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What is Orthodontics?

More than just a pretty smile: Orthodontics can help you keep your mouth healthy.

Orthodontic treatments like braces help move teeth that are crooked or that do not fit together right. By fixing these problems, orthodontics can also help keep your mouth healthy. Crooked teeth can be harder to clean, putting you at risk for cavities and gum disease.

Using x-rays and other tools, your dental professional will decide if orthodontic treatments are right for you.

When should treatment begin?

The best age is between 10 and 14. This is when a child’s head and mouth are still growing and teeth are easier to straighten, but patients can get braces at any age. In fact, more and more adults are getting braces.

For best results, practice good oral care.

Braces have tiny spaces­­ where pieces of food and plaque can accumulate. This can cause staining, white spots, tooth decay, and gum disease. That’s why it is important to brush and floss your teeth after every meal.

How your teeth and gums look when braces come off has a lot to do with how you treat them while the braces are on.

The most common orthodontic treatment is braces.

Braces are made of bands, wires, and brackets. They gently move teeth into the right position. This can fix the way you bite together.

There are different types of braces. The most common are metal or plastic brackets attached to the front surface of the teeth. “Lingual” braces attach to the back of teeth. They are hidden from view but harder to clean.

Here are some tips to cut down on treatment time:

Practice good oral care.

  • Use tools designed for braces, like floss threaders, interdental brushes, and electric toothbrushes specifically designed for orthodontics.
  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss between teeth after meals.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Don’t chew on pens, straws, or ice cubes.
  • Don’t bite your nails or play with elastics.
  • Don’t eat hard or sticky foods.

Protect your braces

Quick facts about orthodontics

  • Orthodontic treatments with braces can move teeth that are crooked or that do not fit together right.
  • Practicing good oral care while wearing braces helps protect your teeth and gums. It can also cut down on the amount of time you need to wear braces.
  • Using tools like floss threaders, interdental brushes, and electric toothbrushes specifically designed for orthodontics can help maintain proper oral health during treatment.