeth. Ceramic braces may be another option to lessen the visibility of braces; they blend in with the teeth for a more natural effect. Additionally, the use of a series of clear aligner trays (invisible braces) instead of traditional braces may be used to correct some problems. Talk with your orthodontist about less visible treatment options that will help you reach your treatment goals.
I Am Pregnant And Want To Begin Orthodontic Treatment. Is This OK?
Discuss this question with your OBGYN/physician/healthcare professional and orthodontist before you start any orthodontic treatment, as pregnancy brings on bodily changes that may affect the mouth. Soft tissues such as gums become much more susceptible to infection.
Can I Play Sports While Wearing Braces?
Yes, but make sure you wear a protective mouth guard. Ask your orthodontist to recommend the right kind of mouth guard while you are having orthodontic treatment. Keep your smile beautiful after treatment and wear a mouth guard at every practice and every game.
Can I Play Musical Instruments While Wearing Braces?
With practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of wind or brass instruments.
Can I Play Musical Instruments While Wearing Braces?
While you have braces, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet for the health of your teeth. Of course, a healthy diet is always important, but eating too many sugary foods with braces can lead to plaque build-up around your brackets that could permanently stain or damage your teeth.

In general, patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods. They should also avoid chewing on hard objects like pens, pencils and fingernails. And never chew ice. It’s much too hard on your teeth – even without braces. (Some other foods to avoid are: popcorn, corn on the cob and whole apples.)

Not all of us are born with beautiful smiles, but with a good oral hygiene routine, and a little help from orthodontics, you can have a beautiful and healthy smile.

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