What to Do When You Break a Bracket

break a bracket

Traditional braces are a great option for straightening the teeth of preteens, teenagers, and adults. Unfortunately, sometimes the brackets come loose or break off the tooth entirely. This is a common problem and completely repairable once you visit our Orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama,  in Viera/ Melbourne.

Reasons Brackets Come Loose or Break

There are two primary reasons why brackets break. The first reason is that you are eating a lot of hard or sticky foods that really should not be eaten while wearing braces. These foods include nuts, tough meats, raw vegetables and chewy and/or hard candies. The second reason is that the dental cement used to bond your braces has worn out over time.

Steps to Take When Your Bracket Breaks

Almost everyone who wears any type of braces experiences a broken bracket at some point during the treatment process. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make your broken bracket more comfortable while you wait for your orthodontic appointment.

1. Identify the bracket that has broken.

When you feel a bracket come loose, it’s best to get a mirror to view the bracket. This will tell you if the bracket has simply come loose or completely come off the tooth, and it will allow you to see if the wire is bent or broken. You should also check to see if the bracket has completely come loose from the wire. If it has, it may not be safe to leave the bracket in your mouth, even if you use dental wax. This is because it could fall completely off the tooth again, and you might accidentally swallow it. If you notice the bracket is completely off your tooth and off the wire, you should remove the bracket from your mouth and store it in a container until you visit our orthodontist in Melbourne.

2. Place some orthodontic wax over the bracket.

Once you have identified the bracket, place a little orthodontic wax over it to prevent the bracket from rubbing against the inside of your mouth. This will help lower the discomfort and prevent sores and cuts on your cheeks and tongue. If the wire has also broken, you can place orthodontic wax over the broken parts of the wire as well.

3. Move the wire to prevent discomfort.

If the wire is merely bent, you can use the tip of a pencil eraser to move the wire to a more comfortable position while you wait for your urgent orthodontic appointment to get your braces repaired.

4. Schedule an appointment with our orthodontist, Dr. Natalia Valderrama in Melbourne

Once you realize your bracket and/or wire has broken, you should schedule an appointment with our orthodontist in Viera/Melbourne to have it repaired. Broken braces can affect your treatment time if they are not repaired promptly.

Getting Help with Broken Brackets

Dr. Valderrama and her wonderful team can repair your broken brackets and wires by examining the tooth, wire and bracket and reattaching a new bracket. If your wire is significantly bent, we can also straighten the wire or replace your wires so that you can continue your teeth straightening treatment.


If you keep experiencing broken brackets and wires, you may need some tips and tricks from Dr. Valderrama in order to keep your braces in good condition throughout the teeth straightening process. This can include tips on how to keep your braces clean with brushing, flossing and rinsing, how to angle the toothbrush to remove all the food particles from the edges of the braces and how much pressure to use while brushing. We can also give you a reminder of the types of foods that are safe for braces and the types of food you should avoid as well as how to eat certain foods to ensure they do not put too much pressure on your brackets. Also, please be careful with electric toothbrushes as the vibration and pressure could break also brackets if it is too high.

To schedule an appointment with our orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama and her wonderful orthodontic team in Viera/Melbourne to see if traditional braces would be right for you or to schedule an urgent appointment for a broken bracket or wire, call us at 321-425-5050 or 321-544-4127.

Preventing Tooth Discoloration During Treatment

Avoid going through the experience of having your braces removed only to discover that your teeth aren’t bright and white, as you thought they would be, but instead are discolored by following these dental tips. Each of these dental tips, if practiced throughout your entire orthodontic treatment, will help minimize tooth staining and discoloration.

Ditch the Whitening Toothpastes

Many people assume that using whitening toothpaste will help avoid unsightly stains and discoloration that can occur while wearing braces. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happens.

If you used whitening toothpaste while wearing braces, once the braces are removed your teeth will appear to have visible spots. This happens because the brackets on your teeth prevent the whitening toothpaste from being able to reach certain parts of the teeth. The toothpaste actively works to whiten the surfaces of the teeth it can reach but leaves the covered areas untouched which results in large, visible spots once the brackets are removed.

Work to Stop Bad Habits That Stain Teeth

Keep your teeth as bright and white as possible by working to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. These bad habits would stain your teeth even if you weren’t wearing braces, but the staining is worse with braces.

Just like with whitening toothpaste, the tobacco will stain only the parts of the teeth that are not covered by brackets. When the brackets are removed, the exposed parts of the teeth will have a brown or yellow tint while the parts of the teeth that were covered with brackets will either appear white or a lighter shade of yellow or brown.

Choose Your Drinks Wisely

A major cause of staining and discoloration while wearing braces is the drinks you consume. Drinking certain dark colored or acidic drinks will dull the original color of your teeth and cause them to appear discolored.

Drinks that you should avoid consuming include:

  • Dark colored teas
  • Coffee
  • Sodas especially if they are brightly colored
  • Wines – both red and white
  • Sports drinks
  • Juices

The best drink to consume is water or milk, but it is unrealistic to believe that you will only consume these two beverages. If you do feel like consuming any of the beverages that may cause staining and discoloration to your teeth, use a straw. Drinking through a straw will minimize the amount of contact the beverage has with your teeth which will reduce the likelihood that staining and discoloration will happen.

Avoid Sugary Treats That Use Artificial Coloring

Food manufacturers tend to use artificial coloring in snacks and sugary treats. While the bright colors may attract your attention and make you want to try a sugary treat or snack, it can cause your teeth to become discolored and stained, especially if you are wearing braces.

Try to avoid all sugary treats and snacks that contain any type of artificial coloring. It may be difficult to avoid your favorite treats and snacks, but doing so will help keep your teeth bright and white.

Follow a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

It is tempting to want to avoid brushing and flossing when you are wearing braces, but if you want to keep your teeth white and bright it is something you need to do on a regular basis.

A good oral hygiene routine will typically include the following:

  • Brushing after every meal
  • Brushing after snacking
  • Flossing not only between your teeth but around the wires and brackets
  • Removing bacteria and buildup on the tongue by brushing your teeth or using a tongue scraper
  • Take your time so your teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • Clean the back, front, and sides of your teeth

Schedule Regular Cleanings with Your Dentist

Regular professional cleanings are so important when you are wearing braces. Not only will it keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it will remove any staining or discoloration that has appeared before it has a chance to set and become permanent.

Regular cleanings should be scheduled every three months when you are wearing braces. After the braces are removed you may only need cleanings every six months.

Worried about tooth staining and discoloration? Ask Dr. Valderrama for help during your next appointment or during your consultation. Dr. V can provide you with recommendations for things you can do to avoid teeth staining and discoloration while wearing braces.

Why We’re Correcting Your Overbite

Are you concerned about your own overbite or your child’s overbite? Overbites, depending on severity, can affect facial appearance, chewing, speaking and oral hygiene. Here at Valderrama Orthodontics, we can successfully correct overbites with braces and other orthodontic treatments so that you can be proud of your smile.


Overbites occur when the front teeth jut past the lower teeth when you close your mouth. Most people have overbites. However, some overbites are so slight that only a dentist can diagnose it. Overbites can be caused by a forward protrusion of the upper teeth, a problem with lower jaw development or from heredity. Bad habits can also contribute to the development of overbites in children and adults. Bad habits that contribute to overbites in children include thumb sucking and bottle feeding past normal bottle feeding ages. Bad habits that contribute to overbites in teenagers and adults include chewing on items that aren’t food, like pencils, pens and your own fingernails.

Signs, Symptoms and Risks of an Overbite

If you have an overbite, you may also have some of the signs and symptoms. If you do, you may want to consult with our orthodontist to determine the best treatment methods.

  • It’s difficult to completely clean the teeth.
  • Proper chewing is difficult.
  • Speech is being affected.
  • Self-Esteem and confidence may be negatively affected.
  • The facial appearance Is affected.
  • The front teeth protrude out farther than the lower teeth.
  • The individual experiences jaw or mouth muscle pain.
  • The individual experiences frequent jaw strain.

Diagnosing an Overbite

Both children and adults can have overbites of varying degrees. If you can see your overbite or think you have an overbite, it is best to visit our orthodontist in Melbourne for a proper treatment plan. Diagnosing an overbite and its severity involves taking digital x-rays of the jaw and teeth and performing an examination of the mouth, jaw and teeth. Minor overbites that do not affect speech, chewing or cleaning your teeth and do not cause you pain may not need to be corrected. However, moderate to severe overbites should be corrected, especially if your facial appearance is affected and you have difficulty chewing or speaking.

Correcting Overbites with our Orthodontist in Melbourne

Our orthodontist in Melbourne, Dr. Valderrama, has experience correcting overbites in children, teens and adults. In children, we typically recommend they get examined for bite problems, including overbites, by the age of seven. Early diagnosis and treatment for overbites while your child is still developing can help avoid the need for surgery and other potentially uncomfortable procedures in the teen and adult years.

Mild to moderate overbites that are only the result of forward-protruding teeth or minor jaw problems can usually be corrected with traditional braces, lingual braces or aligners, depending on the severity of the overbite. Braces, including metal and clear, and aligners are typically worn for between 12 and 18 months but usually no longer than two years. Your length of treatment and the type of braces used will depend on the severity of your overbite.


The added benefit of using braces to correct overbites is that the teeth are also straightened, which gives you or your child a beautiful smile that they can be proud to show off. After overbite correction and teeth straightening with braces, your child will need to wear a retainer for a certain amount of time to ensure the teeth do not shift back to their original places.


In severe cases, jaw surgery may be needed to correct the overbite. This surgery involves moving the lower jaw forward in order to properly align the upper and lower teeth. This can help fix the bite problem and appearance problems that are the result of an overbite. Our orthodontist can refer you to an oral surgeon if your overbite is severe, and she can perform all your follow-up treatments after the surgery to ensure that you have a properly aligned jaw and straight teeth.


To schedule your first visit with our orthodontist in Melbourne, call us at 321-425-5050.

Factors That Determine Treatment Length

treatment length

Before committing to undergo orthodontic treatment it is important to know the length of time it will take for the braces to shift and move your teeth around so you can get that perfect smile you have always wanted. While only an orthodontist can give you an exact timeframe for treatment, you can get a general idea of approximately how long it will take to complete orthodontic treatment by learning about what factors orthodontists use to treatment length.

The following are the most common factors orthodontists use to determine how long you will be wearing braces.

The Alignment of Your Teeth and Bite

The alignment of your teeth is a huge factor that will determine how long you have to wear braces. If your teeth are severely misaligned and considerable changes need to be made to reach their new place, it will take longer for your treatment to be completed. Treatment is prolonged when teeth are severely misaligned because the teeth need to travel considerable distances or be rotated in order to reach their new positions.

When teeth are only slightly misaligned, treatment can be completed faster. Treatment can be completed faster because the teeth only have a very short distance to move in the mouth until your smile is perfected.

Age in Which You Seek Treatment

The older you are when you start orthodontic treatment, the longer it will take to complete treatment. Older patients have longer treatment times because the bones in their mouth and jaw have completely formed and matured. Fully formed and mature bones are slower to adapt to change. This means you have to wear braces for a longer period of time in order to see results.

Even though older patients have longer treatment times than younger patients, the difference is minor. Usually, there is only a few months difference in treatment times between older and younger patients.

The Health of Your Teeth and Gums

Failure to take care of your teeth and gums can result in a number of problems, including cavities, tooth decay, and gum inflammation, that can prolong your orthodontic treatment. If your orthodontist notices that you have developed a cavity or tartar has built up around your teeth, he or she may slow down your orthodontic treatment in order to correct and address these problems. While this might not seem too bad, it could add anywhere from three to six months on to your treatment time.

The Medicines You are Currently Taking

Not many people are aware that some medications, such as NSAIDS, estrogen, immunosuppressants, and hormone replacement medications can slow down the rate in which your teeth move. Slowing tooth movement can add considerable time to your treatment.

On the other hand, there are some medications and supplements, such as Vitamin D or certain thyroid hormones, which can actually speed up treatment times because your teeth are easier to move around.

Considering how medicine can impact treatment times, it is important that you make sure your orthodontist is fully aware of any OTC medications, prescription medications, and supplements you are taking before you start treatment. This information will help your orthodontist adjust your treatment times to accommodate any medications that may slow down or increase tooth movement.

Experiencing Any Unexpected Damage to Your Braces

An occasional broken bracket won’t dramatically impact the length of your treatment. However, if the wires of your braces break and you don’t get them adjusted in a timely manner, you could be adding an additional month to three months to your treatment time.

To avoid damage to your braces adding additional treatment time to your timeline, call your orthodontist immediately if any problems occur. Your orthodontist can determine if you need an emergency appointment to readjust the wires.

Schedule a Consultation to See How Long You Will Wear Braces

The best way to determine how long orthodontic treatment will take for you is to call Valderrama Orthodontics and schedule a consultation. During your complimentary consultation, our orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama will conduct an examination and take diagnostic x-rays. Once your exam and x-rays are completed, our orthodontist will discuss treatment options and provide you with an estimate on how long treatment will last. Call us today @ 321-4250-5050 to schedule a complimentary consultation!

Avoiding Cavities with Braces: Easy Tips to Follow

avoiding cavities with braces

It’s always essential to make sure you’re following good oral hygiene practices with your teeth to prevent cavities. However, routine dental hygiene becomes even more important if you have braces. It’s tougher to clean teeth when you have braces, so you’ll need to work even harder to prevent cavities from forming while you’re undergoing this orthodontic treatment. Once you have your braces removed, you want to have a white, straight, beautiful smile that’s free from cavities. Here are a few easy tips you can follow to avoid cavities while you’re wearing braces.

Tip #1 – Brush After Mealtimes

Whether you have a full meal or a small snack, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth about 30 minutes after you have a meal. Braces can easily trap food, and when food sits in your teeth, it can cause cavities to form. When you brush after meals, make sure you brush thoroughly, making sure that the bristles get into the gaps between braces and teeth to remove food particles completely. Brush around and in all the wires and brackets. It’s a good idea to go with a soft toothbrush and a good fluoride toothpaste will help prevent tooth decay too.

Tip #2 – Invest in Some Special Cleaning Tools

Since it can be so tough to clean teeth when you have braces, it’s a good idea to invest in some special cleaning tools to help out. Using interdental toothbrushes along with the regular toothbrush a couple times a day is a great idea. Interdental toothbrushes are very small and often disposable and they are used to help clean between teeth and between the wires of your braces. These brushes are great for reaching places your regular toothbrush just can’t reach. Another special tool that may be recommended is a WaterPik, which uses the power of water to clean teeth and around your braces.

Tip #3 – Don’t Forget Flossing

Even though it probably sounds like a big chore, flossing is so important when you have braces. Floss helps to get into those places between teeth that are tough to reach. Your dentist can show you the best way to floss when you get braces, so make sure you’re flossing a minimum of once a day to avoid any cavities between teeth.

Tip #4 – Rinse with a Fluoride Mouthwash

Sometimes there are still a few food particles left behind even after flossing and brushing, which is where a good mouthwash can help. Rinsing well can eliminate any leftover particles on teeth that could cause decay. A fluoride mouthwash is a great choice since fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay. Talk to your dentist about which fluoride mouthwash may work best for your needs.

Tip #5 – Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks

While you have your braces, there are certain foods that can be bad for your braces and your teeth. Although it’s often tough to avoid temptation, you won’t have braces forever, so try to avoid the foods and drinks that may cause you trouble. Sticky foods like gum, taffy, and caramel are a problem if you have braces. Hard foods like apples, nuts, and hard candies can be a problem too. It’s also best to avoid sports drinks, fruit drinks, and soft drinks while you’re wearing your braces.

Tip #6 – Don’t Skip Routine Checkups

Heading to the dentist for routine checkups is always important, and you should have a checkup and cleaning every six months. However, it’s especially important that you avoid skipping those checkups while you’re wearing braces. In fact, you may be asked to come in more often while you are wearing braces. Don’t blow off those appointments. It’s important to have your braces checked and to ensure that you don’t have any tooth decay starting on your teeth. Catching any problems early is always essential and can prevent even bigger problems in the future.

Soon your braces will be off and you’ll get to enjoy the lovely smile you want, but while you’re wearing them, be extra vigilant about caring for your teeth. With a bit of extra care, avoiding problem foods, and regular checkups, you can avoid cavities and ensure you’re happy with your smile once the braces come off for good.

Braces Myths Busted!

braces myths

Dental braces are a rite of passage for many people. More than four million people living in the United States are currently wearing braces to reposition crooked or out-of-place teeth. Some wear braces to improve the function of their bite so that they chew or speak correctly. Many more straighten their teeth for a more attractive smile.

While millions of Americans have worn braces or have known someone who has, there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings when it comes to straightening teeth. Our Melbourne/Viera orthodontist, Dr. Natalia Valderrama, would like to bust some of these myths and present a few facts about the benefit, effectiveness and comfort of modern braces.

Melbourne/Viera Orthodontist Busts Common Myths about Braces

Everyone will know I’m straightening my teeth

Nobody needs to know. Lingual braces, such as 3M Incognito Hidden Braces™, place the hardware of braces behind your teeth so nobody can see the wires and brackets. Clear ceramic braces are beautifully transparent – most people won’t even notice that you are wearing them. Invisalign® aligners use a custom-made set of aligners made from smooth, comfortable, and virtually invisible plastic.

Metal braces are the only option when it comes to straightening teeth

Untrue! In addition to traditional braces, today’s orthodontic patient can choose from clear braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners.

Braces have to hurt, or they won’t straighten your teeth

Not at all! Advances in orthodontic technology have made all types of braces, including traditional braces, more comfortable and subtle than ever before. It is true, though, that your mouth might feel a bit sore for the first few days after getting your braces or after having your braces tightened. This discomfort should go away quickly, and you should be able to eat, talk and smile comfortably.

Metal braces taste like metal

Your braces may feel odd when the orthodontist first puts them on your teeth, but they should not taste like anything. Any odd taste in your mouth could mean that you have something stuck in your braces and that you should contact your orthodontist.

Metal braces cause radio interference

No. Braces are not powerful enough to interfere with any type of radio or electronic devices.

Traditional braces are ineffective at complex teeth straightening

While aligners work well for aesthetic purposes and for resolving simple tooth alignment issues, traditional braces work efficiently for fixing complex issues. Traditional braces are good for correcting crooked or crowded teeth, known as malocclusion, and bad bites.

There are no benefits to wearing traditional braces

Actually, today’s low-profile braces are small and easy to wear. Traditional braces are relatively inexpensive, durable, effective and more comfortable than ever.

Traditional braces take too long to straighten teeth

Actually, traditional braces are the treatment of choice for anyone who wants to move their treatment along as quickly as possible. Traditional braces work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than aligners.

Metal braces can rust

Today’s metal braces are made from strong materials, such as titanium alloy, and are specially designed to spend time in a person’s mouth.

Braces are not for adults

Myth busted! About one million adults wear braces. Teeth can move at any age, so wearing braces can correct misaligned teeth – even in adults.

OK but adults would have to wear them forever, right?

While it does take longer for braces to straighten the teeth of adults than it does for adolescents, adults wear typically wear braces for 10 months to two years.

Once the braces come off, my teeth will stay straight

Not so fast! Elastic fibers connect your teeth to your jawbone. Braces stretch some of these fibers and compress others. After you get your braces off, these fibers try to resume their normal position and, in the process, pull your teeth out of alignment. You will need to wear a retainer every day for the first few months after your orthodontist removes your braces. Then, every night for the rest of your life or as long as you want to keep your beautiful smile.

There is no where to get more information on braces

OK, that one is not really a myth – everyone probably knows that they can learn more about braces by talking to their orthodontist. The more you know about braces, the better your smile can be! Call us today at 321-425-5050.