A close-up of a girl's smile with braces and a toothbrush

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

To help raise awareness, we’ve outlined common Q&As about orthodontic treatment with braces.

Take a look, and contact us if you have more questions!

Frequently asked questions about orthodontic braces

Question: How long will I have braces?

Answer: That answer depends on how severely crowded your teeth are and how difficult it is to correct your bite.

It can range from six months to a few years.

Question: Do braces hurt?

Answer: It might be uncomfortable or even slightly painful for the first few days after getting braces. By the end of the first week, you’ll adjust to having braces.

You might feel a day of discomfort after you have them adjusted, but it won’t be as big of an adjustment as you had to get them initially.

Question: How often do I have to go in for checkups with the orthodontist?

Answer: In general every six to eight weeks, but your orthodontist will tell you specifically how often is right for you.

Question: Does Invisalign work as well as braces? Does it take longer?

Answer: Invisalign works as well as braces when patients wear their clear aligners at least 20-22 hours a day. It will take longer if you don’t.

There are some circumstances where braces work better than Invisalign. Consult with an orthodontist to find out which is the best option for you.

Question: What foods are not okay to eat with braces?

Answer: Avoid sticky, chewy foods, like caramel, and hard candy, as well as very crispy or crunchy foods, like hard pretzels and really tough pizza crust.

These can damage braces and wires, causing unnecessary repair appointments and increasing your time in treatment.

Question: Will I need to wear a retainer after I get my braces off?

Answer: Yes! Otherwise, your teeth may shift back.

You need to wear a retainer as long as you want straight teeth!

Question: Do I still need to see my general dentist when I have braces or Invisalign?

Answer: Before starting orthodontic treatment, you should see your dentist to make sure your gums are healthy and there are no cavities.

During orthodontic treatment, you should see your dentist at least every six months. If you struggle with brushing or have a history of tooth decay, you should see your dentist every three months while in braces.

Question: What do you do about a mouthguard with braces?

Answer: There are over the counter mouthguards that are designed specifically for braces. Consult with your orthodontist on the particular mouthguard that is best for you.

Question: Will braces affect playing a wind instrument?

Answer: Braces will not adversely affect your ability to play a wind instrument.

Question: What can cause me to be in treatment longer?

Answer: If you are constantly breaking your braces or not wearing your rubber bands as prescribed, your treatment will take longer.

In addition, missing your appointments or continuously re-scheduling appointments, particularly last-minute, can prolong treatment.

A close-up of someone with braces biting into an apple

Have more questions about orthodontics?

Ask our orthodontist, Dr. Barbara Fodero!

She is an expert in traditional orthodontics and clear aligners and believes your experience – whether you’re a patient or parent – should be easy and enjoyable.

Reach out to our orthodontic office today!

Call Us: 973-701-2200

Email Us: smile@chathambraces.com

Chatham Orthodontics is proud to serve patients of all ages in Chatham, NJ and surrounding areas, including Madison, Florham Park, Summit, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Livingston, Short Hills, Millburn, Maplewood, and Morristown.