If you’re thinking about getting braces for yourself or your child, you probably have a few questions. So we’ve put together our answers to the questions we hear most often.

What Are Braces?

Braces are dental devices that are used to move your teeth into their desired position gradually. While traditional metal braces are the most common, here at Murphy Orthodontists, we also offer plenty of other options to help straighten your smile, such as: 

  • Clear ceramic braces
  • Invisalign
  • Gold-colored braces

How Do Braces Work?

Braces work by applying pressure to your teeth and bone structure. The change is gradual. During your checkup appointments, your orthodontist will slowly tighten and replace the ligatures that hold the archwire securely in place. Depending on how the process is coming along, your orthodontists might switch out your archwire to either a thinner or thicker variety to help reposition your teeth.

What Is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist specializes in the field of orthodontics, or dentofacial orthopedics. They first graduate from dental school and then they must pursue around two to three years of extra training and experience to specialize in both the diagnosis and prevention of dental issues as well as how to treat issues ranging from crooked teeth to a misaligned jaw structure. 

What’s the Best Age to Visit the Orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that young children have their first checkups when they’re about 7 years old. This early care ensures they’ll form good dental habits and that their orthodontist will be able to catch any potential issues early on.

Here at Murphy Orthodontists, we can help anyone achieve a beautiful smile — from young kids to teens to adults.

What Do Braces Feel Like?

When you get braces, you’ll most likely feel a little bit of soreness in your mouth and teeth. This feeling is expected because your orthodontist has just tightened the wires and brackets around your teeth to start encouraging them to move into alignment. 

This discomfort will soon wear away. In the meantime, you can apply the special wax your orthodontist gave you, consume cold liquids and foods and swish a saltwater solution around in your mouth to help relieve some of the pain.

Do Braces Hurt?

Braces shouldn’t hurt — they’ll usually just cause a little bit of discomfort for a few days after they’ve first been put in or readjusted. If the pain is not easily managed with simple remedies like cold liquids, you can try taking some over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen. 

How Long Do I Have to Wear Braces?

The length of time you’ll have to wear your braces depends on how complex your realignment case is. Also, individual patients respond to treatment differently, making the length of time unique. 

In general, though, people usually wear their braces for anywhere from one to three years. 

Can I Still Play Sports or Instruments With Braces?

Yes! When you have braces on, you can still continue to play your favorite sports or instruments. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to take a few precautions, such as wearing a mouthguard, to ensure your mouth and braces stay protected. 

If any accidents happen, or you think your braces have become damaged, be sure to let your orthodontist know. 

How Often Do I Have to Visit the Orthodontist?

After you first get your braces installed, your orthodontist will schedule checkups so they can monitor the progress and readjust the tightness of your braces. Of course, you’ll also want to continue scheduling your regular dental cleanings during the time period that your braces are on. 

At Murphy Orthodontics, we make checkups quick and easy. If you have a child over the age of seven, they can join our “7 and up club,” which includes free, complimentary annual exams. 

What Foods Do I Need to Avoid?

During your treatment, you want to avoid foods that could either get stuck in or damage your braces. Stay away from foods that are:

  • Sugary, like caramels
  • Starchy, like bagels
  • Hard, like peanuts
  • Crunchy, like ice cubes
  • Chewy, like gum

With some types of braces, such as Invisalign, you won’t have to avoid as many foods.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

The cost of braces can vary depending on which type you get as well as how complex your realignment case is. Some dental insurance will cover orthodontic treatment, so be sure to check with your provider. 

Murphy Orthodontics is dedicated to making the process of paying for your new smile as simple and stress-free as possible. Along with free consultations, we offer low down payments and free in-house financing options. 

How Often Should I Brush My Teeth With Braces?

When you have braces, you need to pay special attention to your dental hygiene. Food particles can easily get stuck in between your braces and teeth.

To prevent staining and cavities, be sure to floss daily and brush three times a day after your meals. Don’t forget to regularly clean your retainer as well to prevent bacteria from building up.  

Do I Still Need Dental Checkups Each Month?

Yes, routine dental checkups are very important. They allow your orthodontist to make any necessary adjustments and ensure your teeth are staying clean and healthy throughout your treatment. 

What Happens After I Get My Braces Off?

While you might experience a bit of soreness or discomfort when you get your braces adjusted, the process of removing your braces is generally painless. You can expect them to come off easily. Then, your orthodontist will clean and polish your teeth. 

At Murphy Orthodontics, we are here to help you achieve your dream smile. We’ll work with you to deliver the best treatment solution based on your lifestyle, budget, and dental needs.