Each year, orthodontists help millions of patients obtain their healthiest, happiest smiles. Yet, even though so many Americans have braces, there’s still plenty that patients should learn about orthodontics. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things that our orthodontists want you to know about braces, treatment, and oral care!
1. Braces are about more than aesthetics.
Although braces do create beautifully aligned smiles, orthodontics have a variety of non-cosmetic goals. Aligned teeth can make it easier to clean teeth properly, leading to healthier oral health. Plus, orthodontics can align your jaw position, aiding speaking, chewing, and daily life.
2. We can tell if you haven’t been wearing your retainer or Invisalign®
Your smile can shift out of place over time, so if you are not wearing your retainer as instructed, your orthodontist will know. In the case of Invisalign, little blue marks on the tray will disappear with proper use, showing your orthodontist if you’ve been wearing the aligners as instructed. Don’t undo time-intensive treatment by neglecting to wear your retainer or Invisalign trays!
3. Treatment can be affordable for all.
At Petty, Bielik & Burke Orthodontics, we work with everyone to create financing or payment plans that accommodate every family’s budget. We know how important an aligned smile is for health, confidence, and oral hygiene, so we are committed to helping people obtain this important care!
4. Even if you don’t think your child needs orthodontics, they should be checked early.
Even if your child doesn’t show any obvious signs of needing braces, the American Association of Orthodontists suggests children should have a check-up with an orthodontist when they are seven. Early treatment can help detect and prevent future dental, jaw, and oral health problems—often saving children from unnecessary tooth extractions later in life.
5. Adults get braces, too!
Orthodontists treat patients of all ages who want to improve their smiles. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, currently more than one million U.S. adults wear braces. If you are interested in improving your health and smile alignment, call us today—it’s never too late!
6. Braces have come a long way.
Though the thought of braces may conjure up images of headgear and mouths full of metal, orthodontic technology now offers discreet, comfortable, and efficient results. In addition to clear aligners like Invisalign, there are also options like tooth-colored ceramic braces and lingual braces, which are hidden from view on the inside (tongue side) of the teeth.
7. Don’t try to fix teeth yourself.
The internet has plenty of do-it-yourself techniques that promise a beautiful smile. Yet, these often do more harm than good. Some patients have even lost teeth using DIY braces! To stay safe, always visit a board certified orthodontist who will design a treatment plan according to the needs of each individual patient—taking into account facial structure, jaw development, and oral health—to safely create a healthy smile.
8. Follow-through is necessary.
Failing to wear retainers after finishing treatment will cause teeth to drift apart, creating problems like crowding, spacing, or flaring of the teeth. Protect your investment by wearing your retainer as instructed!
9. We don’t stop until the teeth are perfect.
Orthodontists provide an estimated time frame for the length of treatment, but this may need to be adjusted in order to achieve the desired results. To avoid delays, adhere to your orthodontist’s instructions and ask for a growth study. A growth study includes things like taking X-rays of your child’s hands and referencing parents’ and siblings’ jaws to help determine future growth speed and patterns.
10. Every treatment plan is customized and unique to the patient.
There are often clear approaches for common conditions like cross-bites, but more complicated cases may involve a variety of complex solutions—every patient’s treatment plan is unique! Be sure to discuss your options with your orthodontist, who will ensure that you achieve your best smile through customized treatment.