Patients must visit a dentist for an exam and have any necessary fillings before getting braces. In addition, patients should visit the dentist every 6 months for a thorough examination and teeth cleaning. Patients are also encouraged to brush their teeth right before their appointment.
Our staff makes every effort to accommodate each patient’s individual schedule. We require 24-hour notice for cancellations, to help us continue to schedule efficiently for our patients.
Orthodontic treatment can last anywhere from 18 to 36 months, though this will vary depending on your individual case. Appointments are typically scheduled 4 to 12 weeks apart. Your cooperation in keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments, maintaining proper hygiene, and taking care of your braces may allow you to finish your orthodontic treatment early.
We encourage patients to ask questions about their orthodontic treatment. On a patient’s first visit, Dr. Johnson will inform patients and/or parents about important treatment details.
Be careful to protect the orthodontic appliances when you eat. Faithfully follow our instructions on foods to avoid. For the first day or so, soft foods will be more appropriate. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables.
Braces are attached to your teeth with a strong adhesive but may become loose because of eating certain foods. It is also possible that wires could become bent or broken without proper care. Since it is best to achieve orthodontic treatment goals with as few disruptions as possible, a well-balanced diet is important to ensure a healthy environment for your teeth.
Patients should avoid foods that are sticky, hard, or chewy. They should also avoid any food and drinks that are known to cause cavities. Patients should brush, floss, and rinse their mouth regularly between meals.
There might be a general soreness in the mouth. This can be relieved by rinsing the mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take Tylenol, Advil or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Soreness should end by the third or fourth day.
The braces may feel a little awkward at first and the teeth may be tender or sensitive to pressure. This is completely normal and will go away soon. It may feel as though the braces are “sticking out,” but this sensation will also soon pass. Small pieces of orthodontic wax may be used if the brackets irritate cheek tissues. Our office always has extra wax in case you run out so call us if you need more.
Many patients will experience some discomfort at first, but the soreness will go away within the first few days or even hours of getting braces. It is impossible to predict exactly when the tenderness will end. Some patients choose to take over-the-counter pain relievers on the first day of treatment to lessen the discomfort. To ensure the best result take the medications before your appointment.
If you take part in athletics, it is important that you consult us for special precautions. Everyone who plays contact sports should wear a mouthguard. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliance immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.
Success of treatment depends upon cooperation between you, the doctor, and staff. Wear the appliances as directed, avoid the foods that can be damaging and handle emergencies promptly. Always be conscientious and responsible toward your treatment. Quick, successful results depend on you, too. It is especially important that you keep your teeth, gums, and appliances clean. At least once each day, spend a few moments with a mirror checking the appliances to make sure they are thoroughly clean and in decent shape.
If a wire or band comes loose, do not be alarmed. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back in place. Simply, get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Telephone our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it, and bring it with you to the office.
This is to be expected throughout treatment. It is normal so do not be upset. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new positions. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved.
Brush two, preferably three, times a day for a minimum of four minutes each time. Pay special attention to the “danger zone” between the gum and the braces. This is the most difficult area to keep clean. Every night after you brush, before you go to sleep, rinse with fluoridated mouth wash.
As a rule, an emergency appointment may be made when there is severe discomfort, a loose band, a broken wire, or something sticking out that you cannot take care of. Please call us if the office is closed and you are in discomfort. Instructions are on the answering machine.
Band – ring of metal that was placed around the tooth.
Bracket – attachment glued directly to the front of the tooth.
Arch wire – large wire that fits into the bracket slots and is used to move the teeth.
Ligature – tiny wire or plastic module (often brightly colored) that attaches the arch wire to the bracket.
Hooks – used to attach elastics (rubber bands).
Remember to bring all removable biteplates, headgear, retainers, etc. to EVERY appointment.
If your band comes loose or brackets come unglued, call the office BEFORE your appointment so we can be prepared to repair the broken part. If we are not informed, we may not be able to fix it until your following appointment.
Your braces will be attached quickly and easily to your teeth, but a full day is necessary for the bands to completely affix. It is a clever idea to wait several hours after getting braces before eating solid food. You may find it easier to eat soft foods for the first couple of days while you are becoming accustomed to eating with your new braces.
It is usually difficult to know if treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Asking your general dentist is always a good starting point. Since our initial exam is complimentary, call us today to schedule a consultation and ask orthodontic treatment questions. We will be happy to explain your recommended treatment.
Although it may be difficult for you to determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary, the following may help in prompting you to seek our orthodontic advice.
Look at your (or your child’s teeth) teeth. If you see signs of crooked teeth, gaps between the teeth or overlapping teeth, orthodontic treatment may be necessary. Bite all the way down but keep your lips open so you can see the teeth. Do the front teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude away from the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? All these are indicators for potential orthodontic treatment. Look at your jaw alignment. Does the jaw shift off center during biting down? If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, it suggests a skeletal or jawbone problem, which requires early orthodontic intervention. These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven. All baby teeth need not be gone before initiating orthodontic treatment. In fact, early detection of some orthodontic problems is important to take preventive/interceptive action and avoid more difficult treatment later. Early orthodontic treatment also potentially prevents extraction of teeth which is needed in some cases if the teeth get very crowded. Again, since our initial consultation is complimentary, it helps to get a consultation as soon as possible.
No, age is not a factor. So long as the gums and bone which support your teeth are healthy, one can get orthodontic or braces treatment at any age.
Orthodontic treatment mechanics have advanced technologically over the last few years. Introduction of new high-tech wires, smaller braces, innovative accessories, and stress of preventive/interceptive treatments make today’s orthodontic treatment comfortable. We do not use anesthetic injections for any of the procedures. As a rule, braces can cause a little discomfort initially until one gets used to them. Teeth can get a little sore a day after every adjustment appointment, but it is not painful. This can be relieved easily with over-the-counter pain relievers, if needed. Most of our patients do not need to take any pain relievers.
Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, esthetic, or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems from happening and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.
Phase I or Early Interceptive Treatment usually starts while the child has most of their baby teeth with few of their permanent teeth. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept moderate or severe orthodontic problems early to reduce or eliminate them. These problems include jawbone problems, cross bites and developing crowding. This phase does not use full braces as braces are never put on baby teeth. We use expanders, removable appliances, a Herbst appliance (instead of headgear) and retainers during this phase. These treatment approaches take advantage of the active growth to change the jawbone structure to either make extra room or address jawbone discrepancies. This helps reduce the need for extractions or jaw surgery and delivers better long-term results and treatment options. Most Phase I patients require a Phase II treatment to achieve an ideal bite.
Phase II treatment involves the use of full braces with a goal to finish the occlusion or bite ideally. It usually occurs when all permanent teeth are present. Many times, there is a gap between Phase I and the start of Phase II treatment. This phase most commonly occurs around the age of 12 or 13 years old.
This is another name for orthodontic treatment in the permanent dentition at any age. It is more commonly used when a Phase I treatment is not performed.
No, but in many cases early intervention helps a lot. We will offer Phase I treatment only if it will make a difference in oral health, otherwise we keep the patients for a complimentary recall consultation every six months.
In our office, Phase I treatment usually lasts 12-14 months. Phase II or full braces treatment lasts from 12-24 months depending on the complexity of the case. In both situations, we see patients every 8 to 10 weeks for their adjustment appointment.
Orthodontic treatment time and its success depends on multiple factors such as, age of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patient’s cooperation, and the speed of natural response of teeth movement.
Extraction therapy is a technique where some teeth are removed to make room for the other teeth in your child’s mouth. This contrasts with non-extraction therapy where the jaw is expanded, and teeth are shaved to make room for everything. We will make a thorough evaluation at the consultation and discuss the options to determine which procedure best suits the patient.
Metal braces are the most popular with kids and teenagers. They love using different colors of ligature ties. These braces are much smaller than ever before.
Translucent, clear, ceramic braces are the most popular with adults. You must be remarkably close to someone to be able to see them. Yet, because they are a ceramic material, they are more fragile and have some limitations. We will discuss these choices of braces and any other braces questions at the consultation appointment.
We strive to make orthodontic treatment affordable and offer a variety of flexible payment plans. Please call our office today to set up a complimentary consultation and learn more about our payment plans and any other orthodontic treatment questions.