An orthodontist is a specialty dentist who focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of mispositioned teeth, bites, and sometimes jaws. All orthodontists are dentists but not all dentists are orthodontists. To become an orthodontist in the United States, dentists must complete another two to three-year university program and pass the American Board of Orthodontics exam. Orthodontists are most commonly known for treating misaligned teeth, crowded teeth, and space between teeth. They can also treat bite and jaw problems including, overbite, underbite, crossbite, and temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
Braces should never hurt or be painful. After initially getting braces put on, they will be a little sore while your mouth, teeth, and gums get used to them. Additionally, after getting braces tightened or adjusted they will be sensitive and a little uncomfortable. That discomfort in both cases should go away within a few days. Any discomfort or sensitivity can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers as needed. If any braces are ever extremely painful or the discomfort lasts more than a few days, reach out to our Orthodontists at Capitol Smiles Dental for advice.
The length of orthodontic treatment varies drastically from patient to patient; no two orthodontic treatments are the same. The average treatment length is about two years but ranges from 12 to 30 months. The duration of orthodontic treatment and braces can depend on the severity of your orthodontic issues, type of braces, maintenance, and the regularity of adjustments.
With braces having good dental hygiene habits is more important than ever. If you have braces you should be brushing your teeth three to four times a day: after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed. You should also use toothpaste with fluoride because it will help prevent cavities. Along with teeth brushing, you should be flossing between braces daily. A proper brushing and flossing routine will ensure food does not get caught in your braces, which is necessary because food stuck in braces allows for bacteria growth that could lead to plaque, cavities, and gum problems. It is also important to keep visiting the dentist every six months to get an in-depth cleaning and oral exam.
A retainer is an extremely important part of maintaining the progress made by having braces. Retainers are devices that are used after braces to keep teeth straight and prevent shifting. Although braces will straighten your teeth, when the braces are removed your teeth are still not set in place until your bones, gums, and muscles adapt. Bones are constantly changing, which means that teeth can shift long after braces are removed. The best way to make sure you do not need braces again is by consistently wearing retainers, even years after braces are removed.