Frequently Asked Questions about orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience. Dr. Okun is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.
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 five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time 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 either use a water irrrigation system like the WaterPik® or floss at least once a day.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask Dr. Okun or your family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
- If you take out your retainer to eat, rinse your mouth with water (or if you are able, brush your teeth and floss) before replacing it. Remember to keep the retainer safe in its container so it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean, too, by washing it with warm water and a little dishwashing liquid or liquid hand soap. It is acceptable to brush it gently (but do not scrub it) with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner or Retainer Brite® if you wash off the cleaner before placing the retainer back in your mouth. 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 volume of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and potential cavities.
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (whole apples or carrots, hard candy, whole nuts, chewing on ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, ribs, taffy, etc.). Cut all hard or doughy foods (like bagels or pizza) into thin pieces.
- 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. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Gold braces
- Invisible braces (aligners)
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- 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 between six and 36 months, but most standard treatments take about 24 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple of days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces.
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. If you are not near your toothbrush, you should rinse your mouth with water after eating.
You should also floss or Waterpik® daily to get between your braces where your brush isn't able to reach. Dr. Okun can show you how to brush, floss and use a Waterpik® 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 important 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 build-up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with Dr. Okun 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 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 the information you need.