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Questions About Orthodontics

At our orthodontic practice, we understand that you may have questions about your treatment. That's why we have created a Frequently Asked Questions page on our website.

Here, you can find answers to common questions about braces, Invisalign, and other orthodontic options. We hope this page will serve as a helpful resource for you as you begin your journey to a straighter smile. If you have any other questions that are not addressed on this page, please don't hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to answer any of your questions and help you get started on the path to a beautiful, healthy smile. Thank you for choosing our orthodontic practice!

Orthodontic care in Waldorf
At what age should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends having an orthodontic exam by age 7 to baseline dental development and screen for indicators of future problems. Dr. Vahab has a conservative approach and recommends starting orthodontics when all the adult teeth have erupted (11-13 years old) whenever possible. “Early” treatment between 8-10 years old is reserved for severe space deficiencies and other problems that cannot be corrected later. 

Orthodontics is not limited to children and teens. One in five orthodontic patients is above the age of 21. So it’s never too late to get the smile you have always wanted.

Why do some kids get braces when they still have baby teeth?

Dr. Vahab practices with a conservative philosophy regarding when to initiate “Early” or “Phase I” braces and only recommends it when it is absolutely necessary. Most children start orthodontics when all the adult teeth have erupted (average age 11-13). However, some kids can develop specific problems that are best treated early (age 8-10). During this developmental period, there is still a mixture of adult and baby teeth, and the bones are still growing. Cross-bites, open-bites, narrow jaws, jaw growth discrepancies, space deficiencies, under-bites, “bucked” or deep overbites, and asymmetric bites are examples of conditions that can be more difficult or impossible to treat if the “Early” or “Phase I” window is missed.

How do teeth move?

Tooth movement is a natural physiologic response to light pressure applied to a tooth over time. The bone and gums surrounding the teeth slowly remodel, allowing the teeth to straighten. The applied force is from soft, flexible wires or Invisalign plastic aligners. Most orthodontic appointments are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart to give the teeth time to move before the next adjustment.

Do braces hurt?

 It does not hurt to put braces on. However, for the first few days, you may feel mild to moderate tenderness and aching of your teeth. This discomfort will not affect your day-to-day experience, and you can continue to go to work, school, or social events as normal.

Will I still be able to sing or play an instrument while in orthodontics?

Yes! Dr. Vahab was a trumpet player in high school, so we love musicians in our office. Invisalign is always the best choice for serious musicians because the aligners can be removed while playing. You can certainly play with traditional braces; however, it may take some adjusting, so practice, practice, practice!

Will orthodontics interfere with sports?

Sporting Smiles is our name, and we love sporty kids! Dr. Vahab recommends using a mouthguard to protect your teeth and jaws from injuries. Dr. Vahab will assist in helping you choose the best customizable mouthguard for you. He will also adjust them, so they do not interfere with your braces.

What is an orthodontist?

Orthodontic specialists have 2-3 years of advanced clinical and academic training after becoming a dentist. They specialize in aligning teeth and jaws, establishing healthy bites, and improving the function of your smile.

How long will orthodontics take?

Orthodontics can range from 6-36 months. The average treatment time for a realignment of the “occlusion” or bite is 18-20 months. However, if the bite is already in good function, a dramatic aesthetic improvement of the front teeth can be achieved in 6-12 months.

Do I still need to see my dentist during treatment?

Yes. It is recommended that you continue your regular hygiene visits every six months. This is very important to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy during treatment.

How old is too old for orthodontics?

There is no age limit for achieving the smile you always wanted. I see a lot of patients that come in for a consultation and say “I have been wanting straight teeth my whole life!”

How do I keep my braces clean?

When in braces, brushing 3x per day for a full two minutes and flossing once per day is all you need to keep your teeth healthy. Electric brushes and Waterpiks are great, but they are not required. We will evaluate your hygiene at each visit to make sure you are brushing correctly and to help keep you on track.

How often do I need to see the orthodontist during orthodontic treatment?

You will need to be seen every four to six weeks for adjustments. On average, these appointments are 30 minutes long. Invisalign appointments are every 6-8 weeks and last about 15-20 minutes.

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All Rights Reserved Dr. Philip Vahab DDS, MD