Orthodontic FAQ's

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Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry specializing in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of teeth, bite, jaw, and face irregularities. 

Orthodontic treatment is provided by an oral health care provider known as an orthodontist, who has completed two to three years of additional training beyond dental school.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children receive their first orthodontic evaluation around the age of seven.

Any age is a great age to see an orthodontist! Today, an increasing number of adults are choosing orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth and correct their bite. It is now estimated that almost one third of orthodontic patients are adults.

Braces are clear, silver, or gold brackets connected by an archwire. They are used to correct tooth and bite irregularities and misalignment. They owe their success to technology that supports predictable results. Braces are tailored to the wearer’s unique needs and create beautifully straight smiles.

Before getting braces, you'll need to visit your dentist for a check-up to ensure you have no active cavities or concerning gum disease. 

It takes approximately 60-90 minutes depending on how many teeth are involved. 

No shots are needed. 

Yes, you can eat right after your braces are applied! Consider soft foods that require little chewing such as soup, pudding, mashed potatoes, applesauce, yogurt, etc until you’ve acclimated. As you get used to your braces, chewing will become easier. It is still important to avoid hard or sticky food throughout treatment as it can dislodge your brackets or wire.

Braces do not hurt when they are applied to the teeth. In most cases, there is mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the brackets, which may last for a few days.

You will experience mild discomfort for the first few days after your braces have been placed. This discomfort tends to be temporary and can be relieved by rinsing with warm salt water (1 tsp. salt to 8 oz. of warm water), and/or by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. Cold and soft foods such as yogurt, ice cream, and pudding can be soothing as well.

There may be an adjustment period when you first start your orthodontic treatment, but this should not stop you from participating in your normal activities. If you play sports, we recommend mouth guards to protect your braces. Mouth guards are crucial pieces of equipment for any child participating in potentially injurious recreational or sporting activities.

Invisalign consists of a series of removeable clear aligner trays that can be used to correct tooth alignment and some bite irregularities. 
Oral hygiene is especially important during orthodontic treatment. If possible, brush your teeth after meals for at least two minutes. See our oral hygiene page for more information. 

Certain types of foods should be avoided or eaten with extreme care:

  • Hard foods can dislodge the brackets and snap the wires. 
  • Sticky foods can quickly dislodge braces.
  • Frequent snacking and/or drinking of sugar and/or fermentable carbohydrate.

Yes! It is essential you continue to attend check-ups with your dentist every three to six months.

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Professional Associations

American Dental Association Logo American Association of Orthodontists logo Roth Williams International Society of Orthodontists logo California Dental Association logo The Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists logo Santa Clara County Dental Society logo