Braces FAQs

The following are the most commonly asked questions about braces and orthodontic care provided by the JU School of Orthodontics. If you have a question not addressed here, please ask your doctor.

Q. When should an orthodontist first be seen?

A. Children should usually see an orthodontist around age seven. By doing this, big problems can often be minimized. Adults can visit an orthodontist any time, even if they’ve had braces before.

Q. How do I know if I need braces?

A. The number one reason to choose braces is the desire to improve your smile. However, braces may also help correct or avoid dental health problems such as improper alignment of teeth which can sometimes lead to gum disease and early tooth loss. Additionally, straightening teeth can eliminate uneven chewing, which can cause headaches and pain.

Q. How long will treatment last?

A. Expect your treatment to last from 18 to 30 months depending on your individual needs. Keeping your maintenance appointments, caring for your braces and practicing good oral hygiene is the best method of completing your treatment on time, or in some cases, earlier than anticipated.

Q. What can I expect on my first visit?

A. At your complimentary initial visit, you’ll meet our staff and get most of your questions answered. Then, we’ll determine a course of treatment and provide an estimate of the treatment costs. If you decide you would like to move forward, we can take the required X-rays, and make an appointment to place your braces.

Q. What kind of braces are available?

A. Today, braces are a fashion statement, so you can be as traditional or hip as you want to be. Go with traditional metal bands, colored, gold or clear.

Q. How long does it take to apply braces?

A. It depends on the individual case, but typically one-and-a-half to two-and a half hours.

Q. Will my braces hurt?

A. The modern cast, low-profile brackets we use are designed to minimize any discomfort between visits to the orthodontist. Your mouth is usually sore the first few days after you get braces and for a day or two each time they’re tightened. If you do experience pain that doesn’t diminish, alert your doctor and he/she will determine the cause of your problem.

Q. Will braces cause sores?

A. They may at first. Just rinse the mouth with warm salt water and they’ll heal in about a week.

Q. Do I need to do anything special the first week or so?

A. Yes, while you’re getting used to the braces, eat softer foods. Your gums and teeth will appreciate it. Be extra careful around your around your entire mouth area while it is tender.

Q. Can I play sports?

A. Absolutely! However, plan to wear an orthodontic mouth guard for protection.

Q. Can I still chew gum with braces?

A. Gum is not a good idea because it not only sticks to your braces, but also the sugar gets trapped and may cause cavities. However, ask your orthodontist if non-stick, sugar free gum is an option for you.

Q. What other foods should I avoid?

A. Stay away from hard, sticky, gooey or crunchy foods. If food is too hard to
chew, it could cause some of your braces to come loose.

Q. What happens if a bracket does come off?

A. The orthodontist will attach another one. Keep in mind, each time the orthodontist has to replace your braces, it delays the orthodontic treatment.

Q. Do I need to brush more with braces?

A. Plan to brush with a fluoride gel and floss after every meal and before you go to bed. Flossing is especially important to avoid trapped food.

Q. Why do some people wear rubber bands?

A. The rubber bands are used to move teeth forward or backward in your mouth. If rubber bands are recommended for you and you don’t wear them, it could lengthen your treatment time.

Q. Will I need to wear a retainer?

A. Yes! Retainers keep your teeth straight after the braces come off. Without them your teeth will move and the entire treatment could be jeopardized.