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Frequently Asked Orthodontic Questions

Why is orthodontic treatment important?

Orthodontic treatment helps ensure proper function and create healthy, beautiful smiles. Teeth that are misaligned are harder to clean and maintain as well as can cause abnormal wearing of tooth enamel which can lead to extensive and expensive dental procedures.

Why choose an orthodontist instead of a dentist for braces or Invisalign?

They are dental professionals with the skills and experience to best treat orthodontic problems. Aligning teeth to function properly and look great, too, is what an orthodontic specialist does best.

What causes orthodontic problems?

Most problems are inherited – such as crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems. Others can be a result of thumb- or finger-sucking, dental disease, accidents, the early or late loss of baby teeth or other causes.

Do I need orthodontic treatment?

There are a variety of reasons to receive orthodontic treatment. Your teeth and your smile is one of the first characteristics people recognize and remember about you after they meet you. Having a beautiful smile and a stable bite can be life changing. It’s best to schedule a visit with an orthodontist to determine your specific needs. Click here for more information. 

What’s the cost of orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic specialists customize both treatments and fees. After a face-to-face consultation, you can determine what type of treatment, appliances and results might work best for you. A flexible payment plan, which can include dental insurances, FSAs and HSAs, may be used to construct an affordable plan.  

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

It depends on the complexity of the case and what the patient wants to achieve. A short-term touch up can be as little as several months while comprehensive treatment could last several years.

Am I too old for braces?

Age doesn’t matter. The key factor in determining a good candidate for treatment is the health of teeth and gums.

When should my child see an orthodontist?


It is recommended to have your child see an orthodontist at 7yrs of age. Although treatment may not start at this time, your orthodontist can keep an eye on the eruption of permanent teeth and intervene when necessary. Click here for more info.

What is two phase orthodontic treatment?

Some patients may require two phases of orthodontic treatment. Early interceptive, Phase I treatment is when baby teeth and permanent teeth are present. This phase addresses more serious issues early and takes advantage of a patient’s growth spurt. Addressing necessary issues in Phase I, helps Phase II treatment be faster and less severe. Phase II is completed only when all the permanent teeth have erupted (or close to erupted) on patients who have received Phase I. A patient who never received Phase I treatment could not receive Phase II treatment, rather it is considered full treatment. Click here for more information.

How often are braces adjusted?

Your orthodontist determines the length between visits for your treatment. It is individualized and may be 2 weeks, 5 weeks, or even longer. Everything is determined by your treatment plan and progress.

What can I drink with braces?

You can drink anything with braces but it’s important to avoid carbonated, sugary drinks. Check out this article for more information.

What are common orthodontic emergencies?

Broken brackets and pokey wires are common “emergency” appointments. Wax can be applied to pokey wires or brackets causing irritation but calling your orthodontist is always advised.

What are retainers?

Retainers need to be worn after you complete your orthodontic treatment. Teeth are more susceptible to relapse when braces are first removed because the new bone supporting your teeth is still maturing. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends wearing retainers for a lifetime or for as long as you would like to have straight teeth. More info available here.

For a free initial evaluation, call 925.828.6972 today!

Jesus I. Patiño Jr. DDS, MS

Beautiful smiles are created in the details

San Ramon

9301 Fircrest Ln #1
San Ramon, CA 94583



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Weds: 8am – 5pm

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