By Kellyn Hodges on September 13, 2013
Braces can give you the beautifully straight smile you've always wanted but, if you're like many patients, you may have some concerns or questions about braces treatment. The following are some frequently asked questions about braces.
How long will I need to wear braces?
The length of time braces are worn depends on the specific needs of the individual. Length of orthodontics treatment will vary from patient to patient and is largely dependent on the amount of dental correction needed. On average, braces must be worn between 12 to 24 months.
Does wearing braces hurt?
For the majority of the time, wearing braces doesn't hurt. It is following a tightening or adjusting of the braces when the most pain or discomfort is felt. When the braces are tightened, they begin to apply pressure on the teeth, which can make the mouth sore and cause pain and discomfort. Pain should subside within a few days following braces tightening. For most, the pain is easily alleviated with over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin.
How often do braces need to be adjusted?
Braces need to be tightened and adjusted throughout the duration of treatment. For most patients, the braces are adjusted every six to eight weeks.
Am I too old for orthodontics?
No one is too old to have a beautiful smile. Braces are beneficial for adolescents and adults alike. Many adults choose to get braces not only for the cosmetic benefits but also for overall oral health. Some adults who have already had orthodontics as a child or teen may require orthodontics again in adulthood to readjust teeth, which may have shifted over time.
At what age should children be evaluated for orthodontics?
Early orthodontic assessment is important to long-term oral health. Most orthodontists agree that children should be evaluated for orthodontic treatment around the age of seven. During the orthodontic evaluation, your child will be assessed for proper oral function, cosmetic issues, and any other oral health problems. Though the average age for braces treatment amongst children is eleven, it is possible to treat younger children.
Are braces only a cosmetic fix?
Braces are not just a cosmetic improvement. Braces correct crooked teeth, which may overlap and make proper cleaning difficult. By correcting dental alignment, braces make it easier to fully clean the teeth and thus reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Orthodontics are also useful for correcting bite alignment. Misaligned teeth can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder can make chewing difficult and cause constant dull headaches as well as neck or shoulder problems. When braces are used to correct bite alignment, TMJ disorder symptoms may completely resolve.
Are there alternatives to braces?
There are alternatives to metal braces. Invisalign® is another option in orthodontics treatment. Invisalign® uses a series of clear trays to adjust the alignment of the teeth, but like traditional braces, must be worn for an extended period of time. Fast acting adult braces are another option for adults looking to quickly improve the alignment of the teeth.
To learn more about orthodontics and alternative treatments, schedule a consultation with our staff today!