Orthodontic FAQs


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, skeletal and facial discrepancies.

What is an Orthodontist?

An Orthodontist is a Specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience after Dental School in an accredited ADA-recognized Residency Program. Dr. Maull performed a Fellowship to train a total of four years after dental school. An Orthodontist is an expert that knows how to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structures, and improve function.  This ensures a proper masticatory system that is also in harmony with the jaw joints and overall facial balance.

What's the best age to visit 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.

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

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.  Electric toothbrushes are recommended and water piks are helpful too.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride.  Flouride rinses can also help to prevent cavities.
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy food (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears) and very hard food (popcorn, hard candy, nuts, ice cubes).
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

What are braces?

Braces are used to align the teeth and bite. There are several different types of braces to choose from.  Dr. Maull will dicuss the best type of appliance for you.  They include:

  • Clear braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisible braces (Invisalign)
  • Traditional metal braces

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 responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between six and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 18-24 months.

Do braces hurt?

You can experience discomfort/sensitivity from braces, especially as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces. Typically, your teeth will be sore for a couple of days after routime orthodontic appointments.  Prescription pain medication is not necessary -- we recommend only Tyenol as needed.

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

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.

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups?

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, and 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, 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 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.

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.