Orthodontic FAQs

What is orthodontics? 

It’s a branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities. For example, Dr. Cochran treats crowded teeth with braces.  

What is an orthodontist? 

Orthodontists are dental specialists who complete an orthodontic residency program for two to three years after dental school. During this time, they receive intensive training in moving teeth and aligning jaws. They diagnose, prevent, intercept, and treat dental and facial irregularities.  

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist? 

There is no “best age” to visit the orthodontist since healthy teeth can be moved at any age. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist at age seven.  

What are braces?

We use braces to help improve how your smile looks and how your jaw works. There are different types of braces, which include: 
• Clear braces
• Ceramic braces
• Self-ligating braces
• Invisible braces
• Traditional metal braces

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

Since everyone’s teeth respond differently to treatment, it depends on the individual patient. You can wear braces anywhere from 6 to 30 months. Usually, treatments last about 22 months.  

Does it hurt to wear braces?

You might feel a bit uncomfortable for a few days when you first get braces. However, this should go away once your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to them.  

Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces? 

Since it’s easier for food to get trapped in braces, it’s easier for you to develop cavities. You can prevent this by brushing your teeth at least three times a day after every meal, and by flossing once a day. This will help keep your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy. Once your braces are placed, we can show you how to clean your teeth and braces properly.  

How do I take care of my teeth while wearing braces or a retainer?

• Always brush your teeth after every meal and floss once a day.
• To prevent cavities, use toothpaste with fluoride and check with our office or your family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse.
• Make sure you brush your teeth and floss if you take out your retainer to eat. Also, keep your retainer safe in its container so it doesn’t get lost or broken.
• Clean your retainer by gently brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Dr. Cochran may also instruct you to soak it in denture cleaner. But, don’t put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher!
• While wearing braces, you’ll need to avoid sugary foods and drinks because these increase the number of bacteria in your mouth, which causes more plaque and can give you cavities.
• Avoid any foods that might get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, taffy, soft bagels) as well as sticky and chewy foods (caramel, gum, gummy bears), and hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes).
• Make sure to continue seeing your family dentist for regular checkups every six months.

How often will I have to see my orthodontist while I’m in treatment?  

Usually, you’ll come to see Dr. Cochran every six to ten weeks while you’ve got your braces on. This will help her make changes as you go through treatment, keep an eye on how the treatment is progressing, and monitor the health of your teeth and gums. 

Do I still need dental checkups every six months if I have braces?  

Absolutely! It’s even more important to keep up with your regular checkups since food can get trapped in places you might not be able to clean out yourself. If left alone, this can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Therefore, we’ll work with your dentist to keep your teeth healthy while making them look and feel nice.  

Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing? 

Wearing braces will take some time to get used to, but they won’t stop you from participating in your school activities. However, if you play a contact sport you should wear a mouthguard to keep your braces safe.

How do I schedule my next appointment?  

Give us a call! We’ll be happy to schedule your appointment at the time that works best. If you’re a new patient or you’ve been referred by your dentist, let us know so that we can give you all the information necessary.