Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions about braces and orthodonticsGeneral FAQ | Invisalign FAQ | Parent FAQ | Young Adult FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions About Braces

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that diagnoses, prevents, and treats dental and facial issues, such as “crooked” teeth and jaws that don’t meet properly.
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What is an orthodontist?

We are specially trained dentists who take several extra years of training in order to “straighten teeth,” usually by placing braces in a patient’s mouth. You might say we specialize in smiles.
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When should my child first see an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child gets his or her first checkup by age seven, unless a physician or family dentist notices a good reason to come for evaluation sooner.
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Do adults ever get braces and orthodontic treatment?

We find that people can begin successful braces and orthodontic treatment at any age. In fact, many of our patients’ parents decide to take the plunge with adult braces and orthodontic treatment – with great smile results!
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How will I know if my child needs braces?

Only an orthodontist is qualified to let you know for sure. Call us today for a free consultation!
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How long will my child need braces?

This really depends on the seriousness of their issue and the types of braces you choose for them. A happy medium is 1-2 years. We suggest you keep all appointments and make sure that your child brushes and flosses properly. Doing these things regularly and well can sometimes shorten your child’s time in braces.
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What should we expect on the first visit to your orthodontics office?

When you come in for a complimentary evaluation, we will determine with you the best course of orthodontic treatment and discuss insurance and the cost of braces. If you decide you’d like to move forward, we can take X-rays of your child’s mouth and make an appointment to begin creating that perfect smile with braces.
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Do braces really come in different shapes and sizes?

They do. In fact, some braces even make a fashion statement! We have different types of braces to offer besides traditional metal braces: speed braces, clear braces – even “invisible” braces. See our Braces & Invisalign page for the different types of braces we offer.
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How long will it take to apply my child’s braces?

Different styles of braces have different application processes. You can plan on the visit taking between 50 and 90 minutes.
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Does it hurt to have braces?

Today’s brackets and bands usually cause little to no discomfort. For the first two or three days after we put your child’s braces on or tighten them, their mouth may feel a little sore. Please give us a call right away if they feel chronic or lasting pain so that we can treat it quickly. Taking aspirin or ibuprofen about an hour before coming in to see us can also help keep soreness to a minimum.
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Do braces cause sores?

At first braces may cause sores. We will provide a soft piece of wax to cover a brace or wire that may be irritating your child’s mouth. You can also rinse their mouth with warm salt water to help the sores go away.
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How do I make a saltwater rinse?

To make a salt water rinse, mix ½ teaspoon of table salt in one cup of warm water. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Gently swish about ¼ of the cup in your mouth for 30 seconds. Make sure you force the water over the areas that feel sore. Then spit the water into the sink. Repeat until the entire cup is gone.
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Will my child need to do anything special during the first week or so of wearing braces?

Yes, we recommend that they eat only soft foods during that first week of wearing braces. Also, please encourage them to spend more time cleaning their teeth and braces.
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Will my child need to brush more with braces?

Because food gets trapped in braces and wires, taking care of teeth takes on added importance. Make sure your child brushes very well following every meal and flosses once a day. We may also recommend using a gel at bedtime.
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How do I brush my teeth with braces?

Now that you have braces, you must be sure to brush your teeth and gums better than ever before. Extra care must be taken in the area between the gums and your braces. Food that collects around your braces and wires can cause swollen gums, permanent stains (decalcification or white spots), and cavities.

  • Brush your teeth with a medium nylon toothbrush after you eat and before bed.
  • Brush, rinse, and look; if you find any areas that are not clean, brush them again.
  • Brush your gums as you brush your teeth (massages and stimulates).
  • If no toothpaste is available, brush without.
  • If you are unable to brush, rinse your mouth vigorously with water.
  • Replace your old toothbrush when it gets worn out.
  • It is absolutely essential that you continue regular visits to your family dentist for checkups and cleanings throughout your orthodontic treatment!

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Can my child still play sports with braces?

Certainly! But you’ll need to make sure they wear an orthodontic mouth guard to protect their mouth and braces.
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Will braces interfere with playing brass or wind instruments?

Your child will still enjoy playing their instrument, but it may take a while to adjust at first. We provide them with a small lump of wax to cover their braces until they get accustomed to playing with them on.
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Should my child stop chewing gum with braces?

We strongly recommend they do because gum sticks to braces and can cause damage. In addition, sugary gum causes cavities. Some sugar-free gums may be okay. Ask us!
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What foods should my child avoid with braces?

Your child wearing braces should stay away from hard, crunchy, gooey, or sticky foods that can cause braces to loosen, bend, or break off. You can cut most raw fruits and vegetables into wedges or sticks before they eat them.

After your braces have been placed, the teeth will be tender to biting pressure for 5 to 10 days. Of course, this can vary with different patients. During this period of tenderness, softer foods are recommended, such as soups, macaroni, spaghetti, fish, eggs, yogurt, Jell-O, smoothies, etc. Tylenol or Advil will help relieve any discomfort. Warm salt-water rinses are also helpful. Use the soft white wax where it is needed.

Hard and sticky foods will break off brackets, bend wires, and loosen bands, which will extend your total treatment time. Foods high in sugar can cause cavities, tartar build-up, and ugly stains on your teeth. So what can you do? You must limit your diet to softer, healthy foods. There are certain types of foods that must be avoided during your time in braces:

  • Avoid Hard Foods With Braces
      Ice, nuts, popcorn, peanut brittle, rock candy, apples & carrots (unless cut into pieces), corn on the cob, hard pretzels, hard rolls, bagels, hard tacos, or corn chips.
  • Avoid Sticky Foods With Braces
      Jolly Ranches, caramels, bubble gum, taffy, suckers, Starburst candy, Dots, or jelly candies.
  • Avoid Chewy Foods With Braces
      Pizza crust, crusty breads, beef jerky, or gummy bears. Also avoid chewing on pens and pencils.
  • Avoid Sugary Foods And Drinks With Braces
      Cake, ice cream, cookies, pie, candy, soda pop, or drinks with sugar.

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What happens if a bracket comes off my braces?

You can take care of this problem yourself by cleaning around the loose bracket or removing it from the wire. Then call us to set up an appointment to attach another one.
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If my child’s braces require rubber bands, do they have to wear them?

We put the bands in place to move your child’s teeth up and down, forward or backward. Not wearing them might add weeks or months to treatment time.
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Will my child need to wear a retainer?

Retainers keep your child’s teeth straight after their braces come off. If your child doesn’t wear one, their teeth will move, and that could jeopardize the treatment.
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Should my child see a regular dentist, too?

Absolutely! Cleanings and checkups matter a lot while a child wears braces. If your child has no pediatric dentist at this time, we can help. Doctor Amy loves kids and has special training and dental instruments to care for their little teeth and gums.
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What type of emergencies or injuries can occur with braces?

While we recognize that orthodontic “emergencies” are not life-and-death situations, we also understand that situations may occur that cause discomfort. Perhaps a wire will break or you accidentally eat something that causes a problem. We have provided the information below to help you prevent those types of emergencies and also to answer some of the most common questions regarding these special situations.

Teeth, when moving, can be really tender for about a week after the initial placement of the orthodontic appliances and also after each adjustment. Discomfort can be relieved by over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Motrin. Follow the dosage recommendations and any additional precautions as listed on the bottle. Some patients find it helpful to take the first dose at the appointment time to help prevent some of the discomfort to come when the teeth start to move.

During the first two weeks, the inside of your cheeks will be tender because they are not used to the braces. As time goes by, the inside of the cheeks will toughen up and adjust to the braces. While the cheeks are still overly sensitive, using wax on the rough spots can be very helpful. Warm saltwater rinses are also helpful, which soothe the cheek lining.

Some inconveniences while going through treatment with braces are normal. Many times repairs can be put off until your next regular appointment. Of course, we are here to serve you and encourage you to call any time you have a question.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Invisalign Invisible Clear Aligner System

How will Invisalign effectively move my child’s teeth?

Like brackets and arch wires are to braces, Invisalign aligners move teeth through the appropriate placement of controlled force on your teeth. The main difference is that Invisalign not only controls forces, but also the timing of the force application. During each stage, only certain teeth are allowed to move. These movements are determined by your doctor as he or she maps out your child’s unique Invisalign treatment plan.
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What are clear aligners made of, and what do they look like?

The virtually invisible aligners, which are made of a thermoplastic material uniquely developed for the Invisalign treatment plan, look similar to tooth-whitening trays. Invisalign aligners are custom-made for you and only you to move your teeth in the sequence determined by your orthodontist.
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How old is the Invisalign technology?

In 1945, Dr. H.D. Kesling envisioned that one day modern technology would enable the use of a series of tooth positioners to produce the kinds of movements required for comprehensive orthodontic treatment. Since then, many years of research have made this technological vision a reality. Align Technology Inc., the company that produces Invisalign, was founded in 1997, and the FDA approved Invisalign as a treatment in 1998.
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How many patients are being treated with Invisalign?

More than 1,000,000 patients worldwide have been treated with Invisalign. The number of Invisalign smiles grows daily.
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Has the FDA cleared Invisalign®?

Invisalign clear aligners are classified as Class II medical devices by the FDA, and Align Technology, Inc. has held the necessary 510K clearance from the FDA since 1998 to be able to sell and market the Invisalign system.
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Do Invisalign® aligners contain Bisphenol-A (BPA)?

No. Invisalign clear aligners and Vivera Retainers do not contain Bisphenol-A or phthalate plasticizers. These aligners and retainers are made with USP Class VI medical grade, high molecular weight, polyurethane resins. Tests have been conducted to determine the biocompatibility of these materials, and show that they are biocompatible and pass all applicable regulatory requirements and thresholds for human wear in the mouth. Of course, as with any medical device, you should consult with your health professional about your aligner or retainer treatment and any applicable risks of use.
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Questions About Braces From Parents

When should my child first see our Palatine orthodontist or Barrington orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child gets his or her first checkup by age seven. Some orthodontists begin braces and orthodontic treatment much sooner than that. We do not. Why? Because years of research and experience show that most children gain nothing by beginning braces before second grade. Rarely, a family dentist or physician recommends that we see a younger child in order to assess them. Usually, parents that bring their young kids to us for an evaluation often sigh with relief to hear that braces and orthodontic treatment can wait for a while. If you feel unsure about your own child, please contact us for more information!
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Can we put off treating our child with braces?

We cannot make your decision, but we strongly recommend you never put off braces and orthodontic treatment if your child needs it. In doing so, you’ll take a chance of your young one needing extractions or surgery later in life to completely fix their smile. For best results, we recommend that your child has a full evaluation by their 7th birthday. We offer a free initial consultation for braces, as it is crucial to get expert advice about treatment needs, types of braces, and timing before making this important investment for braces.
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Will my child still be able enjoy the foods and activities they love with braces?

We have a variety of braces to recommend that will fit your child’s lifestyle. Some braces and orthodontic treatments are removable, and some stay fixed in place. If you choose fixed braces for a child who plays sports, they will need a mouth guard to protect their new smile. Kids who play wind instruments usually adjust to braces quickly and easily. A child who wears fixed braces will need to avoid hard and sticky foods and cut fruits and veggies into sticks and wedges. Bear in mind that we have a variety of braces and orthodontic treatment options, including virtually invisible braces!
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Will other school kids make fun of my child with braces?

Braces have become a way of life for so many, that most children now view them as a rite of passage on their way to teen years. Many kids actually think braces are “cool.”

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Questions About Braces From Young Adults

How long will I need to wear braces?

Our short answer is, “it depends.” Most people wear braces for 1-2 years. After you get your braces off, we fit you with a special retainer that you wear to ensure you keep your best smile.
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I heard there are things I can’t eat with braces on. Is that right?

This really depends on the brand and style of braces you get. You may need to avoid hard and sticky foods so that your braces don’t get damaged. Keep eating your fruits and veggies! Just cut carrots, apples, and similar foods into strips or wedges. With some types of braces, you’ll never need to worry about how to eat the foods you enjoy!
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Will I feel pain with braces?

Mainly, you won’t feel pain at your orthodontic appointments. After we adjust your braces, your mouth may feel a little sore – usually just for the next 4 or 5 days. The orthodontic treatment and care we provide help to reduce any pain to a minimum.
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Will my new smile after braces make me happy?

We can never promise you happiness, but we know this… Every person we’ve ever taken braces off of – smiles from ear to ear. Some of them shout out with joy and give us a hug. Most of them can’t wait to show their friends.

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Call 847.359.7980 today for your free consultation for braces at our conveniently located Palatine orthodontics office or our Barrington orthodontics office.
Come experience Verbic Orthodontics and you will see we offer innovative and effective orthodontics with a smile to patients in and around Palatine, IL, Barrington, IL, South Barrington, IL, Barrington Hills, IL, Lake Barrington, IL, North Barrington, IL, Hoffman Estates, IL, Inverness, IL, Arlington Heights, IL, Schaumburg, IL, Lake Zurich, IL, Deer Park, IL, Kildeer, IL, Long Grove, IL, Tower Lakes, IL, Fox River Grove, IL, Wauconda, IL and Rolling Meadows, Illinois (IL).
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