Whether it’s for you or your child, when it comes to improving the appearance of a smile, braces are often the first thing to come to mind. Orthodontics can help straighten teeth, realign jaw structure, and improve oral functions overall. However, before undergoing any sort of treatment, you should be confident that you fully understand what to expect. Here are 5 common questions answered by an orthodontist in Rochester.
1. What are Braces?
Braces are orthodontic devices used to make various adjustments to the teeth. They work by applying continuous pressure that slowly move the teeth over time. Traditional metal braces are the most common; these are metal brackets on the front of each tooth connected by a wire. Sometimes clear ceramic brackets can be used as a more aesthetically pleasing option.
2. What’s the Best Time for Braces?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have an orthodontic appointment around age 7, when problems such as an uneven bite or overcrowded teeth are more easily apparent (although treatment won’t necessarily begin at that time). While braces are most often used for kids and teenagers, there’s no age limit; in fact, roughly a fifth of orthodontic patients are over the age of 21.
3. How Long Do Braces Need to Be Worn?
Every patient responds differently to braces, so the length of treatment will vary. Usually, the process takes roughly 22 months, but depending on the circumstances, it can be as little as 6 months or as much as 30 months.
4. Does It Hurt to Get Braces?
While braces won’t necessarily hurt, they do usually cause some level of discomfort for the first few days as the mouth makes the necessary adjustments. If pain or irritation lasts longer than it should, or if a wire is poking you in the gums, it could signal an orthodontic emergency that will require an appointment.
5. How Do I Take Care of Braces?
Here are some ways to maintain good oral hygiene while wearing braces:
- Remember to brush after every meal (at least three times a day) and floss at least once; this will help remove any food caught in your braces. Your orthodontist can advise you on proper techniques.
- Avoid overly sticky or chewy foods such as caramel, as well as hard foods such as nuts and ice cubes. You should also be careful of corn on the cob and other foods that can easily be caught in the brackets and wires.
- Keep up your regular visits to the dentist as well as the orthodontist.
Always voice any concerns or questions to your orthodontist; they can let you know what to expect and help you create a plan. If you’ve been thinking that you or your children need orthodontic treatment, now’s a great time to make an appointment.
About the Author
Dr. Stan Drabik has been helping patients attain better smiles for over two decades; he is currently a member of the Seventh District New York Dental Association. At his practice, Drabik Orthodontics, he offers traditional metal braces as well as ceramic braces, as well as other orthodontic options such as Invisalign. To schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (585) 872-4660.