So your teeth are causing more problems than you ever believed possible? They are crooked and misaligned; and that overbite is just embarrassing. It’s amazing how bad teeth can cause headaches when the bite is off, problems sleeping (probably because of all the snoring), or eating certain foods because they are always getting stuck in the teeth (and are difficult, if not downright impossible to remove), and teeth that are just overall … embarrassing. Many people have questions about Orthodontics and whether they can be the remedy and the blessing in disguise to this plethora of problems, so here are some answers to those Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Will my child’s teeth straighten out as they grow older?
A: No, generally they just get worse. If the jaw is already too small, and the molars begin to come in, the space for the front teeth decreases, and they are forced to turn either to one side, or overlap the next tooth to make room for the molars.
Q: Do some teeth have to be removed for braces?
A: For some patients that’s the only way to achieve the room in the mouth is to remove two or more teeth. Remember, it’s important for the face to look balanced, and with many patients when there is insufficient room, it requires one tooth to be removed on each side – sometimes four, if there is overcrowding on both the top and bottom jaws.
Q: Do braces hurt?
A: There is some discomfort for the first few days after the braces are tightened; however, that generally becomes unnoticeable because the patient “gets used to the pressure” applied by the braces. Occasionally, if a wire breaks, there can be some discomfort to the cheek, tongue, or gums, but this is easily repaired and a mild pain medication for a couple of days while the affected area is healing is all that is necessary.
Q: How long does the treatment last?
A: It’s different with every patient and completely depends on how many corrections in alignment need to be done. For some people with minimal problems it can be a few as six to eight months; others with more extensive re-alignment requirements can require upwards of 36 months to completely reposition all the teeth.
Q: Is it too late to have braces as an adult?
A: No, it’s rarely ever too late to have the teeth straightened.
Q: Should braces be put on a child while they have baby teeth?
A: Generally, it’s best to wait for the child to have more permanent teeth before orthodontics are required; however, it’s never too early to get the orthodontist involved and begin following the development and growth of the child to determine the right time to begin the treatment with the braces.
Q: Can some problems with the child’s teeth be fixed without long term wearing of the braces?
A: That’s certainly possible with some children, and getting them into early treatment as early as possible may reduce long term wearing of braces a few years later.
Q: How frequently are the appointments with the Orthodontist?
A: Generally, depending on the treatment, they can be anywhere for three to eight weeks apart, with typical appointments spaced at four week intervals.
Q: Are there foods that cannot be eaten while wearing braces?
A: Yes, but that depends on the braces as well. Generally, the sticky foods, such as taffy and caramel should be completely avoided, along with most hard candies. Some raw vegetables that are crunchy can also be problematic, in addition to some nuts, and hard fruits. Biting on ice is also not recommended.
Q: How difficult is to brush the teeth while wearing braces?
A: The teeth should be brushed more frequently while wearing the braces, and it’s recommended at least four times a day; certainly following every meal and before going to bed for the night. Flossing with braces is also recommended, but the Orthodontist needs to show the patient the right procedure for doing this because it’s a little trickier with braces.
Q: Does the patient have to see the regular dentist during the time they are wearing the braces?
A: Absolutely! Regular dental checkups are extremely important, and the dentist generally works with the Orthodontist and determines the frequency. It’s oftentimes, the Orthodontist who discovers the beginnings of a cavity or other issues with the teeth, gums, or mouth and recommends a visit to the dentist.
Q: How much do the braces cost and does insurance cover it?
A: It’s different for every patient because every patient’s mouth requires different realignment. Not all dental insurance plans cover orthodontics, so check with the Insurer. Most Orthodontics offices have financing plans available.