Orthodontics FAQ’s

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What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is one of many dental health specializations. As a field, it focuses on the proper alignment of a patient’s teeth and jaws. This specialized form of dentistry encompasses the appropriate diagnosis, prevention, and timely treatment of dental and orofacial growth abnormalities. In short, it’s the field that focuses on ensuring proper teeth development and alignment.

Who is an orthodontist?

If there’s a specialized field, there should also be a corresponding specialist. Orthodontists are dental health specialists with additional training and experience that results from intense two- or three-year certification programs and internships. As your orthodontist, such specialists can gradually and safely straighten teeth, correct bad bites, fix malaligned jaws, and improve your smile’s function.

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

Here’s a simpler way to put it: The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first orthodontic appointment around age 7. However, there’s no specific age to start treatment. Starting early can aid in proper dental development, so it’s beneficial to consult with an orthodontist sooner rather than later.

How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?

Taking care of your teeth with braces or a retainer involves several steps:

  1. Brush your teeth after every meal, including snacks, and floss daily. Consider using an interdental brush along with dental floss.
  2. Use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your teeth, and ask your dentist about fluoride treatments.
  3. If you have removable retainers or clear aligners, take them off to brush your teeth, floss, or use a water irrigator and interdental brush. Store them safely in their case while cleaning your teeth.
  4. Keep your retainers or aligners clean by  brushing them with liquid soap. Avoid abrasive toothpaste and hot water, as they can damage them.
  5. Watch your diet by avoiding sugary foods and drinks that promote bacteria and plaque buildup. Also, steer clear of sticky, chewy, and hard foods that can damage your braces or retainer.
  6. Don’t skip your routine dental checkups every six months to maintain proper dental health.

What are braces?

Braces are a well-known orthodontic treatment option that involves bonding brackets to each tooth and connecting them with a wire. This setup not only enhances the appearance of your smile but also aligns your teeth and jaws. Your Sacramento orthodontist, Dr David Markham, can discuss the various types of braces available or Invisalign® clear aligners.

If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?

The duration of wearing braces varies from person to person and depends on several factors. On average, treatment can last between 6 and 30 months, with the typical duration being around 22-24 months. Various factors influence treatment length, including:

  1. The type of orthodontic appliance chosen.
  2. How well you follow your orthodontist’s instructions.
  3. The severity of your orthodontic issue.

Do braces hurt?

Wearing braces shouldn’t be excessively painful. If you’re experiencing prolonged pain lasting more than five days after your initial visit, it’s essential to reach out to your orthodontist. However, it’s normal to feel some discomfort as your braces work to gradually shift your teeth into their new positions. This discomfort typically subsides within a few days.

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

Absolutely yes. With braces, maintaining excellent oral hygiene becomes even more critical. As mentioned earlier, brushing your teeth after every meal is essential to prevent food particles from accumulating around your braces and causing dental issues. Aim to brush your teeth at least three times a day to ensure the health of your gums and overall dental well-being. This consistent brushing routine helps remove food debris and prevents the proliferation of harmful bacteria in your mouth.

If I have braces, do I still need regular dental checkups?

Absolutely. Even with braces, regular dental checkups are essential. While wearing braces, you may be more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease due to the challenges of cleaning around the brackets and wires. Despite your efforts to maintain oral hygiene, professional dental cleanings and examinations are necessary to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment. Your dentist can provide specialized care to address any emerging issues and help you maintain optimal oral health.

Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?

No, your braces shouldn’t interfere significantly with your school activities, sports, or hobbies. While it may take some time to adjust to wearing braces, they should not prevent you from participating in your usual activities. You can continue playing sports, even contact sports, by using a mouthguard to protect your braces. Similarly, if you play an instrument or enjoy singing, you should be able to continue with these activities with minimal disruption from your braces.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

To schedule your next appointment, just give our practice a call! Our friendly admin staff will assist you in finding a convenient time and date for your visit. If you’ve been referred to us, please mention it when you call, and we’ll ensure you have all the necessary information for your appointment.