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Your Braces Questions Answered


These are the most common questions we hear about braces. While we’ll cover everything in more detail at your consultation, this will give you a better idea about the popular treatment.

Q: What is orthodontics?

A: Orthodontics, also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics, is a specialized form of dentistry focused on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

Q: What is an orthodontist?

A: An orthodontist is a dentist who has received two to three years of additional specialty training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten your teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure and improve the function of your smile.

Q: What’s the best age to visit an orthodontist?

A: Any age is a great age to see an orthodontist if you want to enhance the look and feel of your smile. Orthodontic treatment isn’t just exclusive to kids and teens. In fact, more than one in four patients is over the age of 18. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven. This allows us to keep an eye on their growth and development and let parents know when the time is right for them to start treatment. If we do notice any red flags, addressing them early can make the teeth-straightening process a lot less complicated.

Q: What are braces?

A: Braces are fixed orthodontic appliances used by your orthodontist to improve the appearance and function of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from at our office.

Q: How long will I have to wear braces?

A: The amount of time spent in braces varies by patient. Every smile responds differently to treatment. It can take anywhere from six to 30 months. However, most standard treatments last 18 to 24 months. At Innovative Orthodontic Centers, we offer AcceleDent®, a clinically proven way to reduce treatment time by as much as 50%! We’re also a SureSmile® provider, which has been shown to shorten braces treatment by 29% on average. If you’re afraid of being stuck in braces forever, then you’ve come to the right practice because we specialize in accelerated orthodontics.

Q: How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?

A: While caring for your smile will take a little extra effort when you’re wearing braces, it won’t be an all-consuming task and maintaining your oral health will help ensure your treatment runs smoothly. Here are some pointers:

  • 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 general dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, brush your teeth or floss, remember to keep it safe in its container so that it doesn’t get lost or broken. Napkins and tissues are the enemy of orthodontic appliances and how retainers frequently get thrown out by accident.
  • Keep your retainer clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You can also use a denture cleaner twice a week. Do not use hot or boiling water or the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar. Sugar 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, raw carrots) or any foods that could get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.). We’ll give you a comprehensive list of foods to avoid and foods you can eat.
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It’s recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

Q: Do braces hurt?

A: Braces don’t hurt. However, you might feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple of days as your teeth, gums, cheeks and mouth get used to your new hardware.

Q: Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?

A: With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy, clean and happy. Brushing regularly will help you remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get into the areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. We’ll show you how to brush and floss properly once your braces are placed.

Q: If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

A: Yes! In fact, it’s even more important for patients receiving orthodontic treatment to visit their general dentist regularly. With braces, food can get caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach, which 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 your teeth stay clean and healthy while you’re wearing your braces.

Q: Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument or singing?

A: While playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces put on, braces won’t stop you from participating in any of your activities. If you play sports, we highly recommend a mouth guard to protect your teeth, lips and cheeks, as well as your braces or appliance.

Q: How often do I need to come in for appointments when I’m wearing braces?

A: Depending on your needs, you’ll come in every six to eight weeks. This allows us to make necessary adjustments and ensure your progress stays on track.

Q: What happens when my braces get put on?

A: The procedure is painless and takes less than an hour. First, we polish your teeth and get them ready for the special dental adhesive. Then, Dr. Ibrahim paints on the glue and sticks your brackets onto the front of your teeth. When they’re bonded, she slides your archwires through the brackets. We finish up by giving you all of the information you need to care for your braces.

Q: What happens when I get my braces taken off?

A: Dr. Ibrahim uses special tools to remove your brackets and wires, which doesn’t hurt at all. She scrapes off any leftover adhesive and polishes your teeth before letting you see your beautiful new smile.

Q: Do I have to wear a retainer after I’m done braces treatment?

A: Yes. The only way to retain your teeth in their final position is with a retainer. We use clear, comfortable Vivera® retainers so no one will even notice you’re wearing it.

Q: How much do braces cost?

A: We’ll go over the cost of braces at your consultation after we’ve had the chance to develop a diagnosis and treatment plan. We’re always upfront about the price and there are never any hidden fees or surprises. We’ll work with you to ensure treatment fits your budget. We’re a preferred provider with numerous insurance carriers and we will file with all PPO insurances. We offer in-office monthly payment plans and discounts for payment in full. We can work with your flex spending account and we accept CareCredit financing plans.

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