Orthodontic care is a crucial part of maintaining the health, beauty, and function of your smile. Besides the aesthetic concerns, crooked teeth are more challenging to keep clean. This can increase your risk of developing cavities and gum disease.
A proper bite and straighter teeth can have many positive many benefits, along with improved oral hygiene. If you’ve been thinking about straightening your teeth, here are eight of the most frequently asked questions about orthodontics.
1. What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment focuses on diagnosing and treating alignment issues and improving oral function. By implementing customized appliances, orthodontics helps you achieve straighter teeth and a healthy bite.
2. What Can Orthodontic Treatment Fix?
Orthodontics can give you a more confident smile and help to prevent other related issues, such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). It can also correct:
- Open Bite
- Misplaced Midline
- Uneven Spacing
- Crooked Teeth
3. Is Orthodontic Treatments Only for Teens?
While most dentists recommend orthodontics evaluation starting at around age seven, modern treatment options make care available for kids, teens, and adults. This allows your entire family to achieve a healthier smile at every stage of life.
4. What are the Treatment Options?
- Invisalign® & MVS® Aligners are transparent braces with virtually invisible plastic trays that straighten teeth gradually. They are often recommended for responsible teens and adults because of their removable design. When worn for at least 22 hours a day, these aligners can effectively treat mild to moderate alignment issues.
- Traditional Metal Braces use metal brackets attached to the surfaces of your teeth. Wires and sometimes rubber bands help achieve proper alignment. These braces are a reliable option for correcting complex issues.
- Lingual Braces are fixed appliances like traditional metal braces. However, they sit on the back of your teeth instead of the front surfaces.
- The Damon System uses self-ligating braces to tighten your teeth over time. Unlike traditional braces, they do not need regular adjustments to work.
- SureSmile® uses tooth-colored brackets and a customized ceramic wire instead of metal to straighten your teeth. This technique uses 3-D imaging, planning software, and robotics to create a comprehensive treatment.
- Six Month Smiles are clear braces that straighten the most visible front teeth in your smile in around six months. This system delivers fast results because it focuses on addressing only the visible teeth in your smile.
5. How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?
Treatment time will vary from one person to another. The amount of time you will wear braces depends on your age and the complexity of your case. If you only have a few teeth that need to be straightened slightly, treatment can take as little as six months. Complex cases with multiple issues can take as long as two years to address effectively. Most orthodontic cases can be treated within 12-18 months.
6. Do Braces Hurt?
Typically, getting braces does not hurt. However, it is normal to feel slightly uncomfortable for a few days as your teeth, gums, and cheeks get used to your new braces or aligners.
7. How Do I Take Care of My Teeth During Treatment?
While undergoing treatment, you can make sure your smile remains clean and healthy by doing the following:
- No matter which orthodontic treatment you choose, always brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
- Make sure to rinse with mouthwash to help get rid of food debris and bacteria.
- If you take out your aligner or retainer to eat, clean it with warm water, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.
- Always keep aligners or retainers in a proper storage box and a safe place when you have to remove them.
- Do not put your aligners or retainer in boiling water or the dishwasher!
- Try to avoid sugary foods. These can increase bacteria in your mouth, causing plaque buildup and possibly cavities.
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods, hard foods, or any foods that could get stuck in your braces, such as corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, and taffy candy.
- Always attend your routine cleanings and examination every six months.
8. How Much Does Orthodontic Treatment Cost?
Since everyone’s mouth is different, every treatment is unique. The price of your treatment will depend on the severity of misalignment, which option you select, and if you need other procedures, like an extraction. With insurance benefits, flexible spending accounts, and payment plans, you can probably find an option that works for your budget and your lifestyle.
Do you have any suggestions for those who are considering orthodontic treatment? Feel free to share in the comments below!