Orthodontic care helps to ensure a healthy smile throughout your entire life. We offer this page of answers to frequently asked questions to help you gain a better understanding of your braces or other orthodontic treatment in Richfield, Utah. We also welcome you to view some of the information provided by the American Association of Orthodontists. For more information and to make your appointment with Dr. Richard Barnett, please contact Barnett Orthodontics at 435-896-4930.

Why do I need braces?

Orthodontic treatment improves your smile and your oral health. A more attractive smile boosts your self-confidence, and is also easier to keep clean and healthy. Traditional braces are the most common orthodontic treatment available.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Orthodontic treatment works by moving your teeth and jaw into healthier positions. This means ensuring that there is enough space in the jaw for all your teeth, and then shifting the roots and teeth into positions where they are straight and evenly spaced. Braces and other appliances put gentle pressure on your teeth and jaw to accomplish this.

When should I start treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is available for patients of all ages. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their initial screening by age 7 to determine if and when early orthodontic treatment should begin. Adults of all ages can receive treatments to straighten their teeth and enjoy healthier smile.

Orthodontic care is most effective between the ages of 8-14, as the jaw and teeth are still growing and developing and are easier to adjust.

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not hurt, but your mouth will likely be sore for the first week after you get braces, and for a day or so following any adjustments to your appliances. We strive to provide minimal discomfort during your braces treatment. To deal with the discomfort, you can gargle and rinse your mouth with warm salt water, apply dental wax to brackets at the irritated areas, or use a mild over-the-counter pain reliever.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

The length of time needed to complete your orthodontic treatment will depend on how much your teeth and jaw need to move, the ease with which they move, and the type of treatment you receive. Traditional braces typically need to be worn for 18-30 months. Our orthodontist will provide you with a more accurate estimate of your treatment time after your initial consultation.

Can I still play sports while wearing braces?

Yes. You can participate in all sports while wearing braces. We do, however, recommend that you avoid sports where you will be hit in the face, such as boxing, wrestling, and karate. We also encourage you to be fitted for a sports mouth guard to protect your teeth and soft tissues as well as your orthodontic appliance.

Can I still play musical instruments while wearing braces?

Yes. There will be a period of adjustment while you become accustomed to wearing braces, but it should not prevent you from playing an instrument. You may also want to consider using lip protectors or covers for your braces.

Is there anything I should avoid eating?

Yes. You should avoid eating anything that might damage or dislodge your braces, as well as foods that may become lodged between your braces and your teeth. This includes hard, sticky, gooey, or crunchy foods – for example, caramel, taffy, peanut brittle, hard rolls, raw carrots, apples, and chewing gum.

What do I do if my braces break and I swallow the detached part?

Don’t worry, this usually is not a problem. The broken appliance will pass through your digestive system without trouble. However, if you inhale a piece of your braces, it will move into your lungs and can cause problems, requiring a medical doctor to remove the piece from your lungs.

What kinds of braces are available?

There are a wide variety of braces available for your use. Depending on your needs and desires, our orthodontist can recommend one of several treatments to provide effective and discreet treatment. At Barnett Orthodontics, we offer traditional braces in both gold and silver, Radiance® clear braces, and Invisalign®.

How do I brush and floss while wearing braces?

Brushing and flossing is more important than ever while wearing braces, as food can get caught between your braces and cause cavities. Brush and floss your teeth after every meal and before you go to bed. You may want to use a fluoridated toothpaste and a mouth rinse containing fluoride.

You may also want to consider using a waterpic to clean the more difficult-to-reach areas of your mouth, and using a special brush and floss designed to clean around to braces. Our orthodontist can recommend the best oral hygiene products for your use.

What does a retainer do?

If used properly and worn regularly a retainer will keep your teeth in their proper alignment following your braces treatment. This helps to keep your smile beautiful until the gums and bones shift and settle into their correct positions. Our orthodontist will fit you for your retainer following completion of your treatment.