Orthodontics

CaliDental

Cosmetic Dentists, Implant Dentists, & General Dentists in Lompoc, CA and San Luis Obispo, CA

If you’ve got uneven or misaligned teeth, you may think that it’s too late for you to have the beautiful, straight smile you’ve always wanted. But over time, orthodontic treatment can slowly reshape your smile and can correct even seriously misaligned teeth, giving you a healthier set of teeth and a more attractive appearance. For more information on orthodontics, call CaliDental today to make an appointment at their offices in San Luis Obispo and Lompoc, California, or make an appointment online.

Orthodontics Q & A

What are orthodontics?

If your teeth or jaws are improperly positioned or misaligned, you may need correction with a branch of dentistry known as orthodontics. Orthodontists undergo two years of additional training after dental school to learn how to use braces and retainers to reshape smiles that are misaligned. Orthodontics include traditional braces, removable appliances and other types of aligners and maintainers.

Misaligned or crooked teeth aren’t just uneven and unattractive, but  they can also be harder to keep clean, potentially leading to tooth decay and periodontal disease. They can also cause extra stress on the muscles you use to chew, leading to TMJ pain, headaches, and back and shoulder pain. Orthodontics can give you a healthier mouth, a more pleasant appearance, and more durable teeth.

How do I know if I need orthodontic treatment?

You’ll need a dental checkup to know for sure if orthodontic treatment is right for you. Your dentist will examine your teeth, and take your dental health history into account when making an assessment, and they may take special X-rays, photographs, or even a plaster model of your teeth to ensure that orthodontics are your best option. Look out for any of these common misalignments, and if you think one describes your teeth, schedule an appointment at CaliDental today.

  • Overbite, where upper teeth protrude too far over lower teeth
  • Underbite, where lower teeth protrude too far beyond upper teeth
  • Cross bite, where upper and lower teeth don’t line up correctly
  • Open bite, when your front don’t meet when you close your mouth
  • Misplaced midline, when the center of your upper jaw does not align with the center of your lower jaw
  • Spacing or crowding, when there is too much or not enough space between each tooth

With enough time, orthodontics can correct even moderate and severe misalignments. Even if your teeth are too misaligned for retainers or Invisalign® treatment, traditional braces or orthodontics can still be effective.

What is it like to live with orthodontics?

While orthodontics may take some getting used to, they are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. There are a wide variety of orthodontic treatments including braces, special fixed appliances to control tongue thrusting or reposition your jaw, aligners or space maintainers, as well as cheek bumpers and palatal expanders. Each one fits differently and requires different maintenance, which your dentist will explain when the orthodontic has been installed.

You may be given special instructions on how to keep your orthodontics clean and intact, including foods to avoid. Your braces may be painful or uncomfortable when they’re first installed or when they’ve recently been tightened. Follow these simple steps to limit the discomfort:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water 
  • Eat soft foods that won’t get stuck in your braces, like yogurt, applesauce, pasta, and scrambled eggs
  • Avoid acidic foods or beverages, like soft drinks

If your braces or other orthodontic equipment is still uncomfortable after several days, talk to your dentist about ways to make the equipment more comfortable.

For more information on braces and orthodontics, call CaliDental today to make an appointment, or make one online.