Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics - Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

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Young girl with braces at an orthodontic appointment to have her braces adjusted.

If you are planning to have braces put on your teeth, then you probably have many questions about the process. How are braces put on your teeth? Do you have options besides metal braces? Is Invisalign treatment just like having regular braces? These are just a few examples of the kind of questions patients ask. Lucky for you, these and other questions are ones we can answer!


Do I need braces?

If your upper and lower jaws don’t line up (with your front upper teeth just slightly over the bottom ones), you may need braces. Uneven bites and crooked teeth create havens for tooth decay and patients will have a higher instance of cavities and gum problems. If the teeth are crooked, they decay easier, weaken more and can break from uneven pressure placed on them. If you find yourself with cavities or gum problems often, consider getting braces.


When it comes to both adults and children, studies show that straighter teeth can boost confidence immensely. Adults can get jobs easier and are often perceived as healthier, more social, trustworthy and confident. That can change your whole outlook on life. If you want a better appearance and the benefits that come with orthodontics, consider calling about getting your braces.


Model of the teeth with braces on them with colorful bands on the brackets. There are rubber band circles in front of the model.

When should I see an orthodontist?

You will only need an orthodontist if you need help with bite correction and teeth alignment. The key is to make sure you or your child see an orthodontist for an evaluation of your bite patterns and tooth alignment. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. This is a time when many of the baby teeth are getting ready to fall out.


When teeth are at odd angles or if the upper and lower jaw don’t line up, it can mean many oral health problems for the future. When baby teeth fall out, permanent teeth can come in at the wrong place and the adult teeth can shift and become crooked. Teeth can crowd in the mouth, and speech impediments can form if the jaws don’t line up. We prevent those problems with child orthodontics via braces and then we straighten the permanent teeth when they come in. If you have a child, make sure they see an orthodontist early to check for bite problems. If you are an adult and want straighter teeth, you can see an orthodontist anytime you would like. It is never too late to get great orthodontic care!


Is orthodontics the same as dentistry?

A dentist is not the same as an orthodontist, even if they have similar training. Both work in specialized fields that treat problems with the mouth and jaws. Dentists go to school for 10 years training in the treatment of oral health diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease. An orthodontist must do those 10 years of training, plus 2-3 extra years learning how to align the teeth and jaws correctly.


Orthodontics is a specialized field that will only shape and shift the structure of your teeth and mouth. Dentists perform work in treating diseases that can stem from oral hygiene and bite problems. Always see the dentist twice a year for exams and cleanings. Visit your orthodontist every 4-6 weeks for your orthodontic adjustments and if you are wanting to start orthodontics itself.


Young woman that has braces on her teeth. She is smiling at the camera with a sunflower in front of her.

What options do I have for braces?

We have four options available to patients that include:

  • Traditional Metal Braces: Brackets are attached to each tooth, and a wire runs through the brackets on both the top and bottom jaws.
  • Ceramic, Clear Braces: This mimics the design of traditional metal braces, except your orthodontics are made from white, ceramic material. This blends the braces into your teeth and helps diminish your risk for demineralization on your teeth.
  • Lingual (Incognito) Braces: Metal brackets and wires are custom-made for the backs of your teeth, where they will be bonded. These braces straighten like traditional ones, except they are hidden from view. Children do not generally have this option for child orthodontics simply because the baby teeth backs are too small. However, teens and adults can have this option.
  • Invisalign: If you don’t want brackets or wires, Invisalign is a series of custom-made transparent aligners that patients switch out each week. Designs are made of the structure of your mouth and aligners push your teeth each week into proper alignment based off of that design. Adults and teens have this option, as it can straighten the teeth well. However, it’s not the best option for correcting bite issues children may have with child orthodontics. This option is the best for braces concealment, for removing your braces for eating, drinking, sports, and for playing musical instruments.


What can I expect from the orthodontic process?

Orthodontics is very straightforward and easy on your schedule. The most time you will have to take out of your day with orthodontics is when you get braces fitted to your teeth and when they are removed. This is only because brackets and wires must be placed on your teeth in very exact ways, and removed meticulously as well. Your brackets and wires will stay on your teeth 18-24 months, so we want the process done correctly.


Even if you opt for Invisalign treatment, we will need to take that first appointment to map out the trajectory of your orthodontic treatment so the teeth align correctly during that time. You can expect to get fitted for braces at the first appointment, then ever 4-6 weeks, we will adjust your orthodontic appliances to keep your teeth on schedule for straightening. With Invisalign, you will switch out your aligners every week to slowly shape your teeth into their correct, straight position. If you want to change your smile without taking a ton of your time, orthodontics is the way to go. To learn more about our orthodontics and your options, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics at (720) 887-6003!