The Orthodontic Center
Dr. Kevin Carrington, DDS
                            

FAQ's

GOT QUESTIONS? .....WE HAVE GOT ANSWERS!
DO BRACES HURT?
Some people feel a litle discomfort when the spacers are put in with conventional braces, when the braces are first put on, and/or occasionally after an adjustment.  The discomfort is comparable to a headache and can easily be relieved with Tylenol or Advil.  Any serious or extreme discomfort should be reported to your Orthodontist.

CAN I STILL EAT THE SAME FOOD AND CANDY AND CHEW GUM?
Hard foods like apples, corn on the cob, beef jerky and hard candies, as well as gum, can damage the appliances requiring repairs that can delay treatment time.  Cutting up fruits and cutting corn off the cob can solve some of the food problems but some foods, candies and definitely gum, will have to be avoided while wearing braces.

DO I NEED TO HAVE TEETH REMOVED?
Sometimes removing teeth should be avoided at all costs to prevent structural facial collapse or a sunken look.  Your orthodontist should carefully determine which teeth, if any, must be removed.  Innovative braces can nicely expand the jaws and reduce the need for removal.  Many doctors focus only on straightening the teeth without considering the facial profile.  A good orthodontist will take into consideration both the need to straighten teeth and the effect the method of straightening will have on facial structure.

WILL THE BRACES LEAVE MARKS ON MY TEETH ONCE THEY ARE REMOVED?
In most cases, once the braces are removed, no marking or scars remain  However, in some cases of extreme poor oral hygiene, scars or marks can show up on teeth.  It is very important that hygiene be maintained while wearing braces for both tooth and gum health.  Maintaining your regular appointments for cleanings with your dental hygienist is critical in maintaining good oral hygiene.

IS IT EASY TO GET CAVITIES WITH BRACES?
Not necessarily.  Cavities with or without braces are often caused by a high sugar diet, along with inadequate or non-existent oral hygiene.  As long as you keep the sugar level down and maintain your oral hygiene routine, there is no reason to worry about increased cavities while in your braces. 

WILL I HAVE BAD BREATH WITH BRACES?
Bad breath is usually due to heavy plaque accumulation or a dry mouth.  As long as you maintain good oral hygiene, you should not fear the possibility of bad breath.  If you have extreme dry mouth, talk to your dentist, who can recommend some products that will help you.

WILL I LOSE WEIGHT WHEN I GET BRACES?
Not necessarily.  Although some patients can have a little trouble getting accustomed to eating differently (cutting food into smaller pieces, etc.).  When braces are first put on, some people may lose a little weight, but overall once they have become accustomed to eating differently, they are just fine.  Some patients like to plan ahead and make sure they have plenty of soft foods like soup and Jello at home after placement or an adjustment if eating is a struggle for them.

ARE MY TEETH GOING TO BE SORE ALL THE TIME?
Generally, the teeth become a little sore for a day or so after an adjustment or wire change. Discomfort can be relieved by taking Tylenol or Advil. Some people experience little or no discomfort at all.
HAVE PEOPLE EVER SWALLOWED BRACES?
Occasionally, but infrequently.  All braces are held on by a wire so even if it detaches from the tooth, it is extremely difficult for it to come off completely and get swallowed.


DO I HAVE TO WEAR A RETAINER ALL THE TIME?
The rule of thumb is to wear your retainer full-time for one year after braces are removed and then to wear it at night thereafter.  You must understand that teeth and bone have been moved and will have the propensity to want to shift back into their original place, so it is critical that the retainer be worn consistently for the first year. Your orthodontist should offer a minimum of one year retainer visits/adjustments to ensure that it is fitting snuggly.  After one year of consistent wear, make it a habit to pop it in you mouth before bed so you will maintain your perfect smile for a lifetime.  If dental work such as a crown has been done, it will be particularly important to visit your orthodontist to ensure that your retainer still fits properly.

SO WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP IN GETTING BRACES?
The first step is to setup a consultation appointment with a reputable orthodontist.  If you have insurance coverage, give the receptionist all of your information when making your appointment so that your benefits can be determined.  Do a little research before your appointment and come prepared with your questions. 

At your consultation appointment, the orthodontist will examine your mouth, take notes and suggest a treatment plan.  A treatment coordinator will go over fees and a payment plan with you and how your insurance works into the plan.

If you feel confident you have found the right orthodontist, you will need to setup an appointment for diagnostic records.  Diagnostic records generally consist of a panoramic film, a cephalometric x-ray, diagnostic casts of your teeth and photographs.  This appointment usually takes about 20-30 minutes.  Most general dentists do not use these types of x-rays, although occasionally some might take a panomramic film.  If your general dentist has taken a panoramic film within a year of your orthodontic visit, you should bring it to your consultation visit with the orthodontist.  Diagnostic records are typically a separate cost from the actual orthodontic treatment fee.  If after you have done a diagnostic workup and for some reason you are unable to proceed with treatment, these records are yours to keep and bar any extreme changes to your mouth, should be usable within a year.
 
Once you have had diagnostic records taken, the doctor will trace the desired movement he is seeking on the x-ray and you will be setup for a banding appointment.  This appointment can take from 1-2 hours, depending if one arch is being placed or both.  In cases of extremely malaligned teeth or jaw, the doctor may need to obtain movement from one arch first to avoid braces hitting braces.

It is not uncommon for a brace to "pop off" or come loose within the first few weeks as teeth are starting to shift and hit differently, and you are also learning to eat differently.  When and if this happens, simply call your orthodontist to setup an appointment to re-cement the brace.
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