Skip to content

My dentist said I need to have some missing teeth replaced, but I need orthodontic treatment first – why?

Your dentist is probably recommending orthodontic treatment so that you can reach optimal dental health. Many complicated tooth restorations, such as crowns, bridges and implants, can be best accomplished when the remaining teeth are properly aligned and the bite is correct.

Can I play sports during treatment?

Yes, but be sure to wear a mouth guard.

Once I finish orthodontic treatment, my teeth will remain straight forever, right?

Teeth move throughout one’s lifetime, making it important to wear retainers as prescribed by your orthodontist to maintain your healthy, beautiful smile.

Are braces the only way orthodontists can move my teeth?

In addition to braces, orthodontists use appliances such as aligners to move teeth. Consult an orthodontist to learn what type of appliance can correct your orthodontic problem.

I’ve been seeing ads for straightening my teeth at home. Why not give it a shot?

Moving teeth is a complex biological process and there is a lot that goes into it. That’s why orthodontists must go to school for so many years to be licensed to practice this specialty. Many AAO orthodontists offer free or low-cost initial consultations. Isn’t your dental health worth a consultation with an orthodontist?

Can sports be played during orthodontic treatment?

Yes. But talk to your orthodontist about the type of mouth guard to wear.

Are there things I can do at home to treat discomfort?

Keep supplies on hand to address possible situations. Here are six suggestions:

  • Orthodontic wax.
  • Dental floss.
  • Tweezers.
  • Interproximal brushes.
  • Topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel).
  • Over the counter pain relievers (such as one taken for a headache).
  • A warm salt water rinse can be soothing, as well (1 tsp. salt to 8 oz. warm water).

When should I notify my orthodontist that there is a problem with my treatment?

If you notice a bracket is loose or if a wire has worked itself out of place, or if there is unusual discomfort, notify your orthodontist immediately.

Are there orthodontic emergencies?

Occasionally things happen to braces or aligners during orthodontic treatment. They may require a call or an unforeseen visit to the orthodontist – what your orthodontist will consider an “emergency visit.”

How much work/school will I miss for my treatment?

There may be some time away from work or school during your orthodontic treatment, but your orthodontist will do his/her best to minimize it. If you have braces, the longest appointments will be to place and remove your braces, and will likely be scheduled during the work day. Appointments to adjust braces or pick up a new set of aligners, scheduled every 6 to 10 weeks, are usually short.