FAQ

What is orthodontics?

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

Who is an orthodontist?

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.

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

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 seven. The orthodontist will determine the best time to begin treatment based on each child’s specific dental circumstances. About one in every five orthodontic patients are over the age of 21, so 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 Invisalign?

  • 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 use the fluoride varnish we give you. This will help prevent cavities!
  • Take out your Invisalign aligners to eat, brush and floss your teeth. Keep it safe in its case during eating and brushing.
  • Keep your aligners clean, too, by brushing gently with a toothbrush and 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 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) or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc) or cause them to break or bend.
  • Continue your routine cleanings and check-ups with your family dentist every six months. We will help you coordinate cleaning appointments with your orthodontist appointment.

What are braces?

Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile! There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:

  • Clear braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisible braces or Invisalign
  • Traditional metal braces

If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?

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 from six to 30 months; however, most standard treatments take about 22 months.

Do braces hurt?

When your new braces are placed you may feel some discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to them. Most of the time braces are not uncomfortable.

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

With braces, you should brush your teeth after each meal 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 use a Proxy brush and floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush is unable 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 every six months?

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 you might miss with your toothbrush. This allows 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.

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, Dr. Pappas and Dr. Tapley hope that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and mouth, and provide a custom mouthguard upon request at no charge.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Simply call our practice! Our Appointment Coordinators will be happy to help schedule an 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.