FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Braces Benefits | Before And After Smiles | FAQ About Braces
Choosing An Orthodontist | Getting Started | What To Expect
New Techniques | Preserving Your Smile | First Aid

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Benefits of Braces:

moving bullet Better appearance of teeth, smile and face

moving bullet Improved self-esteem, confidence and feeling of acceptance

moving bullet A more even bite

moving bullet Easier to clean teeth

moving bullet Better jaw alignment and function

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Frequently Asked Questions About Braces:

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Braces are appliances or devices used to make these corrections.

Are braces necessary?

No. They are elective but people seldom grow out of the more severe problems.

What are the early warning signs of a bad bite?

  1. Upper front teeth protrude or are "bucked"
  2. Top front teeth cover more than 25% of the bottom front teeth when the back teeth are biting together
  3. Top front teeth grow in behind the bottom front teeth
  4. A space exists between the top and bottom front teeth with the back teeth biting together
  5. Crowded or overlapped teeth or extra teeth
  6. Baby teeth are slow falling out
  7. The centers of the top and bottom front teeth don't line up
  8. Finger sucking habit continuing after 6 years old
  9. Difficulty chewing
  10. Teeth wearing unevenly
  11. Jaws that shift off center when the teeth bite together
  12. Excessive spaces between teeth that persist after the top permanent canine teeth appear
  13. Teeth or smile often hidden by hands

When should I look for the early warning signs?

It is most important to examine your child's teeth as the permanent teeth grow in. Although children mature at different rates, there are some averages for permanent tooth arrival.

Will additional jaw growth allow self correction of crowded teeth visible in a 8 year old?

No. The space available for the front teeth does not increase after the permanent 6 year molars erupt. In most people, the space available for the front teeth decreases with increasing age.

What causes crooked teeth?

Heredity is the main cause although local factors such as finger sucking, high cavity rate, gum disease, trauma and premature loss of baby teeth can also contribute to a bad bite. .

Why should I have my teeth straightened?

Poorly arranged teeth can break easily and can trap food particles that cause tooth decay and gum disease. They can also lead to poor chewing and digestion which can be bad for your overall health. Finally, poorly arranged teeth detract from your smile which is one of the more important features of your face.

How do braces straighten crooked teeth?

Braces use steady, gentle pressure over time to move teeth into their proper positions. They don't look like they're doing much just sitting there. but in fact, every moment or your orthodontic treatment, there's something happening in your mouth. Something good for you. The brackets we place on your teeth and the main archwire that connects them, are the two main components.The bracket is a piece of specially shaped metal or ceramic that we affix to each tooth. Then we bend the archwire to reflect your 'ideal" bite-what we want you to look like after treatment. The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to actually move your teeth. Picture your tooth resting in your jaw bone. With pressure on one side from the archwire, the bone on the other side gives way. The tooth moves. New bone grows in behind. It may look like nothing is happening--but we're making a new smile here. Thanks to new materials and procedures, all this happens much quicker than ever before. It's kind of an engineering feat.

What do rubber bands do?

Rubber bands or elastics contribute a lot to straighter teeth. They are marvels of physics. Attached to your braces, elastics exert the energy force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. It's important to wear your elastics all the time and change them every day so the force is constant which the teeth like. As for bouncing an elastic off someone across the room, it will happen (don't worry, your aim will improve).

Will braces correct TMD or jaw joint problems?

Braces may or may not improve jaw joint problems. More conservative approaches should be tried first.

How many people receive orthodontic care?

Approximately 4 million people are in braces in the US at any one time.

Can you be too old for braces?

No. If the bone and gum tissue around the teeth are healthy, age is not a factor. About 20% of orthodontic patients are adults.

Will orthodontics change my lifestyle?

You'll have to give up extremely hard and sticky foods including gum. These foods can get caught on the braces and pull the braces off. And you'll have to spend a few extra minutes cleaning your braces after meals. But, for the most part, you'll find braces don't cramp your style. You'll still have fun. You'll still be able to sing, play your musical instrument, smile, play sports and of course, kiss.

Is orthodontic care expensive?

Orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products. Fees for an initial consultation are minimal. Financing is usually available. Many insurance plans now include orthodontics. Well timed orthodontic treatment to correct a problem is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop years later.

When is the best time to schedule an initial consultation?

Early consultation allows the orthodontist to determine the optimum time for treatment to begin. In some cases, satisfactory results are unattainable once the face and jaws have finished growing. Seven years old is a good rule of thumb for a child unless you see a noticeable problem earlier. Early examination often permits maximum improvement with the least amount of time and expense.

Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?

Teeth and sometimes faces are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment; therefore, it is very important that the treatment be done properly.

Do you need a referral from your family dentist to see an orthodontist?

You don't need a referral from your family dentist unless you are in a managed care plan with a "gatekeeper" primary care dentist. Word of mouth recommendations from friends and families of existing patients is often the primary way orthodontists meet new patients. Spread the word if you like your orthodontist!

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Choosing An Orthodontist:

blue diamond bullet Personal recommendation from a friend or your family dentist.

blue diamond bullet An orthodontist located geographically close to your home, school or employer.

blue diamond bullet An orthodontist who is a Member of the South African Society of Orthodontists. Their members are required to have a minimum of three years of full time additional university training exclusively in orthodontics after receiving their dental degree. This association will furnish a list of members in your area, or click here

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Getting Started:

blue diamond bullet Your initial consultation will include a complete review of your past medical and dental history.

blue diamond bullet You will be asked what you want to change about your smile and what questions do you have about braces.

blue diamond bullet Your orthodontist will do a detailed examination of your face, jaws and teeth.

blue diamond bullet Your orthodontist will explain any tests (x-rays, photos and impressions of the teeth) necessary to plan treatment.

blue diamond bullet Your orthodontist will try to answer the following questions: Can the problem be corrected? How much will it cost? How long will it take? When should it begin? What kind of appliance or device will be used? What does the patient do for treatment to succeed? What are the pros and cons of orthodontic care?

blue diamond bullet Your orthodontist will tailor treatment for you.

blue diamond bullet Your orthodontist will indicate any other dental care necessary before starting braces treatment.

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What To Expect:

blue diamond bullet Experiences similar to friends who have worn braces.

blue diamond bullet Mutual support from your true friends and your orthodontist's helpers

blue diamond bullet Coordination of your care between your family dentist and orthodontist

blue diamond bullet Special instruction on how to clean your teeth with braces and often a prescription for a fluoride mouth rinse to protect the tooth surfaces.

blue diamond bullet Adjustment of your braces approximately every 4-12 weeks.

blue diamond bullet Mild tooth soreness during the first week in braces and after adjustment office visits.

blue diamond bullet A treatment time of 6-36 months depending on the complexity of treatment.

blue diamond bullet A period of retainer wear will follow removal of your braces

blue diamond bullet A discussion of the effect of wisdom teeth on the orthodontic result

blue diamond bullet The degree of success is almost always a reflection of a person's cooperation during treatment and retention. Active patient participation is always essential for success.

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newTechniques:

blue diamond bullet Space age low force wires that remember their original shape allowing teeth to move faster without kinking.

blue diamond bullet Clear tooth colored braces and gold braces.

blue diamond bullet Braces glued to teeth with adhesives that contain cavity fighting fluoride

blue diamond bullet Computer video imaging which allows you to see a video picture prediction of your possible treatment result

blue diamond bullet Combined treatment of orthodontics and surgery for abnormalities that are beyond the capabilities of orthodontics alone

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Preserving Your Smile:

blue diamond bullet Floss once a day

blue diamond bullet Brush after meals with a fluoride toothpaste

blue diamond bullet Minimize foods loaded with sugar which is a key ingredient in white spot and cavity formation

blue diamond bullet Have your teeth examined and professionally cleaned by your family dentist at least once a year

blue diamond bullet Wear a mouth guard during contact sports

blue diamond bullet Wear your retainer after your braces are removed to keep your teeth from moving out of alignment.

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First Aid:

blue diamond bullet If a rubber spacer fall out, take two pieces of dental floss and insert them through the spacer. Then pull on both pieces of floss to stretch the spacer and slide the spacer back and forth between the two teeth where it belongs. When the bottom half of the spacer slips under the tight spot between the teeth, release and remove the floss and the spacer should now be back in place.

blue diamond bullet If a wire is causing irritation. try pushing the wire away from the area being irritated using the eraser end of a pencil or the blunt side of a spoon. If the wire cannot be tucked in, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax, a cotton ball, or a piece of sugarless gum, until you can see your orthodontist for a adjustment. Cutting the wire should only be done as a last resort if professional help is unavailable.

blue diamond bullet If your teeth are sore after a monthly visit at your orthodontist, take aspirin, tylenol or ibuprofin unless you are allergic to them. Rinsing your mouth with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water can also be soothing. If you teeth get sore suddenly in the middle of the month, give your orthodontist a call because it is unusual for the teeth to get sore several weeks after your last office visit.

blue diamond bullet If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food. It sometimes helps to tie a small knot in the middle of the floss and then slide the floss back and forth through the food mass.

blue diamond bullet If a piece of your appliance breaks, save the piece and call your orthodontist to schedule a repair visit.

blue diamond bullet If you swallow a piece of your appliances, try to remain calm. A swallowed piece will usually go either into the stomach or the lungs. Most of the time it will go in the stomach and pass out of the body in a bowel movement. However, if difficulty breathing is experienced, you should seek immediate medical attention. X-rays will be taken to determine the position of the swallowed piece and your physicians will counsel you on your options concerning retrieval of the stray piece.

blue diamond bullet If a retainer cracks, bring it to your orthodontist for a professional repair.

blue diamond bullet If a permanent tooth get loose, call your orthodontist to discuss the movement. A little movement is normal when wearing braces, but if a tooth can be pushed upward towards the gums with just finger pressure, that is unusual.

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Orthodontic Links:

blue diamond bullet Amy's Tips On Cleaning Braces

blue diamond bullet Rich Masel's FAQ About Braces

blue diamond bullet American Association Of Orthodontists

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Braces today, your smile will follow!

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