Frequently Asked Questions about Orthodontics

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

Why an Orthodontist in Tampa, FL?

Orthodontics is one of the seven officially recognized Dental Specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. An orthodontic specialist has received two to three years of additional training after dental school. This training is completed in residency, with advanced education in head and neck anatomy as well as the science behind moving teeth and creating healthy bites. An orthodontist is uniquely qualified to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structures, and improve the function of your smile.

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven when bite problems are easily detected. While most patients will not need treatment immediately, you can gain peace of mind by knowing your options. Not missing a window of opportunity can be priceless.

Orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens; nearly half of all orthodontic patients are adults. If you’re considering treatment for yourself, or your child, and you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.

How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and soft soap and rinsing well. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly 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.

What are braces?

Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:

  • Mini metal braces with cool colors
  • Clear braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Gold braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisible braces
  • Clear aligners

If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?

Treatment times can vary, but most standard treatments take about 12-18 months. It all depends on the distance teeth need to move and other potentially complicating factors. Keeping a great attitude, practicing good brushing habits, avoiding broken braces, and consistently coming to appointments are ways you can keep treatment time to a minimum.

Do braces hurt?

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. The discomfort is often similar to feeling a little sore after starting a new sport, or like using muscles you have not used in a while.

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 get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss 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 that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while 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 braces or appliance.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help you schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or you have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.