Orthodontics FAQs

Delba J. Pena, DDS, PC | Hempstead, NY

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with correcting abnormalities of the teeth and jaw. Treatment is designed to help patients both aesthetically and functionally.

What types of problems does orthodontics treat?

Orthodontics can straighten crooked or protruding teeth, correct irregular spacing between teeth and bite problems, and align lips and teeth properly. Braces can assist in correcting all types of malocclusions, also known as misalignments.

Why is orthodontics necessary?

While many individuals are drawn to orthodontic treatment for cosmetic reasons, orthodontics is frequently necessary to prevent or correct difficulty with biting, chewing, and speech. Untreated misalignment of the teeth can also cause other oral problems, such as damage to the inner cheeks and tongue.

Who is a candidate for orthodontics?

Most people receive orthodontic care as children, but some adults also get braces. In young children, orthodontic treatment assists in normal jaw growth, helping permanent teeth to come in correctly aligned so whenever possible, orthodontic abnormalities should be treated while individuals are young.

What types of materials are used in orthodontics?

Bands, wires, braces and other fixed or removable appliances are used to correct malocclusions by moving the teeth and jaw into proper alignment.

When should children be examined for orthodontic problems?

Children should have an orthodontic exam by the time they are seven years old in order to catch problems early and to ensure optimal treatment results.

Does wearing braces hurt?

While the application of braces is not normally painful and requires no anesthesia, most patients report discomfort in the teeth and gums during the first week or two after they are fitted with braces. Over-the-counter painkillers can help relieve this pain, which usually subsides soon.

Does getting braces involve tooth extraction?

Many, but by no means all, patients who require orthodontic treatment also require one or more tooth extractions to allow the remaining teeth to be aligned correctly. Once the braces have been worn for the appropriate period of time, there will be no visible gaps between teeth.

Does wearing braces involve a change in diet?

Patients wearing braces can eat almost anything with the exception of sticky foods, like caramel or taffy, and hard foods like nuts or certain candies.

How are braces cared for?

It is important that patients wearing braces keep their braces and their teeth clean by thoroughly brushing and flossing with special floss, preferably after every meal. It is necessary for the orthodontist to check the braces regularly, usually every 6 weeks, to make any necessary adjustments. It is also essential that the patient see the general dentist for routine check-ups during the period of orthodontic care.

Can braces be worn during sports activities?

Yes. Activities are not limited for people undergoing orthodontic treatment. It is usually necessary, however, for individuals engaged in athletic activities to wear mouth guards to protect both the braces and the teeth themselves.

What difficulties does early orthodontics prevent?

Left untreated, a malocclusion can cause or worsen the following: tooth decay, gum disease, wearing down of the teeth, jaw misalignment, and facial, head or neck pain.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

The length of time braces must be worn varies depending on the extent of correction required. Generally speaking, patients wear braces for 1 to 2 years.

What are the benefits of newer orthodontic treatments?

The most recent orthodontic treatments are more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing than those previously used. Many types of braces are barely noticeable and provide faster results than those used in the past.

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