About Orthodontics

Braces – Why Do I Need Them?

Your dentist may have discussed the benefits of having healthy teeth and proper jaw alignment with you. Crooked and crowded teeth are harder to keep clean. This can result in cavities, gum disease, and eventually tooth loss. Other orthodontic problems can cause tooth surfaces to wear abnormally or at an advanced rate (attrition), contribute to difficulty biting into and chewing food, cause abnormal speech such as lisping, and put excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that holds the teeth in place.

For most patients, a healthy beautiful smile is the main reason for undergoing orthodontic treatment. After your treatment is completed, you will very likely feel better about yourself and have more self-confidence.

Will it Hurt?

Technological advances in braces and other forms of orthodontic treatment have greatly reduced the level of discomfort associated with movement of the teeth. However, we are honest with our patients and the truth is that for the first few days after your braces have been placed, you will probably feel some discomfort, especially while eating. Also, your teeth will become slightly loose. This is completely normal and is actually a good sign, because it means your teeth are starting to move! You can take any over-the-counter medication you (or your child) normally take for pain or headaches. The two most common medications are Tylenol or Advil/Motrin.

I Only Got My Top Braces. Why?

Dr. Bakhtari frequently places the upper braces only at the initial appointment. This is done intentionally. The usual reason is that there is too much overlap of the upper teeth over the bottom teeth (either in the front, the back, or both). This is called a "deep bite". If your lower braces are placed at the first appointment, it is very likely that your upper teeth will be biting on one or more of the bottom brackets. This will quickly result in those bottom brackets coming off the teeth, which means that you will have to take time out of your schedule to return to the office and have the loose bracket(s) removed or reattached. We prefer to avoid this inconvenience by only placing the upper braces in cases where a deep bite is present. The action of the upper braces and wire will gradually reduce the deep bite, and your lower braces can then be placed comfortably at a subsequent appointment (usually the 2nd or 3rd appointment).

A nice benefit of this is that it also gives our patients an easier time getting accustomed to brushing, flossing, and taking care of their braces because they only have half their mouth to deal with. And only half the discomfort as well!

Oral Hygiene

Now that you are getting braces, your oral hygiene routine is more important than ever. Braces have rough, irregular surfaces on them. These are exactly where bacteria love to grow, so you must take extra time while brushing to make sure that you thoroughly clean around the brackets. Also, you need to brush at least 3 times per day and floss once daily as well. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you have a travel size toothbrush with you at work or school. Don't worry, we will cover the correct way to brush and floss with you after your braces have been placed and we will give you a handout with photos and written instructions to take with you in case you ever need a reminder.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Most orthodontic emergencies are very minor and can be handled over the phone. On rare occasions, trauma to the teeth may require immediate attention. Please call us first so that we can make sure to create a time to see you. Otherwise, the most common problems are a loose band or bracket, or a wire that is poking and causing discomfort. These are easy to correct, and we may even be able to guide you over the phone on how to fix the problem at home. If we are unable to solve the problem over the phone, we will happily schedule a time for you to come in and get it taken care of. Please click on the link below to see how to correct most orthodontic emergencies.