Braces (Orthodontics)

If you have a bad bite (your upper and lower jaws do not align properly when you bite down) or crowded or crooked teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may recommend braces to help straighten your teeth.

What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specialist at straightening teeth. He or she typically has two to three years of specialized training beyond dental school.

Should my child see an orthodontist? At what age?
Yes. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist no later than age seven.

My dentist or orthodontist recommends braces. Why?
If a bad bite is not corrected, it can affect your ability to chew and speak, causing additional wear on your tooth enamel and possibly leading to problems with the jaws. Crowded or crooked teeth can make it hard to clean your mouth, which can result in tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease and even tooth loss.

Can I play sports while wearing braces?
Yes, just make sure to wear a mouthguard.

Can I still play a musical instrument while wearing braces?
Yes, though additional practice and a period of adjustment may be necessary when playing brass or wind instruments while wearing braces.

I wear braces. Should I avoid certain foods?
Talk to your dentist or orthodontist. They may recommend avoiding certain hard or sticky foods.

Should I still brush and floss regularly if I wear braces?
Yes. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You may also be advised to use a daily fluoride rinse.

Do adults wear braces?
Yes. Contrary to popular belief, adults wear braces too. Dental problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, underbites or overbites, can be corrected at any age.


American Dental Association: Braces
American Association of Orthodontists 
News Release: PDA Presents the Facts on Braces