Orthodontic Care FAQs

By Rafael Mercado, DDS on August 25, 2021

Crooked teeth are a fact of life for many Americans. But how can you know if orthodontics, like braces or aligners, are a good treatment option for you?

At Castle Hills Family Dental in Castle Hills, TX, Dr. Rafael Mercado can answer all of your questions about orthodontics and help you decide which treatment, if any, is right for you.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about orthodontics, along with answers. Additional questions can be addressed by our dentist at your consultation.

What Is Orthodontic Care?

Orthodontics is a dental speciality that involves the diagnosis and treatment of misaligned teeth, the jaws, and occlusion (bite). This discipline also addresses prevention of improper dental alignment. The most common treatment used in orthodontic care is braces, though various forms of orthodontic treatment are available for children, teens, and adults.

What Are the Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment?

Straight teeth can boost self-esteem and improve the ability to thoroughly clean teeth at home, but there are health implications as well. Dental or jaw misalignment can lead to significant tooth wear and breakage over time. Malocclusion can also cause temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, disorder, a condition that affects the proper functioning of the jaw joints and muscles.

What Are Some Signs That I May Need Braces?

  • Improper bite
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Crowding

What Is the Orthodontic Treatment Process? 

Here’s what you can expect when you visit a dentist for orthodontic treatment.

  1. Consultation: During the initial visit, your orthodontist will examine your teeth and decide if orthodontic therapy is the right course of care. He will present treatment options, like traditional braces, lingual braces, the color of brackets, and clear aligners as an alternative to traditional braces. Your next appointments will include preparation for and placement of braces, if they are part of your treatment plan.
  2. Spacing: Spacers may be inserted between the teeth.
  3. Bonding: The brackets are bonded to the teeth, and wires are threaded through the braces.
  4. Adjustments Appointments: Gentle force exerted from the wire tension moves teeth into the desired position. Adjusting the wire is part of progressing through treatment.
  5. Debonding: Once the teeth are properly aligned, the brackets will be removed and impressions taken for the creation of the retainer. 
  6. Long-Term Checkups: An appointment will likely be set up for about 18 months after the end of treatment to make sure the teeth have remained in their proper position and have not begun to shift out of place.

How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Usually Last?

While every patient’s experience is unique, most treatments take 18 to 24 months to complete.

Does Treatment End After Braces Are Removed? 

No. After braces are removed, patients wear a retainer to keep aligned teeth in place. Retainers are usually worn overnight during sleep hours, but the dentist will prescribe the appropriate regimen. Consistently wearing a retainer keeps teeth from regressing. If you do not wear your retainer, your teeth will move out of alignment. 

You can opt for bonding your retainer to the back of your teeth, for a permanent, hassle-free option.

Schedule Your Consultation in Castle Hills

Practicing since 1993, Dr. Rafael Mercado at Castle Hills Family Dental has the experience needed to help transform your smile. If you believe you need orthodontic treatment, call (210) 405-1257 for a free one-on-one consultation or book an appointment through our website today.