Orthodontic FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized area of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed an additonal two to three years beyond dental school in an accredited university program to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development. Once the advanced education is attained, and the doctor announces to the public as being a specialist in orthodontics, he or she is required to limit practice to this specialized area of expertise.

While some general dentists provide orthodontic services, only a specialist in orthodontics can make such an announcement after having the finest education available to treat orthodontic problems.

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 the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens.

About one in every four orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any age is a good time to visit the orthodontist.

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, and ask Dr. Baughman or your family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep the retainer safe in its container so it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by our office. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows 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, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

What are braces?

Braces are used by an orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. Although there are several different types of braces to choose from, Dr. Baughman is the expert and will advise you of the best type of orthodontic appliance for you from the following choices:

  • Clear braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisible braces
  • Aligner trays (Invisalign®)
  • Traditional metal braces

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 can take anywhere from six to 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 18 to 24 months. Treatment time is dependent upon the patient’s compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding appliance breakage, and keeping regular appointments are important for keeping treatment time on schedule.

Do braces hurt?

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 slight soreness for a few days. Your lips and cheeks may need one or two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?

With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day 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. Dr. Baughman 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 vital that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. We will work closely with your dentist to make sure 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 to protect your braces or appliance.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.

american association of orthodontists american dental association american board of orthodontics the edward h angle society california dental association california association of orthodontists pacific coast society of orthodontists