Frequently Asked Questions

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that is concerned with the study and treatment of malocclusions (improper bites), which may be a result of tooth irregularity, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both.

Who is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist undergoes extensive educational training.  After graduating from dental school, orthodontists go on for another two or more years of education just in orthodontics at an accredited orthodontic residency program.

What is the best age to be evaluated by an orthodontist?

Patients of any age are welcome to visit our practice for an evaluation!  However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age 7.  Dr. Guidry may see a child earlier, if a problem is detected by parents, the child’s family dentist, or the child’s physician.  An early evaluation allows Dr. Guidry, to determine when a child’s particular problem should be treated.  In many patients, early treatment provides results that are unattainable once the face and jaws have finished growing!

Why should children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7?

By age 7, enough permanent teeth have come in and enough jaw growth has occurred that Dr. Guidry  can identify current problems, anticipate future problems and alleviate parents’ concerns, if your child’s dentition is within normal ranges of development. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by age 7 and if the patient has a crossbite, crowding, or may be developing injury-prone dental protrusions, Dr. Guidry can evaluate these problems.  Any other oral habits such as finger sucking can be assessed at this time as these can lead to malalignment of teeth and jaw problems if unaddressed at an early age.

What should my oral hygiene routine consist of during orthodontic treatment?

Keeping your teeth, gums and mouth clean requires a little extra effort on your part while you undergo orthodontic treatment.  It is important to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.

During treatment, try to avoid foods with lots of sugar as well as any sticky or chewy foods (like caramel and chewing gum), hard foods (like hard candy or ice cubes), or any foods that may stick in your braces (corn on the cob, taffy, etc.).
It is also very important that you continue to see your general dentist every six months for routine cleanings and dental checkups.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment time varies from patient to patient, it can range anywhere from 6 to 30 months; however, the majority of cases are completed in about 22 months.

Do braces hurt?

Placing orthodontic appliances does not hurt; however, you may experience a small amount of soreness or discomfort for a couple days as your gums, cheeks and lips get used to your new braces.

Can I play sports while wearing braces?

Yes!  You can play sports while wearing braces, but it is important to wear a protective mouth guard.  Our office is happy to recommend the right kind of mouth guard and in most cases, we can even make it for you right here in our office!

Can I play musical instruments while wearing braces?

It may take a little practice and a period of adjustment, but patients are typically able to play wind or brass instruments while wearing their orthodontic appliances.