Orthodontic FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Orthodontics

Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. The word "Orthodontics" stems from the Greek words "ortho" meaning straight or correct and "dontics" which refers to teeth. Dentofacial orthopedics also stems from Greek words "dent" meaning teeth and face, while orthopedics comes from the Greek "ortho" meaning straight and "pedics" which refers to children.

An Orthodontist is a dental specialist who after graduating from an accredited dental school, was accepted to a full-time, post-doctoral education in an accredited orthodontic specialty residency program supervised by orthodontists. Advanced training lasts two to three years during which they study advanced biomechanics, growth and development, oral biology, basic sciences and treat patients under the guidance of other Orthodontists. Your orthodontist is uniquely qualified to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.

A Board Certified Orthodontist is one who has completed specialty training and has successfully passed a Board examination. The goal of Board certification is to promote high standards of specialization in the dental profession and to recognize properly trained dental specialists. Successful completion in Canada allows one to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentist of Canada.

The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) is a voluntary examination process in which involvement is a demonstration of the orthodontist's pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence. The certification process involved a thorough Written Examination covering all areas of information on which an orthodontist should be knowledgeable. Successful passage allows the orthodontist to present treated cases which are evaluated by expert examiners of the Board during a Clinical Examination. Passing the Clinical Examination grants the orthodontist Certification for a limited time period and the orthodontist must re-examine on a periodic basis to demonstrate their knowledge and skills to retain the board certified status.

You trust your heart to a cardiologist, your skin to a dermatologist, your knees to an orthopedist. Like these specialists who study their specialty areas after their general medical education, orthodontists devote additional full-time years of study to orthodontics after they graduate from dental school. And like their medical counterparts, orthodontists limit their practices to their specialty area. Orthodontists have in-depth experience in orthodontic care and knowledge of the newest technological advances and evidence-based treatment planning. They use their knowledge and skills to help you get the best results possible.

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. About one in every five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.

  • 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!
  • If you remove your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth and floss, and remember to keep the retainer safe in its container so 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.
  • 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 potential 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 six months.

Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:

  • Clear braces/Ceramic Braces with White Esthetic Wires
  • Traditional metal braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisible trays 'Invisalign'

The amount of time spent in braces will vary depending on the individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment. The goals of treatment and complexity of the case may dictate how long treatment will take. Treatment times can take anywhere from six to 30 months, but most standard treatments last about 18 months. There are many variables that can slow down or prolong treatment. Feel free to ask Dr. Lackovic what can be done to shorten treatment times.

Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces.

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 brush and floss properly once your braces are placed.

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 your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure 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 practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need.