WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialty branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. The focus of this field is on achieving a balance between facial esthetics and harmony with alignment (straightening) of teeth and dental health and function.
WHO IS AN ORTHODONTIST?
An orthodontist is a dentist that specializes and has completed two to three years of additional training and residency in the field of orthodontics. Since an orthodontist’s practice is limited to the specialty of orthodontics, they do not perform other general dentistry procedures.
Dr. Majd completed her dental school and specialty of orthodontics training at Boston University and has now been practicing orthodontics for more than 15 years. Her expertise and experience allow her to not only straighten your teeth, but also correct misaligned jaw structure and improve the overall function of your smile.
WHAT'S THE BEST AGE TO VISIT THE ORTHODONTIST?
Any age is a great time to visit the orthodontist if you are ready to improve the look and feel of your smile. As a general guideline, 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 time is a good age to visit the orthodontist.
HOW CAN I TAKE CARE OF MY TEETH IF I’M WEARING BRACES OR A RETAINER?
WHEN WEARING BRACES:
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day, cleaning around your wires and braces thoroughly.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride and ask Dr. Majd or your family dentist if you need additional fluoride supplementation. This will help prevent cavities!
- Avoid foods with lots 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 or more often during your orthodontic treatment.
WHEN YOU HAVE RETAINERS:
- When you take out your retainers out to eat, make sure to brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep the retainers safe in the retainer case 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. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
WHAT ARE BRACES?
Braces are used by an orthodontist to improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
- 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 patien, because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere from six to 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 22 months.
DO BRACES HURT?
Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple 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 clean between your teeth where your brush isn’t able to reach. Dr. Majd and our team will 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 important 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. We 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 teeth and hardware. We recommend mouthguards for every athlete and can work with you to customize a comfortable mouthguard.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE MY NEXT APPOINTMENT?
It is easy to schedule an appointment: you can give us a call, email us, or fill out the “request an appointment” form available on our website. For your convenience, we offer appointments Monday through Thursday and have late afternoon appointments so you don’t have to miss work or school.