Q. Will I get my braces locked if I kiss someone else with braces?
A. This is an Urban Fairy Tale; We have never actually heard of this happening but there are many other things you can snag your braces on. Some of our patients' escapades involve getting caught on:
I) A sweater: a young lady with a sizable overbite was smiling while donning her favorite sweater. She ended up sitting in our office with the sweater hanging from her two front teeth. We did suggest that with Halloween coming soon she could just keep it like that, wear two large wings and antennae, and go as a moth.
2) A carpet: one of our patients was wrestling with her sister and as they spun about she attached her front teeth with brackets and wires to the (outdated) shag carpet. The sister was declared a winner by TKO (Totally Killer Overbite), but due to the lack of a camera the top prize on America's Funniest Home Videos went to someone else.
3) A blanket: apparently while hiding from the bogeyman in bed.
Q. What foods can't I eat?
A. Green vegetables anything that is labled as healthy; :-) just kidding ! Hard foods and sticky/chewy foods will rip the braces off of your teeth. Don' do dat!! You may want to stay away from cafeteria food, not because of what it will do to your braces, but just because it likely has been on the steam tables since James Watt invented the steam engine.
Q. What other problems might I have with braces?
A. Electrical storms can wreak havoc on patients with braces. The actual electrical impulses generated in your mouth can light medium-sized towns in the Midwest. (Joke)
Q. Will I have to wear a headgear to school?
A. Almost never have I told a patient to wear a headgear to school. We are looking to improve your social life. not end it forever. You usually wear the headgear while sleeping (no, not in class), watching TV, working on the computer and doing homework. Do not wear the headgear while riding in a car, playing contact sports or talking back to your mother; in other words, anything that could result in your being struck in the mouth.
Q. Will it hurt getting braces?
A. We won't feel a thing. No, generally the only real hurt when you get braces is to your parents' wallet. Getting the braces on just feels very strange, with lip retractors holding your lips and cheeks away from your teeth and of course. the worst part: our jokes. However, several hours later you may feel a dull ache in your teeth and jaws, kind of like your head feels after a math test. This can be relieved by Tylenol or Advil, the ache that is, not the math test.
Q. What is the most common question about braces?
A. When will I get them off? A lot of that depends on you, the patient. If you wear your elastics and/or headgear, make your appointment and don't break your braces you should get them off at or before the predicted time. If not, you can become a career orthodontic patient (not a good career move).
Q. Why is my friend wearing their elastics in a different direction from me?
A. Because they are not really your friend. they are aliens who have abducted your friend and are using their likeness to observe other humans, including you. The only way to tell them apart from humans is how they wear their elastics. OK, different people have different problems with their bites and different ways to correct those problems. Elastics can be worn in many wonderful directions but only your orthodontic office knows which direction is right for you.
Q. What do elastics do?
A. Generally they just sit around in the bag thinking "pick me, pick me" and wait for you to choose the lucky one, Once they are actually in your mouth, they help coordinate one jaw 'with another so they can fit together as they are supposed to ideally. If you do not wear your elastics, the upper teeth may look great and the lower teeth may look great but, they will not fit each other. If you don't wear the elastics, the orthodontist can wire springs into your mouth to do a similar function (WHAT ARE YOU. CRAZY? WEAR YOUR ELASTICS. YOU'RE NOT A CAR WITH SPRINGS ON YOUR FRAME).
Q. How often are my appointments?
Appointments can range from two weeks to eight weeks apart with the most common intervals being four to six weeks. That's as often as you can take our jokes anyway. Any more bad humor than that can be toxic in those high doses
Q. How long are appointments?
Usually the appointments range from twenty to thirty minutes in length unless we are placing or removing more braces. While this may seem like a short time to be in the chair for an adjustment; if we are singing or if I am on a joke binge, it can appear to he an eternity.
Q. What are retainers?
A. They are the members of a King's or Queen's court who travel with them; sort of a posse. Oh, you meant the orthodontic retainers!! They are plastic usually, but can be combined with wires. The point of retainers is to retain (Duh!). In other words, to hold the teeth where they are when we finish with the braces and the bone is still "soft" around the teeth. After a period of time determined by your orthodontist you may be asked to try on the retainers regularly to make sure the beautiful smile is not trying to shift. It is the one instance where we want you to be shiftless.
Q. What about mouthguards?
A. While you may want to he a good hockey player and look like one on the ice, we really don't want you to be immediately identified as a hockey player off the ice by your smile. Especially if you don't play hockey. In most sports you should wear a mouthguard. It is a good idea for baseball, basketball, football, field hockey, hockey, lacrosse arid soccer. Track, unless it is full contact, does not require a mouthguard.
Q. When should you have your bite checked?
A. As soon as the dog lets go and then you should go get a tetanus shot, too. No, seriously, if you think the child's front teeth, are coming in badly go get an orthodontic consultation. The consultations are quite inexpensive and can detect or rule out serious problems. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the child be checked by six years of age. However, very few children start treatment at that age. Rather, we get a baseline idea of what the problems are and then can plan for the ideal time to treat them efficiently. A key is to quite often start treatment before the child has finished a lot of their growth as serious problems can be corrected more easily (and less inexpensively) during the growth spurt. Our office likes to see children for an evaluation by their tenth birthday.