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Braces FAQ

What does an orthodontist do??

Orthodontists specialize in specific aspects of the dental profession; they diagnose and provide treatment for problems with the position and spacing of the teeth, as well as related conditions of the jaw and face. Orthodontists practice a number of highly developed treatments and applications to treat these problems.

How do Braces Work? ?

Braces today are highly developed appliances that work to straighten and align your teeth gradually over time. This is how they work:


All braces have three important parts


-Brackets; made of either metal or ceramic –a bracket is attached to each tooth.

-Bonding agent (glue) or a metal band –this attaches the bracket to the tooth.

-An arch wire –a thin wire connecting each tooth bracket to the next and placing tension on the teeth.


The alignment of the teeth is adjusted by the tension that the arch wire places on each tooth. At times, rubber bands or springs are used to apply a certain amount of pressure in a particular direction –over time these appliances work to straighten teeth into a uniform position.

Why should I or my loved one seek orthodontic care? ?

There are two major reasons to seek orthodontic treatment: for proper tooth function and improved appearance. Having an attractive smile is not only more appealing to others, but can also do a lot to improve your self-esteem.

Orthodontic treatment can also assist people who have trouble with normal tooth function due to irregularly aligned teeth. This can restore a measure of tooth function to the mouth and also make regular cleaning easier.

When should orthodontic care begin? ?

No one is too old to begin orthodontic treatment –nevertheless, the younger a person is when they begin to address any problems, the easier they will be to treat. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children as young as 7 schedules their first visit.

How can potential bite problems be recognized? ?

Teeth that appear jammed too close together and are pushing each other out of place are obvious indications that a bite problem is in the process of development. There are also many other signs that are less obvious, including mouth breathing, frequent biting of the lips or cheek, thumb sucking that continues past the age of 3 or 4 and speech difficulties.

Other signs can be teeth that do not meet properly and jaws that make a funny sounds or shift to the side when they close.

Do braces hurt to be worn? What about the attachment process? ?

Having braces applied to the teeth is a painless procedure. It is fairly common to experience slight aching and discomfort in the first couple of days after having your braces applied –this is also common after the braces are periodically adjusted, but these discomforts are generally short lived.

If the pain is especially strong, many orthodontists recommend taking some mild over the counter pain relievers –this is rarely necessary however.

How long does treatment last? ?

This depends on the person and the orthodontic needs they have. Generally speaking however, the active period of treatment –which is the stage where braces are worn– may take anywhere from 6 to 30 months. After which, a retainer may be worn for a few more months.

How often will I be called in for an appointment? ?

This depends on the particulars of the treatment you are receiving and how often your condition must be monitored. During active treatment you will typically be called in every 4 to 10 weeks.

Will my teeth need to be extracted??

Teeth extraction becomes necessary if the space in the mouth is insufficient to support the full number of teeth comfortably or if the teeth have become impacted– trapped beneath the gumline. If patients receive treatment early enough it is possible to avoid extraction.

How often should I clean my teeth when wearing dental appliances? ?

Patients should keep their dental appliances very clean throughout their treatment — give your teeth and braces a good cleaning after eating meal and then again before going to bed. Daily flossing is also an important part of good dental hygiene. Your orthodontist will explain the correct method of flossing without interfering with the alignment process.

Should certain foods be avoided when wearing braces? ?

There are certain foods that will have to be avoided during the process. These are, basically, foods that are sticky gooey or hard to chew. Chewing on ice cubes is also an activity best avoided. most appointments to repair or reattach brackets can be avoided by following simple instructions.

Do I need to have teeth pulled in order to get braces? ?

In some cases, extracting teeth can help give better results. Sometimes additional room may be required in order to get a perfectly straight smile. Bear in mind, however, that advancements in orthodontics have made the necessity of removing teeth less and less common over the years.

How long will it be before I can go back to school after I get braces? ?

You can return to school immediately after an appointment with your orthodontist.

Will my braces make me look unattractive? ?

In the past, braces were much larger and bulkier than they are today. Modern braces are designed to be practically invisible. They are not only a lot smaller than braces of the past, but they are also made from different materials that help them blend more seamlessly with the teeth.

Will braces work if I am missing one of my teeth or have a crown? ?

Yes, you can wear braces with both crown and a missing tooth. The tooth with the crown will behave just like your other teeth, and your orthodontist can work around missing teeth to get the other teeth into proper alignment.

What foods should you avoid eating with braces? ?

Certain types of food can cause damage to your braces or can become stuck inside them. These foods are typically either crunchy or sticky. For instance, caramel, taffy, crunchy fruits and vegetables and hard candy are off limits. Your orthodontist should provide you with a complete list of foods that you shouldn’t eat.

Will my braces affect my ability to play a musical instrument or participate in sports? ?

Yes, you may need to make adjustments to how you play sports or play your instrument to accommodate your braces. For instance, you may need to wear a mouth guard during sports to prevent injuries to your lips. Likewise, it may take a little while for you to get used to how it feels to play your instrument with braces.

Should I still visit my regular dentist even though I am seeing an orthodontist? ?

Yes, regular dental checkups are essential. Braces can trap plaque, making your teeth more prone to decay. Regular dental visits can help remove this plaque, minimizing the chances of developing cavities.

Do I have to wear a retainer after my braces are removed? ?

In most cases, people do have to wear a retainer after their braces are removed. If you choose not to, your teeth may return to their previous position. A retainer helps keep them in place so that you can have a perfect smile for the rest of your life.

How much do braces cost? ?

The cost of care can vary between orthodontists. However, think of it as an investment in your future health. Fortunately, there are plenty of financing programs in place designed to help make braces more affordable. When you consider the fact that orthodontic care is saving you from living a life with crooked or misaligned teeth, however, you can see that the cost is well worth it.

As an adult, am I too old to get braces? ?

Braces are appropriate for people of all ages including adults. In fact, more and more adults are turning to orthodontics to help them improve their smiles. A recent report by the American Association of Orthodontists found that over a quarter of all people receiving orthodontic treatment were adults. The most common reasons that adults get braces are to boost their self-esteem and make them more attractive. There is however, more serious health consequences associated with crooked teeth that should also be considered. This includes problems with the gums, tooth decay, excessive wear and joint pain.