Frequently Asked Questions about Orthodontics

 

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 (eg. crooked/crowded teeth, bad bites, abnormal development).

 

Who is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience. An orthodontist 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 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.

 

What is the advantage of Two-Phase Orthodtonic Treatment?

Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process combining tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to address developmental issues at an age-appropriate time. By not putting off Phase One treatment, we can minimize the need for more invasive treatment (eg. extractions of permanent teeth, or even jaw surgery). Early treatment is very effective for achieving stable healthy, functional, and aesthetic results.

 

  • Phase I: The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later. Children can benefit tremendously from early-phase I treatment

  • Resting Period: There typically is a transition period between Phase I and Phase II treatment. During this time, we will be monitoring your teeth's progress. Retaining devices may or may not be recommended while we wait for the remaining permanent teeth to enter the mouth. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six-month basis.

  • Phase II: The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase Two usually involves full upper and lower braces.

  • At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were made and a diagnosis and treatment plan was established. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase to correct and realign the teeth and jaw. The second phase begins when the majority of permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.

 

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.

  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. 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 liquid soap. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. 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, causing more plaque and possibly cavities or white spot lesions (decalcification).

  • 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 pediatric dentist or general 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

  • Ceramic braces

  • Lingual braces

  • Self-ligating braces

  • Invisible braces

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

 

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not hurt often, 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.

 

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 the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn't able to reach. Your orthodontist can 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 your orthodontist 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! 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.

Our Office Hours:

Monday:        7:30AM - 4:00PM

Tuesday:       8:00AM - 4:30PM 

Wednesday:  7:30AM - 4:00PM

Thursday:      8:00AM - 4:30PM

Friday:           7:30AM - 4:00PM

* Clinic hours vary on Mon. & Fri.

Contact Us Today:

9001 Brodie Lane, Suite C2

Austin, Texas 78748

Call: 512-280-2266

Email: hello@petitedental.com

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