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What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is one of many dental health specializations. As a field, it focuses on the proper alignment of a patient’s teeth and jaws. This specialized form of dentistry encompasses the appropriate diagnosis, prevention, and timely treatment of dental and orofacial growth abnormalities. In short, it’s the field that focuses on ensuring proper teeth development and alignment.
Who is an orthodontist?
If there’s a specialized field, there should also be a corresponding specialist. Orthodontists are dental health specialists with additional training and experience that results from intense two- or three-year certification programs and internships. As your orthodontist, such specialists can gradually and safely straighten teeth, correct bad bites, fix malaligned jaws, and improve your smile’s function.
What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?
This is one of the few questions with a fairly straightforward answer. According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), you should bring your children around age 7 to their first appointment with an orthodontist. Just to be clear, there’s no age limit to start orthodontic treatment, but if you want to help your kid achieve proper dental development, you should consult with an orthodontist as early as possible. Any time is a good time to visit an orthodontist, but patients will enjoy greater benefits the earlier they start.
How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?
This is a multi-step process. Most importantly, though, is that you have to brush your teeth after every meal, which includes snacks, and floss your teeth at least once a day. Note that you could use an interdental brush to complement the use of dental floss. Likewise, you should:
- Use fluoride toothpaste as the mineral can help strengthen your teeth. You could also ask your family dentist if you need a fluoride treatment to prevent cavities.
- Patients with removable retainers or clear aligners should take them off to properly brush their teeth, use dental floss, or clean thoroughly with a water irrigator and interdental brush. Likewise, keep in mind you should safely store your removable appliance in their case to keep them safe and prevent losing it while you clean your teeth.
- Speaking of retainers and clear aligners, you have to keep them clean to keep your teeth as clean as possible. Soak them in specialized cleaners or brush them with liquid soap. Avoid abrasive toothpaste and hot water as they can deform the piece or scratch them.
- Your choice of foods and drinks will also play an important role when taking care of your teeth. Avoid foods with too much sugar; these sugary treats will only increase the available food for harmful bacteria and enable the creation of plaque and subsequent cavities.
- Other foods you should avoid include sticky or chewy foods that cling onto your brackets, such as caramel, gummy bears, and chewing gum. Hard foods that break down into small pieces can leverage and peel away brackets, meaning you should stay away from hard taco shells, popcorn, and more. Finally, avoid anything that can get stuck in your braces, such as soft bagels, ribs, fibrous vegetables, some fruits, etc.
- Don’t miss your routine checkups with your family dentist. Continue visiting them every six months to ensure proper dental health
What are braces?
Braces are one of the most recognizable orthodontic appliances available today. Your orthodontist bonds brackets to each tooth and connect them all with a special wire to improve the look and feel of your smile while realigning your teeth and jaws. There are several types of braces, and you can ask your Sacramento orthodontist about what works best in your case. Some of the types of braces include:
- Traditional metal braces.
- Invisalign® clear aligners.
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
This is one of those questions where we have to squint and say that the answer really depends on a bunch of things. Every patient responds differently to their treatment plan. Still, you should know that average treatment times can last anywhere between 6 and 30 months. Most cases, however, take about 22 months. Some of the factors that make treatment length vary include:
- Your choice of orthodontic appliance.
- Compliance with and adherence to your orthodontist’s recommendations.
- The severity of your orthodontic problem.
Do braces hurt?
Wearing braces is not something that should cause pain. If you experience pain for long periods or over 5 days after your initial visit, contact your orthodontist. However, all patients should expect some degree of discomfort as braces gradually move each tooth into its new position. These movements are safe but will still result in a discomforting sensation for a few days at most.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
Absolutely yes. As we mentioned above, you’ll have to brush your teeth constantly after every meal you eat. Please keep this in mind, as it is crucial for your dental health throughout your treatment. You should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep all your tissues (gums in particular) as healthy as possible. Brushing regularly is also the only way you get to remove any food particles that would otherwise stay in your mouth and feed harmful bacteria.
If I have braces, do I still need regular dental checkups?
Oh yes. It’s crucial that you visit your dentist regularly during your orthodontic treatment. When you wear your braces, you increase the risk of suffering the negative effects of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Even though there are several ways in which you can keep those risks to a minimum, you should still rely on professional help to keep your mouth as healthy and clean as possible.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
Fortunately no. You will require some time to get used to your new braces, but they will not stop you from completing your usual activities, work, or school obligations. Patients who wear braces don’t have to stop playing sports, either. Even if your choice of physical activity includes playing contact sports, you can easily get a mouthguard and protect your appliances without sacrificing your choice of sports.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! Everyone at our front desk will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at a time and date that fits your availability. Please let us know if you’re coming due to a referral, and we will provide you with all of the information you need.