Coast Dental
Orthodontic FAQs

Orthodontic FAQs

We know getting braces is a really big decision. We try to make it as easy as possible by giving you as much information as we can. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions. We also invite you to come in for a free consultation with one of our caring and experienced orthodontists. That’s the best way to learn how you or your child can have the smile you’ve always wanted!

What causes crooked teeth?

Many dental problems including crowded teeth, missing teeth or jaw alignment problems are genetic. Other dental problems are the result of bad habits, such as thumb-sucking, using a pacifier, or poor oral hygiene that led to tooth decay and the premature loss of baby teeth.

Why should I have my teeth straightened?

Orthodontic treatment can do more than make a smile beautiful by correcting gapped, crowded and misaligned teeth. It can also help you chew properly, speak more clearly, reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery, protect your gums from becoming unhealthy, and reduce or eliminate the need for extracting permanent teeth. VideoPlay Video Icon

How do braces work?

Braces apply gentle, steady pressure on your teeth to move them into their proper positions. A bracket is placed on each tooth. Then we bend a wire called the arch wire into the ideal u-shape we want your teeth to have. The arch wire is threaded through the brackets and as the wire tries to return to the u-shape, it moves the teeth with it. VideoPlay Video Icon

When should a child see an orthodontist?

The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends children see an orthodontist at the age of 7. Bite problems, called malocclusions, often become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12 as the child’s permanent teeth erupt. Common Problems

What is Phase I Treatment?

Phase I treatment, which is also called early treatment or interceptive orthodontic treatment, typically begins in children who still have a mixture of baby and permanent teeth. It’s typically started when the child is between the ages of 6 and 10. Early treatment is often used to help correct severe crowding, tooth eruption problems, bite problems, narrow jaws and protruded front teeth. Early correction may prevent the need for the extraction of permanent teeth or surgical procedures later. Braces may still be needed when all of the permanent teeth erupt, but the duration of treatment is often shorter.

What is Phase II Treatment?

Phase II or full treatment occurs when all permanent teeth are erupted, typically after the age of 11. The goal of Phase II treatment is to straighten your permanent teeth and align your jaw. Patients who have undergone both Phase I and Phase II treatment are more likely to have lasting results.

How often will I have appointments?

Your treatment will depend on your specific needs. Most patients with wire braces visit the orthodontist every 5 to 10 weeks. Patients with clear aligners typically visit the orthodontist once every four to six weeks. Your orthodontist will let you know your schedule.

How long will I need braces?

Every patient is different. Most people need braces for 12 to 24 months, although some require up to 36 months of treatment.

Do I still need to see my family dentist?

Yes. You should continue with your regular dental checkups while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Your family dentist will determine the intervals, and can advise you whether you should have your orthodontist remove the arch wires so the general dentist has better access for your dental cleaning. The arch wire would be replaced by your orthodontist after the cleaning.

Are retainers necessary?

Yes. We know you’re excited about your new smile, but you must wear a retainer to help keep your teeth in their new positions. Most patients wear a retainer for about a year; your orthodontist will tell you how long you need to wear your retainer.


Home Care Frequently Asked Questions

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. The bands, brackets and wires are very delicate and foods that are chewy, sticky or hard can break them. We recommend you avoid hard candy, taffy, caramels, gum, hard pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, whole apples, raw carrots, corn on the cob and other hard vegetables and fruit. Also, don’t use your teeth to open containers and be sure to cut up meat into bite-sized pieces, especially steak and ribs, rather than use your teeth to separate the meat from the bone.

Patients with ceramic braces will need to avoid colas, coffee, red wine, dark-colored berries and fruit juices that can cause the ceramic brackets to stain. A good rule of thumb: if it can stain your carpet, it can probably stain your ceramic braces. VideoPlay Video Icon

Do I need to brush my teeth differently?

No matter what type of orthodontic treatment you have, you’ll need to be especially thorough when brushing your teeth to prevent cavities and periodontal (gum) disease. Patients with wires and brackets will need to brush after every meal to prevent food and plaque buildup around the wires, brackets, bands, teeth and gums. A soft-bristled revolving power toothbrush is usually recommended. Start brushing down from the top of each tooth, then switch to brushing up from the bottom of each tooth.

Patients with clear aligners will need to brush even more frequently because aligners prevent saliva from helping to wash away the food and plaque.

Our team of specialists will show you the proper brushing and flossing techniques, and may recommend that you use an irrigation device to loosen trapped food particles, too. VideoPlay Video Icon

How do I floss if I have braces?

You still need to floss once a day, even if you have braces. Break off a piece of unwaxed floss that is equal in length to the distance between your finger and elbow. Thread the floss between the main arch wire and part of the tooth closest to gum, moving it gently up and down to remove plaque from the sides of the teeth and the area between the teeth. Repeat this process until you’ve flossed between all of your teeth, but don’t use too much pressure around the wire. VideoPlay Video Icon

How do I use a dental irrigation device?

Fill the device’s reservoir with water or an antimicrobial rinse recommended by your orthodontist. Turn on the irrigator and direct the stream between all teeth and around brackets and wires. The irrigator will use a pulsing motion to loosen plaque and food particles so you can brush them way.

How do I clean my clear aligner?

Brush aligners using lukewarm water and a soft-bristled brush or the kit that your orthodontist provided. Aligners can be soaked and cleaned in the denture solution your orthodontist recommended. Do not use toothpaste or any other abrasive material on your aligners. Also, do not boil your aligners or they will melt.


Emergency Care: Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I have an orthodontic emergency?

Please call your Coast Dental office so we can set up an appointment to make any necessary repairs. Many situations can wait to be addressed until your next appointment. However, we have a dentist on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 1-800-32-SMILE

Why are my teeth sore?

Your teeth may be sore for three to four days after an adjustment. Your orthodontist may recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen or eat a cold snack like ice pops or ice cream to alleviate the discomfort.

What do I do if my cheeks or gums are irritated?

At your initial braces fitting and with each wire change, you may experience some discomfort as your mouth gets used to the braces. You can rinse with warm water, place wax over any troublesome brackets or wires, or use a dab of Oral Gel help alleviate sore spots. VideoPlay Video Icon

What do I do if a brace loosens?

Fill the device’s reservoir with water or an antimicrobial rinse recommended by your orthodontist. Turn on the irrigator and direct the stream between all teeth and around brackets and wires. The irrigator will use a pulsing motion to loosen plaque and food particles so you can brush them way. VideoPlay Video Icon

What do I do if a wire is poking my cheek or gum?

You have a few options. If the wire is loose, you can use tweezers to try to put the wire back into place. If the wire is too long, you can use a pencil eraser to push the poking wire down or you can place wax on the wire to cushion it. As a last resort, you could also clip the wire with a clean nail clipper. If you clip the wire, call the office to make an appointment to have it repaired. VideoPlay Video Icon

Request a Free Consultation

Scheduling a dental appointment is easy.

Please fill out the form below. During normal business hours, please call 1-800-32-SMILE and press 1 to make an appointment.

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