Frequently Asked Questions
The most obvious reason to straighten your teeth is to have them looking their best. An attractive smile is a big part of self-image, and is a great asset. However, there are many other reasons to undergo orthodontics. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean, and less prone to cavities, gum disease, and injury. They also help with effective chewing and speaking. Straight teeth with a proper bite will help to insure long-term health of your teeth and temporomandibular joints (TMJs).
When should I see the orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening by age seven. At this age, the permanent incisors and 1st molars should be erupted, so any developing orthodontic problems (i.e. crowding, spacing, bite problems) can be assessed. For most people, the best time to start orthodontic treatment is when the last baby teeth are being lost, early in the pubertal growth spurt (age 10-12). However, some problems are best addressed earlier, and many problems can benefit from intervention before the time for full orthodontic treatment. If no early treatment is required, Dr. Layfield will monitor your development periodically, and you will have the peace of mind of knowing what problems are developing, and that your treatment will be optimally timed for the best result.
What will happen on my first visit?
At the first visit, you will get to know about our office and orthodontics, and Dr. Layfield will get to know you and your particular concerns and problems. It is an easy and fun visit. Dr. Layfield will discuss with you the timing of any proposed treatment. If treatment is indicated, then fees, payment options, and insurance benefits will be discussed. The next step, at either the first or second visit, is to take orthodontic records, consisting of photographs, x-rays, and plaster study models of your teeth, that allow Dr. Layfield to review and develop your treatment plan. Depending upon the severity of your case, a separate consultation may then be scheduled before treatment is started.
How long to I have to wear my braces?
Your amount of time in braces will depend on several factors, including the severity of crowding or spacing, the type and severity of bite problems, growth, and your compliance. In general, for full orthodontic treatment, most treatment times are between 18 and 30 months. The factor that you have control over makes the biggest difference – your compliance – with keeping your appointments, not breaking your braces, wearing your rubber bands or other appliances, and keeping your teeth clean and healthy.
Do I need to see my dentist while my braces are on?
Absolutely! Dr. Layfield and his staff will monitor your dental hygiene, and look for signs of other problems during your orthodontic treatment, but it is critical to keep your regular visits for cleanings and check-ups with your dentist. It takes more work to keep your teeth clean with braces, and we all want healthy, nice looking teeth when your braces are removed. Dental cleaning visits should be at least every six months, and your dentist may recommend more frequent visits in some cases. Let us know when your cleaning visit is, and we will be happy to see you beforehand and afterwards, to remove and replace your archwires, so that the dentist and hygienist can best clean and check your teeth.
How will wearing braces affect me?
Braces typically can cause discomfort initially, as your lips, cheeks, and tongue are growing accustomed to them, and, at times, as your teeth are moving. Modern braces and wires help to minimize these effects. Musical instruments can be played after a period of adjustment with braces. Sports can be played with braces, but a mouthguard is strongly recommended. It is important to keep your teeth clean during your treatment, to avoid problems such as gingivitis (inflamed gum tissue), decalcification (permanent white scarring of tooth enamel), and tooth decay. Plaque, not braces, causes these problems. Braces do make it more difficult to clean your teeth thoroughly, so we will give you tools to help. You should avoid foods that will break your braces, mainly hard, crunchy foods (i.e. ice, hard candy) and soft, sticky foods (i.e. bubble gum). Dr. Layfield may also ask for your help with wearing rubber bands or other appliances with your braces. The important thing to remember is that how good of a result we get, and how long it takes to get there, depends mostly upon you!
Why are retainers important?
Retainers are very important for two reasons – to hold your teeth and allow them to stabilize after your braces are removed, and to prevent your teeth from moving later. Dr. Layfield typically recommends that you wear removable retainers full time for 3 months, followed by nighttime wear. Permanent retainers are usually placed on the lower teeth after full orthodontic treatment, consisting of a small wire attached behind the front teeth. Regardless of your initial orthodontic problems or your treatment, your teeth will usually have some tendency to move and crowd toward the front throughout your teen and adult years. The best insurance against this is to continue with your retainers as long as you want to keep your teeth straight. Dr. Layfield will check your retainers for two years after your braces are removed, and advise you on the frequency of wear from there.
Why Choose Us
- We’re going to give you a great smile
- We’ll work with you
- Great staff
- Easy to get to