Ortho FAQs

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all patients have their first orthodontic check-up around the age of 7 years.

This is the age at which the first permanent teeth begin to erupt.  An examination at this age does not always lead to treatment at that time.  However, it does allow the orthodontist the opportunity to evaluate the position of the permanent incisors and molars and plan for future growth modification if necessary.

If early treatment is indicated, your child may benefit from:  moving the front teeth back to prevent injury, correction of a cross bite, guidance of the eruption of permanent teeth if they are severely crowding, and/or improved facial appearance and self-esteem to name a few.

 

Who is a candidate for braces?

In addition to braces for children and adolescents, approximately 25% of an average orthodontic practice is composed of adult patients.  There is no age restriction for attaining a beautiful, healthy smile.

 

Brushing and Flossing with Braces

You should use a soft bristle toothbrush.  Always brush above and below the braces using a small circular motion.  Slowly work your way from one side of the top teeth to the other.  TAKE YOUR TIME.  When you have finished with the upper braces, move to the bottom teeth and start again using small circular brush strokes until you have brushed the front of all your teeth.  Then brush the inside and the chewing surface of all your teeth.

To floss, insert the dental floss behind the archwire.  Floss the contact and gently clean the sides of the teeth and under the gums using an up-and-down motion.  Remove the floss from under the archwire and move to the next tooth contact.  Repeat.

Poor brushing and flossing will result in decay, white spots or scars, and swollen, painful gums.  Remember to continue to visit your dentist for regular cleanings while your braces are in place.

 

Common Orthodontic Problems & Solutions

PROBLEMSOLUTION
Loose band or bracketCall our office for an appointment to have loose appliances re-cemented. If the loose band or bracket is irritating to the gums or cheek, place wax over the area. Remember to brush very well around the loose appliance as it may tend to trap plaque.
Appliance or Headgear that does not fit.Call our office for an appointment. Do not try to force appliance into place.
Soreness from bracesPlace wax on any area that feels sharp.  This will smooth out any area that may be poking.  If necessary, you can take whatever pain reliever you would take for a fever or headache.
Poking wire ligature tie.Tuck the wire tie back in place with the tip of a spoon or a pencil eraser.
Poking archwire.Place wax or wet cotton over the area and call for an appointment to have the wire evaluated.

 

Foods to Avoid when you have braces

In general, foods that are hard, sticky, or chewy can damage your braces.  You should limit sugary foods such as soda and candy.  Sticky food and candy can cause cavities, loosen your appliances or put bends in your archwires.  This can cause your orthodontic treatment to take longer than expected.  Also, avoid chewing on hard food or objects such as hard candy, ice cubes, pens and pencils.

 

Remember To Keep Regular Appointments

ORTHODONTIC APPLIANCES SHOULD NOT GO UNATTENDED!!  If you accidentally miss an appointment or need to change your appointment, please call our office to reschedule your adjustment.  Missed or delayed appointments can damage your teeth and gums, and cause your treatment to take longer than expected.

 

Retainers

After your braces are removed you will receive retainers to wear.  Retention is an important part of your treatment plan!  Always wear your retainers as directed.  Brush your retainers with toothpaste and water when you brush your teeth.  Keep retainers away from pets.  Never wrap your retainer in a napkin, as it can accidentally be thrown away.  Always keep your retainer in the retainer case when it is not in your mouth.