FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ORTHODONTICS
WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics are a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
WHY CHOOSE AN ORTHODONTIST?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received three years of additional training and experience to comprehend the science behind tooth movement and it’s relationship to the face.
Your orthodontist is a specialist who can straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.
WHAT CAUSES ORTHODONTIC PROBLEMS?
Most orthodontic problems are inherited genetically. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems.
Other malocclusions are acquired by the prolonged thumb-sucking, dental cavities, accidents or traumas, the premature or late loss of baby (primary/deciduous) teeth, lack of space in the dental arch or other varied causes.
WHEN SHOULD CHILDREN GET AN ORTHODONTIC CHECK-UP?
The AAO recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. By this age, Dr. Cope can diagnose problems with jaw growth and forming teeth while some baby teeth are still in your child’s mouth. That’s very important, because some orthodontic problems may never happen in the first place if we can catch them early enough.
Also, some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they’re found early, saving you time and money in the future.
Most orthodontic patients begin orthodontic treatment between ages 9 and 14.
WHY IS TREATMENT SO IMPORTANT?
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment, many problems become worse and can require additional dental care later in life.
CAN ADULTS ALSO BENEFIT FROM ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at almost any age. In fact, about one in every five orthodontic patients today is over age 21. Here are Cope Orthodontics nearly half of our patients are adults.
Thanks to today’s smaller, less visible and more comfortable orthodontic appliances, including clear ceramic braces, invisible lingual braces, and Invisalign, adults are finding treatment more appealing and are more likely to pursue that perfect smile they always wanted.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF BRACES?
Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
- Clear Aligners or Invisalign
- Traditional metal braces
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WEAR BRACES?
The duration of your orthodontic treatment will vary depending on the each individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between 6 to 30 months depending of the complexity problems, but the majority of treatments take about 22 months.
DO BRACES HURT?
Braces do not hurt! You should not feel pain during orthodontic procedures because it is not invasive, that mean treatment is performed on the surface of your teeth.
You might feel a bit of discomfort when you first get your braces put on, that is because your teeth, gums, cheeks are getting used to your new braces.
Out staff will make sure you have plenty of wax so that this adaptation period is smooth.
HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY TEETH WHEN I'M WEARING BRACES OR A RETAINER?
- Always remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
- If you take out your retainer to eat, remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken. That happens a lot!
- Keep your retainer clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste or other methods if instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher, it is NOT a fork!
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar. Sugar is the dream perfect food for cavity forming bacteria!
- Avoid hard, sticky and chewy foods, hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly be hard to bite into (corn on the cob and apples). These might make your braces break, delaying treatment completion.
- 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 IS MY ROLE DURING TREATMENT?
Orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the orthodontist and the patient. Dr. Cope provides his expertise and high-quality braces that use gentle pressure to move teeth through bone into their proper positions.
As for the patient, orthodontic treatment requires always following Dr. Cope’s instructions, keeping the scheduled orthodontic appointments and maintaining excellent oral hygiene.
You will also need to continue seeing your general dentist to continue your general dental care.
DO I NEED TO BRUSH MY TEETH MORE OFTEN IF I HAVE BRACES?
Yes! When you’re wearing braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean.
Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach.
We’ll show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.
IF I HAVE BRACES, DO I STILL NEED SEE THE DENTIST?
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly.
When wearing braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, white stains, gingivitis, and other gum disease.
Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
WILL MY BRACES INTERFERE WITH MY SCHOOL ACTIVITIES LIKE SPORTS, BAND, OR CHOIR?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities.
If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance. If you would like a braces experience that requires no adjustment, please ask Dr. Cope if you’re a candidate for Invisalign treatment.
HOW MUCH DO BRACES COST?
The cost of orthodontic treatment will vary depending on many factors, including the severity of the problem, its complexity of the case and length of treatment. Dr. Cope will gladly to discuss the cost of treatment and our financing options with you before treatment begins.
I HAD BRACES AS A TEEN AND NOW AS AN ADULT MY TEETH ARE OUT OF PLACE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you notice an unwanted change in your smile or bite, please contact us at 214-378-5555. A light orthodontic re-treatment may be necessary to regain proper alignment or a simple adjustment to your retainer should do the trick.
WHY SOME TEETH SHIFT AFTER TREATMENT?
Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon. The best way to keep teeth from shifting is to always wear your retainers as prescribed, which might be prescribed from 5 years into a lifetime depending on your jaw growth tendency and the nature of your orthodontic problem. If you notice movement after your braces are removed, please contact us at 214-378-5555.
DO WISDOM TEETH CAUSE MY TEETH TO SHIFT?
Nope, that’s a myth! Research shows that wisdom teeth do NOT cause other teeth to shift.
In most cases, removal of wisdom teeth is done for general dental health reasons rather than for orthodontic health.
Dr. Cope or your general dentist can give you guidance regarding removal of wisdom teeth.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WEAR RETAINERS?
When it comes to retainers, the more the better. Retainers stabilize and preserve the alignment of teeth and jaws that orthodontic treatment achieved. Many people wear removable retainers nightly for the rest of their lives, but the most crucial time is the first 3-5 years right after your braces are removed. Ask Dr. Cope for guidance about your long-term retainer wear.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE MY NEXT APPOINTMENT?
Simply call our practice! Shannon, our treatment coordinator will be happy to help you schedule your next appointment at your convenience.
If you’re a new patient or have been referred to our practice by a friend, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.