Orthodontics FAQs

Orthodontics FAQs

Orthodontics FAQs in Long Beach, CA

Want to Learn More About Orthodontics?

We put together these orthodontics FAQs for our Long Beach orthodontic patients who might want answers to some common questions. Want to learn about something not on this list? Just let our friendly staff know and we’ll be happy to answer your question.

What Is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that is committed to diagnosing, correcting, and preventing “malocclusions,” more commonly known as misalignments of the teeth and jaw. Orthodontics typically uses orthodontic appliances like braces or retainers to fix these malocclusions.

Who Needs Orthodontic Treatment?

People of all ages may need orthodontic treatment, although we typically try to start with children (after their permanent teeth come in). If you are an adult and never had the opportunity to correct your crooked teeth, it’s never too late to start.

What Are Common Orthodontic Problems?

Common orthodontic problems include:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Teeth that are crowding together
  • Bite issues, such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite.
Why Is Straightening Teeth Important?

Leaving crooked or misplaced teeth in place could potentially cause problems down the line, including an increased possibility of gum disease and breaking or chipping a tooth. Misaligned teeth can affect the bite, which can cause soreness in the jaw and face if not working properly. This can also lead to TMJ disorder and even migraines.

At What Age Should I Bring My Child to the Orthodontist?

We recommend bringing your child into our orthodontic office in Long Beach around the age of seven. This is when the permanent teeth start coming in, and we can begin to plan and prepare for the possibility of braces.

Am I Too Old for Braces?

No, you are not too old for braces. In fact, the benefit of being an adult with braces is that you will have an easier time taking care of them. You may also be a great candidate for Invisalign® clear aligners, an alternative to braces that is virtually invisible.

What Is the Main Difference Between Metal and Ceramic Braces?

Traditional metal braces use metal for the square brackets that adhere to teeth. Porcelain ceramic braces use translucent or tooth-colored ceramic instead of metal for the brackets. This makes the ceramic braces blend in with the teeth more. The downside of ceramic braces is that they can take a little longer to straighten teeth because the ceramic material is more fragile than metal – meaning, the wires are tightened more slowly with ceramic braces.

What Are Invisalign® Clear Aligners?

Invisalign® clear aligners are an alternative to braces (they are sometimes called “clear braces.”). Clear aligners are plastic, molded trays that fit over the teeth and gently move the teeth into proper alignment. They are removable for eating and oral care, unlike traditional braces.

Can I Choose Between Traditional Braces and Invisalign® Clear Aligners?

In many cases, you can choose between traditional braces and Invisalign® clear aligners for yourself or your child. However, some types of malocclusions are better fixed with traditional braces, which we will discuss with you if this is the case. Also, younger children may do better with regular braces because they cannot be removed (and thus lost or broken) like clear aligners.

What Other Orthodontic Appliances Might Be Needed?

In addition to braces and Invisalign® clear aligners, your Long Beach orthodontist may recommend other dental appliances or interventions. Some of these appliances include:

  • Space maintainers
  • Palatal expanders
  • Retainers (fixed or removable)
  • Orthodontic headgear
What Are Retainers?

A retainer is a simple orthodontic appliance that is primarily used after braces or Invisalign® treatment is completed to maintain the correction. Sometimes, we use retainers instead of braces because we might need to only do some minor teeth straightening. Also, retainers are sometimes used for other conditions, such as treatment for snoring or speech problems.

Why Do Some People Need Extractions Before Orthodontic Treatment?

We sometimes recommend that teeth get extracted (removed) prior to an orthodontic treatment such as braces. This is often done when teeth are overcrowded, and the teeth to be extracted are causing more problems than they are worth. Wisdom teeth (located in the back of the mouth) are commonly extracted because they take up space and are difficult to keep clean.

Can I Still Get Braces If I Have Crowns or Other Restorative Work?

If you have certain types of restorative dental work done such as porcelain veneers, crowns, dental bridges, or implants, let us know. In many cases, braces can still work very well, or we may opt for Invisalign® instead. We also have methods of placing brackets on porcelain vs. natural tooth enamel with different types of adhesives.

Have any questions that we may have missed? Just contact us and we would be happy to answer them at Orthodontics of Long Beach.