An orthodontist is a specialist who focuses on diagnosing and treating improperly positioned jaws and teeth. The process of getting one's teeth straightened creates both anxiety and positive expectations, too. Read on for info on what to expect before and after a visit to a specialist.
An Uncomfortable Bite
Having crooked, spaced out or crowded teeth can cause you to chew improperly. For instance, if you have large spaces between your teeth, this could cause food to get caught in the spaces. If you have an overbite
, you might occasionally bite your tongue or your lip as you chew. If you notice something strange or uncomfortable about your child's bite, you may need to see a specialist concerning a treatment plan.
Expect to Create and Follow a Treatment Plan
During your consultation, someone will speak with you about treatment options. Some patients can fix their smile using a plastic aligner called Invisalign
. Invisalign is nearly invisible and does not require metal brackets. It can be used to treat overbites, underbites, gapped teeth, an open bite, crowding and cross bites (which occurs when both upper and lower jaws are misaligned). However, Invisalign may not be a suitable option for your child. Metal braces are often recommended in cases where teeth are severely overcrowded.
Someone at the dental office will speak to you about pricing and financing. Many offices will allow you to pay in installments, which is helpful to those who don't have thousands of dollars to pay at once.
Be prepared to make several office visits. You will need to get your child's teeth x-rayed, and the office staff will take an impression of your teeth so they can custom order gear to fit your child. Then, you will go back to the office for a fitting once your child's equipment has arrived at the office. If something needs to be readjusted, you will need to make an additional office visit.
Expect a List of Dos and Don'ts
Before you leave the orthodontist's office, someone will advise you on how to care for your child's braces-laden smile. In most cases, they will give you the following advice:
Expect Some Discomfort
- Avoid sticky foods that could damage brackets. Also, avoid very hard or crunchy foods. You will undoubtedly be given a list of foods to not eat.
- Continue to brush and floss. A dental hygienist or dental assistant will probably recommend a special brush and floss. They can also demonstrate the proper technique.
- Be sure to re-visit the office for follow-up appointments. This is especially important if your child experiences any complications or has questions.
It's normal to experience some soreness for a few days after the dental procedure. However, each patient is different. For some, the soreness might feel like a minor problem. Others might be especially bothered by soreness. However, the pain will gradually ease day by day. One way to combat soreness is to rinse with warm, salty water. If necessary, ask a dental professional to recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Expect to Keep in Contact With Your Dental Office
If your child is still sore after two weeks, then contact the orthodontist for a visit. Sometimes part of a brace or wire will dig into a sore space in the mouth. If rinsing with warm water twice a day doesn't relieve the pain, make an appointment for an office visit. Sometimes within the first few days, a bracket will come loose and need to be reattached or adjusted. If this happens, call the office for an appointment. Generally, such problems can be easily fixed, so don't worry.
Expect Changes to Your Teeth and the Interior of Your Mouth
If your child gets metal brackets and wires, he or she may have calluses inside his or her lips. This is caused by the inside of the mouth rubbing against the brackets. Once the brackets and wire come off, these calluses will be more noticeable. However, they generally disappear within a few days.
After the braces are removed, expect the teeth to feel a bit funny at first. The teeth might feel tender from the procedure of having the wire and brackets taken off. However, after a few days, your child will appreciate getting back to normal. He or she can eat sticky candies and even bite into an apple. Brushing and flossing will also be easier.
Some patients notice that their teeth are slightly yellow. This is because wearing braces makes it difficult to properly clean the teeth. However, dental specialists can advise you on what to do about yellowed teeth. For instance, you might consider getting your teeth professionally whitened.
Wearing a Retainer
You should also expect to wear a retainer. Retainers are recommended to help teeth stay in their desired positions after brackets come off. In most cases, your child must wear his or her retainer overnight. Retainers are custom-fit, and they do not generally cause any discomfort.
Expect Follow-Up Appointments
Once you've completed your treatment plan, you may be required to revisit the orthodontist again. During this visit, your child's teeth will be checked to ensure they are properly aligned. Your child's retainer should also be checked to ensure it fits properly. During these visits, you should also address any concerns you have.
Expect to Feel a New Confidence
Once your child gets acclimated to his or her new smile, you will witness a rise in confidence. Your child's teeth should feel straighter and even. Your child will want to show off this new smile. Hopefully, all of your expectations will be met.
Orthodontic treatment is intimidating for some, but seeking treatment is worth it if it means correcting tooth and jaw abnormalities. If something feels wrong with your child's bite, or if you want to improve his or her smile, contact
King Orthodontics by phone, or visit their website here
400 East Dayton
Yellow Springs Road
Fairborn, OH 45324
Phone: (937) 878-1561
9 Things Your Child Should Expect Before and After [Braces]