10 Common Questions Children (Or Their Parents) Ask When Considering Braces & Orthodontic Treatment
1. At what age should you schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.
2. If you have braces, do you still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with our Tampa and Brandon orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
3. Can you still play sports with braces? What about playing an instrument?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, we recommend that you wear a mouth guard to protect your braces and your teeth.
4. Are there foods you cannot eat while in braces?
Yes. Once orthodontic treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and talk about the list of foods to avoid with braces. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables, and all sticky foods (i.e., caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following this list.
5. Can orthodontic corrections be made while a child has baby teeth?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.
6. Will your teeth straighten out as they grow?
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.
7. How long will you have to wear your braces?
Treatment time in braces depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, orthodontic treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The average time frame a person wears braces is approximately 22 months.
8. How often will you have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 5 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
9. Do braces hurt?
Generally, braces do not hurt, although some mild discomfort may occur for a brief period of time after the braces get tightened. After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all!
10. Do you need to brush your teeth more often with braces?
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. We can show you how to brush and floss properly once your braces are placed.