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FAQ's

This is very much dependent on the case. The more complex the case, the longer the braces process may take. That said, a good “average” is around 18 months. Easier cases may take a year or less, while more complex cases may take 2-3 years. Your doctor will diagnose your individual case and give you a treatment time estimate before you begin.

There are certain cases where aligners excel but others where braces may be a more efficient option. For cases that have significant bite discrepancies and severe crowding and/or rotations of teeth, aligners may not be the best option. That said, the doctor will let you know if there is a possibility that aligners may be the right option for you.

We’re glad you asked! Your new patient appointment with AOS will consist of a personal examination with one of our doctors, free of charge. We will discuss your possible options and solutions to your chief concern as well as any additional dental or orthodontic needs that we see. Prior to moving forward with treatment, we will need to do a full diagnosis of your case so we can more accurately detail the specifics of your treatment with you. This will involve taking patient photos, a digital scan of the teeth, and any radiographs we may need. Once this is completed, your doctor will design one or more treatment options specifically tailored to you. You will then be able to review these options with our treatment coordinator and doctor (virtually or in person) so you can choose which option is best for you!

Provided that the doctor recommends immediate treatment as part of your case, you can begin treatment as soon as we can get you on the schedule! We do our very best to accommodate each patient’s needs. For some patients, particularly those that may require aligners or another lab-processed appliance (such as an expander), we generally budget 4-6 weeks to allow us to make sure we have everything ready! Sometimes, the doctor may recommend waiting a certain amount of time prior to starting treatment, in which case we will help schedule an appointment with you at a future time.

Absolutely! While an electric toothbrush is not required for good hygiene with braces (it’s all technique!), sometimes patients find them easier to maneuver around the mouth when they have braces. In fact, many times electric toothbrushes will have an “orthodontic” attachment which is generally smaller and more pointed to allow for better cleaning around braces.

Retainers are a lifetime commitment. That sounds like a lot, but the fact of the matter is that teeth will continue to shift over the course of your life. That said, teeth are most prone to shifting the first few years after treatment. Most people are able to gradually wear their retainer less and less the further they are removed from treatment, but better safe than sorry!

Definitely! There is no need to wait a certain amount of time prior to eating, just be careful with what you are eating.

Good question! It is hard to make a fully exhaustive list of every food item to avoid. Basically there are two categories of foods to avoid: sticky/chewy and hard/crunchy. These include things like most gummy and hard candies as well as things like nuts, pretzels, chips, and chewing on ice. It is also smart to avoid things like biting into an apple or corn on the cob with your front teeth, but these can be cut up into smaller and more manageable bites that will be fine to eat with braces. Popcorn is also best to avoid as the husks may get caught between teeth and braces and the kernels are likely to break brackets. Just be careful with what you eat!

Most retainers are fairly easy to clean. The main thing is you want to make sure to thoroughly rinse your retainers any time they are removed from your mouth. You can use denture cleaning tablets (Efferdent) every few weeks or even dish soap or mouthwash with your toothbrush. It is generally advised to avoid using toothpaste consistently on your retainers, as it can abrade your retainer and cause it to become “cloudy.” Your retainers should remain “clear.” If you notice the retainers becoming “cloudy,” they need to be cleaned!

Braces are meant to come off, and they can be knocked off teeth from time to time. If a bracket does come loose but nothing is uncomfortable or painful, it is generally okay to wait until your next appointment so that we can repair whatever has come loose. However, if anything does bother you at all, please call us so we can help!

An “orthodontic emergency” is any situation outside the scope of normal orthodontic discomfort. If a wire begins poking, an appliance comes loose, or something is painful or interfering with eating, please do not hesitate to call us. We always have a doctor on call if a situation arises after hours or on a weekend.

Unless otherwise noted by your orthodontist, rubber bands should be worn all the time except when eating big meals (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) or brushing your teeth. This includes wearing them when you sleep. The more they are worn, the better they work! The goal is 18-22 hours a day!

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