Check out the frequently asked questions we receive about braces:

When is the best age for the first orthodontic exam?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends age 7. By this time, and in some cases earlier, permanent teeth have begun erupting and early evaluations can help in preventing certain complications and oral surgery. Seeing a child before their jaw growth has slowed has many orthodontic benefits.

How long does orthodontic treatment usually last?

The average time a patient wears braces is approximately 1 to 2 years. However, each patient is unique and the actual treatment time is case sensitive. A few factors come into play when working out a treatment including the amount of correction necessary, the rate of the patient’s growth, maintaining proper oral hygiene, and patient cooperation.

Does having braces hurt?

While braces generally do not “hurt”, a patient may feel some soreness and tenderness in the teeth and gums when the braces are first applied and after adjustments. This discomfort usually lasts 1 to 4 days and can be treated with an OTC pain reliever.

How often do I have to come in for appointments?

We ask our patients to come in approximately every 4 – 8 weeks.

Should I keep seeing my general/pediatric dentist while I have braces?

Yes, you should continue to see your dentist for dental cleanings. We recommend every four months for cleanings and dental checkups to avoid any problems while wearing braces. Pearly Whites offers pediatric and adult dental services and we will gladly accommodate all your needs.

Do some kids get braces more than once?

Yes. In some cases, an early intervention is necessary to fix a specific problem (i.e. crossbite or protruding front teeth). This early intervention does not mean the child will not require braces again once all their permanent teeth are present. This early treatment can however improve the overall outcome and can lead to a shorter second phase of treatment.

Are permanent extractions necessary?

New orthodontic technologies use lighter wires that have allowed us to accommodate all the teeth without extractions. However, sometimes in order to achieve an optimal and esthetically pleasing result, extractions are necessary to improve a patient’s profile. If at all possible, we do everything in our power to find alternative treatment to avoid dental extractions.

How is laser used in orthodontics?

A common problem we see is when a patient has too much gum tissue covering a tooth and it gets in the way of bracket placement, which will slow down treatment. While in the past this would call for surgery, with our laser and a topical numbing cream we can painlessly remove the extra gum tissue. Aside from the many benefits of avoiding surgery, this also allows us to carry on with our treatment faster than in the past. Additionally, sometimes the shape or architecture of the gum tissue after treatment is not esthetically pleasing. These can be re-contoured using the dental laser.