FAQ

Do braces hurt?

Getting braces placed does not hurt at all, but a few hours after they are glued on, you will experience some discomfort that will last for a few days. Over the counter medications that you would take for pain will help the discomfort subside quickly. After your adjustment appointments, your braces will feel tight again, and you may want to take these medications for a day or two. Most patients find braces to be very painless and do not require any over the counter medications.

How long will I have to wear my braces?

The time frame for your treatment varies for everyone. Every patient’s teeth are different, therefore, so is their treatment plan. Time varies based on how much treatment you need, how well a patient complies, the age of the patient, and even the height of the patient can cause the treatment time to vary, but typically a full orthodontic treatment ranges from an average of 12-24 months.

How frequent are my appointments?

Appointments for adjustments are about 6-8 weeks apart.

How long do my appointments take?

Your first appointment to get your braces on takes about an hour and a half, but adjustment appointments are much shorter. They are about thirty minutes.

What age should a child start orthodontic treatment?

We recommend beginning orthodontic monitoring, but not necessarily treatment, at age seven usually.

Am I too old for braces?

No one is ever too old to have a beautiful smile that gives them confidence!

Are braces just for cosmetic reasons?

Absolutely not! By aligning your teeth, you are able to clean in between your teeth better. Cleaner, healthier teeth limit problems like gum disease, which has been linked to heart disease. When your bite is misaligned, you can develop TMJ problems that result in recurringheadaches, neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. The cosmetic benefits are really just the “bonus” to having braces.

Are there only metal braces?

No. We have several different types of braces that all work wonderfully to provide patients with great smiles, including the clear, ceramic Innovation braces. They are much less conspicuous and do not show up in photographs.

Are there alternatives to having braces?

Yes! Invisalign is a great option for patients that are really concerned about the look of braces. The Invisalign treatment consists of clear aligning trays.

Will I have to have extractions or surgery?

With all the new advances in orthodontic treatment, extractions of permanent teeth and surgical procedures have been greatly reduced. We develop individualized treatment plans for each patient that are as conservative and non-invasive as possible. Unfortunately, in some rare cases, extractions or surgery are the best option.

Will I need headgear?

Headgear is virtually extinct. There are several new techniques that do what headgear does, but much better and without the embarrassment of a strap that goes around the back of the head. In some young patients, headgear can be used during large growth spurts, but only at home, during the night, so it’s inconspicuous.

Do I need rubber bands?

Yes. Almost all patients will require at least a short period in rubber bands.

How do I floss?

The day you get your braces placed, a staff member will teach you how to brush and floss. Floss threaders help you to guide the floss under the wire, and we will give these to you. If you need a refresher on how to brush or floss, just ask a staff member at your next appointment, or check out these Brushing with Braces  and Flossing with Braces  videos.

Can I use my electric toothbrush with my braces?

Any type of toothbrush, manual or electric, can be used when in braces, just as long as you use the toothbrush frequently!

Can I get my teeth cleaned with braces on my teeth?

Yes, and you should continue to see your general dentist at the usual six month intervals.

Do braces cause you to get cavities?

No, but not brushing properly with braces does. Maintaining proper oral hygiene during treatment will prevent any unnecessary cavities.

Will I have stains on my teeth when my braces are taken off?

Braces do not cause stains on the teeth; however, decalcification, or white spots, on the teeth will be there if a patient has not maintained a proper oral hygiene regime during their treatment.

Do I have to restrict my diet with braces?

There are eating restrictions during braces treatment. Things such as corn on the cob, apples, nuts, hard rolls, gum, caramels, etc should be avoided. Anything that is really crunchy or chewy needs to be avoided, so that braces are not knocked off. Also, limit sugary, carbonated drinks during treatment, because bacteria in your mouth kicks into overdrive when they have these and will produce even more plaque.

Will I need a retainer after treatment?

Yes, unless you want to have braces again. See our Retainers section for more information.

RETAINERS

Retaining your smile

Once you are out of braces and have your beautiful, straight teeth, you will be fitted with an upper and lower retainer. Although movement may be slight, your teeth will not stay perfectly straight if you do not wear your retainers as instructed. Even teeth that have not been moved with Orthodontics will move over time from the forces of biting, clenching, grinding, and fillings or crowns, so it is imperative to wear your retainers as instructed upon completing your treatment. While the bone around the teeth can remodel in days, the gums and fibers supporting the teeth take around nine months to remodel in the new position.

Immediately following your treatment you will be asked to wear your retainers full-time, 24/7, only removing them to eat and brush, for a limited period of time. After awhile the doctors will tell you that it is acceptable to wear your retainers only at nighttime. Eventually, the doctors will gradually limit how often you wear retainers.

You will go down to a few nights a week and then over time, just a few nights a month. Retainers are a lifetime commitment. At no point in time will you ever stop wearing your retainers completely! Just remember this, “stop wearing your retainers, when you would like to go through treatment again.”

If you lose or break your retainers, you should call the office immediately so we can make arrangements to repair or replace your retainers, before your straight teeth shift. If you wait, your beautiful, straight teeth will become crooked and a retainer may not fix the problem completely without the help of something more.

If your teeth have begun to shift and get crooked again, sometimes, we can regain your straight teeth with a special removable appliance and sometimes we must use braces for a short time to ensure straight teeth.

Retainer care

Once you have your retainers, our Orthodontist will instruct you on when to wear your retainers. It is IMPERATIVE that you follow his instructions to prevent your teeth from shifting and to properly care for your retainers.

Brush your retainers regularly with cold water and mild hand soap. Don’t use anything abrasive like toothpase for an exfoliating soap. These case micro scratches in the retainers, a perfect place for bacteria to hide, causing a bad smell and discoloration of your retainer.

Retainers belong in your case when not in your mouth.

Don’t leave retainers or cases where pets or young children can reach them.

NEVER wrap your retainer in a napkin-they get thrown away.

Don’t put the retainer in your pocket, without the case. When you sit, you will bend and break the wires.

Take the retainer out to play contact sports or to go swimming in the ocean.

Bring your retainer to each of your appointments.

Keep retainers out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources, such as toasters, hot cars, curling irons, coffee pots, blow dryers, etc.

If you lose or break your retainer, call the office immediately.

If your retainer begins to discolor or get build up, you can soak it in special retainer cleaners that can be purchased at the drug store, or you can use a coffee cup with equal parts of water, mouthwash, and vinegar for an hour or two, and then brush it with cold water and toothpaste.

Retainer types

There are numerous types of retainers to suit each patient’s needs:

Glued in permanent retainers; clear tray retainers and plastic and wire retainers.

Each retainer has benefits and drawbacks. Once patients are ready to finish the active phase for orthodontic treatment (when the braces come off and the retainers go on), our doctors will make a recommendation and help you decide which retainers are right for you.

Some retainers last longer than others, some retainers are more discreet than others, and some are easier to clean than others. For kids, parents really like the retainers that are glued in, so patients cannot forget to wear them.

Patients can also get creative with their retainers, and chose colors and designs to make them as unique as they are.

Upper retainers:

Most of the time the Doctors recommend a wrap around style hawley retainer for the upper teeth. This allows the occlusion to settle while maintaining the orthodontic correction. Sometimes, however, the doctors may recommend a clear essix retainer or in rare instances a permanent bonded retainer.

Lower retainers:

This decision is usually left to the patient/parent, though the doctors will make a recommendation.

Root Canal Treatment Questions and Answers

I came for a filling, don’t have any pain, and the doctor told me that I need root canal treatment, why?

When a deep cavity exists, it is impossible to tell for sure whether a simple filling can be placed to treat the tooth.  A filling can be placed only after all decay is removed and the pulp chamber is left intact.  If during the removal of decay, the pulp chamber is invaded, root canal treatment must be performed.

If root canal is performed, won’t the tooth be dead?

Yes, the tooth will be considered non-vital (dead), but if the endodonticly treated tooth is properly restored, it should last for many years to come comparable to a live tooth.

Am I justified in spending money for root canal treatment?

The alternative is extraction and replacement of the tooth with a bridge or an implant.  Besides losing and important member of the dentition, the artificial substitutes usually cost more than root canal treatment and the permanent restoration of the tooth.

Will the tooth darken after treatment?

Some of the times discoloration of the tooth may occur. There are special bleaching techniques available for endodonticly treated teeth to restore color.

Will the tooth crack or fracture?

Measures will be taken while root canal treatment is in progress to prevent this from occurring.  It is strongly recommended to place crown on the endodonticly treated tooth to prevent fracture.

Can a root canal treated tooth be used as an anchor for a bridge?

Yes.  With proper bone support, a nerveless tooth is an excellent bridge anchor.

Is it normal for the tooth to hurt after Root Canal Treatment?

Sometimes after the RCT completed, patient may experience pain, especially biting on the tooth. Most pain and discomfort would happen on 2-4 day, and then pain gradually will come down. If it happens, Tylenol or Ibuprophen, along with salt-water rinses will ease the pain.

Can root canal infection always be treated successfully?

Unfortunately not.  Sharp curves due to unusual root growth and extremely narrow canals occasionally make instrumentation and medication impossible; however, this does not mean the tooth necessarily must be lost, since other procedures can often save the tooth (e.g. Apicoectomy, etc.)

Does the tooth ache always mean I need to have Root canal treatment ?

The symptoms for root canal treatment are sharp tooth ache, night tooth ache, severe tooth pain on cold and hot, if this pain lasts long after cold or hot was applied. With more advanced stages tooth ache while biting appears.

These symptoms could also be present with some gum conditions, so the final diagnosis could be done through the combination of your complaints and doctor’s examination.