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Get expert answers to all of your braces questions.

How do braces work?

Braces are an orthodontic appliance that consists of brackets and archwires. Dr. Durschlag places bent archwires in your brackets, and the wires attempt to return to their original shape. As they do this, they exert steady pressure that gradually and precisely shifts your teeth into their ideal places.

How long does braces treatment last?

How long braces take to straighten your teeth depends on the severity of your case, your age, how well you follow the doctor’s instructions and your body’s response to treatment, among other factors. Every patient is unique and your braces treatment could last anywhere between six and 30 months.

What happens when I get my braces put on?

Getting your braces put on does not hurt at all. First, we’ll use a cheek retractor to keep your teeth visible and dry. We’ll clean your teeth and apply a solution to help the adhesive stick. Dr. Durschlag will place your brackets on your teeth in the exact places necessary to achieve the tooth movements he mapped out in your treatment plan.

Next, he’ll use a curing light to ensure the brackets form a strong bond with your enamel before threading archwires through your brackets. If you opt for our self-ligating braces, a slide mechanism will hold your wires in place. If you choose conventional braces, Dr. Durschlag will secure your wires with elastics.

That’s it! We’ll give you instructions for caring for your braces and you can go about the rest of your day.

What happens when I get my braces taken off?

Getting your braces taken off is also a painless process. We’ll take out your wires and use a special tool to remove your brackets. Then, we’ll get rid of any leftover adhesive, polish your teeth and let you admire your brand new smile.

Do braces hurt?

No. You should never feel any significant braces pain during your treatment. At our practice, we use the latest braces technology, which minimizes discomfort even further. However, when you first get your braces put on and, sometimes, after adjustments, your teeth can be a little sensitive and tender to biting pressure. This will go away in a few days.

To manage any discomfort, stick with soft foods like smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, milkshakes, etc. until you feel ready to resume your normal diet. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever as needed as well.

If you experience irritation while acclimating to your appliance, make a saltwater rinse by dissolving ½ teaspoon of table salt in eight ounces of warm water. Swish it around in your mouth and spit it out, repeating until you finish the glass. This will help soothe your lips, cheeks and tongue.

How often do I need to brush my teeth with braces?

Brush your teeth in the morning and after meals and snacks to prevent food debris from getting stuck in your braces and feeding cavity-causing bacteria. For most people, this will mean brushing your teeth a minimum of four times per day.

What age should my child be seen by an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age 7. Early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to intercept or correct the issue and avoid more difficult treatment later.

That said, not all kids will need treatment right away. Most will come in for growth and development check-ups until the time is right to start treatment in their teen years.

What is phased treatment (Phase I and Phase II)?

Phase I, or interceptive treatment, often starts while a child has most of their baby teeth and a few of their permanent front incisors. This stage in development is usually around the age of 7.
The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept a moderate or severe orthodontic problem early in order to reduce or eliminate it. These problems include skeletal dysplasia, crossbites and crowding.
Phase I treatment takes advantage of the early growth spurt and turns a difficult orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This helps reduce the need for extractions or surgery and delivers better long-term results and treatment options. Most Phase I patients require Phase II treatment in order to achieve an ideal bite.
Phase II treatment typically happens years later. Usually, we wait for 12-16 more permanent teeth to erupt before Phase II begins. This most commonly occurs at the age of 12 or 13. The goal of Phase II treatment is to achieve ideal occlusion with all of the permanent teeth.

Can my child wait on treatment until they’re older?

If your child needs phase I treatment or your teenager needs braces, waiting isn’t recommended. Taking action while they’re still growing can help them avoid extractions, corrective jaw surgery and lengthier, more expensive treatment later. Holding off can lead to more limited treatment options and compromise the long-term stability of their results.

Do I still have to visit my regular dentist during my braces treatment?

Yes! It’s actually more important to visit your general dentist every six months for a routine exam and cleaning when you have braces. This is because braces trap food and plaque, which can make you more susceptible to tooth decay and gingivitis. Since teeth move most efficiently in a healthy mouth, seeing your dentist regularly throughout your treatment is key.

With a board-certified pediatric dentist on our team, younger patients will have the convenience of being able to receive their dental and orthodontic care in the same location.

Am I too old for braces?

You’re never too old for braces! As long as your teeth, gums and the bone that supports your teeth are healthy, Dr. Durschlag can shift your teeth into place at any age. While we do have adult braces patients at San Diego Smile Pros, most grown-ups opt for Invisalign® instead. The system of clear aligners is a comfortable, discreet, convenient way to improve your smile.

Can I get braces with missing teeth?

Yes, you can. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth drift into the empty spaces. This will change your bite and can cause a functional, aesthetic and/or periodontal problem. Braces or Invisalign® treatment will correct and prevent these issues and create enough space for your dentist to replace your missing teeth.

Do I need braces?

The only way to determine whether you need braces or not is to visit a certified specialist in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Our San Diego orthodontist Dr. Matthew Durschlag has the training and expertise to diagnose all types of irregularities of the teeth and jaw that would benefit from braces. Schedule a free braces consultation with him today!

How much do braces cost?

Your braces cost is determined by the complexity of your case and the appliance you choose. In an effort to make our San Diego braces affordable for everyone, we accept most PPO insurances and offer a range of payment plans, including no-interest financing options.

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