Reviewing some orthodontic FAQ helps you to gain a better sense of what braces and Invisalign are and how they can help you get the smile you always dreamed of.
What is Invisalign?
The Invisalign retainer is essentially invisible, and it helps to straighten your teeth. Using 3-D technology, the orthodontist charts out the progression of your teeth, and custom aligners are created especially for you. Generally, you’ll wear each set of retainers for two weeks until your perfect smile results are achieved.
Can other people see Invisalign?
It’s unlikely that people will notice you are wearing an Invisalign retainer since it is clear and essentially invisible. Also, the retainer is removable, so you can take it out when you eat or drink. In fact, you can even take it out once in awhile if you have big plans for the night. Speak with your orthodontist to find out if that work for you.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
Not only can you take the retainer out when you eat and drink, but you can also remove it to brush and floss your teeth. That helps to prevent against some of the problems traditional metal braces cause when it comes to dental hygiene. Also, you don’t have to deal with the wire and brackets that often cause irritation to the patients’ mouths. On top of that, people do not need to know you are wearing the retainer, making Invisalign a desirable option for older teenagers and adults.
How many other people are wearing Invisalign?
Since Invisalign is difficult to detect, you would never even know how many individuals are walking around with these retainers in their mouths. To date, more than one million patients have worn Invisalign, and the numbers just keep growing.
Do I need to spend a lot of time at the orthodontist?
As you may know, traditional braces require somewhat lengthy appointments on a regular basis since you need to get at least some of the gear changed. With Invisalign, you generally will go to the orthodontist once every six weeks, and you are unlikely to spend a lot of time there.
Do I need to make major changes in my life?
No, you do not. Invisalign allows you to continue living your life as you were before. They are not as prohibitive as some other types of braces.
Am I forbidden from eating certain foods and having certain drinks?
While it is a good idea to select foods and beverages that won’t cause stains or decay on your smile, Invisalign itself does not preclude you from indulging in any specific foods or drinks. You simply take the retainer out when you want to eat or drink.
Is it going to prevent me from brushing and flossing regularly?
Maybe you’ve heard some stories about friends who had braces with wires and brackets. They had straight teeth at the end of the process, but they also had stains and yellowing because they didn’t brush their teeth properly. Simply remove the retainer to brush and floss, and you don’t need to change a thing about that routine.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. There are nine recognized dental specialities formally recognized by the American Dental Association (Dental Public Health, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics and Prosthodontics).
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two-to-three years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile. In short, an orthodontist is a dentist, but a dentist is NOT an orthodontist!
Dr. Childers has been a practicing orthodontist for over 20 years and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). The ABO is the only organization for the specialty of orthodontics that is recognized by the American Dental Association and sponsored by the American Association of Orthodontists. Currently, only 25% of the nation’s orthodontists are Board Certified.
What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and/or teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of twenty-one. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
- If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth and causes more plaque and possibly cavities).
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes) or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.
What are braces?
Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear braces (Damon Clear)
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces (Invisalign and Invisalign Teen)
- Traditional metal braces
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
The amount of time spent wearing braces will vary depending on the individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between six and thirty months, but most standard treatments takes less than twenty-two months.
Do braces hurt?
Some patients may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as their teeth, gums, cheeks and mouth get used to their new braces.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in-between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are on.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their family dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like singing, playing an instrument or participating in a sport?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouth guard to protect your braces or appliance.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice at: (618) 438-2815. Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your earliest convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know, and we will provide you with all of the information you need.