Orthodontic FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience beyond dental school. Dr. Barton attended UCSF Dental School and is a licensed dentist. He then attended the University of Florida, Gainesville for his Orthodontic Specialty training. He is now a Specialist in Orthodontics and is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile with the expertise gained in his Orthodontic Residency program.

What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?

If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven.  Orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, however, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of 21. Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.

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

BRACES

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use fluoride toothpaste each time you brush.  You may choose to also use a fluoride rinse every day...This may help to prevent cavities!
  • Do not eat hard, crunchy or sticky foods. These types of foods may break or bend orthodontic appliances which can cause delays in finishing your treatment.
  • Avoid foods/drinks that are high in sugar. Sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and puts you at an increased risk for cavities.
  • Schedule routine dental check-ups with your general dentist every 6 months. Dr. Barton requires you continue to visit your family dentist while wearing braces. Remember, this is a team effort!

RETAINERS

  • If you take out your retainer to eat,  remember to keep it safe in its case so that 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 your orthodontist.
  • Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • Do not use superglue on your retainer if it breaks
  • Wear your retainer as instructed to keep your smile properly aligned. This is a life long commitment.

What are braces?

Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. Dr. Barton provided several different types of braces to choose from, these may include:

  • Mini metal braces
  • Clear braces
  • Self-ligating braces

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 between six and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 24 months.

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not often hurt though 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 that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn't able to reach. Our team will  show you how to properly care for your orthodontic appliances once placed.

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

Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with Dr. Barton to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

Will my braces interfere with my school 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 a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance. Let us know if you will need an orthodontic mouthgard, we have them here for you!

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Your next orthodontic adjustment will always be scheduled before you leave our office. This way, we can help you find a time that will best work with your upcoming schedule.  If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.