10 Most Frequently Asked Orthodontics Questions

10 Most Frequently Asked Orthodontics Questions

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When you are unhappy with your smile, and especially with the alignment of your teeth, the person who can help you is called an orthodontist. Essentially, orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that focuses on moving your teeth back to a more desired position. Orthodontists typically handle teeth alignment and questions about braces. Not as many people have a straight smile naturally, as almost 90% of the American population experience some discomfort with maloccluded or misaligned teeth. If this figure surprised you, chances are that you haven’t spotted many teeth issues in other people. This is because many people can fix smile problems with the help of an orthodontist. This article will answer some of the most common questions about orthodontics. 

#1. Is an orthodontist the same as a regular dentist?

 No, orthodontists are specialist dentists who pursue their studies and training beyond dental school to treat teeth alignment problems. 

Therefore, it is important to understand that orthodontics doesn’t treat conditions such as cavities, dental inflammation, gum disease, etc. 

#2. What kind of teeth alignment problems can orthodontists treat?

Common problems with teeth alignments include the following:

  • crowding
  • teeth spacing
  • unerupted or impacted teeth
  • jaw alignment
  • uneven smile

Often, a tooth that can’t emerge and remains covered by bone or soft tissue is an impacted tooth. It means the tooth grows at an odd angle, leading to complications. The impacted tooth is stuck below the gum surface and doesn’t have sufficient room to emerge. More often than not, unerupted teeth are wisdom teeth and may require extraction. 

#3. How do orthodontists correct teeth misalignment?

Teeth straightening solutions frequently involve braces and extraction. Wearing braces for a prolonged period of time can help correct misaligned and crooked teeth. However, how long you will need to wear braces will depend entirely on the level of corrective alignment required and the type of braces you wear. 

Your orthodontist will determine the right amount of time for your braces after an initial consultation. 

#4. I’m an adult. Can I still wear braces? 

Absolutely. While braces are frequently seen in children and teenagers, they are also a suitable treatment method for adults. 

There is no definite age for when you could benefit from braces. For children, orthodontists can recommend wearing braces as early as 7-year-old. Braces are more frequently seen among children above 10 and teenagers. Yet, adults of any age can wear braces too.

#5. How long do people need to wear braces for?

There is no strict rule regarding how long braces will be suitable to fix your issues. Indeed, this depends on different factors, such as:

  • The level of alignment your teeth require
  • The type of braces you wear
  • How long you wear removable braces (if you have those)

Therefore, your orthodontist will make a first assessment to estimate the duration of the treatment. As a rule of thumb, most people tend to wear braces for 1 to 3 years. However, some treatments can require less than a year, with durations starting from 6 months. 

#6. What kind of braces can I wear?

Orthodontics work with 5 main types of braces: 

  • Metal braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Clear aligners

Each type has pros and cons. 

Metal braces are the most noticeable structure. They’re typically worn by children and teenagers and will need to be adjusted every 4 to 8 weeks. They require special care and excellent oral hygiene. 

Ceramic braces are more discreet and frequently chosen by adolescents and adults. The wearer needs to pay close attention to their diet and brushing habits to prevent stains. 

Lingual braces are worn behind the teeth and require additional orthodontic training. Their position makes them invisible, but they can impair speech when first applied. 

Self-ligating braces are similar to metal and ceramic braces but use a different system to hold the wire. They are a great option for individuals with high discomfort sensibility or developmental delays. 

Finally, clear aligners are fully removable and transparent braces. They require fewer appointments with your orthodontist and can provide faster results for some specific treatment cases. 

#7. Is wearing braces painful?

There is no denying that braces can bring a level of discomfort when they are first put in place or after each adjustment appointment. However, the discomfort shouldn’t last beyond a few days while you get used to wearing them. You can use over-the-counter painkillers to make it more manageable. 

Additionally, if you find your braces too painful, your orthodontist can help with adjustments or even switching to a different type of braces. 

#8. Can I brush my teeth with braces? 

Yes, absolutely, you can and should brush your teeth, especially when you are wearing braces. Debris stuck in your braces can contribute to dental decay. 

Orthodontists recommend using an electric toothbrush to remove all debris from the brackets. Additionally, you will need to floss and ensure that nothing is stuck between your teeth or between the wire and your teeth. 

#9. Braces are cosmetic. Will my dental insurance pay for them? 

It is absolutely essential to understand that braces are more than a cosmetic treatment. Misaligned teeth can contribute to significant health issues, such as:

  • Speech impediments
  • Difficulties with chewing or eating properly
  • The increased risk of developing cavities and inflammation
  • It can be linked to temporomandibular disorders (TMD, or disorders of the jaw muscles) and tinnitus
  • Aggravated risks of tooth loss
  • Etc. 

While there is also a cosmetic improvement, braces are frequently recommended with regard to your health. 

Many dental insurance policies include some orthodontics treatments and allow you to add an orthodontic cover to an existing plan. However, even when your dental insurance covers braces, the cover typically only covers part of the treatment cost. 

#10. Do I need frequent orthodontic appointments when I wear braces?

Yes, absolutely. You will need to arrange regular appointments with your orthodontist to adjust your braces. This will typically occur every 4 to 8 weeks. Clear aligners do not need adjusting; instead, you will replace them with a new set. Your orthodontist will assess the need for new aligners based on your teeth. 

Additionally, we strongly recommend regular check-up and cleaning appointments with your general dentists to ensure your teeth remain healthy even when wearing braces. 

If you still have further questions about orthodontics and how it can help improve your teeth, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team.