Orthodontic FAQ - A primer on Orthodontics from our Office

Orthodontic FAQ to help answer some basic questions or concerns about Orthodontic Treatment and Planning

Q: Why do I want an Orthodontist instead of a Dentist when I’m looking for Orthodontic Treatment?

A. Dentistry covers a lot of practices, but some are specialized practices. Orthodontics are specialized for a few reasons. Firstly, Orthodontics are best utilized at specific ages and therefore must factor into the treatment, accurate growth indicators and growth factors to ensure permanent damage is not done to the facial structure of the mouth. Secondly, Orthodontists are trained not only in implementing orthodontic appliances, but also, in the guidance of teeth and how to restructure the mouth and associated framework, including the jaw. Thirdly, and specifically with Jergensen and Waddoups Orthodontics, we are ONLY Orthodontists, we don’t practice any other dental procedures, which gives us a unique set of experience, a focus that is geared specifically to your success in orthodontic treatment and the ability to give you a personal, comfortable experience that doesn’t detract from your own personal goals.

Q. What age is appropriate to look into Orthodontics for my children?

A. Around Age 7, we start seeing key indicators in the growth and development of children that indicates the opportunity for analysis exists. That doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate to start at 5 or 6, or slightly later than 7, but it does mean that optimally, we would want to track growth and changes so we can get the most benefit of your youth’s development throughout the process of orthodontics. At 6 or 7, we can begin to see where we will want to be in months and years, and make appropriate, accurate determinations for treatment timelines and cycles. This age is ideal to start looking at whether there is a need for orthodontia. If there isn’t, we’ve made a policy of informing parents and patients, so they can stay proactive and avoid unnecessary treatments. In fact the American Association of Orthodontists recommends age 7 for screenings.

Q: But, won’t my teeth naturally straighten out as I grow older?

A. Teeth generally don’t change the path they are on, unless proper procedures and appliances are coercing them to do so. After permanent Molars are present (erupted) the available area in the mouth for front teeth to grown is limited. Identifying orthodontic needs early on is a perfect way to determine the best treatment options to benefit from natural growth and development.

Q: I’m an adult, is it too late for braces or other orthodontic treatments?

A. While it’s great to be able to take advantage of growth and development as it naturally occurs in youth, it is often times not a luxury we are afforded. No patient is too old for orthodontics if they can provide a life changing outcome for the patient. We often find some of our most thankful patients are adults. About a quarter of all orthodontic patients are classified as adults. An increase in self-esteem or comfort, or addressing life-long mouth issues are important factors in determining the suitability for adult braces.

Q: How long does typical orthodontic treatment take?

A. You can generally expect between 12 and 32 months for orthodontic treatments, but this is a specialty practice because every patient is different and different needs are always present. Braces, generally speaking take under two years for full treatment.

Q: How many appointments will I have to go to?

A. Each patient is different and we cater to the individual and the agreed upon treatment plan. You can probably expect to meet about every 5 weeks or 10 weeks for general braces and similar treatments. More severe conditions require a bit more frequency. Over a typical braces case, you would probably expect to see the doctor about 12-25 times depending on the treatment.

Q: Can my child be seen alone/Can I drop my child off for an orthodontic treatment appointment?

A. A standard visit would be a perfect time for this type of scenario, but some meetings will require a parent, for instance, where decisions will be made about the treatment. We know your life can get busy and you might have errands to run or other children to tend to. We request that parents check in with the patient manager before the child leaves in most occasions to ensure your child’s safety.

Q: Do braces hurt?

A. Braces don’t hurt, per se, but there are times where the teeth can be sore for a few days after adjustment. We recommend readily available OTC (over-the-counter) pain relievers like Advil for example. This will minimize the pain. We utilize best practices and understand the process you’ll be going through, so we do what we can clinically to minimize pain through our procedures. Often there won’t be any soreness after a visit. Our patients know pain doesn’t equal effectiveness. We can do better than that.

Q: What about playing sports or playing an instrument while having braces?

A. Both sports and musical endeavors are possibilities, though we recommend you take some time to get used to your braces and utilize mouthgaurds as appropriate for sports and give yourself a bit of time to ease into playing instruments when new to braces so you can adequately prepare for subtle changes in your capabilities as a musician.

Q: Do I still go to the dentist while I have braces?

A.Of course. Mouth health is extremely important. We encourage you to have normal, routine check ups with your general dentist and can recommend some excellent general dentists for you if you desire. Your dentist will generally determine the best interval for cleanings and treatments while you are in braces.

Q: How many times a day do I need to brush if I have braces?

A.Once after each meal and once before going to bed is a minimum best practice. Flossing is also important, we will make sure to teach you how to easily do it with braces. We can also provide specialty fluoride treatments if needed. Brushing and general oral hygiene is incredibly important so you can maintain a beautiful smile and have healthy teeth, gums and mouth.

Q: What foods can I NOT EAT while I have braces?

A.Sticky, chewy foods can be difficult, as well as ice, hard candies vegetable that are uncooked and certain other foods will all be difficult to eat while wearing braces, some are even off limits to ensure you can keep your braces in working order and minimize pain. We want to make sure you only see us for progress, not for unnecessary repair treatments or other negative visits. We provide a bit of training and some lists of foods to avoid once treatment starts.