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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions About Braces, Invisalign, And Orthodontic Treatment

To read orthodontics treatment and braces questions typically asked by adults, click here.
To read orthodontic treatment and braces questions typically asked by parents, children, and teens, click here.

Q. What do orthodontists do?

A. Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose and treat problems with the position, alignment or spacing of the teeth, and related irregularities in the face and the jaw. We use a number of special treatments, including braces and other oral appliances, to correct these problems.

Q. Why should I (or my loved ones) get orthodontic treatment?

A. There are two good reasons: aesthetics and function. Having an attractive smile not only changes the way people see you — it enhances your own self-image as well. In addition, orthodontic treatment allows your teeth to function better and makes it easier to keep them clean, which can improve your overall health.

Q. When should orthodontic treatment be started?

A. You’re never too old to begin braces and orthodontic treatment — but if you start at an earlier age, your problems may be easier to treat. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child who may need orthodontic treatment should come in for a first visit around age 7.

Q. How can I recognize a potential bite problem?

A. Teeth that are protruding, crowded together or erupting out of position are clear indications that treatment is needed (View Examples). Less obvious signs are mouth breathing, frequent biting of the cheek or palate, speech difficulties, and thumb sucking that goes past 3-4 years of age. If teeth don’t meet properly when the mouth closes, or if jaws make sounds or shift as they move, this may also indicate an orthodontic problem.

Q. Does getting braces hurt? What about wearing them?

A. Having braces put on is generally painless. Some people experience minor aches and pains in the first couple of days or so, as they adjust to wearing their appliances; periodic adjustments may sometimes cause soreness as well, though it typically lasts only a short time. In addition, over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to alleviate any discomfort, but are usually unnecessary.

Q. How long will I need to wear my braces?

A. It’s different for each person, but generally the active stage of treatment (that is, wearing braces or other appliances) may take from 21-30 months. After that, a retainer is worn for at least several months more.

Q. How often will I come in for an appointment?

A. It depends on what’s being done, and how often you need to be monitored. During active treatment, you’ll typically come in to our orthodontic office once every 8 to 10 weeks.

Q. Will I need to have any teeth extracted?

A. If your teeth are severely crowded (because your mouth is too small to properly accommodate all of them) — or if you have impacted teeth (teeth that are trapped beneath the gum line by other teeth) — then extraction(s) may be necessary. In the case of younger patients, early treatment may make extraction(s) unnecessary.

Q. Will I have to watch what I eat while wearing braces?

A. Yes — you should pass up the types of foods that could damage or become trapped in your braces. Some of these include raw vegetables, hard candy, caramel, taffy and ice cubes (fortunately, ice cream is OK). We will give you a list of foods to avoid while wearing braces.

Q. Will I be able to play sports and / or play my instrument with braces?

A. In one word: Yes. Of course, whether you wear braces or not, we recommend you wear a mouthguard when playing most sports. Musicians are generally able to play their instruments just as they did before, but they may need a short adjustment period after getting braces.

Q. Do I still need to see my regular dentist while I’m getting orthodontic treatment?

A. You do — in fact, it’s more important than ever! Keeping teeth free of plaque (and potentially, decay) can be challenging when you’re wearing braces. Most of all, your dentist can help you avoid these problems with frequent cleanings and exams.

Q. Will I wear a retainer when my braces come off?

A. The answer is yes: If you don’t wear a retainer, your teeth can rapidly shift out of position — and then all the effort put into your treatment is lost! Your retainer helps you maintain that good-looking smile for a lifetime.

Q. Is orthodontic care very expensive?

A. Orthodontic care is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. Yet its cost hasn’t increased as fast as many other consumer prices, and many financing options are available that make orthodontic care affordable. However, weighed against the true cost of living with problem teeth, orthodontic treatment can be a wise investment indeed.

Q. Why should an orthodontic specialist complete my treatment?

A. Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatment.

Q. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

A. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. For most children, several permanent teeth have erupted by this age, allowing the orthodontist to effectively evaluate the patient’s orthodontic condition.

Q. Will my teeth straighten out as I grow and get older?

A. No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

Q. Is it too late to have braces if I’m already an adult?

A. No patient is “too old” to wear braces! A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health and happiness are vitally important to adults, and orthodontic treatment can increase your self-esteem at any age!

Q. How often will I have an appointment?

A. Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 8 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Q. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

A. Yes. We understand your schedule is busy, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check-in with their patient manager before dropping off their child.

Q. Does wearing braces hurt?

A. Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain appointments, your teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, over-the-counter pain medications, such as Advil or Tylenol, will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

Q. How often should I brush my teeth while I have braces?

A. Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will also show you how to floss your teeth with braces, and we may provide a prescription for a special fluoride treatment, if necessary.

Still have braces questions?

To read orthodontic treatment and braces questions typically asked by adults, click here.
To read orthodontic treatment and braces questions typically asked by parents, children, and teens, click here.



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Come Visit One Of Our 3 Convenient
Orthodontic Offices In Missouri!
Lebanon Orthodontic Office
590 Lynn St. (North Highway 5)
Lebanon, MO 65536
Monday through Friday, 8:00a - 5:00p

417.532.9532


Waynesville Orthodontic Office
100 Lafayette Cir.
Waynesville, MO 65583
Monday through Friday, 8:00a - 5:00p

573.774.5187


Camdenton Orthodontic Office
293 E. Hwy. 54, Suite 102
Camdenton, MO 65020
Monday through Friday, 8:00a - 5:00p

573.525.5141


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