Answers to Common Questions About Orthodontics
Nope! It will take a few days for you to get used to your braces, but after that, you will be back to living your normal life.
For contact sports, make sure you purchase a mouth guard that can accommodate the braces (don’t use a mouth guard that you heat up and mold around your teeth, or you may find out the hard way that you can’t remove it).
Most patients are in braces for 18-24 months. Some patients are lucky and in braces for 15 months or less and others require 24-36 months depending on the severity of the case.
Since every treatment plan is unique, it depends entirely on where you started and how we can get you to the finish with the best result.
We schedule our initial appointment to put braces on for 70 minutes.
During that time, we place braces on the top and bottom teeth, place both wires, ensure you are comfortable, and then have you watch a short video to discuss life with braces and how to take care of them.
Like asking on a long car ride whether you are there yet, asking if you are done with braces will not decrease the time required to finish. You have invested a lot of time and money into your smile, and we want you to be satisfied.
We will take your braces off as soon as we can, but oftentimes there are things that we see and want to fix that you may not notice. Once everyone is happy, we will be more than happy to remove them.
You can speed up the process by wearing your rubber bands super well.
Call our office and we will schedule an appointment for you to come in and get the bracket or wire fixed.
Until then, you can place wax for comfort or carefully attempt to trim the wire (we prefer that you leave the trimming to us).
The process of putting on your braces in the office does not hurt at all. A few hours later or the next day you may begin to feel some discomfort. This is normal as your teeth are beginning to move.
We recommend that you take some ibuprofen or Tylenol immediately after finishing your appointment so that you can get ahead of any discomfort.
For a few days, usually up to a week, you may notice some discomfort. Eat soft foods, and you’ll start to feel normal again in no time.
Cleaning around your braces can be tricky. If brushing was hard for you before braces, it’ll be even harder with braces on your teeth.
That being said, there are a lot of things that you can do to keep your teeth clean. Here is a general video of how to care for your teeth with braces:
1) Brush at least twice a day, if not after every meal. Food loves to get stuck in your braces, getting it out will be important to keeping your teeth healthy.
2) Brush for at least two minutes each time to ensure you are cleaning above and below the braces. Also, ensure that you angle the toothbrush towards the gums so that you don’t leave plaque on the teeth.
3) Be sure to floss when you have braces. Flossing will be more difficult, but we can show you how to properly floss. If flossing is too difficult, remember you can purchase a Waterpik to help clean around your teeth.
a. Here is a video of how to use a floss threader:
b. Here is a video of a Waterpik:
4) Use a fluoride mouth rinse like ACT.
We have a color wheel that shows all of the colors that we offer. From black to bright pink, pick and style your rubber bands as you choose.
Dr. Knapp asks that patients wear rubber bands all day and all night – at least 22 hours a day. They can be taken out to brush your teeth. If you can eat with the rubber bands, please eat with them.
If you cannot eat with your rubber bands, please put them back on immediately after eating and brushing. Remember that your teeth can’t move if you aren’t wearing the rubber bands.
Rubber bands will be slightly uncomfortable for the first few days while you wear them as your teeth begin to move. The better you are at wearing them, the less discomfort there will be.
If you wear rubber bands on and off or only part of the time, they will hurt more. Full-time wear is important for producing less pain.
Let us know if you have a latex allergy. We have non-latex rubber bands if you notice any swelling develops.
We have patients wear rubber bands different ways. Please do not google how to wear your rubber bands because we may have asked you to wear them differently.
If you forgot how to wear your rubber bands, please call our office, and we will tell you how we want you to wear them.
For the first 3 months after taking your braces or aligners off, please wear your upper and lower retainer full-time while at home (day and night). If you go to school or leave the house, please leave the retainers at home.
If you go to stay the night somewhere, please take your retainers with you so you can wear them that night.
After 3 months, we will go to nighttime wear unless you notice your teeth shifting quickly, at which point we will ask you to wear them more often.
Remember that if retainers are not in your face, they should be in your case. Do not place retainers on paper napkins as they tend to get tossed in the trash. Keep retainers away from pets as they love to chew them. Please do not leave retainers in a hot car.
Call our office immediately if you lose your retainer. Your teeth will move the most immediately after having your braces removed.
We have begun providing gray models to our patients of their teeth. Please bring these with you, and we will make a new retainer at a cheaper price.
Please clean your retainers daily. Use cold or warm water (not hot water) and soap (not toothpaste) to scrub your aligners lightly. You can also purchase retainer cleaners from Walmart, convenience stores, or online.
To use these you fill a cup with some warm water, place the tablet in the water, then let your retainers sit in the solution for 15 minutes before removing and rinsing with water.
Yes. Although we have straightened your teeth, they will always be trying to go move back to their original position before we put braces on.
Wear your retainers for as long as you want your teeth to be straight. When you are done having straight teeth, toss your retainers in the trash.
You have a few options if your teeth have sifted/moved.
- Do nothing. The risk is that there could be further movement.
- Make a new retainer where your teeth aren’t currently and hold your teeth where they are. With this route, you know that your teeth won’t get straighter, but they also won’t get more crooked.
- Attempt to wear your retainer full-time for a few weeks. Work on pushing your retainer all the way down onto your teeth to see if you can shift your teeth back to the position that you finished with after braces.
- Get treatment with braces or clear aligners to slowly move the teeth back in line with each other.
Sometimes a baby tooth is extracted or lost early. If this happens, the other teeth can tip or move into that open space, causing you to have the space required for the adult teeth.
In order to prevent this, Dr. Knapp will use space maintainers to try and hold space until the adult teeth come into the mouth. Once they are in the mouth, the space maintainers can be removed. There are several types of space maintainers:
- Nance – Dr. Knapp will use a nance on the upper teeth to help prevent the 6-year-old molars from tipping forward while the adult teeth come in. He will also use a nance during treatment to help hold the 6-year-old molars back while he moves other teeth.
- Transpalatal Arch (TPA) – Dr. Knapp will use a TPA to hold back the upper 6-year-old molars and help derotate them if they are turned in.
- Lingual Holding Arch – Dr. Knapp will use a lingual holding arch on the bottom teeth to hold back the lower 6-year-old molars from tipping forward.