What Is An Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist with two to three additional years of specilaized education and training. An orthodontist is trained and educated to create the perfect smile by straightening teeth, correcting a misaligned jaw or improving bite function.

What's The Best Age To Visit The Orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child should first see his or her orthodontist at age seven unless you notice problems at an earlier age. However, statistics show that one in every five patients who visit an orthodontist is over the age of 21. Rule of thumb: if you feel you could benefit from orthodontic evaluation or treatment, then any age is welcome.

How Can I Take Care Of My Teeth If I'm Wearing Braces Or A Retainer?
  • Having braces means it is even more important to keep your teeth clean. For best results, brush at least twice a day for two minutes and floss once each day. [see Life with Braces with more detailed information]
  • Look for a toothpaste that has fluoride in it to help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. If you are not sure if your drinking water is fluorinated, ask your orthodontist if you should use a fluoride rinse.
  • If you are using a retainer, be sure to remove it while eating. To keep the retainer clean, it is best to brush it separately or let it soak in retainer cleaning solution. Never place your retainer in the dishwasher or in boiling water as this may cause the retainer to change shape.
  • While you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, it is best to avoid excess amount of sugary foods and drinks which can increase the chances for cavities. In the same vein, please avoid popcorn, chewing gum, gummy bears, caramel or any sticky foods that can get stuck in your braces and risk pulling your braces and bands off of your teeth. Also, try to avoid chewing ice, eating nuts, or hard candies, corn on the cob, ribs or foods that can damage your braces. If in doubt, ask us!
  • Make sure to keep all your routine appointments with us to ensure that your braces are doing their job and make sure you see your dentist every six months for your routine dental hygienic cleanings.
What Are Braces?

Braces are an apparatus used by your orthodontist to move or straighten teeth into proper alignment. There are different types of braces that provide great options for those in need of them such as:

  • Traditional Metal Braces
  • Clear (Ceramic) Braces
  • Lingual Braces (on the tongue side)
  • Invisalign (removable clear aligners)
If I Get Braces, How Long Do I Have To Wear Them?

This will depend on the individual cooperation, the severity of the malocclusion and the type of braces used. Most commonly you can expect anywhere from six months up to 30 months, with the average being around 22 months.

Do Braces Hurt?

Braces generally do not hurt although there may be some temporary discomfort/soreness after the braces are first put on. You can also expect minor, temporary discomfort each time your braces are adjusted but this will generally go away in a few hours or a day.

Do I Need To Brush My Teeth More Often If I Have Braces?

Twice a day is sufficient, but some people feel three times is better while wearing braces (after each big meal). Brushing encourages a clean, healthy mouth and gums while removing stubborn foods that can get stuck in between your braces. Ask Dr. Li or one of her helpful assistants about the best way to brush and floss while wearing braces. Knowledge is power and we love to help our patients feel empowered!

If I Have Braces, Do I Still Need Dental Checkups Every Six Months?

Yes! Routine cleanings will ensure you have fewer cavities, and that your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout orthodontic treatment. Your dentist and orthodontist are there to work together to give you perfect results.

Will My Braces Interfere With School Activities Like Sports, Playing An Instrument Or Singing?

Braces should not interfere with extracurricular activities. However, if you are involved in contact sports, be sure to wear a mouthguard that is designed to fit over braces to keep from damaging your braces or from causing irritation to your mouth or gums. Playing instruments should not be a problem although, like anything new in life, there may be a temporary period of adjustment until you get used to it.

How Do I Schedule My Next Appointment?

It is easy! We’ll always make sure you get a brief summary of what we did each appointment as well as having your next appointment scheduled at the end of each appointment. If for whatever reason you need to change that appointment or did not get to make one, just give us a call! Remember during active treatment, most patients should be seen every four to eight weeks. If you have not been seen by us close to a month and do not know if you have another appointment, call us! We love to hear from you!