Frequently Asked Questions about Orthodontics


  • Why choose an orthodontist?

  • In order to be called an Orthodontist, a doctor must have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program. When you choose to have your new smile created by an orthodontist, you can be assured that you have selected an expert and specialist in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possess the skills and experience to give you your best smile – one that will last your lifetime.

  • When should I come in?

  • The American Academy of Orthodontics recommends children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. By this age, most children have a mix of primary (baby) and permanent teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and treat tooth and jaw problems early while the child is still growing and developing.

  • Can I have braces as an adult?

  • Of course you can! There has actually been an increased percentage of adults who seek orthodontic treatment. There are many esthetic options such as ceramic braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners like Invisalign! Ask our orthodontist about the best option for you! Everyone deserves a confident smile and it is never too late for you to have yours!

  • How long will treatment take?

  • Every patient is unique, which means the length of orthodontic treatment varies for each individual. Generally, treatment may last from one to three years. Based on data from its members, The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) reports that the average treatment time is 22 months. There are many factors that may influence the treatment time frame, and we will develop the treatment plan that is the best fit for you.Shifting bones, teeth, and tissues is a process that must be gently handled and never rushed. Here at Apple Grove Dental and Orthodontics, we want your beautiful, straight smile to last a lifetime, and we take every step to make sure that happens.Once our skilled orthodontist, Dr. Isaac, completes your evaluation, he will be able to provide you with a more specific time frame for your individualized treatment plan. With regular follow-ups, good dental hygiene, and compliance with your treatment plan, we promise you will love your new smile.

  • What affects treatment time?

  • Depending on the patient and their unique circumstances, the following factors may contribute to the duration of orthodontic treatment:
    • Age – Adult orthodontic treatment may take slightly longer than treatment for children/teens treatment due to the maturity and density of the bones that adults have
    • Complexity of Treatment – The more unique of a situation a patient has, the more complex the treatment plan, and the longer treatment takes. For example, a patient with only a few crooked teeth may have a shorter treatment time than someone who has a misaligned jaw, crooked teeth, and an underbite.
    • Procedures Required Prior to Treatment – To achieve the best orthodontic results, your orthodontist may recommend that pre-existing dental issues be addressed and the necessary procedure(s) be performed before orthodontic treatment can begin. For example, this may include having wisdom teeth removed or having cavities treated first so they do not interfere with orthodontic treatment. Our orthodontist will first assess your whole mouth to determine how to proceed based on your individual needs. He will work with your family dentist and/or other dental specialists to coordinate care for you.
    • Patient Compliance – Following the orthodontist’s instructions is the most important action a patient can take to help progress their treatment. This means keeping your braces or aligners on, keeping them clean, wearing your elastics (if prescribed), and making your regularly scheduled appointments. Each visit allows the orthodontist to make any necessary adjustments to your braces or aligners, and to make sure your treatment is progressing smoothly. Missing visits and/or having broken brackets can delay the end of your treatment.
    • Oral Hygiene – Keeping your teeth and gums healthy and clean by brushing and flossing while in treatment will result in a better environment for your teeth to move. It is critical that you continue to see your family dentist every six months, or more often if recommended, during orthodontic treatment. Your dentist will provide professional cleanings and check-ups, and like your orthodontist, will keep an eye on your oral health.

  • Will braces hurt?

  • It is very common to experience a little soreness as the teeth are moving. This is temporary and lasts at most 2-3 days after the braces are placed and when they are tightened during the adjustment appointments. We promise that it is well worth it, though, because in the end, you are going to love your new smile!

  • What foods should I avoid with braces?

  • In order to ensure your orthodontic treatment goes smoothly, it is important to avoid certain foods to avoid breaking any of the brackets in your mouth. Broken brackets will prevent treatment from progressing and most likely lead to a longer time in orthodontic treatment.Sticky Foods to Avoid:
    • Taffy
    • Chewy Candies
    • Caramel

    Hard and Crunchy Foods to Avoid:

    • Ice
    • Nuts
    • Pizza crust and other hard breads
    • Apples and carrots 
    • Steak
    • Bagels
    • Hard Candies 
    • Chicken wings

    The best strategy for many of these foods is to focus on the foods that you can have as a substitute, such as cakes, brownies, and ice cream. Another strategy for many of the hard raw vegetables is to cook the vegetables or cut them into smaller pieces. Cutting hard fruits, like apples and pears, into smaller pieces can help you enjoy those foods while in treatment.

    With braces, it can be a challenge to keep teeth clean, so it is important to minimize the amount of sugary foods that you eat. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities and/or white permanent scars on the front of the tooth. It is really important to maintain your regular checkup and cleaning appointments with your dentist.

  • What foods should I avoid with Invisalign?

  • One of the greatest benefits of Invisalign is that you do not have the same food restrictions as you do with braces that are bonded to your teeth. You will be able to remove your aligners and eat foods that are crunchy, sticky, and hard. It is very important that water is the only drink you drink while wearing your aligners. Sugary drinks or drinks with colors can lead to cavities and staining of teeth as your teeth will be bathing in that sugary liquid for an extended period of time.

  • Can I play sports with braces?

  • Yes! You can absolutely play sports with braces or Invisalign! We are all about being safe so you will need to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth, cheeks, and lips. Ask Dr. Isaac about the different types of mouthguards available that are braces friendly!

  • What if I have an emergency?

  • The great thing about orthodontics is that most emergencies can be managed at home until the office is opened again. First step is to give our office a call so we can triage the emergency. We may be able to save you a trip into the office! Emergencies like pokey wires can often be managed at home. If it’s a broken or loose bracket, we will get you into the office to repair the bracket. We are always here for you! Just give us a call and we will get your wire or bracket fixed so you can be comfortable.