“Do Braces Hurt?” and Other FAQs About Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment faq

11 Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontic Treatment

Making the decision to pursue orthodontic treatment is not always an easy one. Between finding the best orthodontist in your area, keeping up with appointments, and knowing the do’s and don’ts of dental care, you may feel overwhelmed.

Worry not, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about orthodontic treatment into one article, so keep on reading to get the answers!

What Is Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontic care isn’t just for straightening teeth. Braces and clear aligners both work to straighten teeth, align the jaw, and fix issues with the bite.

These issues often cause issues with eating and talking, which are both incredibly impactful on your quality of life. If you discover these issues in adolescence, orthodontic treatment can make for easier development later on.

Do Braces Hurt?

Any time teeth are being moved, it’s a normal (and expected) biological response to have discomfort for the 1-3 days following placement. In fact, experiencing discomfort is an indication that the orthodontic treatment is working and teeth are beginning to respond.

Taking over-the-counter medications such as Ibuprofen and Tylenol can help with this discomfort. Additionally, choosing softer foods for a few days will help.

How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?

The length of treatment depends entirely on the complexity of the case. Depending on your situation, you can expect treatment to last anywhere from one to three years.

The time it takes to complete treatment is not due to your choice of clear aligners over braces. Both treatments take about the same amount of time if you follow the care instructions.

Braces vs. Clear Aligners: Which One Is Best?

As mentioned above, both treatments take about the same time if you follow instructions correctly. This is especially important for clear aligners, as you can take them out.

Clear aligners require 18-22 hours of wear every day, and should only be taken out while eating or drinking. If you can trust yourself/your child to wear them for this duration and keep them safe while out of the mouth, then clear aligners are a great choice.

Traditional braces may be a better option for those who want to take some of the accountability off their shoulders. Braces are not removable, but they must be maintained with good brushing habits.

How Often Do I Have to Visit the Orthodontist?

Much like duration, the exact number of visits is based on your specific treatment plan.

Appointments may be scheduled as often as once a month to as frequently as every three months. Additionally, the frequency of appointments may change as your progress throughout the treatment.

The length of the appointment also depends on your progress. Some check-up appointments may only include inspection and cleaning (about 30 minutes), while some will be more thorough.

Do I Still Have to Visit the Dentist?

Keeping up with your oral hygiene is even more important when you have braces, as there are more hiding spots in your mouth for bacteria.

Individuals with braces should continue with their six-month cleanings at their normal dental care facility. Cleanings will often include braces-specific care, such as flossing under the braces wire.

Are Clear Aligners Really Invisible?

Yes! Clear aligners are made of transparent plastic and fitted to your teeth, so they will be invisible when worn.

However, if you do not follow care instructions (like drinking liquids other than water while wearing, not cleaning them with soap, etc.) your aligners can stain. This will cause them to have a slight tint on top of your teeth.

Can I Play Instruments With Braces?

If you or your child play an instrument that requires the usage of the mouth (i.e., flute or trombone), it is perfectly safe for them to continue. It may take some getting used to, though.

Can I Play Sports With Braces?

Much like with instruments, sports are fine to continue while having orthodontic treatment.

To avoid a slowdown in progress from an injury, we strongly suggest wearing a mouth guard to protect your teeth and braces. You can purchase these online or from your family dentist.

What Foods Should I Avoid With Braces?

As mentioned above, clear aligners should be taken out while eating. This means that no particular foods need to be avoided.

Braces, however, have much stricter guidelines when it comes to eating and drinking.

Foods that should be avoided with braces generally consist of foods that are sticky, hard, or chewy. Softer foods are generally best for braces wearers, as they are less likely to disrupt the hardware.

What Is The Best Age to Receive Orthodontic Treatment?

Healthy teeth can shift at any age, so there is not a “best time” to get braces or clear aligners.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist when a possible orthodontic issue is first noticed, and/or no later than age seven.

If you’re past the age of seven and haven’t been checked, no worries! Orthodontic treatment can be beneficial at any age. In fact, a new smile can be especially life-changing for those who have lived with orthodontic issues for many years.

Book An Appointment for Specific Questions

While many facets of orthodontic treatment look the same between patients, not every mouth is made the same. If you have specific questions not answered in this article, your best bet is to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist near you.

Happen to be looking for a dentist in Omaha, NE? We’re here for you! Visit our website to make an appointment.