The following are the most commonly asked questions about braces and orthodontic care provided by the JU School of Orthodontics. If you have a question not addressed here, please ask your doctor.

How does orthodontic care improve self-image?

Scientific research has repeatedly shown the mouth and face to be focal points of communication and social interaction. There can be little doubt that an attractive facial appearance and smile can improve the quality of life in many dimensions. People evaluate one another based on physical characteristics, particularly the face. Attractive people have more opportunities for success.

A face with a smile is more attractive than one without.
  • When viewing the face, attention is drawn to the eyes and the teeth first
  • People who do not smile are perceived to be stern or unhappy
  • Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
  • A surprising percentage of orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!
What will I learn from the initial examination?

Five important questions will be answered during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

When should an orthodontist first be seen?

Children should usually see an orthodontist around age seven. By doing this, big problems can often be minimized. Adults can be treated at any age and re-treatment from when orthodontics was done as a child is becoming quite common.

How do I know if I need braces?

The number one reason to choose braces is the desire to improve your smile. However, braces may also help correct or avoid dental health problems such as improper alignment of teeth which can sometimes lead to gum disease and early tooth loss. Additionally, straightening teeth can eliminate uneven chewing, which can cause headaches and pain.

How long will treatment last?

Expect your treatment to last from 6 to 30 months depending on your individual needs. Keeping your appointments, following your doctor’s instructions, caring for your braces and practicing good oral hygiene is the best method of completing your treatment on time, or in some cases, earlier than anticipated.

What can I expect on my first visit?

At your complimentary initial visit, you’ll meet our staff and get most of your questions answered. Then, we’ll determine a course of treatment and provide an estimate of the treatment costs. If you decide you would like to move forward, we can take the required X-rays, and make an appointment to place your braces.

What kind of braces are available?

Today, braces are a fashion statement, so you can be as traditional or hip as you want to be. Go with traditional metal bands, colored, gold or clear.

How long does it take to apply braces?

It depends on the individual case, but typically one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours.

Will my braces hurt?

The modern cast, low-profile brackets we use are designed to minimize any discomfort between visits to the orthodontist. Your mouth is usually sore the first few days after you get braces and for a day or two each time they’re tightened. If you do experience pain that doesn’t diminish, alert your doctor and he/she will determine the cause of your problem.

Will braces cause sores?

They may at first. Just rinse the mouth with warm salt water and they’ll heal in about a week.

Do I need to do anything special the first week or so?

Yes, while you’re getting used to the braces, eat softer foods. Your gums and teeth will appreciate it. Be extra careful around your entire mouth area while it is tender.

Can I play sports?

Absolutely! However, plan to wear an orthodontic mouth guard for protection.

What other foods should I avoid?

Stay away from hard, sticky, gooey or crunchy foods. If food is too hard to chew, it could cause some of your braces to come loose.

Why do some people wear rubber bands?

The rubber bands are used to move teeth forward or backward in your mouth. If rubber bands are recommended for you and you don’t wear them, it could lengthen your treatment time.

Do I need to brush more with braces?

Plan to brush with a fluoride gel and floss after every meal and before you go to bed. Flossing is especially important to avoid trapped food.

What happens if a bracket does come off?

The orthodontist will attach another one. Keep in mind, each time the orthodontist has to replace your braces, it delays the orthodontic treatment.

Will I need to wear a retainer?

Yes! Retainers keep your teeth straight after the braces come off. Without them your teeth will move and the entire treatment could be jeopardized.