Frequently Asked Questions
ORTHODONTICS / BRACES
A. What is orthodontics?
B. Why choose orthodontic treatment?
C. At what age do braces become appropriate?
D. What are the different types of braces available?
E. What is Invisalign?
F. Oral health care and braces:
A. Orthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws. A patient may consult an orthodontist after receiving a referral from his/her general dentist -- recommending orthodontic treatment to improve the patient's physical "orofacial" appearance. However, the American Dental Association recommends that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven.
B. Any orthodontic problem may be classified as a malocclusion, or "bad bite." The following problems may be helped or minimized with proper orthodontic treatment: misaligned, crooked, or crowed teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth, an overbite, an openbite and misaligned or incorrect jaw position.
C. Moving and correcting the alignment of the teeth follows the same biological and physical process no matter what the age. However, an adult mouth must overcome already-positioned facial bones and jaw structure. Thus, overcoming most types of malocclusions may require more than one type of orthodontic treatment for adults. In most cases, the ideal age for braces, and other orthodontic treatments, are between 10 and 14 years of age; although, persons of any age can benefit from treatment.
D. Braces, also called fixed orthodontic appliances, generally come in three varieties:
1. Brackets, metal or plastic, clear or tooth-colored, that is bonded to teeth.
2. Lingual-type brackets that attach to the back of teeth, hidden from view.
3. Bands that cover most of the teeth with metal bands that wrap around the teeth.
All three types use wires to move the teeth to the desired position.
E. Invisalign is proven technology designed to give you the smile you've always wanted, without the pain and anxiety associated with metal braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually move your teeth. You wear a set of aligners for about two weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush and floss. As you replace each set of aligners with the next in the series, your teeth will gradually move until they reach the position your doctor has prescribed for you. The average treatment time is about a year. Contact your Orthodontist to find out if Invisalign is an option for you.
F. The following recommendations will help to eliminate, or reduce, any oral health problems while your teeth are in braces: Brush your teeth carefully after every meal with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, as food becomes easily lodged in the braces. Floss daily between the teeth and the braces. Maintain every 6 month cleanings by an oral health professional. Limit your sugar and starch intake, as debris left behind from these types of foods may turn into damaging acids, which, in addition to promoting plaque formation, may also be harmful to teeth and gums. Avoid hard and/or sticky snacks that may be difficult to remove from the orthodontic equipment in your mouth. This includes foods such as popcorn, hard or chew candy, caramel, and/or nuts.
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