Orthodontic FAQs

What is orthodontics?

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

Consumers beware! More and more family and dentists are advertising that they do orthodontics. The fact that they use orthodontics in their advertisting does not mean they are an orthodontist. 

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience (beyond the normal four years of dental school) in a qualified orthodontic residency program. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile. For more information on what it means to be an orthodontist and why the American Association of Orthodontists thinks you should see a specialist, visit the AAO's consumer website at braces.org.

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

How do I take care of my teeth with my appliances?

  • We will show you in detail on the day you get your braces on... and give you tips and tricks along the way as you need help.
  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and remember to use your fluoride rinse (which we will provide for you) every night. This will help prevent cavities!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Do not put your retainer in hot water, let it go through the washing machine, or leave it in a hot car.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly 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 your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:

  • Clear braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisible braces (clear aligners)

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 take anywhere between six and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 22 months.

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not hurt when you get them on initially. However, the evening after you get them and for the next few days (or sometimes a week), you should expect varying degrees of soreness. It takes awhile for your cheeks, lips, and tongue to adapt to your new braces. Eating softer foods for the first few days is usually helpful until you get through your soreness.

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

With braces, you should brush your teeth every time after you eat (even if it's just a snack) to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn't able to reach. Our office will show you how to properly brush and floss 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 their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with our office to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while 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?

Simply call our practice -- (918) 294-7705! Our front desk staff will be happy to help 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 of the information you need.

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