What is the right age to begin orthodontic treatment?
The right age to begin orthodontic treatment depends on the nature of the problem. Some problems, such as crossbites, over-developed or under-developed jaws, and impacted teeth are best treated at an early age. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic evaluation for children at age 7. This does not mean that many 7 year olds will need orthodontic treatment, but it is best to identify problems that may be developing so the proper timing and treatment can be discussed which allows orthodontic treatment to be as efficient and effective as possible. Some problems, if not addressed early, can become much more difficult to treat later on and in some instances more complicated dental or surgical procedures can be avoided if orthodontic intervention is begun at the proper time.
For adults, orthodontics can be a huge benefit and improve the esthetic appearance of the teeth and smile along with improving function, longevity, and maintenance of the teeth. Some dental procedures can be made much easier and effective in combination with orthodontic treatment. There is no age too great for orthodontics. As long as the teeth and gums are made healthy and stable orthodontic treatment can be beneficial at any age.
How long does orthodontic treatment last?
The length of orthodontic treatment depends what the goals of treatment are. Some minor tooth movements only take a few months. Most full braces treatments take between 1 to 2 years. When you have your initial consult, Dr. Jones will discuss your treatment options and give you an estimate of how long it may take to achieve your goals.
Can I still play sports with braces on?
Absolutely! Most of our patients are involved in athletics and the braces do not get in their way. In fact, many famous athletes have had braces over the years. We do recommend that athletes that play in contact sports such as basketball, football, and soccer wear a braces-specific mouthguard. Our favorite braces mouthguard is made by Shock Doctor and can be found at most sporting goods suppliers, Fred Meyer, www.shockdoctor.com or www.amazon.com
Will braces get in the way if I play a musical instrument?
No. We have patients that play musical instruments, including wind instruments and brass, that excel in music. It typically takes a very short period of time (a week or so) to get accustomed to playing an instrument with braces on, and after that time you should be able to play your instrument just as well as ever! Some patients find that placing wax on their braces improves their comfort while playing an instrument.
I need some dental work done, can I still get braces?
Yes. The timing of orthodontics and dental work is important. Some dental procedures such as filling cavities or teeth cleaning should happen before the braces are put on. Many other dental procedures, such as having implants placed, crowns, bridges, veneers, esthetic procedures, and tooth replacement should happen after the orthodontic treatment is complete. Many of these dental treatments are made easier and better by having the teeth well aligned first. Patients who have crowns, implants, or bridges can still have orthodontic treatment. We can discuss how this works at your initial consult appointment.
Do braces hurt?
Placing and removing braces is simple and painless. Once the braces are placed it does take a little while to get used to the new appliances in your mouth. We find that most patients are used to their braces after about a week. The first few days after the braces are placed, the teeth can become a little sore. The sorriness is usually improved by eating soft foods and taking over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or tylenol. After a few days, the soreness goes away and the teeth feel normal again and are straighter. Sometimes when we change or adjust the wires the teeth will experience a little more sorriness, which usually goes away faster as you become more used to your braces. We usually explain to patients that, just like muscles can get sore after a workout, teeth can get sore. But in both cases your health and appearance are improved!