Frequently Asked Questions About Braces & Orthodontic Treatment
Determining If Orthodontic Care Is for You
Why should you choose an orthodontist?
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.
Why is orthodontic treatment important?
An attractive smile and improved self-image is just one of the benefits of orthodontic treatment. Alleviating and preventing physical health problems is just as important. Without treatment, orthodontic problems can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction, chewing and digestive difficulties, speech impairments, tooth loss, and other dental injuries.
Why do I need braces if my teeth are straight but my bite is off?
Orthodontics are not only for pretty teeth. A good healthy bite helps eliminate other health problems in later years. It also helps save teeth from excessive wear.
At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age, however the American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. Orthodontist can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. . Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications.
Am I too old for braces or orthodontic treatment?
About 25% of orthodontic patients today are adults. Many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children, and can now experience the satisfaction of a perfect smile
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.
What is TMJ?
TMJ Dysfunction is a condition of the jaw that occurs when the Temporo Mandibular Joint is misaligned or malfunctioning in a way that subjects the joint to excess pressure. TMJ can seriously affect how your mouth works and often includes side-effects such as blocked nasal passages, neck pain, headaches and difficulty chewing.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works at Dovorany Orthodontics
How much will my orthodontic treatment cost?
Costs vary depending on the type of treatment. Today many dental insurance policies include orthodontic benefits making orthodontic fees more affordable than ever before
What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving, our friendly treatment coordinator will greet you and take you to our new patient room. She will take the necessary photographs and x-rays to allow Dr. Dovorany to make a proper diagnosis. Dr. Dovorany will discuss the necessary treatment needed and answer any questions you may have. Our treatment coordinator will go over fees and options available.
What will I learn from the initial examination?
There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:
- Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
- What must be done to correct the problem?
- Will any teeth need to be removed?
- How long will the treatment take to complete?
- How much will the treatment cost?
How long will I have to undergo orthodontic treatment?
The time needed to undergo orthodontic treatment will vary for each patient, and always depends on how much your jaw needs to change and how far your teeth must move. We are committed to making your treatment as swift and effective as possible.
How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every six to eight weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled six to eight weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.
Does the doctor really run on time?
For the most part, yes. With cooperation from patients.
Life with Braces
Will braces hurt?
Most orthodontic patients experience some discomfort the first week after their braces are put on, and right after the braces are adjusted. You can use aspirin, non-aspirin pain reliever or ibuprofen to ease the discomfort.
Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.
Will I still be able to play sports with braces?
Yes. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in an exciting variety of colors.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.
Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, corn chips, popcorn and nuts, raw fruits and vegetables (you can eat these if you cut them up) and all sticky foods (i.e. gum, caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.
How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Braces create small ledges, nooks and crannies for food deposits, which can lead to cavities and gum problems if you don’t do a good job brushing and flossing. Brush and floss thoroughly, but gently, so you do not break or loosen your arch wires or brackets. Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.
How do I brush my teeth when wearing braces?
Be sure to brush your teeth after every meal and before you go to bed with a fluoride toothpaste. Dr. Dovorany may prescribe a fluoride mouth rinse. Brush like this:
- Start by brushing the outside of each tooth at least 10 times.
- Then brush where your gums and teeth meet, using a circular motion.
- Brush the inside surface of each tooth at least 10 times.
- Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth last.
How do I floss my teeth when wearing braces?
Your toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth, so you need to floss as well. A floss threader, available from Dovorany Orthodontics, helps you floss with braces. Floss daily, like this:
- Thread floss through the threader and slip it up behind your archwire.
- Pull the floss between two teeth and up under your gums.
- Rinse with clean water.
What is a bite plate?
A bite plate lifts your front teeth up so the you do not knock off any of your lower brackets.
How do I floss when wearing separators?
- Grab two pieces of floss.
- Thread the two pieces of floss through the separator, and then wrap the floss strings around your first fingers.
- Pull fingers away from each other so the separator is now almost flat and tension is created.
- Gently work the separator between your teeth, like you do with floss. After you have pushed the separator between the teeth, pull the floss out, making sure that you can see half of the separator above the point of contact between the teeth. Sometimes it is necessary to hold your fingers over the separator when you pull the floss out.
Do I have to wear my headgear all day?
No, you must wear your headgear at least 14 hours a day (unless otherwise instructed), but you can do that at night when you are at home. You do not need to wear your headgear to school, work or during active sports. Do not rough house with headgear on.
Does it hurt to wear headgear?
When you are wearing headgear you may feel some pressure when the strap is attached to the face bow, and relief of the pressure when the strap is detached. Your molars may ache and be slightly loosened as tooth movement occurs, and may have a little difficulty sleeping at first. You might also experience dry, chapped lips. If you feel extreme pressure or discomfort from your headgear, contact Dr. Dovorany.
What should I bring to the orthodontic office for a headgear checkup?
Bring your headgear so we can check and adjust it and your record of wear book.
Rapid Maxillary Expanders
What is a Rapid Maxillary Expander and what does it do?
A Rapid Maxillary Expander (RME) helps widen a patient’s upper jaw over time by widening the patient’s palate. A parent or patient adjusts the Expander daily according to Dr. Dovorany’s instructions. One the palate has been widened enough, the expander is left in place for about four months without further adjustment.
Does it hurt to wear an Expander?
When the Expander is first placed the patient may feel some discomfort and pressure. You may also:
- Feel a tingling or itch under the expander
- Experience a tingling sensation across the bridge of the nose
- Feel pressure in the cheek area
- See a space appear between your upper two front teeth
How do you adjust the Expander?
A special key is used to activate the Rapid Maxillary Expander:
- Loop the string on the key around your finger or wrist to prevent the possibility of it being swallowed
- Insert the key in its slot, it will not touch the roof of the mouth.
- Push the key all the way from front to back
- Remove the key
- Turn as Dr. Dovorany has instructed
How do I brush my teeth when wearing an Expander?
Brush as usual but also use a Proxabrush and regular toothbrush. Be certain to us water rinse to flush under the expander when you are done brushing.
Life After Braces
Are retainers necessary and how long will I have to wear one?
A retainer is a device worn full or part-time after braces have been removed. The retainer is designed to prevent your teeth from drifting or moving while the bone around your teeth hardens and stabilizes. The longer you wear your retainer, the better your chances that your teeth will not relapse. Retainers provide assurance that your teeth will stay in perfect alignment while your jaw continues to grow or develop. We recommend that retainers are worn a lifetime.
How often do I have to visit Dovorany Orthodontics when I’m wearing a retainer?
During the first year and a half of retention, you will still visit our orthodontic offices periodically. After that period, you no longer need to visit our offices, but it is your responsibility to wear your retainer as Dr. Dovorany prescribes.
Where should I store my retainer?
Protect your retainer — store it in its case so that it doesn’t get damaged. If your retainer does become damaged, call for a repair appointment.