JOSEPH F. MEYER, D.D.S.
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics for Adults and Children
"Awarded South Jersey Magazine Top Dentist for 2013"
1104 Route 130 N, Suite O
Cinnaminson, NJ 08077-3032
(856) 829-2300
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry, focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

Who is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received 2 to 3 years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.

What is 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 age to see the orthodontist. Most orthodontic treatment begins between the ages of 9 and 14. However, by age 7, most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age seven. While your child's teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect. Of course, the check-up may reveal that your child's bite is fine, and that can be comforting news. Even if a problem is detected, chances are we will take a "wait and see" approach and check on your child periodically as the permanent teeth come in and the jaws and face continue to grow.

Why is treatment so important?

Upper and lower jaws are the foundation upon which teeth are supported. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. Such problems can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue, and possible jaw joint problems sometimes leading to chronic headaches or pain in the neck. Straight teeth are less prone to decay, gum disease and injury. Straight teeth collect less plaque, which is a colorless, sticky film composed of bacteria, food, and saliva. Decay results when the bacteria in plaque feed on carbohydrates (sugar and starch) we eat or drink to produce acids that can cause cavities. Plaque can also increase the risk of periodontal (gum) disease. When teeth are properly aligned and cared for, these risks decline. As for injuries to teeth, protruding upper teeth are more likely to be broken in an accident. When repositioned and aligned with other teeth, these teeth are most probably going to be at a decreased risk for fracture.

What happens at my first visit?

Without doubt you will have many questions for us at this visit. It is our sincere wish that you feel comfortable and confident that we are the best office for you. This is the time for us to listen to your concerns and to provide an orthodontic examination. We will be able to indicate to you whether or not treatment is needed, and if needed, when the best time to start treatment would be. Typical steps prior to beginning treatment would include gathering orthodontic records to provide specific information to tailor a treatment plan for that patient. (See orthodontic records below.)

What are orthodontic (diagnostic) records?

Diagnostic records include photographs of your face, your smile and your teeth, followed by impressions of your teeth, and various radiographs of your head and teeth as indicated. This appointment will take approximately one hour. Once the records have been completed, a consultation appointment will be scheduled after two weeks which will allow Dr. Meyer the time to review and study these records.

Why do I need a consultation appointment?

The consultation appointment is where we will discuss the why, what, when and how of the treatment. Our patient and their family are directly involved in this discussion and we hope to answer many of your questions. Once we analyze and determine the exact nature of the problem, we will propose a treatment plan, often with alternate approaches. If you agree to our proposed treatment plan and are a patient for conventional braces, treatment will be started at the following appointment.

What are Braces?

Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile! There are several different types of braces to choose from. Some are clear, nearly invisible, while others are made of stainless steel and may or may not have colored elastics around them. Some are ceramic or porcelain (for front teeth only) or even gold. All braces are designed to move teeth in three dimensions. The mechanics or techniques used for moving teeth vary as well.

If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?

The amount of time spent in braces can vary depending on the individual patient. Every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between 6 to 30 months; however, most standard treatments take about 22 months. Treatment times vary with factors that include the severity of the problem being corrected and how well the patient follows our instructions.

Patients who brush and floss routinely, see their family dentist regularly, avoid hard and sticky foods, wear their rubber bands and/or headgear as instructed, and keep their appointments usually finish treatment on-time with good results.

After the braces are removed, most patients wear a retainer for some time to keep, or "retain", the teeth in their new positions.

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not often hurt; however, you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth gets used to your new braces. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all!

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 in between your braces where your brush isn't able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.

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 your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!

If you take out your retainer to eat, brush your teeth, and floss, then remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken. Keep your retainer clean too by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also use denture cleaner twice a week. Do not use hot, boiling water or the dishwasher.

During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities). Also 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).

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may get caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while 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 office! Our front desk staff will be happy to help 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 of the information you need.

Joseph F. Meyer, D.D.S., 1104 Route 130 N, Suite O, Cinnaminson, NJ 08077-3032
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