Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth to create amazing smiles, improve/correct misaligned jaw structure, and ultimately give you a healthier bite that improves your ability to bite and chew properly.
What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?
If you want to improve the look of your smile and/or get a healthier bite, then any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of 21. Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist. Our office offers a free initial consultaion and you do not need to be referred by a dentist.
What are braces?
Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile and bite. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
Please visit "Our Treatments" for more detailed information on these options.
What about clear aligner therapy?
These days, clear aligners can be a great alternative to wearing braces - especially for adults and teens who want to avoid the stigma of braces. Clear aligner therapy uses a system of clear, removable trays to straighten teeth. Each aligner is computer generated to custom fit over your teeth and gradually move them into their proper postition. However, clear aligner therapy is not for everyone, as it requires great patient cooperation - 20 to 22 hours of consistent daily wear - and not all patients are cut out to do this.
Also it is important to note that there are many different clear aligner systems on the market today. Some are even "do it yourself/at home" options. At Lowe Orthodontics, we believe that there is simply no substitute for having your orthodontic treatment planned by a trained orthodontist (whom you know and trust) and followed closely by that orthodontist (in person) to insure that you get a great result that is healthy and safe.
Dr. Lowe is a certified Invisalign provider and, in fact, Invisalign is the only system that our office offers. We want nothing but the very best for our patients when it comes to their treatment and results. Invisalign was the first clear aligner system and it is still absolutely - without question - the best! Please see our Invisalign page for more information on the many advantages the Invisalign system offers.
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
The amount of time spent in braces will vary depending on the individual patient, because every person has different needs and responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between 6 and 36 months, but most standard treatments take approximately 24 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces can cause some discomfort when first placed and occasionally after regular adjustments. However, most adjustments take place every six weeks and the mild pain typically only lasts 1-2 days, so for the vast majority of time, braces patients are actually pain-free.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
Yes! With braces, you should brush your teeth several times a day (preferably after every meal) and especially before bedtime. You should also floss as often as reasonably possible to get in between your teeth and braces where your brush isn't able to reach. Limiting sugar in your diet and using a flouride rinse and toothpaste are also very important aspects in your orthodontic treatment. The goal is to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and to prevent possible damage to your teeth that can occur when wearing braces. Please refer to our oral hygiene page for more detailed instructions on this very important matter.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, gum disease and "orthodontic white spots". 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, playing an instrument, or singing?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces should not stop you from participating in any of your normal school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth, braces and mouth.
Will I need to wear retainers?
Once your braces are removed or your invisalign treatment is complete, you will definitely need to wear retainers to make sure your awesome new smile stays awesome! Please click below to download our "retainer instructions" PDF if you want more detailed information on retainer wear.
What kind of retainer will I get? What about permanent retainers?
In our office, the vast majority of our patients will get removable clear retainers (very similar to Invisalign trays) as we believe they are the best option for most folks. The idea of "permanent" glued on retainers (also known as "bonded" retainers) sounds great at first glance but, as with most things in life, these bonded retainers can have some signifcant disadvantages as well. We will do bonded retainers in certain situations where indicated; but, once again, we strongly feel that removable clear retainers work best for most of our patients. Please click below to download the "retainer FAQ" PDF for more detailed information on the different retainer options.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! Our front desk 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.