Many patients have question about orthodontics. Dieguez Smiles has provided the answers to frequently asked orthodontic questions to help our patients gain a better understanding of their treatments. If you have further questions, please call us at 205-980-4744 to speak with a member of our team, and to make your appointment with our caring orthodontist, Dr. Bertha Dieguez.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics, or dentofacial orthopedics, is a field of dentistry focused improving the appearance through diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. It can include anything from straightening misaligned teeth to corrective jaw surgeries.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist. Orthodontists receive 2-3 years of additional training and experience after achieving a dental degree.
What is the best age to visit the orthodontist?
Orthodontics are for all ages! If you are searching for ways to improve the look and feel of your smile, then it is a good time to visit the orthodontist. Our practice provides orthodontic care for patients of all ages.
Will my teeth straighten as I grow?
No. In most people, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age, especially after permanent molars erupt.
How do I schedule my appointment for an initial exam?
Just give us a call, or send us an email! Our team will be happy to schedule your appointment with Dr. Bertha Dieguez. If it is your first visit to our office, we will request some basic information from you.
What will happen during my initial exam?
You will be asked for your new patient forms and insurance card. Our orthodontist will complete a thorough clinical exam, which may include x-rays or photographs.
What will I learn from the initial exam?
You will learn:
- If you have an orthodontic problem, and if so, what it is
- How to correct the problem
- If any teeth need to be removed
- How long the treatment will take to complete
- How much your treatment will cost
How often will I have appointments with the orthodontist?
The frequency of your visits will depend on your needs. Most patients are seen once every 4-8 weeks.
What are braces?
Braces are an appliance used by orthodontists to correct misaligned teeth and bad bites, and improve the appearance and feel of your smile. Modern advances in dentistry have produced a wide variety of braces, from traditional braces to clear aligners. Call our office to learn about the types of braces we offer!
How long do I have to wear braces?
The length of time spent in braces depends on the individual patient. Every smile responds differently to treatment, due to the speed at which your teeth move, the growth of your jaw and face, and the type of braces you are using. On average, treatments take about 24 months.
Do I need to have teeth extracted to wear braces?
Not usually. While removing teeth is sometimes necessary to achieve the best result, new technology and advances in orthodontic procedures can often help to achieve straight teeth and a balanced facial profile without removing any teeth.
Do braces hurt?
No. While you may feel small amounts of discomfort or aching for the first few days as your teeth begin moving, or after your braces have been adjusted, your braces should never hurt. If you experience persistent, high levels of pain, call our practice as soon as possible.
How do I take care of my teeth while wearing braces?
Practice good oral hygiene, and avoid foods and drinks that may damage your braces or your teeth. This includes:
- Brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day
- Avoid foods and drinks that can be damaging to your teeth (sugary, sticky, chewy, and hard foods, and any foods that can get stuck between your braces)
- Receive regular dental cleanings from your family dentist
Do I still need dental checkups if I’m wearing braces?
Yes! Because your braces and appliances cover so much of your mouth, it can be easy for cavities and tooth decay to develop, making it more important than ever that you receive regular dental cleanings and exams.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often while wearing braces?
You should brush your teeth after every meal, or three times a day, while wearing braces. You should also floss daily. Our orthodontist can show you how to brush and floss correctly with braces.
Will braces interfere with my daily activities?
No. Wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any activity, including sports, playing an instrument, or singing. If you play a contact sport, our orthodontist recommends that you be fitted with a custom mouth guard to protect your teeth, soft tissues, and braces.
Can I wear braces if I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. Teeth with crowns will move exactly the same way as your natural teeth. If you are missing teeth, orthodontic treatment will help align your remaining teeth to provide a healthy bite and smile.
How do I take care of my retainer?
If you wear a removable retainer, keep it in a container while eating so that it does not get lost or broken. You can keep it clean by brushing it gentle with a toothbrush and toothpaste or soaking it in denture cleaner. Do not put your retainer in boiling water, bleach, or in the dishwasher.
What is Phase One (early) treatment?
Phase One treatment is the first stage of orthodontic treatment for children. If our orthodontist thinks that there will be significant problems later, she may recommend early treatments to prevent future complications, and improve the self-esteem and confidence of your child. Phase One treatments usually last 6-18 months, and are designed to help teeth and jaws grow and develop properly.
Will my child need braces even after Phase One treatment?
It is very likely that your child will need full braces even after receiving early orthodontic treatment. Between Phase One treatment and braces, there will be a “resting” period, during which your child’s teeth and growth will be carefully monitored. Our orthodontist will keep you informed about the development of your child’s oral health, and recommend appropriate treatments.
We hope this page of frequently asked orthodontic questions is helpful for you. If you have any further questions, please contact our office to speak with a member of our team.