Frequently Asked Questions

Braces & Aligners

What is orthodontics and what does it involve?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with correcting the alignment of teeth and jaws. It involves using braces, aligners, and other orthodontic appliances to move teeth into their desired positions.

At what age should I consider orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, but it is recommended that children have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7 to detect any issues that may require early intervention.

What are the different types of braces available?

The different types of braces available include traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

The length of orthodontic treatment varies depending on the severity of the case and the type of treatment. On average, treatment can last from 12 to 36 months.

Do braces hurt?

There may be some discomfort when braces are first placed or adjusted, but this usually goes away after a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage any discomfort.

How often do I need to visit the orthodontist during treatment?

Visits to the orthodontist will vary depending on the treatment plan. Generally, visits are needed every 4 to 8 weeks to adjust braces or aligners.

How do I take care of my braces or aligners?

Proper oral hygiene is crucial during orthodontic treatment. Brushing and flossing regularly, using interdental brushes, and avoiding sticky or hard foods are all important too.

Can I still play sports or musical instruments with braces or aligners?

Yes, but it is recommended that a mouthguard be worn during sports, and that musicians using wind instruments take extra care to avoid damaging their braces or aligners.

Can I still eat my favorite foods with braces or aligners?

Certain foods, such as sticky or hard candies, popcorn, and gum, should be avoided with braces or aligners. Your orthodontist will provide a list of foods to avoid and recommend alternatives.

Will I need to wear a retainer after treatment?

Yes, a retainer is necessary after treatment to maintain the new position of teeth. Your orthodontist will recommend a retainer schedule based on your individual case.

Pediatric Dentistry

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends establishing a dental home for your child by the time they are 12 months of age or within six months after their first tooth erupts. The first visit—and making sure your child has regular visits to the dentist at least every six months after that—not only ensures that their teeth are cavity-free but allows them to learn the importance of healthy oral health habits early on, protecting their precious smile for years to come.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give your child acetaminophen ( i.e. Children’s Tylenol) according to the product label for pain. Call our office as soon as possible.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child's teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?

A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?

Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child's teeth from decay. You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children's teeth.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?

Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?

The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

Source: America's Pediatric Dentists

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