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Answers to Common Questions About Orthodontics (Part 1)

If you’ve ever considered orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, you probably have questions. Some can only be answered by an Orthodontist, because every person is unique, and their treatment will vary. However, we would like to provide answers to some common orthodontic questions.

What are my treatment options?

Metal braces, which use metal brackets and wires, are the most common orthodontic treatment. Standard metal braces are much smaller than they were a few decades ago, but there are other options available. Ceramic braces are similar to metal, but the brackets are tooth-colored and the wires can be tooth-colored. Lingual braces are attached to the inside of your teeth where they are hidden from view, and invisible aligners are a series of clear, thin, plastic trays that you wear. Each type of treatment has different advantages, but not all treatments are an option for everyone.

How long will I need to wear braces?

Treatment for the average person lasts between 1 and 2.5 years but can be shorter or longer depending on a variety of factors. How much the teeth need to be moved, type of treatment, and how well the patient cooperates all play a role in how long it takes to correct the issue being treated. Following recommendations, keeping follow-up appointments, good oral hygiene, wearing rubber bands or other appliances as directed, and avoiding foods that can damage the braces or harm your teeth may help shorten the time it takes to bring your teeth into optimal alignment.

What treatment works fastest?

The fastest treatment is the one recommended by your orthodontist. They will be able to map out the treatment plan that will move your teeth and jaw into the ideal position most quickly and efficiently. As mentioned in the previous answer, good oral hygiene, keeping all your appointments, and complying with all orthodontic instructions can help shorten your treatment time.

Which treatment is best?

This is a question that can only be determined by your orthodontist and you. The severity of the issue being corrected, as well as your lifestyle and concerns, will help determine what treatment is best for you.

You may have seen advertisements for clear aligners that can be fitted at home and sent through the mail. Although it may seem cheaper and easier, it is definitely not best. In fact, it shouldn’t even be considered. Any orthodontic treatment does need to be overseen by an orthodontist. After dental school, they attend 2-3 years of graduate school focused specifically on orthodontia which provides the knowledge and experience to create the best treatment plan for your mouth. A correct bite and jaw alignment are an important factor when straightening teeth, and a straight smile may not result in a healthy, well-aligned bite. If the process of straightening your teeth on your own worsens bite problems, it could cause complications like TMJ, headaches, and the abnormal wearing of your tooth enamel.

How often will I see the Orthodontist while I have braces?

This will vary based on the issue being treated, how severe the issue is, how well you follow your treatment plan, and what type of treatment you choose. The average person with traditional braces will visit their orthodontist every four to eight weeks, and patients with Invisalign will usually see their orthodontist every six to ten weeks.

If only my top (or bottom) teeth are crooked, can I just get braces on the top (or bottom)?

It is possible. However, merely getting your teeth to look straight is not the ultimate goal of braces. We want to bring your teeth and bite into proper alignment and correct any other orthodontic issues. Merely getting braces on the top or bottom may not help meet this goal. Proper alignment is extremely important because it helps minimize the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, abnormal wear to tooth enamel, and jaw problems. An orthodontist can help you understand whether getting braces only on the top or bottom teeth is the healthiest choice for your mouth.

What is the best age to get braces?

Braces are a great decision at any age! They can be effective any time, but many children get braces sometime between ages 10 and 14, after their permanent teeth have erupted and before they complete puberty. This growth window is a great time for treatment because after puberty cartilage and bones are less malleable, so teeth do not move as easily.

Early orthodontic treatment may be the best choice for some children, which means starting around age 7. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children get their first orthodontic evaluation by age seven. The reason for this is that a minor issue can be more easily treated early but may grow into something that will be more complicated and time-consuming to treat if you wait.

Is it worth it for adults to get braces?

Yes! Braces can still be highly beneficial for older teens and adults. It is never too late to correct your alignment to get straight teeth and better oral health. Even adults in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s regularly get braces. Well-aligned teeth are linked to enhanced dental and overall health which is important at any age.

Can I get braces if I am pregnant or plan to get pregnant in the next year?

There are many things that pregnant women are cautioned against, but there is no reason for the average pregnant woman to avoid orthodontic treatment. Hormonal changes can affect tooth movement, so discuss the idea with your orthodontist, and be sure to let us know if you get pregnant while you are getting orthodontic treatment. It is also wise to discuss the possibility of beginning treatment with your OBGYN or Physician, as they have knowledge about your medical history that may impact your decision. If your Orthodontist and Doctor say it is fine, then go ahead and start your journey to a healthier, beautiful smile!

Our next orthodontics blog will answer more questions for you. We’d love to hear from you, so please let us know if you have any questions we can answer in this series! We offer free orthodontic consultations, where we can discuss anything specific to your treatment needs. If you are considering orthodontic treatment for anyone in your family, we would be happy to schedule your complimentary consultation.

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At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a unique, fun-filled environment staffed by a team of caring, energetic professionals. We believe the establishment of a “dental home” at an early age is the key to a lifetime of positive visits to the dentist.

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