Orthodontic FAQ


What is orthodontics and how do I know when it is needed?

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on alignment of the teeth and jaws, to improve aesthetics and fix the “bite”. Generally people seek treatment for crooked teeth, spacing, crowding, overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite etc.

If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of 21.

At Smile Art, we provide orthodontic treatment for children as well as adults, so if you are considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit us!

How do I choose an orthodontist?

All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are certified orthodontists. Orthodontists are dentists who have had two to three years of additional training focused on diagnosis, prevention and treatment of misaligned teeth and jaws. While a dentist may opt to provide orthodontic care in addition to routine dental care, trusting your smile to an orthodontist can better balance the different procedures you require.

Furthermore, orthodontists can opt to go through the voluntary board certification process, which involves extensive and rigorous testing, and only about 30% of orthodontists who complete their orthodontic training choose to complete the extensive board certification process. A board certified orthodontist is committed to the highest level of patient care including a comprehensive treatment approach to ensure quality work.

When choosing an orthodontist, be sure to check for board certification, as well as recommendations from your dentist and other patients who have had treatment at the office. We hope you will choose our office, and look forward to seeing you!

Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces or Invisalign?

With braces or Invisalign, you should brush your teeth (and your aligners) at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Other useful tools are floss, Water-Pik Water Flosser, Fluoride mouth rinse and proxy brushes. Make sure to keep your teeth clean and to visit your dentist regularly so your teeth are as healthy at the end as when you started!

If I have braces or Invisalign, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

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. Invisalign aligners can also hold plaque close to your teeth, making you more susceptible to getting cavities, particularly in between teeth.

Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy when using braces or Invisalign.

Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?

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.

Dr. Monica can also evaluate if you are a candidate for Invisalign, which is an alternative to braces that may address most of these issues.

Will I need to use a retainer when I am done?

When orthodontic treatment is complete, retainers are absolutely essential to maintain your new smile. There are very few exceptions to this rule. There are different types of retainers, and depending on the needs of the particular patient, Dr. Monica will discuss what retainer options may be a good fit. So use your retainer/s and keep that beautiful smile!

What happens when I get wisdom teeth in or get them removed?

A lot of patients ask if wisdom teeth can cause the other teeth to shift when they come in. There are different opinions regarding this, but the bottom line is that wisdom teeth will not affect the rest of your teeth if you are using your retainers as directed. But if you do not use your retainers, then your teeth will shift regardless of whether you have wisdom teeth coming in or not.

Another important point to remember is that if you are getting your wisdom teeth removed, it would be best to discuss with your orthodontist what retainer can be used during that time when you are still sore from the procedure. Sometimes your existing retainers can be modified to allow for them to be used without interfering with the areas where you had teeth removed. If you go without your retainer/s for days after you get wisdom teeth removed, the rest of the teeth may shift, the retainers may not fit well, and then the cycle of teeth shifting continues.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Simply call us at 203-210-7375! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. Please leave a message if we miss your call, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. If you prefer clicking over calling, then simply complete the Appointment Request and we will get back to you. The Smile Art Team looks forward to meeting you!