What can an orthodontist do for me?
An orthodontist can diagnose problems with the alignment of your teeth and bite. In some cases, the problems are purely cosmetic. In others, misalignment of the teeth and jaws can cause larger health issues and unbalanced facial features that can contribute to other health issues. Once the orthodontist diagnoses these problems, he or she can determine a treatment plan for addressing them.
Can it be too early for orthodontic treatment?
Yes, though orthodontic treatment is possible earlier than ever. In general, children under seven are usually not candidates for treatment. When it is needed, at about age seven, phase one treatment can begin.
Can it be too late for orthodontic treatment?
There are a few procedures that can only be done while the jaw is still growing. Aside from those limited procedures, it is never too late for orthodontic treatment.
What are signs of problems with my bite?
Popping noises in the jaw, teeth that do not align properly, frequent headaches, and frequent ear infections are just some of the signs that there is a problem with the alignment of your bite. If you suspect there could be an issue, schedule an appointment.
Do braces hurt?
Braces can cause soreness, but not real pain. The first week will be the most difficult as your teeth will be sensitive to bite pressure; you can also expect the same sensitivity for a day or so after each adjustment. However, the soreness is minor and is easily relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers and is a great excuse to indulge in some ice cream.
Do braces affect playing sports or instruments?
You should be careful when playing sports with braces; a mouthguard is a necessity. As for instruments, it might take you a few tries to adjust, but adjust you will.
Will I need to change what I eat when I have braces?
Unfortunately, yes. There are many foods that are off limits, but there are ways you can modify your favorite foods so that you can still enjoy them. Take some time to Google foods that are braces-safe to get some inspiration.
What do I do if something goes wrong with my braces?
If it is a loose wire, try to push it back into place with the eraser end of a pencil. Should there be a spot that is causing irritation, cover it with dental wax. Once you have done these temporary fixes, call to schedule an appointment. Anything more severe and you should call the office or after-hours phone number.
How often will my appointments be?
In general, every 4-10 weeks depending on the type of treatment and your needs.
Do I still see my regular dentist during treatment?
Yes, regular check-ups and cleanings are even more important while in treatment.
Will I need to change how I brush and floss?
Yes, you will. YouTube has some excellent videos to guide you.