Hillam orthodontics

Frequently Asked Questions

Front desk in the lobby of Hillam Orthodontics

Do I need braces?

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We get this question a lot, but to be completely honest, we may not know the best time for your child to have orthodontic treatment until we see them. We take lots of radiographs (x-rays) to understand your child's unique growth and development, and decide off of those findings. No orthodontic case is the same, so we approach each treatment uniquely.

If I have braces, do I still need to see a dentist?

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Yes! You’ll need to see a dentist especially because you have braces. It’s harder to keep your teeth clean when they have cemented-on brackets and connecting wire. A professional cleaning and exam every 6-months will hel any hygiene-related problems aggregated by the braces.

Can you be too old for braces?

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You can never be too old for braces! Sometimes adult treatment can take longer due to increased bone density due to maturity, but you can still align teeth and jaws as an adult. In fact, one-third of all orthodontic patients are adults. If you’re missing teeth or have other mouth appliances, orthodontists will often include periodontists when creating your treatment plan.

What's the best age to get braces?

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It’s very average for most children to get braces between the ages of 8 and 14, but some children can start orthodontic treatment as early as 6 years old. Orthodontic treatment is common in children and teenagers because it’s easier to prevent alignment problems as their bites are still forming. The good news is, even if you are past the “optimal” age to get braces, you can still correct your bite and align teeth as an adult with phenomenal results.

What are the different types of braces?

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At Hillam Orthodontics, we offer 4 different types of braces: self-litigating braces, traditional metal braces, clear ceramic braces, and isalign, or clear aligners. Each type of orthodontic appliances has specific uses, pros and cons, and purpose in your treatment plan. If you’re hoping for a specific appliance, ask us about it at your free consultation!

Why do my braces hurt?

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Moving teeth takes pressure, which can leave your gums and mouth feeling sore. You will feel this pressure after you have had your braces initially placed and after you have them routinely tightened. Take some tylenol or ibuprofen, eat soft foods, and take it easy while your mouth adjusts to the introduced pressure.

Is it harder to brush my teeth with braces?

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Braces’ brackets cover a good amount of your teeth’s surface area making it a little harder to keep your entire mouth clean and free of plaque. Plus, the connecting wire can feel like a hassle as it traps food against your teeth. With your regular toothbrush, floss, and some special cleaning tools, you can take care of all your dental hygiene during your orthodontic treatment. Create a routine, keep your 6-month dental cleanings, and you won’t have any problem keeping your teeth clean with braces.

Will braces bother my hobbies, like sports. playing an instrument, or singing?

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Playing a wind instrument such as a brass or woodwind instrument requires a strong and steady embouchure. After receiving braces, you’ll need to practice adjusting your embouchure to accommodate your braces. It might be difficult to play in-tune or well at first, but over time, you’ll get used to your braces and have your “chops” back in no time.

If you or your child plays a contact sport, braces can increase the risk of a mouth-related injury. To combat this risk, wear a mouthguard and a helmet when possible. If your treatment plan includes headgear to correct a jaw misalignment, you will need to remove the headgear while you play, but still keep it on for the amount of time specified in your treatment plan.

If I have missing teeth, can I still get braces?

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Yes! You can definitely still get braces, even if you have some teeth missing. If you’ve had teeth missing for a while, you may have found that other teeth have drifted into your absent tooth’s space. Braces can open that space up again, leaving enough room for an implant to replace the missing tooth.

How do I brush my teeth with braces?

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Brushing your teeth with braces on can feel more difficult; and that’s understandable! It’s weird to get used to new brackets and wiring in your mouth. Take your time to brush around the brackets thoroughly and in-between the wiring with a special brush. You may find that your regular toothbrush becomes frayed and worn out faster as it rubs around the metal brackets; that’s normal. You’ll just need to replace your toothbrush more often while you have braces. Remember to use a fluoride toothpaste, floss regularly, and maybe even include a mouthwash into your routine to keep food out of the brackets and wiring.

How do I know if my child needs braces or other orthodontic care?

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Crooked and crowded teeth might not be the only problems orthodontic care can correct. Severe underbites or overbites, crossbites, or large gaps in your child’s teeth can also indicate that they'll need some orthodontic treatment. Heading to the dentist regularly from when their first tooth appears and throughout their childhood will help catch these problems early. While general and pediatric dentists do not provide orthodontic treatment, they can recognize problems early and refer you to an orthodontist. If you’re curious about your child’s teeth, give us a call! With our free consultations, we can let you know what kind of treatment would be necessary. Schedule one today!

Does my child need a mouth expander?

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Mouth and palate expanders are very common orthodontic appliances used in pre-orthodontic cases. If you’re curious whether or not your child needs to have pre-orthodontic work completed, schedule a free consultation today. We’re here to answer all of your questions and help you and your child along as their teeth and bite develop.

Can braces change facial structure?

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With the help of other appliances and braces, orthodontic treatment can change the shape of the jaw. In cases where individuals have severe overbites or underbites, orthodontic treatment can correct this, leaving the patient with better chewing surfaces and bite. Orthodontic treatment can even smooth out double-chins and give the jaw a more youthful appearance.

How should I choose an orthodontist?

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Your smile is one of your most prized and personal possessions. It’s tough to give someone the responsibility to straighten and align it. When picking an orthodontist, here are some things to consider. Are they board-certified? Not all orthodontists need to be board-certified in the United States, but orthodontists can be proud of their certification.

Free consultations aren’t just for the orthodontist to create a treatment plan to sell you on. You’re there to ask questions, get to know the orthodontist and his team, and above all, see if you feel comfortable! Orthodontic care can take up to a year or longer with routine appointments every few weeks.

Location can be important when you’re trying to make appointments fit into your busy life. Hillam Orthodontics has three locations to increase convenience. Schedule your appointment in Idaho Falls, Idaho; Afton, Wyoming; or, Driggs, Idaho.

Finally, you can check reviews, see transformations online, or read the testimonials. It’s great to hear what others have to say and to see their results.

What foods do I need to avoid with my braces?

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Wiring and brackets can break when forced through hard foods. Pizza crusts, tough breadsticks, pretzels, toffee, nuts, and hard candies are candidates to break your orthodontic appliances. Sticky and chewy foods can also be your braces’ demise. Fruit snacks, gum, caramel, and other chewy foods will also tear the brackets from your teeth. If some of your brackets have disconnected from your teeth, make an appointment as soon as you can to get them re-cemented.

How long will I have braces?

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Treatment plans can vary anywhere from six months to a few years. Since braces and other appliances change the alignment in the mouth very slowly over time, it might take a lot of time to correct your bite or align your teeth depending on how far your bones or teeth need to move. At your free consultation, we can give you a rough estimate on how long your treatment plan will be.

How do orthodontists create treatment plans?

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During your free consultation at Hillam Orthodontics, the team will take x-rays of you or your child’s mouth to see a better picture of what’s going on. As our orthodontists create a treatment plan, they’ll examine the x-rays, your goals, and past dental care. They’ll then present the treatment plan and options to you to take into consideration before deciding to start treatment.

What are TADs?

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TADs are small orthodontic appliances used to correct the alignment of teeth. They can also be used to reposition the jaw when it is out of alignment.

TADs are often used in conjunction with braces or other orthodontic treatments. Not every orthodontic patient needs TADs — but for those who do, it's a treatment option that offers some clear benefits.

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