To help you understand your treatments, Dr. Andrew Smith and the members of our team have provided this page of answers to common orthodontic questions. If you have further questions, and to schedule an appointment with our dentist, please feel free to contact Wasatch Gentle Dental at 801-262-6661.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is one of the nine fields of recognized dental specialties. It focuses on diagnosing and treating misalignments and irregularities in the teeth, bite, and jaws. There are many orthodontic treatments available, including fixed orthodontic braces, removeable appliances, and Invisalign® clear aligners.
What is an orthodontist?
Orthodontists are dental specialists who have completed 3 additional years of training following the completion of dental school to learn about preventing, diagnosing, and treating facial and dental irregularities.
Who can benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment is available to patients of all ages. Orthodontic treatment is easier to complete when provided for children and teenagers, as the jawbones have not hardened and as a result are easier to move into their proper positions. It is recommended that children receive an initial orthodontic evaluation when they are around 7 years old. Many adults also seek orthodontic treatment to correct irregularities in their jaw and achieve a healthier smile. In fact, as many as one-third of all orthodontic patients are now adults!
Do braces hurt?
No. Braces do not hurt at all when applied to the teeth. You will likely experience mild discomfort for a few days after the wire is engaged to the brackets. Your initial discomfort should be gone by five days after the placement of your braces. You may also experience some discomfort for a day or so after any adjustments. Over-the-counter pain medication and orthodontic wax will help to alleviate mild soreness and discomfort. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum, as this will increase the blood flow in your mouth and reduce discomfort, and can encourage the teeth to align more quickly.
Why straighten teeth?
When your teeth are straight, they perform chewing, biting, and speaking functions much more effectively. Additionally, a straight smile is aesthetically pleasing to look at and boosts your self-confidence. Straight teeth also help to stave off a wide variety of dental ailments, including gum disease, TMJ disorders, tooth injuries, and uneven wear.
What is a malocclusion?
A malocclusion is a bad bite. Malocclusions may be caused by an incorrect relationship of the upper and lower jaws or a general misalignment of the teeth. There are several types of malocclusions, including, spacing, overcrowding, crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, open bites, and crossbites.
Can I still play sports or musical instruments while wearing braces?
Yes. You should be able to do all the same activities with braces as you would without them. Playing musical instruments may require some adjustment on your part as you get used to wearing braces. We also recommend that you wear a sports mouth guard to protect your appliance, gums, and other oral tissues while playing sports.
Do I need to visit the dentist regularly while wearing braces?
Yes! Regular dental appointments are extremely important while wearing braces, as they help you keep your mouth clean and free from tooth decay and other problems.
Are there foods I should avoid while wearing braces?
We recommend that you avoid hard foods, sticky foods, crunchy foods, chewy foods, and foods high in sugar. These substances can damage or get stuck in your braces. Our dentist will provide you with a specific list of foods to avoid during your orthodontic treatment.
How often should I brush and floss?
You should floss daily, and brush at least twice a day. Brushing after each meal is preferable, but if you cannot brush after you eat, rinse your mouth out with water to flush out any debris. Practicing good oral hygiene while wearing braces is vital, as it will keep your teeth and gums in good health throughout your treatment.