Long Beach, CA Orthodontist Dental FAQs

At Garlington Orthodontics, patients may have questions about orthodontic services. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers: 

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the practice of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, maintaining, and treating dental and facial abnormalities. It aims to bring alignment and balance to the skeletomuscular system of the face and jaw. 

At what age should I bring my child to the orthodontist?

Children showing signs of orthodontic concerns should visit an orthodontist by age 7 for an exam. Early intervention allows for more conservative treatment options. 

Are clear aligners suitable for everyone?

Clear aligners are suitable for many people, but not everyone. They work best for those with mild to moderate orthodontic issues, such as crooked teeth, gaps, or minor bite problems. Severe cases may still require traditional braces. Your orthodontist will determine if clear aligners are right for you.

How long does treatment with clear aligners take?

The length of treatment varies depending on the complexity of your case. On average, treatment with clear aligners takes about 12 to 18 months. However, some people may see results in as little as six months, while others might need two years or more.

Do clear aligners hurt?

Clear aligners can cause some discomfort, especially when you start a new set, as your teeth are adjusting to the new pressure. This discomfort is usually mild and temporary. Most people find clear aligners more comfortable than traditional braces.

How often do I need to wear my clear aligners?

For the best results, you should wear your clear aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day. You should only remove them to eat, drink (anything other than water), brush, and floss. Wearing them less can prolong your treatment time.

Can I eat and drink with my clear aligners on?

You should remove your clear aligners when eating or drinking anything other than water. Eating with them on can damage the aligners and lead to tooth decay since food and drink can get trapped between the aligners and your teeth. Always brush your teeth before putting the aligners back in.

How do I clean my clear aligners?

Clean your clear aligners by rinsing them with lukewarm water and using a toothbrush to gently brush them. Avoid using hot water, as it can warp the plastic. You can also use special cleaning solutions designed for clear aligners. It’s important to keep them clean to prevent bacteria buildup.

Will clear aligners affect my speech?

Clear aligners might slightly affect your speech when you first start wearing them, causing a slight lisp. This is usually temporary, and your speech should return to normal as you get used to wearing the aligners.

How often do I need to see my orthodontist during treatment?

You will need to visit your orthodontist regularly, usually every six to eight weeks, so they can monitor your progress and provide you with your next set of aligners. These visits are typically shorter and less frequent than with traditional braces.

What happens after I finish my clear aligner treatment?

After finishing your treatment with clear aligners, you will likely need to wear a retainer to maintain your new smile. Retainers help keep your teeth in their new positions and prevent them from shifting back. Your orthodontist will give you specific instructions on how often to wear your retainer.

What options are there to straighten teeth?

Garlington Orthodontics offers a range of treatment options, including clear braces or Invisalign, ceramic braces, invisible braces, and traditional metal braces.