Quick guide to orthodontic basics.

Concise answers for some of our most commonly asked questions. Don’t see here what you’re looking for? Please call us! We’ll gladly answer any of your questions.

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics are a specialized branch of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of teeth and jaw irregularities. 

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist with two to three years of additional training and experience specializing in straightening teeth, correcting misaligned jaw structure, and improving the look and function of your smile.

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

It’s always the right age to improve your smile. Orthodontic treatment is great for kids, teens, and adults alike—1 in 5 patients is over 21 years old.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around age seven. Children’s jaws are still growing, so early intervention for certain issues prevents more invasive and time-intensive treatment down the road.

Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or for an older child, any time is a good time to get an orthodontic evaluation.

What are braces?

Braces are a tried-and-true method to enhance the look of your smile and the function of your bite. Your orthodontist attaches small brackets to each tooth and connects them with thin wires to gently shift your teeth over time. 

How long do I have to wear my braces?

Each person’s mouth responds differently to treatment, which can take anywhere from six to 30 months, depending on the type of correction. Most standard treatments take about 22 months.

Do braces hurt?

When you first get braces, you may feel mild discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to the brackets and wires. When your orthodontist periodically adjusts the wires to guide your teeth, you’ll probably feel sore for a few days. Most of the time you’ll feel just fine.

How should I take care of my teeth while wearing braces or a retainer?
  • Brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • To help prevent cavities, use toothpaste that contains fluoride and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. 
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, store it in its container so it doesn’t get lost or broken. Brush your teeth and floss before putting your retainer back in your mouth.
  • Keep your retainer clean, too. When you brush your teeth, also gently brush your retainer with toothpaste. You may also soak it in a denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Don’t put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar. Sugar increases bacteria growth in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy candy, taffy), 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, etc.). After your treatment you can go back to all the foods you love.
  • Schedule routine checkups with your family dentist every six months.


Should I brush more often if I have braces?

Yes. Brush your teeth at least three times a day to remove any food caught between the braces or in your teeth. Just as important is to floss daily to clean all the nooks and crannies where your brush can’t reach. Your orthodontist will show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed. A thorough brushing and flossing routine is the best way to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy—and your smile looking amazing.

Do I still need dental checkups every six months while I have braces?

Absolutely! In fact, it's even more important that orthodontic patients visit their dentist regularly, because braces can make brushing trickier. Bits of food caught where your toothbrush can't reach cause bacteria to build up, leading to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to help you keep your teeth clean and healthy while wearing braces.

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

Wearing braces won’t stop you from participating in any of your activities, though playing an instrument or a contact sport with braces may require some adjustment at first. We recommend that you wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports to protect your braces or appliance.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Give us a call! Our friendly staff are happy to help schedule your next appointment. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know, and we’ll provide you with all of the information you need.

What is Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign treatment is the process of wearing a series of clear, removable aligners that gradually straighten your teeth. No brackets and wires, and none of the restrictions that come with metal braces. 

What’s the best way to clean my aligners?

The best way to clean your aligners is by brushing and rinsing them in lukewarm water and using the Invisalign Cleaning Crystals or special cleaning tablets. It’s important that you brush your teeth after each meal before re-inserting your aligners to maintain good oral hygiene. 

How long does Invisalign treatment take?

Depending on the complexity of your case, you could complete your treatment in as little as 6 months. But you'll start seeing results in a matter of weeks.

What is the treatment process?

Once you approve your plan, your unique aligners will be created. You will wear each set of aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day, changing to a new set of aligners every 1 to 2 weeks, as directed by your doctor. Each set of aligners will gently and gradually shift your teeth into place, according to your treatment plan, until you reach your beautiful new smile.

How many hours a day do I need to wear my clear aligners?

It is recommended you wear your clear aligners for 20-22 hours per day for best results.

What should I do if an attachment comes off before my next appointment?

Call or text us to let us know which attachment came off so we can modify your next appointment. Usually, we can wait until your next appointment to reattach it.

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(727) 848-5525

1822 Health Care Drive Building 6 Trinity, FL 34655

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