Frequently Asked Questions

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Orthodontic Terms

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application, and control of corrective appliances, such as braces, to bring teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment, thus achieving facial balance.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist in diagnosing, preventing and treating dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists must first attend college, then complete a four-year graduate dental program at a university-level dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). They must then complete an additional two to three-year residency program of advanced dental education in orthodontics accredited by the ADA. Only dentists who have completed this advanced specialty education may become orthodontists.

What is “malocclusion”?

The technical term for dental and facial irregularities is “malocclusion,” which means “bad bite.”

All About Retainers

What are the types of retainers you offer at ZB Orthodontics?

We use clear retainers and Hawley retainers.

How long should I wear retainers?

Initially, it is requested that patients wear their clear retainers 22 hrs (full time) per day. At subsequently scheduled retainer evaluation appointments the recommended hours of wear are incrementally decreased.

Why should I wear retainers?

After your orthodontic treatment, retainers are crucial in keeping your teeth in place and ensuring they don't shift or start moving back to their old positions. It is essential while the new bone grows in the socket area of the tooth, securing it in place.

Emergency Care with Braces

What should I do with poking wires?

If a broken wire can be removed easily, remove the broken piece. If the wire pokes, try to slide it over with your finger or put wax on it until we can see you in the office. Please do not do DIY solutions like cutting the wire or pushing it with a tool.

I feel sore. What should I do?

Soreness will occur off and on during orthodontic treatment. A dose of Tylenol or Ibuprofen that you take for a headache will help. Also, try to stick to softer foods during this time.

Metal components are causing irritations to my cheeks, lips, and tongue. What should I do?

Brackets may irritate soft tissues initially until the tissue toughens (as hands callous). Soft wax will ease the discomfort, as does a warm salt water rinse.

Braces Care

How do I brush and floss with braces?

Brush your teeth and gums properly at least two (2) times daily, especially after eating meals or snacks. You may use a floss threader and water flossers to help you clean in between teeth easier.

How do I care for appliances?

Please do not eat any foods that could damage your appliances and delay your treatment. Wear a mouth guard for any activities that might injure your teeth, gums, or cheeks. Repairing broken braces requires longer appointments.

Are there any food restrictions while having orthodontic treatment?

If you're having Invisalign®, there's none! However, if you are wearing braces, please avoid the following:
  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice.
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice.
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum.
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies.
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots.

Have more questions?

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