Orthodontic FAQs

Are you considering orthodontics but feeling frustrated with having many tabs open as you conduct your research? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Champlain Orthodontics has created this one-stop page full of orthodontic FAQs to help you get a jumpstart on your preparation!

What Is The Difference Between An Orthodontist And A Dentist?

Can you see just one for both your dental and orthodontic needs? Technically, you could, but we don’t recommend it because while they both provide essential oral healthcare, they are not the same! 

Dentists and orthodontists attend dental school, but only an orthodontist continues their education to receive specialized training in malocclusion and facial structure. Dentists also usually have limited treatment options, meaning they might not have the best option for you! Orthodontists have dedicated their careers and offices to giving you a beautiful, functional smile using various orthodontic appliances and top-of-the-line equipment!

You should still see your dentists regularly to ensure good oral health. Though orthodontists monitor your teeth during treatment, we do not provide the same services as a dentist. 

Will Braces Restrict My Diet?

That depends on your type of braces. 

You will not have to change your diet if you wear removable braces like Invisalign. Because you must take the aligners out for eating and drinking, you will be free to eat and drink as you wish! Our only suggestion is to avoid food that can stain your teeth because that can transfer to the aligners. If you consume stainable items like tomato-based products, coffee, or tea, rinse your mouth with water to remove residue that could discolor your aligners. 

For fixed appliances, like metal and clear braces, you will be required to change your diet to accommodate them. However, we encourage patients not to think of their diet as restricted but instead to view it as modified! Braces can be an excuse to try foods you would not have otherwise tried, which can introduce you to a new world of delicious meals and treats! After a while, the changes to your diet will become second nature, and you won’t have to think twice!

If you are a Lightforce clear braces patient, you should be stricter with your diet than those with metal braces because your brackets could chip or crack. Also, while your brackets won’t stain, the ligatures that hold the wire to the bracket could stain! You might want to avoid certain foods to keep your braces as transparent as possible. 

Whether you have clear braces or aligners, we don’t want you to stress over maintaining their aesthetic. Staining is unlikely, and even if they do become blemished, your aligners and ligatures are changed every few weeks, so they won’t look like that for the entirety of your treatment!

Am I Too Old For Braces?

No! It is always possible to invest in yourself through your smile! Though orthodontic work is typically associated with children and teenagers, adults of all ages can benefit from treatment! Everyone deserves a beautiful, functional smile they are proud of, so don’t let your age stop you from improving your quality of life with braces.

Do Braces Hurt?

We can’t promise they won’t be uncomfortable sometimes—we are moving your teeth, after all!—but we can guarantee they shouldn’t be painful!

Braces apply gentle pressure to your teeth to move them over time. When you first begin wearing your braces (no matter the type), you will probably feel discomfort as the mouth adjusts. You might feel similar tenderness after every adjustment appointment or wearing a new clear aligner. After a few days, you will get used to the appliance and the changes made. Until then, you can manage the soreness with ice packs, orthodontic wax, Orajel, or over-the-counter pain medications! Just be sure to read all directions carefully.

Though this slight discomfort is normal, your braces should not cause anything worse than that unless they are broken, ill-fitting, or you suffer from an injury. If you are feeling abnormally high discomfort and there is no apparent cause, contact us so we can find and fix the issue immediately. 

Do I Really Need A Retainer?

Yes! Retainers are crucial to the orthodontic experience, and we’ll gladly tell you why!

When your braces apply pressure to your teeth, your mouth goes through what is known as the remodeling process. During “remodeling,” the bones in your jaws break down and are reabsorbed. This process makes your mouth metaphorically soft and squishy so the teeth can move. We conclude active treatment when your teeth are in ideal spots and remove the appliances to keep your teeth from progressing. Unfortunately, when active treatment ends, your mouth is still “soft and squishy”! Unfortunately (again), your teeth will take advantage of that and try to return to their original locations!

Retainers are used to hold your teeth in place until the mouth resolidifies. At first, you will need to wear your retainer 24/7 except for eating, drinking, and performing oral hygiene. Over time, Dr. Ryan or Dr. Eaten will taper that down until you only need it a few nights a week. 

Because teeth can move over time for many reasons, it is unlikely that you will ever not need your retainer. Don’t let that discourage you from pursuing treatment, however! We promise it is worth it, and as time goes on, you will need it less and less. 

Orthodontic FAQs

Where Can I Go If I Have More Questions?

Champlain Orthodontics, of course! We are always here for you, no matter what you need! Starting treatment? Broken braces? Questions about insurance? Need replacement appliances? Want retreatment? Lose your retainer years later and need another? We are here for you!

To begin your braces journey, schedule a free consultation with us at our Williston or St. Albans offices! We can’t wait to hear from you, so contact us soon! If you are just as excited as we are, follow us on Instagram or Facebook to learn more about us!