Frequently Asked Questions

If my teeth have been crooked for years, Why do I need orthodontic treatment now?
There’s no time like the present, and healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Orthodontic treatment can create or restore good function, and teeth that work better usually look better, too. A healthy, beautiful smile can improve self-esteem, no matter your age.
Do I need to change my oral hygiene routine during orthodontic treatment?
Yes, keeping your teeth and braces (or other appliances) clean requires a little more effort on your part. Dr. Griffies and his staff will explain how to brush and floss, how often to brush and floss, and give you any special instructions based on the kind of orthodontic treatment you are having. Be sure to follow Dr. Griffies’ dental hygiene prescription to get the best results possible. Check with Dr. Griffies and his staff about dental products and tools that might be helpful.
In general, patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods. They should also avoid chewing on hard objects like pens, pencils and fingernails. And never chew ice. It’s much too hard on your teeth – even without braces.
Also be sure to see your family dentist for a professional cleaning and check-up at least every six months during your orthodontic treatment, or more often, if recommended.
I see ads for perfect teeth in only one or two visits to the dentist. How is orthodontic treatment different?
The ads you are seeing may be for veneers. They cover crooked teeth and mask the problem, but do not address the structure in the mouth or how the upper and lower teeth meet. Veneers are not permanent. Many require removal of significant amounts of tooth enamel.
If plaque collects where the veneer and the remaining natural tooth meet, the area will be susceptible to what is known as “recurrent decay.”
Orthodontic treatment is far more than simply treating how teeth look. It’s about aligning teeth and jaws so that they meet and function effectively. It just so happens that when teeth and jaws are functioning well, they look good, too.
Do you use “Invisalign” to straighten teeth?
Invisalign is a system of clear aligners which can be used to straighten teeth in some cases however many malocclusions are better treated with “regular braces”. Be sure to ask Dr. Griffies about the alternative to Invisalign which may be “six-month-braces.”
What are my options if I don’t want braces that show?
Ceramic braces may be another option to lessen the visibility of braces; they blend in with the teeth for a more natural effect. Additionally, the use of a series of clear aligner trays (invisible braces) instead of traditional braces may be used to correct some problems. Talk with Dr. Griffies about less visible treatment options that will help you reach your treatment goals.
I am pregnant and want to begin orthodontic treatment. Is this OK?
Discuss this question with your OBGYN/physician/healthcare professional and orthodontist before you start any orthodontic treatment, as pregnancy brings on bodily changes that may affect the mouth. Soft tissues such as gums become much more susceptible to infection.
Can I play sports while wearing braces?
Yes, but make sure you wear a protective mouth guard. Ask Dr. Griffies to recommend the right kind of mouth guard while you are having orthodontic treatment. Keep your smile beautiful after treatment and wear a mouth guard at every practice and every game.
Can I play musical instruments while wearing braces?
With practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of wind or brass instruments.
How long do I have to wear my retainers?
Whether a person has had braces or not, a person’s teeth tend to move throughout life. Therefore, retainer wear is forever. However, within a short time of the removal of braces, retainer wear can be tapered off so that the patient only needs to try on the retainers nightly and wear them if they are tight.
How long is the treatment?
Full orthodontic treatment can be anywhere from 18-to-30 months, depending on the severity and type of malocclusion. We do a complimentary initial consultation and evaluate the patient. During the consultation, we provide an approximate treatment timeline.
When is the right time to start treatment?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, a child should have a consultation with an orthodontist at age seven. While only a very small percentage of patients need treatment at this age, an initial consultation and evaluation provides the opportunity to detect issues early on – which means issues can be corrected very simply and inexpensively. If left untreated, some problems could result in the need to do much more involved treatment at a later date, such as extraction of permanent teeth or jaw surgery. We feel so strongly about this that we do complimentary initial consultations and will reassess the patient periodically at no charge for several years until it is the proper time to start treatment.