Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Orthodontics

The following are frequently asked questions (FAQs) we get about orthodontic treatments we offer at our office

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 do orthodontists do?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist with two to three years of additional training and experience beyond dental school.

Your orthodontist can straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.

What types of insurance does your orthodontic office accept?

We accept and participate with most insurance companies. Please call our orthodontic office at (703) 471-8333 so we can help you maximize your insurance benefits.

Which orthodontic treatment is best?

There are several types of orthodontic treatment options. We will customize your care based on which option is the best treatment for your case. Your orthodontist will help you understand which treatment option best fits your individual case.

What is the most common orthodontic problem?

An overbite is one of the most common orthodontic problems. In an overbite, the upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth. It can cause the lower teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth, which can make chewing difficult.

Is orthodontics considered a cosmetic procedure?

The straightening of teeth done by an orthodontist is not just for increasing beauty or for improving looks. When done right, it can also improve your smile, bite, and jaw. It's an amazing procedure that can improve your everyday life in many ways.

What is the best alternative to braces?

Depending on your specific orthodontic treatment needs, solutions such as Invisalign or Simpli5 can possibly be good alternatives. Your orthodontist will help you understand and decide which solution best fits your specific situation.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

Dentists and orthodontists both help patients improve their oral health, but they specialize in different areas. Dentists work with the teeth, gums, and nerves. Orthodontists on the other hand focus on straightening teeth, occlusion (contact between teeth), correcting misaligned jaw structure, and improving bites.

What is the difference between clear braces and clear aligners?

Clear aligners are different from clear braces. Clear aligners are invisible plastic trays that fit over your teeth and are custom-made for your mouth. Clear braces are a less noticeable alternative to traditional metal braces and provide patients with an equally effective treatment.

What is Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign is a leading brand of clear aligners that can potentially provide you with a faster, clearer, more convenient, and more comfortable way to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. This however depends on your specific orthodontic needs and requirements. Your orthodontist will help you know if Invisalign treatment is right for you.

How much does Invisalign cost?

The cost of Invisalign treatment is determined by how long you wear it, how many issues need to be corrected, and your orthodontist's specific treatment plan.

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 an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, 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 an excellent time to visit the orthodontist.

Which is better: traditional braces or Invisalign?

Braces are usually the best option for people with severe crookedness of teeth. Clear aligners such as Invisalign are the most popular choice for adults who want a nearly invisible straightening method. This is generally a great choice for individuals who have mild to moderate crookedness of teeth.

Which one is better, clear braces or metal braces?

A big reason why patients choose clear braces is that they are less noticeable than traditional metal braces. This makes them a popular choice with kids and teens who want trendy, clear-colored appliances. Clear braces serve the same function as traditional metal braces except that they are clear in color. They provide patients with equally effective treatment — straight teeth.

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

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container 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 a denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the number of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

What are the different types of orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment options include braces and aligners that are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces and aligners to choose from, including:

  • Traditional metal braces
  • Clear braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Clear aligners like Invisalign

Your orthodontist will help you understand and decide which treatment option is best for your individual case.

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 6 and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 22 months.

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple of 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 two 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. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are 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 your orthodontist 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.

Can orthodontics help with sleep apnea?

If you are diagnosed with upper airway resistance syndrome or mild to moderate sleep apnea, an oral appliance may be used to treat your symptoms. Our lab will formulate a device that repositions your jaw to prevent blockage of the airway by moving your lower jaw forward to keep your tongue from resting on your tonsils, soft palate, or the back of your throat.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Simply call our office at (703) 471-8333 and our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. You can also request an appointment here.

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 to get started.

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