Orthodontic FAQs

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience. Dr. Redd is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great time to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens.

About one in every five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any age is a good time to visit the orthodontist.

How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day. When you get your braces on, we will provide you with a hygiene kit that will give you everything you need to keep your teeth clean and healthy.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask Dr. Redd or your family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • If you take your retainer out to eat, remember to keep it safe in its container (not in a napkin/paper towel) so it does not get lost, thrown away, or broken.
  • Remember to keep your retainer clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. If your retainer starts to take a life of its own, you can splash some alcohol-free mouthwash on it to freshen it up. Do not soak your retainer in mouthwash. You may clean it with denture cleaner every so often, but please do not do this too often, because it will eat away at the soldering and cause the wire to break. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, and can cause more plaque and potential cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

What are braces?

Braces are used by orthodontists to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:

  • Clear braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisalign® Clear Aligners
  • Traditional metal braces

If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?

The amount of time spent in braces will vary, depending on the individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can last anywhere from six to 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 22 months.

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces. If your teeth are tender after we put your braces on, or after an adjustment, it is important not to baby them. Eating normally encourages blood flow, which in turn will reduce the soreness.

Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?

With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between your braces.

You should also floss daily to get between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Our assistants will be happy to show you how to brush and floss properly once your braces are placed.

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit the dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease.

Once you have braces, we will be glad to take archwires out before your cleaning, and replace them afterward. This makes it easier for your dental hygienist to get around the brackets, and you’ll get a better cleaning! Our office will work closely with your dentist to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy while you’re wearing braces.

Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?

Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

We can make your next appointment before you leave, or you can simply call our office! Our front desk staff will be happy to schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need.