Frequently Asked Questions
Answers from Dr. Nick Riccio & Dr. Susan Blair
Read on for answers to commonly-asked questions that Dr. Riccio and Dr. Blair hear from patients like you in Hinsdale and all over Chicagoland’s Western Suburbs.
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
Orthodontists like Dr. Riccio and Dr. Blair are dental specialists who have received two to three years of additional training and experience after dental school.
Dr. Blair and Dr. Nick have years of education and experience that make them able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great time to see orthodontists like Dr. Riccio and Dr. Blair.
The American Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Riccio, and Dr. Blair recommend that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven, but orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens.
About one in every five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any age is a good time to visit Hinsdale Ortho.
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 our office or your family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep your retainer safe in its container so it does not get lost or broken.
Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by our office. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the number of bacteria that grows in your mouth, and can cause more plaque and potential cavities.
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.).
Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.
Braces are used by orthodontists to help improve the look and feel of your smile. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
- Traditional metal braces
The amount of time spent in braces will vary depending on the individual patient because every smile responds differently to a treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere from six to 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 22 months.
Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new 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 between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. We can show you how to brush and floss properly once your braces are placed.
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build-up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. We will work closely with your dentist to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy while you’re wearing braces.
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 activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.
Simply call our practice in Hinsdale! Our front desk staff will be happy to schedule your next appointment at your convenience.
If you are a new patient or have been referred to Hinsdale Ortho, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need.
Yes, sometimes we even recommend going every 3 months instead of 6 months.
No. There are no shots, needles or pain involved in placing braces on your teeth.
The length of time depends on what you have going on in your mouth. Sometimes it can be as short as 6 months and sometimes as long as 24 months.
We will discuss options with you (and your parent) to find the best option to get you finished with the best result in the shortest amount of time.
You need to brush after all meals and snacks whenever possible and floss at least once a day.
The short answer is no. The gum usually sticks to the aligners and doesn’t come off without a struggle.
To make space for teeth/to maintain space for your teeth! It might feel rough in the beginning if it’s new, but your lip will get used to it
Depending on where you are in treatment, the wires might not need to engage a bracket yet.
We wouldn’t recommend whitening with the attachments still on your teeth, it has potential to leave a discolored spot when we remove the attachment.
We highly recommend wearing one for higher contact sports like football, basketball and baseball.
No! We use a template for each arch that bonds all attachment all at once!
Often time, yes! Breaking brackets and getting cavities is what we want to avoid with food guidelines. Best thing to do is try out all your favorite foods, and if they’re excessively sugary/sticky, then be very good about brushing it all off after eating to avoid cavities, and for hard/chewy foods, cut up into small pieces and take small bites, to avoid putting too much pressure on and breaking your brackets. Both cavities and broken brackets slow your treatment down, so keep that in mind, be a little more careful than normal, and look forward to enjoying most of your favorite foods during treatment!
Yes! In fact, if you brush really well, you can pick a new color combo at every appt, or keep your favorite color scheme throughout, we’ve seen it all! Colors are supposed to be fun, and we look forward to seeing your unique style!
Rubber bands are sleek little elastics that connect your top and bottom teeth to position them in a healthy and comfortable bite. You’ll probably need to wear them during treatment in order to get the best and fastest results possible. They’re really easy once you get the hang of it!
Yes! If you want your teeth to stay straight! Plus, they’ll protect your teeth from wear and tear, so you can have a beautiful, healthy smile for life!
We would love it if you did! And, to make that easier, we have provided ortho care baskets to your school nurse, and explained to them the importance of encouraging great brushing during treatment, so they’d be happy to help you with that! Even if you’re running late and can’t brush right away, it is still very beneficial to brush your teeth at least as many times as you eat every day, so even when you get home from school is fine!
It’s o.k. Our recommendation is that you use the next aligner for the time that you were supposed to use the # you are on. For example, if you lost #9 on the first day, go to aligner #10 and complete the week(s) you were supposed to be on #9, plus the number of week(s) you would have been on for #10. Then move on to #11 and proceed as usual.
**IF the aligner is the LAST aligner that the patient has that is lost, advise the patient to go back to their last SET of aligners until their appointment. If they are more comfortable moving their appointment sooner, we can do that as well BUT it is fine to leave next appointment as is and see them then.
No worries. It is o.k. to come into your next scheduled appointment to have those attachments placed back on. We can extend your appointment and make it a 30-minute appointment rather than a 15-minute appointment. Continue to wear your aligners on schedule and use your chewies as recommended.
Typically, in the beginning we will see patients every 6-8 weeks. Once it gets closer to the end of treatment, we will sometimes see patients more frequently.
Yes! That is totally fine!
It’s pretty common for there to some soreness after we change the wires, Tylenol can help with that and since our wire are heat activated cold drinks such as ice water, smoothies, and milkshakes will help relieve tension.