Our dental office has served the needs of many people requiring orthodontic treatment, and we are always ready and happy to answer questions posed by our patients. The following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:Can I play brass or wind musical instruments with braces? Yes, you can. You may need some time to adjust to wearing braces while playing. But after a while, you’ll notice that your braces won’t actually prevent you from playing your trumpet or flute. Can I play contact sports like football and basketball with braces? This question often comes up when we have athlete patients or those who engage in contact sports. Braces aren’t really problematic as long as you wear a protective mouth guard over them. If I’m pregnant, can I still get orthodontic treatment? Pregnancy is a special case, as your condition can cause changes in your body that will affect your mouth and how you react to orthodontic treatments. For example, your gums and other soft tissues become more vulnerable to infection when you’re pregnant. You will need to discuss the matter with both your OB/GYN and your orthodontist. Both doctors must give their recommendation if any orthodontic treatment should be initiated during your pregnancy. Just how expensive are modern orthodontic treatments? With so many advances in orthodontic technology, many patients worry about how they can afford these treatments. But most dental offices are like us: we offer a range of convenient payment plans that patients can comfortably afford. In addition, there’s also your dental insurance plan. Orthodontic benefits are now part of many of these dental insurance policies. Why do I need orthodontic treatment when I’m fine with my crooked teeth all these years? You need orthodontic treatment because living with crooked teeth is not fine at all. You may not realize it, but your crooked teeth have affected the way you eat all these years, and they have also affected the way you look. If you think you’re fine now, then with straight teeth you will feel much better. You’re never too old to receive orthodontic treatment, as your crooked teeth can be straightened regardless of your age. We all want to look better especially as we get older, and straight teeth can not only boost your looks but your self-confidence as well. How much specialized care do my teeth need if I wear braces? Your orthodontist can give you a list of do’s and don’ts for caring and maintaining your teeth with braces. These guidelines aren’t all that complicated or difficult. In general, you’re advised to be very careful with what you eat, and keep away from foods that are crunchy and hard, as well as foods that are very chewy and sticky. You should also stop chewing on hard non-food items, such as pencils, pens, or your fingernails. You will also need to be more careful and conscientious when you clean your teeth and your braces, and you need to clean them daily. Is it true that I can get straight teeth after just a visit or two to the dentist’s office? A visit or two may be enough to give the impression that you have straight teeth. This can be done with veneers that cover the teeth. Veneers offer a very quick solution but it is only a cosmetic solution and cannot be considered a permanent and long-lasting treatment. However, if you really want to have your teeth to be straightened, the improvements are not just cosmetic, but functional as well. Straight teeth through orthodontic treatment can also remain straight for the rest of your life. What if I have a stud in my tongue? Does this disqualify me for braces? Admittedly, it is better if you don’t have one. If you have braces already and are thinking about having a tongue stud, we suggest you wait until your orthodontic treatment is completed. Tongue studs could break your braces, and they may also damage your teeth and gums. So you have to be very careful when you have tongue piercings and jewelry. If I want less noticeable braces, what are my options? You have several options available if you don’t want braces that everyone will notice right away. The most noted of these options are the clear “invisible” set of aligners that no one seems to notice, even when they’re standing right in front of you. You may want to consider ceramic braces instead of metal, as the look of the ceramic material blends more easily and more naturally with your teeth. Another option is to go with lingual braces. These are braces with brackets that are bonded behind your teeth, so that they’re not visible to other people. How will I know if my dentist is an orthodontist or a general dentist? You’ll know if the dentist specializes in orthodontics by looking up their name in the American Association of Orthodontists. This information is freely available online. Only a certified orthodontist can be listed as a member of the AAO.