Orthodontic FAQs

Orthodontics in Carmel and Shelbyville, IN

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of the improper alignment of the jaws and teeth. 

What is an orthodontist?

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

Dr. Rigsbee completed his orthodontic residency in July, 1986. Since that time, he has been in private practice in Carmel and Shelbyville, treating thousands of patients of all ages. Since 1997, he has worked as a part-time faculty member at the Indiana University School of Dentistry where he supervises the treatment of patients by the orthodontic residents.

What’s 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 time to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, 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 a child, any time is a good time to visit Rigsbee Orthodontics!

How can I take care of my teeth during orthodontic treatment?

  • 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 Dr. Rigsbee 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 the 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 Dr. Rigsbee. 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 amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, and causes 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.

What are braces?

Dr. Rigsbee uses braces to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. At our Carmel and Shelbyville orthodontic offices, we offer treatment with fixed appliances (braces) and removable appliances such as Invisalign® removable aligners and retainers. We feature treatment with SureSmile®, a patented system for accelerating and improving orthodontic treatment results for certain types of orthodontic problems. In addition, we are now able to develop virtual three-dimensional patient records thus eliminating the need for impressions in most cases.

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

The duration of treatment varies with the severity of the problem.  In general, more difficult problems will require longer treatment time. Some patients may need multiple phases of treatment based on their type of problems and age. The average duration of treatment is about 24 months, but may range from several months to several years.

How often do I have to come in for appointments?

You’ll need to visit our Carmel or Shelbyville orthodontic office once every four to six weeks. The average braces adjustment appointment time is about 30 minutes. You will see Dr. Rigsbee at every appointment before, during, and after treatment.  The time spent with Dr. Rigsbee depends on the type of procedure being completed. The longer the duration of the procedure, the more time you will be spent with him. After each appointment, he will review your treatment progress, concerns, questions, and what is planned for the next visit. 

Do braces hurt?

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.

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 between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Dr. Rigsbee can show you how to brush and floss properly once your braces are placed.

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 be caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Dr. Rigsbee will work closely with your dentist to make sure 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, Dr. Rigsbee recommends that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.

Do you offer a free consultation?

Your initial consultation is a professional courtesy to your referring dentist. It allows you to meet us and get a tour of the office, establish a comfort level, discuss your orthodontic concerns, and learn about the different options for treating them. Our goal is thoroughly educate patients and parents concerning their orthodontic problems and different treatment options. 

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Simply call Rigbee Orthodontics in Carmel or Shelbyville, IN! 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 our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need.

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Our mission is to help people feel better about themselves by providing our patients with the highest quality of orthodontic care. We resolve to continually improve our services through a commitment to excellence and ongoing training to refine our skills.