All About Orthodontics

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.

What can I eat while in orthodontic treatment?
During your treatment, avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of plaque (bacteria) on your teeth. Buildup of plaque can cause permanent discoloration of your teeth and cavities. If you have braces, you also have to avoid hard food (popcorn, hard candy, nuts, ice cubes, etc).

What types or orthodontic appliances are there?
There are many different types of appliances to choose from, and not all can achieve the same result. Dr. Maull will discuss the best type of appliance for you, depending on your needs and goals.  Some options are:
  Clear braces
  Metal braces
  Self-ligating braces
  Clear aligners (Invisalign)
  Removable appliances

How long is orthodontic treatment?
The amount of time will vary depending on the individual patient, because every person has different needs. Treatment times can take anywhere between 6-30 months, but we can be more specific after a consult.

Does orthodontics hurt?
You can experience discomfort/sensitivity from braces and aligners, especially as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new appliances. Typically, your teeth will be sore for a couple of days after routine orthodontic appointments.  Prescription pain medication is not necessary -- we recommend only Tylenol or Advil occasionally as needed.

Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have orthodontic appliances?
With orthodontic appliances, 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 (options include a water flosser/Waterpik) 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. Cleaning with aligners is easy since you can take them out.

If I am in orthodontic treatment, 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. There is an increased possibility of cavities even when wearing removable aligners. Be sure to continue regular cleanings with your dentist at least every six months.

Will orthodontics 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 they will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. Clear aligners will have little or no affect at all.  If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliances.