Orthodontic FAQs

Transitioning into orthodontic treatment can be confusing and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Looking for answers online can be exhausting and frustrating, especially when some orthodontists have differing opinions! We always suggest our current and new patients go straight to the source—Dudley Smiles! That’s why we have compiled some orthodontic FAQs in one spot for easy referencing and quick answers to common inquiries.  

What Is The Best Age For Treatment?

Despite being commonly associated with teenagers, orthodontic work is actually for people of all ages! 

The American Association Of Orthodontists encourages children to be examined by an orthodontist before age seven. Though most children will not need to start care so young, and some might not even need to start at all, it is best to have them examined early so potential problems can be found and dealt with early. The earlier we catch them, the easier they are to improve! Orthodontic work is often easier to perform on children because their bones have not solidified yet, saving your child time, money, and discomfort when they are older.

But don’t let that discourage you from considering care when you’re older. It might take a little longer or different treatment methods, but you’re still a qualifiable candidate as an adult! You’re never too old to invest in your smile! 

Everyone deserves a beautiful, functional smile they are proud of, regardless of age, and Dudley Smiles has you covered.

How Can Orthodontics Benefit You?

There are many reasons someone would want or need orthodontic treatment, but in summary, orthodontic care can significantly improve your overall quality of life! 

Physical Health

Did you know that improper placement of the teeth and jaw can also lead to health complications? Malocclusion can complicate oral hygiene, and a misaligned jaw can make chewing challenging. If left untreated, this could cause tooth decay, dry mouth, choking, heartburn, gum disease, and more. 

These conditions can create discomfort or pain. Improper jaw alignment can also cause pain in the TMJ joint, which can become permanent if not dealt with.

Mental Health

Did you also know that crooked teeth can lower your self-esteem and be seen as aesthetically unappealing to some people? This unfavorable perception can negatively impact your chances of getting a job, having second dates, and making friends. Those with misalignments are more likely to suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues than those with straight teeth.

Orthodontic treatment can address both health and cosmetic concerns, allowing you to like what you see in the mirror and spend less time in front of it trying to improve it.

Do Braces Restrict Your Diet?

Technically yes…and no! It all depends on the kind of braces you have!

Those with removable braces do not need to change their diets since they must remove their clear aligners for eating and drinking. However, to maintain the transparency of their aligners for as long as possible, we suggest avoiding products that can stain your teeth, like coffee, tea, wine, or tomato-based items. The residue it leaves behind on your teeth can transfer to your trays and produce discoloration, making them more visible to others. Still, we don’t require Invisalign patients to change their diets because the trays are changed every two weeks. So, even if the trays become stained, you will have a new set to wear shortly!

On the other hand, if you have fixed braces, like our metal option, you will be required to change your diet to protect your oral health and the excellent condition of your braces. The wrong kinds of food can get stuck in and break your braces, so watching what you eat is critical! Unapproved food can also make oral hygiene a frustrating challenge if you cannot thoroughly clean your mouth. Like Invisalign patients, clear braces patients are encouraged to avoid staining food and drink, but again, it’s unnecessary. We swap out your clear ligatures every six to eight weeks.

Do Braces Hurt?

Again, the answer is yes and no! Wait, don’t click away! Let us explain! Your braces can be uncomfortable, but they should not hurt!

New braces, whether removable or fixed, can cause some irritation as your mouth adjusts to the foreign object in the mouth. It can pinch and poke at your cheeks, but you can relieve this with Orajel or orthodontic wax. After every wire adjustment appointment or putting in a new aligner for the first time, you will have a similar tenderness. Any swelling and soreness you get from this can be treated with ice packs or over-the-counter pain medications.

But your braces should not hurt! Unless you have experienced a trauma or injury, your braces are broken, or they are ill-fitting, you should be fine. If your braces are causing you real pain that surpasses discomfort, please contact Dudley Smiles immediately so we can find and fix the issue!

Are Retainers Necessary?

You bet! They are crucial to the orthodontic process. During active treatment, your mouth becomes moldable like clay because your bones are breaking down and reabsorbing. This action, known as remodeling, is how we are able to move your teeth! When active treatment is over, and we finish your braces phase, your mouth is still (metaphorically) “soft and squishy,”  and your teeth still can move around. And they will take advantage of that! Your teeth have excellent memories and prefer their original locations to the new ones. They will try to return “home.” That’s what your retainer is for! It holds your teeth in place as the mouth solidifies and adapts to its new layout.

At first, you may need to wear your retainer 24/7, except for eating, drinking, and oral hygiene. At times, some patients can wear start retainer wear just at night. Over time Dr. Dudley will slowly reduce the amount you need to wear it. (Patients with fixed retainers need to speak to our orthodontist team about the duration of use.)

Orthodontic FAQs

Have More Questions? Visit Dudley Smiles! We Have The Answers!

Orthodontic care can be life-changing, and we encourage all to consider it if you ever think you need it. To find out which treatments you qualify for, schedule a free consultation with us!

If you are not quite ready to start care yet, contact our Issaquah office to get answers to your questions.
Click here to see more orthodontic FAQs!

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