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You have orthodontic questions, we have orthodontic answers!

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry focused on the diagnosis and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontics treatment can correct crooked teeth, misaligned bites, and other jaw function problems. Dentists who perform orthodontics have received an additional two to three years of specialized training.

What causes orthodontic problems?

Orthodontic problems can result from a variety of genetic or environmental factors. Your dentist will be able to determine your specific causes after a diagnostic examination.

What is the best age to start orthodontic treatment?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children be checked for orthodontic problems around the age of seven. But any age is a great age to begin orthodontic treatment!

Can orthodontics fix problems in adults?

Absolutely! About one in five orthodontics patients are over the age of 21. Teeth can be moved at any age, so there is no better time than now to start your treatment program!

Do braces hurt?

Braces can cause discomfort for a few days after they are placed on the teeth, and any time the wires are adjusted. This usually resolves quickly.

Should certain foods be avoided during orthodontic treatment?

Yes, certain foods can break brackets and wires. Avoid sticky or chewy foods (like taffy, caramel, and chewing gum), hard foods (like apples, hard candy, nuts, and carrots), and foods that can get stuck (like corn on the cob, popcorn, soft bagels, and ribs). Also avoid chewing on ice.

Are braces always required?

No. Sometimes other types of orthodontic treatments can resolve minor issues. Talk to your dentist about your treatment options.

How long are braces worn?

The average treatment time is 6 months to two and a half years. The time will vary depending on the severity of the problems. Your dentist will provide more information when he or she discusses your treatment plan.

Is there an alternative to metal braces that is less noticeable?

Yes! Newer alternatives like clear braces or Invisalign® help make treatment much less noticeable. Talk to your dentist about your options!

Do orthodontics patients still need regular 6 month checkups?

Even though you will be visiting the office regularly to have your appliances adjusted, you will still need to keep your regularly scheduled cleanings. In fact, it is even more important for orthodontics patients to get their teeth cleaned regularly! Cleanings help remove plaque buildup around the brackets and decrease the likelihood of staining and decay.

Do braces interfere with sports or playing musical instruments?

Braces do not prevent you from doing the things you love! You may find a small period of adjustment after you get your new braces, but they typically do not interfere with wind or brass instruments. Mouthguards are recommended for contact sports to help protect your mouth.

Can pregnant women begin orthodontic treatment?

Soft tissues can become more susceptible to infection during pregnancy. Talk to your OBGYN or healthcare provider about beginning orthodontic treatment while pregnant.

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