Your orthodontist in Gaithersburg, MD doesn't want you to fear getting orthodontic treatment. Read our frequently asked questions so you can be better prepared for your braces.
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Frequently Asked Questions | Orthodontist in Gaithersburg, MD

What is an orthodontist?

Orthodontists specialize in diagnosing and treating problems with the position and alignment of the teeth and other related irregularities in the face and the jaw. They use several unique treatments, including traditional braces and other oral appliances, to correct and treat these problems.

Why should someone get orthodontic treatment?

The two main reasons are aesthetics and function. Having an attractive smile not only changes how people see you but also enhances your self—image. Orthodontic treatment allows your teeth to function better and oral hygiene is much easier, which improves your overall health.

When should I start orthodontic treatment?

You're always young enough to begin orthodontic treatment! Braces are for people of all ages, although the earlier you start treatment, the easier your problems are to fix. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child needing orthodontic treatment visit the orthodontist around age seven before all of their permanent teeth have come in.

Do I have a potential bite problem?

Front teeth that protrude, crowded teeth, or teeth that erupt out of position are clear indications that some treatment is needed. See more examples by following this link. Less obvious signs are:

  • Mouth breathing.

  • Frequent biting of the cheek or palate.

  • Speech difficulties.

  • Thumb sucking past age 3-4.

If teeth don't correctly meet when the mouth closes, or the jaws make sounds or shift while talking or chewing may also indicate an orthodontic problem.

Does getting braces hurt? What about wearing them?

Getting traditional metal braces on is painless. Some patients experience minor aches and pains for the first few days, but it is only the teeth adjusting. Periodic adjustments may sometimes cause soreness, though it typically lasts only a short time. Your orthodontist in Gaithersburg, MD, suggests taking over-the-counter pain relievers to alleviate any discomfort.

How long will orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment is different for each person, but wearing braces or other appliances generally takes anywhere from 6-30 months. Afterward, a retainer will need to be worn. To learn more, follow this link.

How often will I come in for appointments?

It all depends on what needs to be done and how often you need to be monitored. You'll typically visit the orthodontist once every 4 to 10 weeks during active treatment.

Will I need to have my teeth extracted?

Extraction may be necessary if: 

  • Teeth are severely crowded - the mouth is too small to accommodate all of the teeth

  • Teeth are impacted - teeth trapped beneath the gum line by other teeth)

In the case of young patients, early treatment can make tooth extraction unnecessary.

Are there foods that are banned?

Yes — you should pass up any food that could damage or get trapped in your brackets and wires. These include raw vegetables, hard candy, caramels, taffy, and chewing on ice cubes (fortunately, ice cream is OK). Don't worry; we give you a list of foods to avoid during your treatment planning appointment.

Can I play sports/play an instrument with braces?

Yes, of course. But whether you wear braces or not, we always recommend wearing a mouthguard when playing contact or extreme sports. Musicians can generally play their instruments as before but may need adjustments after getting braces.

Do I still need to visit my dentist while getting orthodontic treatment?

Yes - it's more important than ever to have dental checkups! Brushing and flossing and keeping teeth free of plaque and decay can be challenging wearing braces. Your dentist will help you avoid these problems with biannual cleanings and exams.

Do I need to wear a retainer when my braces come off?

Yes, almost always. If you don't wear a retainer after your treatment, your teeth can rapidly shift out of position. Why put all that effort into your treatment to lose it? A retainer helps you maintain that perfected smile for a lifetime.

Is it expensive to get orthodontic care?

Going to your orthodontist in Gaithersburg, MD, is a long-term investment in the health and well-being of you and your family. Yet, the cost has stayed relatively the same. Many financing options are available to make braces affordable for you and your family. If you compare the amount of money you'll pay while living with problematic teeth, orthodontic treatment can be a very wise investment.

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The Magic of Orthodontics Proper alignment of the teeth is basic to “Smile Design.” Their position dictates how they work together and affects the way you look and smile. Only orthodontic treatment can move teeth into the right position. Simply put, when things look right, they probably are right. Learn the basics of smile analysis and design and whether the magic of orthodontics will work for you... Read Article

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Orthodontics for the Older Adult Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so there's no such thing as “too old” for braces. In fact, nowadays about one out of every five orthodontic patients is an adult. Yet this figure represents only a small portion of adults who could actually benefit from orthodontic treatment... Read Article

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