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Orthodontics and Braces: Frequently Asked Questions

At Victoria Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics we want our patients and their families to feel confident and educated about the care they’re receiving. It’s important to us that you understand what treatment your children are receiving, why they need it, what you can expect, and even what any financial commitments involve.

In anticipation of an orthodontic consultation, it’s likely that you have several questions regarding braces and aligning teeth. You’re not alone. In fact, many of our patients have the same concerns. So, we’ve compiled this list of frequently asked questions to get you started on your learning journey.

What are metal braces?

Traditional metal braces are a system made of metal brackets that are attached to the front of the teeth. There’s also a wire that is threaded through the brackets all along the arch, connecting them together.

Why are rubber bands used with braces?

Toward the end of treatment, elastic bands are used along with braces to help position the teeth and jaw into proper alignment. The brackets have little “wings” attached to them. The elastic wraps around a wing on an upper tooth and connects to the lower arch by wrapping around a wing on a bottom tooth, nudging the opposing arches in specific directions.

Smaller (and colorful, if preferred) bands are used to keep the wire attached to the brackets.

What teeth problems can braces fix?

Traditional braces can fix a number of problems - from the simplest to the most complex. Overcrowded teeth, bite problems (crossbite, underbite, overbite, openbite), gapped teeth, or vertically misaligned teeth can all be fixed with orthodontics.

Can braces fix other health problems?

The condition known as TMJ disorder is a problem with the jaw joint which causes several symptoms. Restricted opening, jaw pain from chewing, an earache, neck pain, and even a headache are all side effects of TMJ. Luckily, our Victoria, TX orthodontic patients can improve jaw problems with the use of orthodontic therapy.

Is there an age limit on braces?

You’re never too old to straighten your teeth. In fact, every day more and more adults are getting braces as an investment in their smiles.

What is the average treatment time for braces?

Each orthodontic case is different, so the amount of time one patient spends in braces isn’t necessarily the same as the next. On average it will take 18 - 24 months for full orthodontic treatment. When you come in for your consultation we can give you an idea of the length of time it will take to align you or your child’s individual bite.

What is the best age for braces?

In most cases, your child will be ready for braces after they’ve lost all of their baby teeth. This is usually around the age of 12 or 13. It may even be sooner if we spot issues that can be easily avoided by intervening with the growing mouth of your child.

Adults also make great orthodontic patients.

Do braces cause cavities?

Braces don’t cause cavities, but they can take more time to clean. If proper oral hygiene is lacking during orthodontic treatment, tooth decay may be a side effect. We can help by seeing your child regularly for cleanings. Parents can help by providing children with the right tools to make cleaning their teeth easier. You may want to consider getting a water flosser and electric toothbrush. A prescription fluoride gel can keep enamel strong and more resistant to decay during treatment.

How often are orthodontic visits during treatment?

Throughout any orthodontic treatment, we’ll need to see you regularly to check your progress and make adjustments. Typically, you’ll visit our office for a checkup every six weeks or so.

Are braces painful?

After initial placement and an adjustment, you may experience some soreness with your braces caused by the pressure of your teeth moving. The brackets or wires can also rub against your lip or tongue, causing discomfort until you adjust to them. You can cover any rough areas with dental wax to prevent rubbing. Swishing with warm salt water a few times a day also helps.

What are ceramic braces?

Ceramic braces serve the same purpose of traditional metal braces, but the brackets are made from a tooth-colored material. They give a subtler appearance, which is preferred by patients that may feel self-conscious wearing metal braces.

What are lingual braces?

Lingual braces are similar to traditional braces, but they are custom made and placed on the back side of the teeth.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a type of orthodontic system that doesn’t use metal appliances. In fact, no brackets or wires are needed. Invisalign consists of a series of rigid, thermoplastic trays that are worn over the teeth to help move them. Patients that are looking for a nearly invisible orthodontic option may find that Invisalign is the solution for them.

Can my child get Invisalign?

Adults and teenagers alike can benefit from clear orthodontics. A specially designed system called Invisalign Teen helps young adults keep track of their progress to ensure everything is moving along as expected.

What type of braces works the fastest?

For the quickest orthodontic treatment, we can see if you qualify to receive the Invisalign clear alignment system.

Does dental insurance cover braces?

When you come for your consultation we’ll discuss your specific insurance benefits with you in detail. In most cases, dental policies will help pay for braces up to a certain age and cost.

Can I make payments on my braces?

Of course! Convenient interest-free payments are available through CareCredit. When the time comes, we’ll gladly help you set up an affordable financing plan.

How Can Victoria Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics help?

Our pediatric dentist office in Victoria, TX offers a one stop shop for all your dental needs. When you visit us, you can take advantage of comprehensive dentistry AND orthodontic therapy. We offer personalized, high-quality care in one convenient location. If you or your child are ready for braces, then we invite you to schedule a consultation. Our staff and orthodontist in Victoria, TX look forward to assisting you.