ORTHODONTIC FAQS

Orthodontists and family dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. An orthodontist is a dentist who has not only completed a graduate program in dentistry to receive their DDS or DMD (Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine) but has also gone through a competitive residency at a CODA-accredited orthodontic program for an additional 2-3 years to be trained specifically in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Only about six percent of dentists become orthodontists. Orthodontics is more than just straightening teeth. Orthodontists understand the complexity of growth development and facial form. Treatment plans include issues related to the jaw and bite, not just movement of teeth. Therefore, they are highly specialized in helping patients with the alignment of their teeth, improving their bite, or fitting them for corrective braces and devices. There’s a reason orthodontist go to additional years of highly competitive orthodontic school – to learn and perfect their ability in the specialty.

A board-certified orthodontist is an orthodontist who has voluntarily gone through the process of demonstrating their judgement, skills and knowledge to their orthodontic peers in order to ultimately provide the highest level of patient care and reach the highest standard of this profession can achieve. They have achieved board certification through critical evaluation by the American Board of Orthodontics, the only orthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association and in affiliation with the American Association of Orthodontists.

Dr. Gu is a Board-Certified Orthodontist who will provide you with best quality of patient care with his most contemporary clinical skills.

Teeth that are out of place affect the way a person chews and talks and how their smile looks. In some cases, they can affect the way the jaws line up and can cause pain and discomfort. Orthodontics is not just about straightening teeth. It is about achieving the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve for confidence that lasts a lifetime. Orthodontic treatment not only improves your smile, but it can also improve your health!

Although it is usually your family dentist or orthodontist determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary for you by comprehensive examinations, the following symptoms may help in prompting you to seek orthodontic advice.

Open your mouth.

  • Do you see any signs of crooked teeth, gaps between the teeth or overlapping teeth?

Bite all the way down.

  • Does the center of your upper front teeth line up with the center of your lower front teeth?
  • Is there any space between the biting surface of the front and /or side teeth when the back teeth bite together?
  • Do you find the upper teeth does not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth?
  • Do the upper front teeth stick out over the lower teeth?
  • Do you find the “bulldog” appearance where the lower teeth are too far forward or upper teeth too far back?

If the answer to any of these questions is “YES”, you probably need to seek orthodontic treatment.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist at age 7. Early detection of orthodontic problems is important to take corrective actions earlier and prevent the problem gets severe.

However, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens. About 1 in every 5 orthodontic patients are over age 21. Although tooth movement will be slower due to the changes in bone physiology in adult, age is not a huge factor in the treatment.

Any age can be a great age to see an orthodontist if you want to improve the look and feel of your smile.

Braces have three basic parts:

  • Brackets — brackets that are attached to each tooth
  • Bonding — the material attaches bracket to the tooth
  • Arch wire — a thin metal wire that passes through the brackets and attached to the bands

There are several different types of braces to choose from including:

  • Traditional metal braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Invisible braces (Invisalign)
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Lingual braces

Usually brackets are bonded to the teeth, an arch wire runs from bracket to bracket. By exerting a constant, gentle pressure in a carefully controlled direction, the teeth growing or already grown out of place will slowly be straightened and move to the proper position. The arch wires are tightened and adjusted every 4-8 weeks to make sure the force and direction is correct. In the end of treatment when all the braces have been removed, a custom-made retainer will be used to help keep teeth in their new and straightened position.

Removing teeth is sometimes necessary to get the best orthodontic result. It’s a technique involving the removal of selected teeth to make room for the other teeth. Your orthodontist will evaluate the necessity to remove the teeth or not and discuss with you. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are always the goal.

Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. The braces themselves are now much smaller and less cumbersome than in the past. Light force wires initiating tooth movement not only results in less pressure on the teeth but also means that your treatment will be more comfortable. As a rule, braces make your teeth sore for a few days, but it is not painful. This temporary annoyance can be relieved with an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

There are some types of orthodontic treatments that work better with braces, while some situations call for Invisalign. Sometimes a combination of the two is best. Dr. Gu is known for his ability to give you a range of options to find the solution that works best for your lifestyle.

The amount of time spent in braces will vary depending on the individual patient. Treatment times can take anywhere between 6 and 30 months, but most standard treatment takes about 22 months.

With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every 6 months.
  • The waiting is over: start enjoying your new smile! Believe it or not, your teeth may actually feel strange after your braces are removed. By “strange,” we mean smaller, smoother, straighter – in other words, camera-ready!Your teeth may feel sensitive for the first few days as they get used to standing on their own, but this won’t last long. As always, it’s very important to keep brushing and flossing regularly.The retention phase is the final step of orthodontic treatment. Removable retainers are worn full-time (except while eating and brushing) in the initial retention phase, then only at night in later months. They help make sure your teeth “remember” their new positions and ensure the dazzling new smile will remain for a lifetime!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.

Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.

Simply call our office by 614-385-1688! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your FREE consultation appointment at your convenience.