What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics, also known as dentofacial orthopedics, is a branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental abnormalities. For most people, orthodontics means straightening teeth to make them look better! As an orthodontic specialist, Dr. Almond is also looking at jaw growth, facial balance, and long-term functional changes to benefit you as a patient.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on straightening teeth, correcting misaligned jaw structure, and improving the function of your smile. Your orthodontist has received two or three years of additional training and experience to be able to meet your orthodontic needs and goals.
What is the best age to visit the orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of 7 for a screening to evaluate jaw growth and eruption of permanent teeth. Often this appointment confirms that your child is growing favorably, and can be monitored until they reach their teenage years. Other times, early orthodontic treatment may be recommended by Dr. Almond. Early treatment may help your child avoid oral surgery and more serious orthodontic complications in the future by addressing problems at a young age.
Teenagers and adults can also benefit from orthodontics, and are welcome for a consult at any age. Most teenagers are ready for braces around the age of 11-13. This coincides with the eruption of permanent teeth and your child’s growth spurt. If you are unsure if your child is ready for braces, but have concerns, our free consultation is available to answer any questions you have and map out the best time to address your child’s orthodontic needs.
Adults can schedule a consult to discuss esthetic concerns or functional concerns that they or their dentist may have. Orthodontics are often used prior to major dental work like crowns, veneers, implants, and bridges to get the teeth in their intended position prior to these long term restorations. Dr. Almond and our team work with your dentist and other specialists to provide great results to you as our patient.
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
The time you spend in braces varies depending on your orthodontic needs and how your teeth and surrounding tissues respond to treatment. Orthodontic treatment generally lasts between 6 and 30 months, but the average time a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces do not usually hurt, although your teeth may be sore after some orthodontic visits. If this occurs, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol can help to ease the discomfort. Right after your braces are placed, your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth may need a few days to get used to your new braces. Most patients experience very little soreness while wearing braces. As we say here at Almond Orthodontics, “It does not have to hurt to work!”
How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces?
- Brush your teeth at least three times every day – after every meal – and floss at least once every day.
- If necessary, we can provide a prescription for a special fluoride. Make sure that you use toothpaste that contains fluoride, because fluoride helps to prevent cavities and tooth decay!
- Try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar during your orthodontic treatment. Sugar increases the amount of bacteria in your mouth, which can cause more plaque, tooth decay, and cavities.
- During your treatment, avoid sticky and chewy foods (sugary chewing gum, caramel, gummy bears), hard foods (nuts, ice cubes, hard candy), or any foods that could possible get stuck in your braces, such as corn on the cob, ribs, taffy, soft bagels, etc.
- Keep your braces and wires clean and clear of food and debris. Teeth move fastest with healthy bones and gums!
If I have braces, do I still need dental check-ups every six months?
Yes! It is essential that you visit your family dentist every six months for your regular cleanings and check-ups. When you are wearing braces, food may become caught in places where your toothbrush cannot reach, which causes bacteria to accumulate, possibly leading to tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal (gum) disease. Our team at Almond Orthodontics is happy to work with your family dentist to ensure that your teeth stay healthy and clean while you wear braces!
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
Wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities! Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, and we recommend that you wear a mouthguard while playing sports to protect your braces and your teeth.