Summer is a great time to start considering orthodontic treatment. Appointments are easier to schedule, you’ll have more time to adjust to wearing and caring for braces, and kids experiencing growth spurts can get a head start as the jaw and teeth begin to align. Don’t put it off!
We get a lot of questions from our patients, friends and family members about orthodontics, so we thought we’d spend some time answering the most common ones. These are just a few of the many facets of orthodontics, so please do not hesitate to call our office if you have any specific concerns or questions.
When should my child first see the orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have an initial orthodontic assessment no later than seven years old. Although many kids will not actually start treatment at this age, a check-up helps decide if early intervention is needed.
Our orthodontist, Dr. Brent Benoit, will meet with you and your family to assess your child’s case and properly monitor the growth and development of the oral cavity. Most treatments at an early age consist of guiding jaw growth and ensuring that there is enough space for permanent teeth to erupt into the correct positions.
How long will I need to wear my braces?
Depending on the complexity and nature of the case, the length of your orthodontic treatment can range from just a few months to a few years. The average case spans approximately 24 months, or two years. A simple, minor adjustment may only take 12-15 months, but severe, complex cases can require more than three years of treatment. In order to create a realistic timeline for your particular orthodontic treatment, we recommend scheduling an appointment with Dr. Benoit to discuss your options. You’ll receive a custom plan that reflects your specific needs and goals.
Do braces hurt?
We get this question all the time, but don’t worry! Getting your braces put on for the first time does not hurt one bit, and even the brackets themselves are not painful. The initial process is fairly simple, and you’ll just notice a slight difference in the way your mouth feels for the first couple of weeks. However, as the braces begin to move your teeth, you may experience some slight discomfort, and there can be some uncomfortable moments when a wire is changed or requires shifting. This is temporary, and as your mouth adjusts, you’ll almost forget you’re wearing them!
I don’t want metal braces. Are there other options?
YES! Thanks to advances in modern orthodontics, we are able to move teeth by using a series of plastic clear aligners. This method allows orthodontists to slowly and effectively shift teeth without the use of traditional metal braces. In addition to plastic clear aligners, we also offer another alternative to metal braces — clear ceramic brackets. These brackets are tooth colored, and blend in with the natural shade of your teeth, making them almost unnoticeable. Ask us about your options at your next appointment!
How long do I wear my retainer once I get my braces off?
We always tell our patients, “Wear your retainer until you want your teeth to move, whether that be 2 weeks or 20 years.” The truth is, it’s up to you! Over the years, there has been a shift in the industry around how long patients should wear retainers. Traditionally, it was common practice to wear retainers for only 2-3 years. However, the latest research and experts advise wearing retainers for life in order to maximize results. If you want to maintain your straight, beautiful smile and protect your investment, we recommend wearing your retainer every day. Think of it as part of your daily routine, just like brushing and flossing!
If you would like to learn more about orthodontics or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Benoit here in New Orleans, please contact us. Our team is standing by to answer your questions and make sure you receive the best care possible.
Dental Arts is a full-service general dentistry and orthodontic practice for the entire family. For more than three decades, we have been providing the highest quality dental and orthodontic care available to the residents of New Orleans. Explore the Dental Arts difference today.