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FAQ about Orthodontics


My child has orthodontic problems, when should I visit an Orthodontist?

The best age for visiting an orthodontist is at the age of 6-8 years old. In some cases you may need to visit an orthodontist earlier than that.


Can an adult have orthodontic treatment, or is it too late?

It is not too late. Orthodontic treatment for adults is very common in the last decade. About 30% of orthodontic patients are now adults. Treatment though may take a bit longer since the skeletal development of an adult is not at early stages such as with children. Nevertheless orthodontic treatment for adults can take place, with esthetic solutions, such as ceramic braces, lingual braces or clear aligners.


Indications for visiting an Orthodontist

A child needs an orthodontic evaluation when you notice one of the following:

• premature or delayed loss of the baby teeth

• difficulties in chewing or closing the mouth

• «sucking» of the fingers

• crowding or wrong position of the teeth

• protruding teeth

• jaws that produce “clicking” sounds

• cheek biting

• teeth looking disproportionate with the face

• mouth breathing


Are there esthetic braces?

There are the classic metallic braces, the ceramic clear braces, and the lingual braces. In addition, when indicated there are clear aligners for treatment with no braces at all. Your orthodontist will inform you about the kind of orthodontic treatment you need, with the best possible esthetic solution.


Can I have orthodontic treatment with no braces?

There is orthodontic treatment with no braces, such as with clear aligners. This depends on the kind of orthodontic problem you have. After a detailed clinical and radiographic evaluation, your orthodontist will discuss with you all the possible treatment plan options available.


What kind of food can I have during orthodontic treatment? 

The dietary habits of the patient do not need to change, except some little things you need to be careful with, and your orthodontist will let you know.


Why do I need to have orthodontic treatment? 

Orthodontic treatment will provide you with the best possible occlusion and position of the teeth in relation with the jaws and the face, improving your speech, chewing ability and the health of your teeth and gum. Furthermore, do not forget that a nice and attractive smile improves a person’s confidence no matter what the age of the patient is. Untreated orthodontic anomalies can lead to a series of problems. Anterior teeth out of position, are not protected by the lips in a case of a fall, and that is why they are more prompt to fractures. Crowded teeth are difficult to clean, even by dexterous patients, contributing to problems like caries and periodontal disease. Cross bite leads to face asymmetries and abnormal tooth wear. Open bite is associated with  tongue thrust, mouth breathing, impaired speech and chewing ability. In other words, orthodontic treatment contributes to a better health for the whole oral and maxillofacial system.


Can I have orthodontic treatment if I am pregnant?

Pregnancy is not a contraindication for orthodontic treatment per se, unless other factors are present. Always remember that during pregnancy, radiographic examination is contraindicated. In case the radiographic evaluation is necessary to start orthodontic treatment, then the treatment will be postponed for after the pregnancy. During your consult, let your orthodontist know if you are pregnant.


Do patients with braces need to take special care of their teeth? 

That is correct. Patients with braces need to avoid hard, sticky, and crunchy food, and avoid chewing gum or biting on pens and pencils. In addition, they need to perform good oral hygiene. Your orthodontist will let you know about the proper care of your teeth during orthodontic treatment. Finally, athletes that undergo orthodontic treatment need to wear protective guards during their athletic activities.


How long does the orthodontic treatment last? 

Every case of orthodontic treatment is different, but in general a treatment lasts from 9 months to 2 years. This depends on the patient’s age, the severity of the case, how the teeth respond to treatment and patient’s compliance. After the end of active treatment, there is a retention phase, which is equally important as the active treatment. It can be done with fixed or removable retainers and is necessary to maintain the final result. Without the retention phase, like it was done in the past, teeth have the dynamic to return to their initial position. In addition, numerous changes take place in the skeletal system and the face as someone gets older, such as teeth movements, irrespectively if the patient has undergone orthodontic treatment or not. The retention phase is unique for every patient, and is planned at the end of the orthodontic treatment.


Why does sometimes orthodontic treatment last more than expected?

Estimations about treatment time are only estimations. Patients develop with different rates and patterns and respond to treatment differently as well. The orthodontist has specific goals in mind and he or she will continue until they are achieved. Compliance of the patient however, is critical for the best possible estimation of treatment time and the best possible results.


Do I need to remove my wisdom teeth before I start orthodontic treatment?

Recent clinical studies have shown that wisdom teeth do not necessarily cause teeth movements and displacements. If removal of the wisdom teeth is necessary, your orthodontist together with your dentist, will guide you through it.


What can I do for the orthodontic treatment to last less? 

Following the instructions of your Orthodontist about oral hygiene, wearing the orthodontic appliances and elastics, and your compliance can help and speed up the treatment time. In contrast, if the patient is not compliant, the orthodontic treatment will be delayed and take longer.


My child is allergic to nickel, can he or she have orthodontic treatment? 

Of course. There are orthodontic appliances not containing nickel. Your orthodontist needs to be informed about all the allergies your child has. 


What should I do if a piece of my braces brakes?

If a piece of the braces brakes, please inform your orthodontist as soon as possible, in order to repair it. It is expected that sometimes a piece of the braces may brake, but the patients need to follow the instructions given by the orthodontist and take care of their appliances, because every time something brakes, it can delay the treatment and increase the cost of the orthodontic treatment.


What happens on the first appointment with the Orthodontist?

On the first appointment, the orthodontist will examine the patient to evaluate the problem and if an orthodontic treatment is necessary. If the problem indicates the need for orthodontic treatment, on the next appointment the following diagnostic records will be taken:

    •    impressions of the teeth to fabricate study models

    •    photographs of the teeth and the face

    •    x-rays (panoramic and cephalometric)

These diagnostic records are analyzed and in the next appointment the orthodontist discusses with you the orthodontic treatment needed. The orthodontist gives a detailed explanation of the orthodontic status and problem, both to the patients and their escorts, all the available treatment plan options, the cost and treatment time.

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