Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist like ours serving patients in Denver and Greenwood Village is a dental specialist who has received two to three years of additional training and experience after attending dental school. Drs. Mark and Matt Iritani are able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile. In our office, you get two orthodontists evaluating each case, and together, we have more than 30 years of experience and are Board Certified by the American Association of Orthodontics.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great time to see an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens.
About one in every five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any age is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
Because we see so many pediatric patients from Denver and Greenwood Village in our practice, we take hand/wrist radiographs to evaluate adolescent growth and determine the optimal time to start treatment. Evaluating growth plates in your hand gives us more detailed information than other methods, so we are better able to predict when to start in order to be in treatment for the least amount of time.
How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask us or your family dentist whether you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
- If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep the retainer safe in its container so it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by our doctors. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, and can cause more plaque and potential cavities.
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.
What are braces?
Braces are used by orthodontists to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
- Traditional metal braces
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
The amount of time spent in braces will vary, depending on the individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can last anywhere from six to 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 18 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces.
You should also floss daily to get between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. We can show you how to brush and floss properly once your braces are placed.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that Greenwood Village and Denver patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit the dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach.
This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Our office will work closely with your dentist to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy while you’re wearing braces.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need.
We offer Saturday appointments so your kids do not necessarily have to miss school. We also plan our office hours around all school districts’ yearly calendars. Our new office will be directly across the street from Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village. If you are a working parent whose kids go to Creek or will be going Creek, they can walk over during an off period.