Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
What is an orthodontist?
Dr. DeCamps is a dental specialist who received three years of additional training and experience after her general dental education. Her specialty focuses on the alignment of teeth, correction of misaligned jaw structure, and improvement of smile and function.
What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic consultation by age seven; however, you may request a consultation even earlier if a problem is suspected. Early examination allows us to determine if treatment is needed and the best timing for treatment. Early treatment may lessen the severity of a problem, reduce the need for future treatment or extractions, and help to balance the growth of the face.
Orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, and about half of our orthodontic patients are over the age of 21. Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit our office.
How can I take care of my teeth if I'm wearing orthodontic appliances?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your Dr. DeCamps or your general dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
- If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and hand soap. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your general dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.
What options do I have?
Orthodontic appliances are used to help improve the look and function of your smile. There are several different types of orthodontic appliances to choose from, including:
- Traditional metal braces
- Ceramic upper braces
- Clear aligners
If I start treatment, how long will it take?
The amount of time spent in an orthodontic appliance will vary depending on the individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between 3 and 30 months, but most full treatments take about 22 months.
Will it hurt?
We customize our treatment based on the individual and will try to minimize the amount of initial discomfort. It is normal for the adjustment period to last for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new orthodontic appliances.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often when I am in orthodontic appliances?
You will need to brush your teeth more frequently, at least three times a day, to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food particles that are on the surface of your teeth. You should also floss daily to get in between your teeth where your toothbrush isn't able to reach. Our office will show you how to properly brush and floss when you start your orthodontic treatment.
Will I still need dental checkups every six months during orthodontic treatment?
Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. Your dentist will work closely with Dr. DeCamps to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Will my orthodontic appliances interfere with activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first start your orthodontic treatment, but it will not stop you from participating in any activities. If you play a contact sport, you will need to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth - we recommend a trough-style sportguard.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! Our staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.