Frequently Asked Questions
An orthodontist focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of facial and dental issues. As a dental specialist, an orthodontist has received two to three years of training in addition to dental school and has experience with straightening teeth and correcting jaw alignment problems to improve the function of your smile. Orthodontists understand jaw and tooth growth and development and can help determine the best time to start treatment for you or your child.
Our patients usually come in for an exam when they, their dentist, or a family member notices abnormalities in their bite position or crooked or crowded teeth. Facial or dental irregularities affect the health of your teeth and cause discomfort in the face and jaw. Orthodontic treatment can alleviate many of the issues you’re facing and produce a smile that looks more appealing.
Orthodontic treatment can begin at any time, but we recommend all patients, regardless of whether or not they are experiencing dental problems, come in for a free exam by age seven. Once a child reaches seven years of age, an orthodontist has a better chance of identifying alignment issues and any problems with jaw growth. If abnormalities are present, they can receive treatment before they progress. Age seven is also when the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a child be seen by an orthodontist. Learn more about early intervention and two-phase orthodontic treatment.
Anyone can receive orthodontic treatment, no matter how old they are. About 20% of our patients are adults, and we have treated patients from age 7 to age 80.
Braces are oral appliances an orthodontist uses to move your teeth into a healthier position gradually. These days, braces come in many forms, including traditional silver braces, ceramic braces, gold braces and champagne braces, as well as fun braces (WildSmiles and Mascot Braces) and color braces for kids — all of which are offered at Crescent Orthodontic Specialists.
Treatment duration depends on the extent of your particular situation and the type of treatment you choose. There are many variables we look at, such as the amount of crowding or spacing, type of bite, and facial proportions. Typically, treatment with silver, gold or ceramic braces will take anywhere from 18-24 months.
Treatment with Invisalign usually is of similar duration as braces in our office. Some cases are shorter than 18-24 months while others are longer. We do offer a 2-month and 6-month Invisalign product, both of which are extremely efficient, cost-effective, and can normally achieve the desired cosmetic results on the simpler cases. The best way to determine how long you will need to wear braces is to contact our office and schedule a free exam.
Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of pressure and discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, and cheeks get used to your new braces.
We can place braces in one treatment session, and any discomfort should be minimal, which means you can return to school or work the same day.
When you get your braces, there will be some food restrictions. Avoid all foods that are sticky (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears, etc.), hard (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that can get stuck in your braces and is really hard to get out (corn on the cob, pizza crust, ribs, taffy, etc.).
You will need to be diligent about your oral hygiene when you get braces. We recommend brushing at least three times a day with braces and ideally after every meal. Flossing should occur daily and it’s normally best to do it at night prior to bed. With Invisalign, you can keep your normal oral hygiene practices, but continue to clean your clear aligners on a regular basis.
You can talk to our orthodontist about the most efficient way to brush and floss, or check out our instructions at the link below. Our orthodontist can also provide tools to make oral hygiene with braces easier.
All patients who receive orthodontic treatment should have some type of retainer, which is usually worn frequently right after treatment is complete, then just at night. Although your teeth may look and feel straighter, they’ll have a tendency to revert to their original positions due to your jaw muscle’s memory. A retainer will help keep your teeth in their proper place so you can enjoy your new smile for a lifetime.
Although braces may take some getting used to when you first begin to wear them, they should not interfere with day-to-day activities like sports, exercising, or playing an instrument. Your braces might feel foreign initially, but as you practice speaking, playing your instrument or participating in sports, they will feel completely normal.
It is important to wear a mouthguard when participating in more physical activities to protect your teeth, braces, and mouth.
Your regular dental check-ups don’t stop when you start seeing an orthodontist. It’s actually more essential than ever for you to see your dentist for a professional cleaning when you are wearing braces. We recommend that you receive a cleaning every four months instead of six since plaque accumulates in hard-to-reach places, making oral hygiene more difficult. Your orthodontist and dentist can also work together to ensure your treatment plan is progressing properly.
Your first examination with our orthodontist is a time for you both to understand the dental issues you are experiencing. Our orthodontist will check your teeth and jaw for any misalignment. Additionally, they will perform a bite check to see whether your teeth come together normally and make a diagnosis for any abnormalities. If you require treatment, our orthodontist will create a plan that addresses your needs and either schedule a time for you to get started or begin treatment right away.