Orthodontic FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

Who is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training in a residency program affilated with a University medical center. Dr. Dunn is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile. In addition, he is qualified to treat sleep apnea, cleft palate, and TMJ dsyfunction, and assist in surgical procedures.

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age would be a great time to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens.

About one in every four orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any age is a good time to visit the orthodontist.

How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask Dr. Dunn or your family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep the retainer safe in its container so it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by our office. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, and can cause more plaque and potential cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

What are braces?

Braces are used by an orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:

  • Clear ceramic braces
  • Traditional metal braces
  • Clear aligner trays

If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?

The amount of time spent in braces will vary depending on the individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere from six to 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 22 months.

Do braces hurt?

Braces generally do not often hurt; however, you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces.

Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have 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 caught between the braces. Mouth rinses, water piks, air floss, or traditional floss will aid in the process of cleaning.

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! In fact, it’s extremely important to visit your dentist regularly.  He or she will work closely with Dr. Dunn to maintain your oral health. 

Will my braces interfere with activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?

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, it is recommended that you wear an orthodontic mouthguard to protect for mouth and appliances. Please ask our staff if you have questions.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Simply call our practice and our staff will be happy to schedule your next appointment.

Master Series Clear Correct Phillips Zoom American Association of Orthodontists