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Certified American Board Of Orthodontics
Call for More Information
Lewisburg: (931) 270-8381
Franklin: (615) 794-0698
Call for More Information
Lewisburg: (931) 270-8381
Franklin: (615) 794-0698


 Frequently Asked Questions for New Patients

Why do I need braces?

If you have a malocclusion (bad bite) or crowded teeth, you need braces to correct the issues. A bad bite can lead to many problems later in life such as TMJ (pain in your jaw joints) and periodontal problems (gum disease).  Crowded teeth are difficult to keep clean, and this can lead to periodontal disease. Bad bites and crooked teeth diminish the beauty of your smile, can lower your self-esteem and decrease your self-confidence.

Do I need to wear a headgear?

A headgear allows the orthodontist to use the back of your head as an anchor to move your front teeth without compromising the position of your posterior teeth. Headgear can move individual teeth or guide the movement of groups of teeth. The bottom line for headgear is that it makes the difference between okay orthodontics and really spectacular orthodontics.

Are there alternatives to headgear?

Yes there are. The orthodontist can place temporary anchorage devices to replace headgear for some movements. These devices are screwed into the bone either in the palate or on the buccal (outside) surface of the bone. The downside of TADs is the high failure rate (30 to 40 percent) and the increased cost ($200.00 per TAD and usually 3 to 6 are needed). Headgears don’t fail unless the patient does not wear them, and there is no additional expense.

What kind of braces can I have?

There are many types of braces: the metal brackets and bands that have been in use for a long time and porcelain brackets, which have been around for 10 to 15 years. Most orthodontists use the metal bands on the posterior teeth because that is where the chewing is done, and the attachments need to be stronger in this area. Brackets are used in the front of the mouth. The metal brackets, in my opinion, move the teeth better and faster. You can’t apply as much force to a porcelain bracket, because they break easily. The American Association of Orthodontists sent out a warning letter several years ago advising that there had been many cases of teeth being broken or extracted during the removal of porcelain brackets. The metal brackets will flex and pop loose for the surface of the tooth, porcelain (like a piece of china) will not flex, and when they are removed, it is very noisy and forceful.

Do I have to have teeth extracted?

The answer to that question depends on your orthodontic problem. Some people have to have permanent teeth extracted to make room for the stable placement of all the remaining teeth. Other people have plenty of room for all of their teeth. The orthodontist should make complete diagnostic records to evaluate your needs, including a panoramic radiograph, a cephalometric radiograph, models of the teeth and pictures of the face and teeth. He will then measure all of these things and make a diagnosis. The diagnosis is discussed at a consultation appointment. Every patient is different and requires a complete diagnosis to determine the proper course of treatment.

What do the rubber bands do?

Rubber bands (elastics) are used to correct the bite (overbite, underbite and crossbite). They depend on continuous wear to work. Wearing elastics intermittently diminishes their effectiveness and prolongs treatment times.

Will braces cut the inside of my mouth?

When you first get braces, there is a period of adjustment during which the tissues in your mouth become accustomed to the presence of the appliances. The orthodontist will provide you with wax to place over troublesome areas until your mouth adjusts. If something breaks or comes loose, you can use the wax to cover it until you can get back to the orthodontist to have it repaired.

Will braces make my teeth sore?

Anytime teeth are moved, there is some soreness. The soreness will generally start about two hours after an appointment. I recommend that the patient take ibuprofen (Advil) one hour prior to an appointment and if needed, every six hours for the next two days. People who are allergic to ibuprofen should not take it; instead, they should consult their orthodontist concerning an alternative for pain relief. Usually, the soreness goes away after two days.

Are there foods I can’t eat with braces?

Primarily, you need to avoid hard, crunchy and gooey foods. Avoid chewing ice, hard candies or gooey candies. If you enjoy raw fruits and vegetables, just cut them up before eating them. There is NO bubble gum, but you may chew sugarless gum. If you chew sugarless gum immediately after an appointment, it will make the soreness go away faster.

Dr. James L. Ferguson Jr., D.D.S., M.S.D. is ready to work for you.

Please call (931) 270-8381 or (615) 794-0698
to schedule your appointment today!

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