FAQ’s About Braces…
When should my child be seen by an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child should be seen by an orthodontist by the age of 7. Some children will need to be seen at an earlier age and usually your dentist or family physician will guide you. Early detection does not always mean early treatment. We will usually follow your child as they grow and develop and guide you on the appropriate time to begin orthodontic treatment.
How long do braces have to be worn?
At Carolina Braces, we don’t just align teeth; we create beautiful smiles. Our treatment decisions are based on your individual smile, profile and other factors that will impact what you will look like in your 40s, 50s and beyond. However, the average total treatment time is 6 to 24 months.
Types of Braces
Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth
Invisible (Clear) Orthodontic Appliances
Invisalign® uses a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable aligners to straighten your teeth. And, no one can tell you are wearing Invisalign because it’s invisible! Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment. Click here to learn more about Invisalign.
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.
Does it hurt to get braces on?
No, they are attached to the surface of your teeth. (No shots or drilling!) Orthodontic therapy uses appliances to move the teeth with gentle pressure. When braces are applied or adjusted, your teeth and gums may be tender for a day or two. The amount of discomfort varies from patient to patient, but usually does not last more than 48 hours. Dr. Kent practices the most modern techniques and works with each patient to achieve comfort during the course of treatment. If you do experience any discomfort, we recommend that you try taking Ibuprofen or Tylenol. If the discomfort does not go away, you can also try dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).
It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We will give you wax to put over the braces to lessen the tenderness.
Will I still be able to play sports?
Yes, it is advised that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sports activity. We recommend that patients get their mouth guards from any local sports store. Guards that you can boil and bite seem to work best so they can be adjusted throughout treatment.
Will my ability to play the trombone be affected by my braces?
Be sure to mention your musical abilities (and your type of instrument) to Dr. Kent. He will give you lip protectors that make it possible for you to still play musical instruments.
What can I eat with braces?
You can eat most of the good things that you can eat now. Your mouth may be sore after you first get braces, so for the first week or so you may only want to eat softer foods.
Crunchy, chewy, sticky, gooey foods can damage your braces and lengthen treatment time. Caramel, taffy and peanut brittle can stick on your braces and pull the braces off your teeth. You also need to be careful with crunchy foods like raw carrots, apples and hard rolls as they can also “knock” your braces off your teeth. Please refer to the list below.
How about chewing gum with braces?
Gum usually is not recommended. It can get caught on braces and pull them off. In addition, the sugar in the gum can get around and behind the braces and cause cavities. In some cases, it may be possible for you to chew a sugar free, non stick gum such as Freedent® or Wrigley’s Extra®. However, Freedent® and Wrigley’s Extra® will still damage some kinds of braces so please TALK TO DR. KENT BEFORE CHEWING GUM.
Do I need an appointment if something happens to my braces or can I just “stop by”?
You need to call the office if you have a problem with your braces to set up an appointment. We usually have same day emergency visits available and it is our goal to make sure you are comfortable.
What if I have a problem and you are not open?
In case of an EXTREME EMERGENCY, such as a trauma or injury, please call our office for instructions. We always have an assistant that is on call. Remember, true emergencies are rare.
|Wire Poke||Apply wax over the brace or wire that is poking you. Call the office for an appointment to have the wire trimmed.|
|Broken Bracket||Call the office for an appointment to have it repaired If you are wearing rubber bands discontinue wearing them until your braces have been repaired.|
|Need Rubberbands||Call the office and we will mail some to you, or you can stop by to pick them up.|
Do I still need to see my dentist if I have braces on?
Yes, your dentist will follow you every six months for regular cleanings and check ups. Some patients are seen more often during orthodontic treatment, depending on the guidance of the dentist and/or orthodontist.
How long do I need to wear retainers?
Forever, or as long as you want straight teeth!
What if my permanent retainer comes off?
Call the office to schedule an appointment to have it repaired. Continue to wear your removable clear retainers and make sure you save the wire if it comes out completely. Bring your retainer and/or the wire with you to your scheduled appointment. We charge minimal fees to repair fixed retainers and replacements; remember, we want your smile to remain straight and beautiful!
Excellent orthodontic treatment results can only be achieved with a cooperative team effort: patients/parents, staff, and orthodontist all working together. Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor. For best results, a patient should:
- Keep regularly scheduled appointments.
- Practice good oral hygiene.
- Wear rubber bands, retainers, and other appliances as instructed.
- Eat a well balanced diet and avoid hard, sticky foods.
- Maintain proper care of braces, with no broken/loose bands or brackets. There may be a charge per broken/loose band or bracket if there is an excessive number of breakages.
Dr. Kent and the staff can encourage you to do these things at your office visits, but it is the patient’s responsibility to follow these directions.
Foods To Avoid
- Hard candy
- Sugar Daddies
- StarburstsCarameled Apples
- Sugar Babies
- Tootsie Rolls
- Now & Laters
- Taco chips
- Whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first)
- Hard French bread crust and rolls
- Corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating)
- Pizza Crusts
- Carrots (uncooked)
- Nothing hard – Nothing sticky -No big mouthfuls -No biting into anything hard!