Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental (tooth) and facial abnormalities.
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience after becoming a licensed dentist. Dr. Stroop received speciality education at the Medical College of Georgia where he was trained in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. He is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, improve the function of teeth and create your beautiful 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 time to see 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.
About one in every five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any age is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
When to visit the orthodontist at an early age?
If you notice any of the following at three years of age or older:
- difficulty when food is being chewed
- thumb or finger sucking
- breathing with the mouth open
- if a click or pop is heard or the jaw doesn’t open straight
- the upper teeth fitting inside the lower teeth (crossbite)
- an abnormal bite development
- an abnormal facial asymmetry
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 the information you need.
What are braces?
Braces are used by an orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Traditional metal braces
- Invisalign (clear aligners)
- Clear/Ceramic 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 smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere from six to 30 months, but most standard treatments last about 22 to 24 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple of days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces.
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 between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Dr. Stroop can show you how to brush and floss properly 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 essential that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Our office will work closely with your dentist to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy while you’re 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 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.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask Dr. Stroop or your family dentist whether you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
- If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep your retainer safe in its container so 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 our office. 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, and can cause more plaque and potential 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.).
- 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 is Phase-One (early) treatment?
One treatment, if necessary, usually begins between the ages of seven and ten. Phase One lasts about six to 18 months. The primary objective in this early phase is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe.
Can I return to school the day my braces are put on?
Yes. Braces will take a couple of days to get used to, but most patients return to school and regular activities.
How much do braces cost? How does my insurance work?
It is imposible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will discuss the cost and financial options after your complimentary diagnostic records have been reviewed. We will also review your insurance policy and help you maximize your benefit and file your claims.