Wisdom Teeth: Removal, Maintenance and Cavity Prevention

Important Questions to Ask Your Orthodontist

An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the alignment of teeth, and especially as the alignment affects the jawbone and structure of the face, versus just the appearance of your smile. An orthodontist is also the specialist who will install braces, or myobrace, or fit you for other devices that straighten the teeth, even if you only need a few teeth treated.

When you do visit an orthodontist to be fitted for an appliance, note a few questions to ask him or her. This will ensure you know what to expect with the use of that appliance, and are sure to care for your teeth properly while they're being straightened.

Ask how an appliance gets cleaned

Wire braces may seem very strong, but they might snap if you clean them with a hard toothbrush or other such tool. Your orthodontist may provide you with a special brush that is used to clean braces, and may instruct you on the method you should use to clean them, such as brushing them across rather than up and down.

In the same way, plastic trays may seem very strong and durable, but they might scratch if you use a toothbrush on them, or get damaged if you clean them with denture cleansers and other such materials. Always ask how any appliance gets cleaned before assuming you can use your standard oral hygiene materials on these pieces.

Ask about pain and discomfort

Straightening the teeth usually involves some discomfort, as the teeth are actually being pushed or pulled into position, and this might cause muscle soreness and irritation. However, you might ask your orthodontist how much discomfort you should expect, and when to schedule an appointment because of outright pain. Don't assume you should simply live with shooting pain, headaches, and other such issues when getting teeth straightened, as this might mean that the appliance needs an adjustment, or your orthodontist may want to prescribe medication to alleviate that pain.

Ask about signs of damage to the appliance

You may be able to easily see when a wire in the front of a metal brace splits, or notice a large crack in the surface of a plastic tray. Not all damage is that visible, however, and it's good to ask your orthodontist about signs of damage to trays, wires, elastic bands, and other pieces. This will ensure you make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as you notice this damage, and can have the appliance repaired quickly and easily.