Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I get wire braces?
  • Braces Improve Your Smile

    It is hard to believe when you are going through it, but braces will improve your smile and make you look excellent. Your smile is the most striking part of your face. Look in the mirror. Do you like your smile now? Well, Dr. Byrne will make your smile fabulous. You will end up looking great. Think about how looking great will improve your social life.

  • Braces Improve Your Health

    You will be able to chew your food better. Chewing is the first step in digestion. If your teeth are not straight, you will not be able to chew your food correctly so partially chewed food will go down to your stomach. That can give you an upset stomach.

You will avoid dental problems.

If you do not get orthodontic treatment when you need it you will have problems with your teeth for years to come. Your teeth will be hard to clean. Your gums will hurt. Your teeth will wear in ways that they should not. The effects are significant enough that many adults are now going back to Dr. Byrne for braces.

You can avoid developing a breathing problem.

As you get older the roof of your mouth can sometimes partially block the air passages in your nose. That makes you snore loudly, and may contribute to a condition called "sleep apnea" If you get braces you can avoid this possibility.

Why do people need braces? Why didn’t evolution eliminate the need for them?

Orthodontic problems are built into your genes. Back 10,000 years ago, in the days of the cave men, people had nearly perfect bites. No one needed braces. But then adult cave men were only four feet tall. Teenagers were two or three feet tall. In the last 10,000 years people got bigger. People’s mouths got a little bigger and people’s teeth got a lot bigger. The result is that most people’s teeth no longer fit correctly in most people’s mouths. Dr. Byrne moves around your teeth and possibly stretches your mouth so everything fits correctly.

Are there other reasons people need braces?

We do not know. It has been said that if babies use a pacifier for too long, they can develop and incorrect bite. Orthodontic problems can also be caused by injuries to your mouth, or if you suck your thumb when you are older than two. Some orthodontists also say that fingernail biting, or lip biting can also cause orthodontic problems. There is also some information about breastfeeding increasing orthodontic problems if the breastfeeding is stopped suddenly. Still, most people need braces because their teeth grow faster than their mouth. That is a natural part of growing up, and there is nothing you can do about it.

How many teenagers need braces?

About 70% of US teenagers need braces.

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

Orthodontic treatment can be found for under $3,000. On the other hand, the fee for orthodontic treatment could be $7,000 for a complex case. Our orthodontic office has a variety of financial options that can make braces affordable for anyone.

How does orthodontics work?

You usually think about your jaw as being solid like a rock, but when you’re growing your jaw is really more like clay. If you apply pressure to your jaw, you can get your jaw to stretch. If you pull your jaw apart, your jaw will get wider. If you push your jaw back, your jaw will slowly move back. Your jaw does not actually stretch. Instead, when you pull on your jaw, your jaw grows in the direction you are pulling. Still, the important thing is that when your braces pull on your jaw, the braces change the shape of your jaw. In the same way, if you push on your teeth, your teeth will move around in your mouth.

Dr. Byrne pushes your jaw to stretch your mouth so that all of your teeth fit. He then pushes on your teeth so they are all in the proper places. If your top jaw is too small, Dr. Byrne can install a special gadget called a “palatal expander” to get your jaw to grow wider. If your teeth stick out, Dr. Byrne can install another gadget called a “facebow” to push your teeth and expand your jaw so that all of your teeth fit correctly in your mouth.

At what age should I start orthodontic treatment?

You can get orthodontic treatment at any age. Kids as young as 4 are sometimes advised to start orthodontics to avoid problems later on. People as old as 90 sometimes get orthodontic treatment to fix crooked teeth. Still, orthodontic treatment works best and is the least painful when you are 8 to 14, so we advise to start orthodontic treatment then.

Your jaw is growing the quickest when you are 8 or 9 so it is usually best to expand your jaw to reshape your mouth when you are that old. This is called interceptive treatment. Then you should wait for most of your permanent teeth to come in. Usually, your permanent teeth come in when you are 12 or 13 so that is the best time to start full orthodontic treatment.

What happens if I wait until I’m older?

You can get braces at any age, so if you are too afraid, you can wait a couple of years. However, as you get older the treatment takes longer and hurts more. Your jaw is growing fast when you are 8, so your jaw is easy to stretch. If you wait until you are 12, Dr. Byrne needs to push a lot harder to expand your jaw. By the time you are 20, you may need surgery to expand your jaw.

What is having braces like?

Generally, teenagers do not find braces to be any big deal. Your mouth is usually sore for the first week after you get braces. Also your mouth will be sore when the braces are tightened. However, with modern braces, you should get so used to the braces that you won’t notice them, except when they’re being tightened or if you get hit in the mouth.

If you start orthodontic treatment when you are 18 or older, it generally is more uncomfortable. Still, the pain is worth the gain.

Do braces hurt?

It matters what kind of braces you use. Old-fashioned braces will hurt a lot of the time. However, if you get modern braces, they will not hurt except when they are first put in or when the braces are tightened.

Orthodontic firms test their braces to try to find ways to make them hurt less. We have a number of designs for braces, which minimize the pain you will feel. We have not yet found a way to avoid the pain when the braces are first put on, or when the braces are being tightened.

Take a look around the next time you are in the mall. I bet a lot of people have braces! Do they look like they are in pain? Probably not!

Will braces cause sores in my mouth?

Initially, there may be some sores on your lips. If you rinse the sores in warm salt water, they will heal within a week or two. Thereafter, there will be an occasional sore if, for example you get into a fight. However, the sores should heal rather quickly. If your lips get too sore during the first week, you can put wax on the braces to prevent them from rubbing and irritating the sore.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

It varies a lot according to how much your jaw needs to stretch and how much your teeth have to move. If you start interceptive treatment when you are 8, it will take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to stretch your jaw. It takes longer if Dr. Byrne needs to reshape your jaw. If you get braces when you are 12 years old, it usually takes two to two and a half years to move around your teeth. It will take longer if you do not do what Dr. Byrne tells you to do or if there is something unusual about your bite.

Will my friends laugh at me when I get braces?

Only you know your friends. Some friends laugh at anything. However, companies make stylish braces™, and most teenagers feel good about them. Most of your friends will be getting braces too.

Can I still talk when I have braces?

Yes. Standard braces should not affect how you talk or the sound of your voice. You can talk, sing, yell, and act just as you do now. Braces will not stop you from having fun. Occasionally Dr. Byrne needs to put in a gadget, which gets in the way of your tongue. If so, you may have trouble talking clearly for a day or two, but then you will be able to talk fine.

Can I still play sports with braces?

Of course, you can still play football, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. You can still go bowling. You can still do everything. Just wear a mouthguard, and try to not get hit in the mouth.

We recommend that you avoid the sports where you will get hit in the face. Fighting, boxing, wrestling, karate, can be very painful when you have braces.

I play the trumpet. Will my ability to play be affected by braces?

Be sure to mention your musical abilities to Dr. Byrne. Dr. Byrne will give you lip protectors for your braces. Then you’ll be able to play any musical instrument!

Can I eat when I get braces?

Yes! You can eat most of the good things that you can eat now. The one big limitation is that your mouth will get sore after you first get braces, so we recommend that you only eat softer foods for the first week. However, after that you should be able to eat normally. We will probably give you a list of food that you might want to avoid, but they are minimal.

Can I still chew gum with my braces?

Gum is not recommended. The gum can get caught on the braces and pull the braces off. Also the sugar in gum can get trapped behind the braces and cause cavities.

Is there anything else I cannot eat with braces?

You should probably not eat hard sticky, gooey, or crunchy foods. Caramel, taffy, peanut brittle can stick to your braces and pull the braces off your teeth. You also need to be careful with crunchy foods like carrots and apples and hard rolls so that you do not knock your braces off your teeth.

What happens if the braces come off?

Dr. Byrne will attach them again. Usually it is no big deal, although if it happens many times, your orthodontic treatment will take longer.