FAQ - information about braces questions, orthodontic answers
What is the difference between orthodontics and general dentistry?
Your dentist is your primary care provider. He or she manages your overall oral health. Orthodontists are specialists who have completed an advanced, accredited education program following dental school (similar to a medical residency for specialists in medicine).
Orthodontics is an area within dentistry that deals with correcting dental and facial irregularities. This includes issues with alignment of the teeth and jaw structure. An orthodontist provides the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of these “bad bites.”
What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?
Though a more beautiful smile and increased confidence are benefits of orthodontic treatment, there are also many important health benefits. With the proper treatment plan and care, an orthodontic specialist can improve:
- Function and comfort, with a proper bite for best ability to chew and decrease temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) issues
- Access and ability to keep teeth clean
- Risk of injury to protruding front teeth
- Strain on the jaw joints and muscles
- Lip closure, speech and swallowing
Orthodontics prevents premature loss of teeth and aging appearance and aids in optimizing other dental treatments, such as crowns and veneers. Proper teeth alignment prior to expensive cosmetic dentistry can also greatly enhance its result and longevity.
What are the benefits of early diagnosis and orthodontic treatment in a growing child?
Even if your child’s teeth appear to be straight, there could be problems only our orthodontists can detect. Early detection may prevent those problems from becoming more serious and requiring more extensive treatment in the future.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help:
Guide permanent teeth and facial growth for a more attractive face and profile
Improve long-term health of teeth and gums
Reduce or eliminate the need for future teeth extraction or jaw surgery
Correct finger- or thumb-sucking habits that continue after 6 or 7 years old
What are the signs that I may need orthodontic treatment?
If any of the following describes your smile, call for an appointment to discuss your treatment options.
- Misalignment in smile
- Crowded or overlapped teeth
- Excess space between teeth
- Difficulty chewing
- Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
- Pain in the jawbone or jaw joints
We treat a variety of “bad bites.” These include:
- Upper-front teeth that protrude over the lower teeth. (Excessive Overjet)
- Upper-front teeth that cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (Excessive deep bite)
- Upper-front teeth that are behind or inside the lower-front teeth (Anterior Crossbite)
- Upper- and lower-front teeth that do not touch when biting together (Openbite)
- Upper and lower teeth that do not line up in the center of the smile. (Smilke Asymmetries)
- Lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together (Occlusal misalignment or bite slide)
(It would be great to link to pictures of each of these. A small picture by each of them that when you hover enlarges)
Do I need a referral from my dentist?
No, you do not need a referral to see us. However, we work closely with many of Oklahoma’s best dentists, and we will work closely with yours to ensure the best result for your smile.
At what age should I schedule an initial appointment with an orthodontist for my child?
The American Association of Orthodontists says the right time for an orthodontic checkup is no later than age 7. The first permanent teeth usually erupt by this age, and many tooth alignment or jaw growth problems can be detected. In some cases, early treatment may be beneficial to avoid more serious problems later. However, it is never too late to seek orthodontic consultation. Children and adults may be seen for orthodontic treatment at any age.
Do you treat adult patients?
Yes, we do treat adult patients. In fact, adult orthodontic treatment is common. According to American Association of Orthodontists, one in five patients in orthodontic treatment are over the age of 21. With considerable advancements in orthodontics, many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children and they now can achieve a beautiful, healthy smile in the most comfortable, aesthetic way possible.
What types of braces are available at your office?
There are several different types of braces used in our office, including clear ceramic braces, self-ligating braces, lingual braces, traditional metal braces and Invisalign®. See our services page for more information about your options. (Link to services page)
Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt at all. However, it’s normal to experience soreness or discomfort for a couple of days after you get braces placed or following an adjustment.
Will braces interfere with any activities, such as playing sports or musical instruments?
Your orthodontic treatment should not interfere with your activities. However, there may be a period of adjustment after you first get your braces. We can provide brace covers to prevent any discomfort when playing musical instruments. We also recommend that our patients protect their teeth and lips by wearing a mouth guard when playing sports. Please let us know of your activities during your appointment, and we will provide you with a brace cover and/or athletic mouthpiece at no additional charge.
Which foods should I avoid?
Avoid all hard, sticky or chewy foods, including:
- Pizza crust, pretzels, rolls and bagels
- Taco shells and chips
- Candy, suckers and gum
- Beef jerky
- Raw carrots
- Sodas, sports drinks and fruit juices – these are very damaging. Not only do have they have sugars which lead to decay but they are VERY acidic causing further damage to enamel
Do I still need to see my regular dentist while I have braces?
Yes, absolutely, regular checkups with your dentist are very important — with or without braces. We recommend seeing your dentist for cleanings and exams at least every four months during orthodontic treatment unless instructed otherwise by your Dentist.
Do you use recycled braces?
No, our office does not use recycled braces. Each of our patients is provided with their own, new braces in order to achieve the best result.
How much will orthodontic treatment cost?
Because treatment needs vary from patient to patient, the cost of braces or orthodontic treatment also varies. We will be able to give you an exact cost for your treatment and any treatment and cost options after we examine your teeth during your complimentary consultation. We will also discuss financing options and help you determine your insurance coverage. We ask that you assign your insurance benefits to us, so we can help file claims and handle insurance questions from our office on your behalf.
How long will I receive treatment?
Treatment durations vary. The average time of orthodontic treatment is 21 months. Maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding breakage, wearing any removable aspects to your treatment (such as elastic bands and retainers), and keeping regular appointments are all important to remain on schedule and finish treatment as soon as possible.
Why are retainers needed after braces?
Teeth move throughout our lives. Retainers are designed to hold the teeth in their corrected positions after alignment, until the bone and ligaments remodel to the new tooth position. To maintain the very best long-term smile and bite, nighttime retainer wear indefinitely is recommended.