Irvine, CA - Orthodontic treatment is common for children and teens, and becoming increasingly popular for adults.
Dr. Sophia Updike, an Irvine orthodontist, answers some common questions about orthodontic treatment.
What age is the ideal age for orthodontic treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should visit an orthodontist by the age of seven. This is the ideal time because the child will have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth, giving the orthodontist a look at how the mouth and jaws are growing. But, just because a child sees an orthodontist at the age of seven, that doesn’t mean treatment will necessarily begin at that age. It will, however, allow for the orthodontist to monitor the growth of the mouth and begin treatment at precisely the right time to have the most impact.
Is it ever too late to begin orthodontic treatment?
No, any age can be a great age to begin orthodontic treatment. In fact, more adults than ever before are turning to orthodontic treatment to get the smiles of their dreams. Nearly one in five orthodontic patients today is over the age of 18.
Do I really need to see an orthodontist for braces - can’t I just see my general dentist?
While there are some general dentists who offer basic orthodontic treatment in their offices, it is best to trust orthodontics to the experts and that is an orthodontist. Every orthodontist is also a dentist, but not every dentist is an orthodontist. An orthodontist spent extra time after dental school in an accredited orthodontic program and then an orthodontic residency. They learn everything it takes to properly correct a smile.
What type of braces is right for me?
The only way to determine which treatment may be right for you is to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist. There are many options for correcting a smile, ranging from traditional metal braces, to clear and ceramic braces, to lingual braces and Invisalign clear aligners. An orthodontist can examine your mouth to diagnose your malocclusion, and discuss the pros and cons of each type of treatment.
How will having braces change my life?
When you get braces, you’ll be on the road to an improved smile that you will want to show off to everyone. But, in the meantime, there will be some changes to your life. If you wear standard metal braces, you’ll have to avoid certain foods, like anything too hard, sticky or chewy. No matter what kind of braces you choose, you’ll have to pay closer attention to your oral hygiene to ensure your mouth stays healthy.
How much will orthodontic treatment cost?
The exact cost of your treatment will depend on a few things, like the orthodontist you choose and the type of treatment you select. Standard metal braces are the most cost-effective option. Most major dental insurance plans will cover part of the cost of braces, so it’s important to carefully check your plan to get maximum coverage.
How long will my treatment take?
The length of your treatment will depend on a variety of factors. Your orthodontist can give you an estimate of how long he or she thinks it will last, but factors that can play a role include the severity of your malocclusion, the type of treatment you choose, and how well your mouth responds to treatment. You can never compare your treatment time to another person’s, because everyone’s teeth will respond differently, even to the same treatment.
Will braces hurt?
There is some discomfort involved in orthodontic treatment because we will be moving your teeth to new locations. However, the discomfort will be minimal, and you can take an over-the-counter pain medication to help with the pain. Orthodontic wax can help ease any irritation caused by the brackets and wires as your mouth gets used to them.
How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
You should brush your teeth after every meal and snack. Brackets and wires of traditional braces create nooks and crannies where food and debris can get stuck. And if you wear Invisalign aligners, you’ll want to ensure you thoroughly brush your teeth and aligner before putting the aligners back in. Be sure to keep a travel toothbrush and toothpaste with you at all times.
What do I need to do to keep my treatment on track?
Be sure you follow all advice given to you by your orthodontist. Wear any elastics as recommended, and if you opt for Invisalign aligners, make sure you wear them a minimum of 22 hours a day. Brush and floss your teeth and maintain regular checkups with your dentist to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy enough for orthodontic treatment. Maintain all scheduled appointments with your orthodontist to ensure your smile is on track.
If you’d like to learn more about orthodontic treatment and how it can benefit you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Updike today at (949) 870-9713.