Orthodontic FAQs

Here at Full Smile Orthodontics, we understand that receiving braces or other orthodontic treatment can bring up a lot of questions. To help you find some answers, Dr. Daniel Adams and our team have provided some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive. If you would like to learn more about our orthodontic office in Carlsbad, California, and the services we offer, we invite you to contact our office at 760.804.0080. We are always happy to help!

What is orthodontics?
Also known as dentofacial orthopedics, orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in and focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of abnormalities within the mouth and facial structure.

Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specialist who has received an additional two to three years of training after completing dental school. This training specializes in treating oral abnormalities, which includes straightening teeth, correcting misaligned bites and jaws, and enhancing the overall function of the mouth.

What is the best age for orthodontic care?
There is no “best age” when it comes to orthodontic care. If you are simply looking to improve the appearance of function of your smile, orthodontics could be for you! Our orthodontist, in conjunction with the American Association of Orthodontics, recommends that children around the age 7 come in for their first orthodontic exam. This will help us know if your child requires current or future orthodontic treatment. However, teenagers and adults are also welcome to receive the care they need whenever they are ready.

How can I take care of my teeth while wearing braces or a retainer?
There are several things you can do to keep your teeth clean and healthy during your braces treatment, or while wearing a retainer. Some of these things include:

  • Always brush and floss your teeth morning and night. Also brush and floss after every meal, when possible.
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste. You can also ask us or your dentist for a fluoride rinse.
  • If you have a removable retainer, brush and floss your teeth after eating, and before purring your retainer in. Be sure to also keep your retainer in its container while you eat; this will help prevent you from losing or damaging your retainer.
  • Clean your retainer by brushing it with your toothbrush and toothpaste. Denture cleaner is also a great way to keep your retainer clean. Follow any instructions that our orthodontist gives when caring for your retainer. Do NOT put your retainer in hot water to clean it, or in the dishwasher. This will damage your retainer.
  • While wearing braces, avoid foods that can cause damage. This includes foods that are high in sugar, which feeds bacteria and can lead to an increase in plaque buildup.
  • Avoid foods that can stick to or damage your braces. For specifics, talk to our orthodontist, or review our Life With Braces page.
  • Schedule and keep your routine cleaning appointments with your dentist. This should be about every six months.

What are braces?
Braces are a specific type of orthodontic appliance that orthodontists use to correct dental issues, such as straightening teeth and correcting misaligned jaws. Braces come in a variety of styles, including:

  • Traditional metal braces
  • Clear or ceramic braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Invisible braces
  • Self-ligating braces

How long do I have to wear my braces?
Treatment time varies by person, and it depends on a variety of factors. Generally, treatment time can last anywhere from six to thirty months, but the average treatment time is twenty-two months. Your personal treatment time depends on what you need correcting and the severity of the case.

Does it hurt to get braces?
Braces do not hurt; however, you may experience some minor discomfort after you initially get your braces put on and after adjustments. This only lasts a few days as your mouth adjusts to your braces.

When I have braces, do I have to brush my teeth more often?
Ideally, patients who receive braces should brush their teeth at least three times each day to ensure that both their braces and their teeth remain clean and healthy. Doing this can help remove any food that gets stuck between or around your braces. It is also important to floss every day, as your toothbrush will not be able to reach everywhere that needs cleaning. When you get your braces, our orthodontist and team will help you know how to brush and floss properly with your braces.

Do I still need to have regular dental checkups with my braces?
Absolutely! In fact, it is especially important that you visit the dentist every six months during your braces treatment. Braces make it easy for food to get stuck, which can lead to an increase of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. If this is not cleaned out, you could develop gum disease or tooth decay. By regularly visiting your dentist, you can make sure that all food and plaque are removed, and that your teeth and gums stay healthy throughout your treatment.

Will braces interfere with my school activities (sports, singing, playing an instrument)?
Playing sports or an instrument with braces may require some adjustments, but you will still be able to participate in your school activities as normal. When playing sports, especially contact sports, our orthodontist recommends that you wear a sports mouth guard to protect your braces and teeth.

How can I schedule my next appointment?
Just call our office! At Full Smile Orthodontics, our team is happy to help you schedule an appointment that fits your schedule. If you are new to our practice, or if you have been referred to us by a friend, please let us know. We will happily provide any information you need to begin your orthodontic treatment.