1. At what age should children start visiting an orthodontist?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should begin visiting an orthodontist around the age of 7. By this age, children have enough permanent teeth and jaw development for orthodontists to detect problems and determine when treatment should begin. Identifying problems with the teeth and jaw at an early age often prevents the need for more extensive corrections in the future. Of course, a significant percentage of orthodontic patients are adults, and it is never too late to seek treatment.
2. How long will my first appointment last?
Your initial appointment time will depend on your individual situation. Most types of braces take about one to two hours to apply to the teeth. Subsequent appointments will take less time as they will mostly involve adjustments.
3. How long will the orthodontic process take?
Every smile is unique, and the length of time it takes to achieve ideal results varies on a case-by-case basis. A minor correction should only take a few months, but extensive restructuring of the teeth and jaw may take several years. Most patients can expect to wear their braces for a period of two years or less.
4. What are the benefits of orthodontics?
Braces are typically used to give patients beautiful and healthy smiles. By making the patient’s smile more attractive, straight teeth can boost his or her confidence and self esteem. Braces can also be used to fix problems with oral health or functionality. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to floss and brush properly, and straightening the teeth makes it much easier to maintain oral hygiene. If your jaw is misaligned, orthodontic correction will prevent uneven wearing of the teeth. Correcting jaw and bite problems can also prevent grinding of the teeth and make it easier to chew and speak.
5. Do braces hurt?
Getting braces will not hurt, but your gums may be sore for the first week or two as your teeth begin to move. Those with metal braces may experience some discomfort if their cheeks and tongue rub against the braces, but applying braces wax to abrasive sections should alleviate this problem.
6. Will I need to have any of my teeth pulled before getting braces?
Due to advances in orthodontic care, tooth extraction and surgery can typically be avoided during orthodontic treatment. In rare cases, one or more teeth may need to be removed to achieve the desired results.
7. Will I need insurance to get braces?
No, insurance is not necessary. Some dental insurance plans include orthodontic care, but most patients undergoing orthodontic treatment do not have insurance.
8. How do I know if I need braces?
Most people get braces to improve the visual appeal of their teeth. You should also consider getting braces if you suffer from oral and dental issues such as jaw pain, difficulty chewing, cheek biting or problems with your bite.
9. Can I still clean my teeth while wearing braces?
You can still floss and brush your teeth after getting braces. To floss with braces, simply feed one end of the floss through the tooth above the wire. Using waxed floss or a plastic threading tool will make this process easier. To brush your teeth, take out any removable portions of the orthodontic equipment and brush the exposed areas of the teeth. If you have metal braces, you should also brush the wires and pins.