Orthodontic FAQs

Have Questions About Orthodontics?

Check out these frequently asked questions, or
call us at (484) 258-2299 to speak with a member of our team.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received an additional 2 to 3 years of training after dental school. Orthodontics is one of the ten specialties approved and recognized by the American Dental Association. 

The word “orthodontics” literally translates from Greek to “straight tooth.” Thus, orthodontics focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the development of mature jaws and teeth.

Do braces hurt?

Getting braces placed on your teeth does not hurt and is a very easy, simple process. At the initial placement appointment, we will go over how to care for your new braces and what to expect. Generally, patients will feel soreness or tenderness for a few days as they get adjusted to their new appliances. 

We recommend soft foods (yay ice cream!) and, if necessary, over the counter pain meds until the soreness goes away. Some patients may also get some irritation on the inside of their cheeks until they adapt to the new braces. We will instruct you on how to use wax to alleviate the rubbing, as well as warm salt water rinses to accelerate the healing of any soreness. We promise, the achiness will go away! It’s normal and temporary.

Are braces hard to take care of?

Braces are not hard to care for, it just takes a little extra time and patience. Once you get in the habit, it is super easy! Dr. Molly will teach you how to brush and floss properly with your new braces to keep your teeth clean and healthy. It is also important to continue to see your general dentist for a professional cleaning and check-up at least every six months. 

Also, be careful to avoid very hard, sticky, chewy, and crunchy foods as eating these foods could damage or dislodge your orthodonture. Try to avoid chewing on hard objects like pens, pencils, and fingernails as these habits can also dislodge a bracket or cause damage.

Can I still play sports or a musical instrument?

Yes! We definitely don’t want to get in the way of your lifestyle and your recreational activities. So, keep running, swinging, and playing! You can definitely continue with all of your favorite activities and sports. With contact sports, we do recommend that patients wear a mouthguard to protect their braces and teeth.

As for instruments, it may take a little time, but after a short adjustment period, braces will not interfere with playing a wind or brass instrument.

What is the ideal age for orthodontic treatment?

The ideal age for orthodontic treatment is any age! No one is ever too old or too young for orthodontic treatment. However, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children begin seeing an orthodontist at age 7 to start monitoring growth and development of the jaws and ensure proper eruption of adult teeth.

What should I do if I damage my braces?

We get it- things happen, but we’re here to help!  A bracket may come loose from a tooth. If this is the case, please give the office a call so we can schedule you for a repair, ensuring your treatment continues smoothly. If you wait until your next appointment, we may not have time to fix the problem, and sometimes treatment falls behind if the teeth are not able to move properly. A broken or loose bracket is not an emergency that needs immediate attention. Getting a brace fixed within a week will be just fine!

Something poking? This can happen too. Usually, you can just use the wax we give you at the beginning of treatment to ease any discomfort until you are able to come into the office. 

There are rarely any true orthodontic emergencies. More likely, something could simply become uncomfortable. If you need a little guidance, reach out to the office and a member of our team would be happy to talk you through anything!

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