frequently asked questions
If you’re new to the world of orthodontics, some of the terms and treatments can be confusing. We’ve broken it all down for you to help you feel confident about your treatment with us.
Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry, focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received 2 to 3 years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.
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 that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of 7; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens.
About one in every five orthodontic patients is 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.
- 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 orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
- Keep your retainer clean by rubbing it gently with your fingers and some toothpaste. You may also use denture cleaner twice a week. Do not use hot, boiling water or the dishwasher.
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the number of bacteria that grows in your mouth which causes 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 check-ups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.
Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile! They are made up of brackets, which are attached directly to your teeth, and wires, which link all of the brackets together. Your orthodontist will use your braces to gently guide your teeth into their ideal positions over the course of several months to a year (the length of time varies for each unique case). There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Ceramic braces
- Gold braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Traditional metal braces
If you are looking for an option besides braces, ask us about Invisalign® clear aligners.
The amount of time spent in braces can vary depending on the individual patient. Every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between 6 to 30 months; however, most standard treatments take about 22 months.
Braces are not supposed to hurt; however, you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth gets used to your new braces. When you first get your braces installed, we will give you some ideas for managing soreness that may occur.
With 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. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.
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 and can lead to cavities or gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
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 orthodontic appliance.
Have a question about dental care? We’re happy to answer it for you! Here are some of the questions we are asked most frequently about dentistry.
Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of issues with your teeth, gums, mouth, and jaws. Dentistry is important for more than just your oral health; it can have an impact on the health of your entire body.
A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Your dentist has completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (doctor of dental surgery) degree, or a DMD (doctor of dental medicine) degree.
Dental specializations include:
- Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
- Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
- Dental public health
- Pediatric dentistry
Visiting the dentist regularly is important because it:
- Helps prevent tooth decay.
- Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss.
- Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount on bad-breath causing bacteria in your mouth.
- Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence.
- Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco.
- Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!
Your teeth may feel fine, but it’s still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Also, your smile’s appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy, and looking beautiful.
With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today’s dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth.
- Tooth replacements and full smile makeovers.
Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important. You may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision.
During your first visit, you should be able to determine if the dentist is right for you. At your initial appointment, consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient?
- Is the office easy to get to and close by?
- Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least three times a day, and floss at least once!
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities). Also avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer)
- Don’t be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
- Be sure to schedule your routine check-up. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six-months-old and no later than one-year-old. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in, and your dentist can examine the health of your child’s first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure and schedule regular checkups every six months.
Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular check-up at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year.
Your doctor will help determine how often you should visit the dentist for regular checkups.
A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth and is caused by tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque build-up on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This can produce an acid that can eat away the enamel on your tooth.
If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to floss every day, and brush your teeth at least three times a day.
A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic (typically Novocain) and relax your body with a light dose of nitrous oxide.
Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including, amalgam, composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure and talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.
According to Dr. Sanchez and the American Dental Association, you should be brushing your teeth at least three times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria causing plaque.
It is also recommended that when you brush your teeth, you use a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. You should spend at least two minutes on the top teeth and two minutes on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh.
Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth three times a day for four minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children should change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions as you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently.
Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks in order to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you’ve been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is usually caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include, tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics.
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and, if detected, is treatable. If left untreated, advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition.
Brushing your teeth regularly, and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease include:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
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 and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease.
Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know, and we will provide you with all the information you need for your first dental visit.