Orthodontic FAQ

Common Questions About Braces & Invisalign®

At Elko Dental Specialists, we provide high quality dental care while maintaining a fun, friendly office environment. Our doctors and highly trained team of dental and orthodontic specialists work hard to get to know every patient on an individual level, crafting specialized treatment plans that perfectly suit each patient's unique orthodontic needs. We believe patient education is critical to dental health, so we've compiled a list of some of the most common questions we're asked by patients along with their answers.

How does orthodontic treatment help?

Countless ways! While the most obvious benefit is a straighter, more beautiful smile, orthodontic treatment can also improve bite function, make oral hygiene easier, reduce tooth wear, and even improve your confidence and self-esteem.

How do I know if I need braces?

While only a trained dentist or orthodontist can determine if you need braces, there are a few warning signs to watch out for:

  • Protruding upper or lower front teeth
  • Upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth
  • Crowded, misaligned, or overlapping teeth
  • Problems chewing
  • TMJ (jaw joint) pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty covering the teeth with the lips

When should I get orthodontic treatment?

This varies from patient to patient, but in keeping with the American Association of Orthodontists, we recommend patients have their initial screening by age 7. At this age, the back bite is established, so we can easily spot any current or developing problems and treat them before they become severe. It's important to note that we may or may not begin treatment at this age - but screening early lets us monitor any problems and decide on the best time to start.

Do I really need braces? Won't my teeth get straighter over time?

Trust us: orthodontic problems get worse with age, not better. Starting orthodontic treatment early is critical to ensuring a healthy, beautiful smile that'll last the rest of your life.

What is Two-Phase Treatment?

Two-phase treatment refers to the practice of treating orthodontic problems in two distinct treatment phases. The first phase, Phase I, occurs before all permanent teeth have erupted and generally corrects problems like crossbite, overbite, underbite, or severe crowding. We can even use a device called a palatal expander to widen the jaw during this phase and make more room for teeth. Phase II occurs during adolescence and is used to fine-tune the teeth into a beautiful smile.

Can I get braces as an adult?

Of course! We can move healthy teeth at any age, and more and more adults are discovering the magic of orthodontic treatment. In fact, almost a quarter of our patients are adults!

How long does treatment last?

This varies greatly from patient to patient, but on average, treatment lasts somewhere between 12-24 months.

Can I still play sports with braces?

Yes! We just ask that you wear a mouth guard when playing. If you want one, let us know and we can custom-make one to fit around your orthodontics.

Do I still need to see my general dentist during treatment?

Absolutely. Oral hygiene is critical to successful treatment, so you'll need to continue your regular dental checkups and cleanings during orthodontic treatment.

Do I have to avoid certain foods?

Unless you're using Invisalign®, you'll need to avoid any foods that are hard, sticky, or high in sugar, as these foods can break brackets and wires or lead to serious tooth decay, extending your treatment time and necessitating costly repairs.

What happens once I get my braces off?

We know you'll be excited, but you're not quite out of the woods yet. After you get your braces off, you'll enter the retention phase. We will place permanent bonded retainers behind your front teeth to maintain all the changes we have made. You will also receive a clear overlay retainer to sleep with at night once a week. No one will see anything other than your Great Smile!

Contact Us Today

Have more questions about orthodontic treatment? We can answer them. Feel free to call us at 775-753-6118, reach out to us at our contact page, or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment. Dr. S. Donald Gardner is here to answer any additional questions you have and help jumpstart your road to a beautiful, straight smile!