Proper Care For Mouth Guards

Directly after receiving their mouth guards, the majority of athletes take good care of them; however, as time passes, they become less diligent about keeping them clean. Typically, this occurs due to busy routines and tight schedules. Nevertheless, proper cleaning is essential to decrease the likelihood of introducing bacteria into the mouth.

Mouth Guards Protect the Teeth

At Valderrama Orthodontics, we create custom-designed mouth guards to be worn while participating in sports. These guards protect the teeth during gameplay: Thus, eliminating concerns related to the injuring, fracturing or breaking of teeth.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Caring for a Mouth Guard

A mouth guard will last a lot longer if your child takes the time to properly care for it.

The Do’s:

Clean the Mouth Guard

Unfortunately, a mouth guard is the perfect living environment for microorganisms. The moist, dark conditions within the mouth guard’s case allow bacteria and mold to thrive. The germs found in these guards can cause staph infections and strep: Both of which can lead to benching the entire team.

Tips for cleaning guards:

  • Washing mouth guards directly following removal helps decrease bacteria buildup; however, if your child is unable to wash it immediately, at least ask him or her to rinse it off before returning it to its case. Then, wash it and the case, as soon as possible.
  • Water alone will not effectively clean the guard; therefore, your child should use soap and water or some other non-alcohol based cleaner (e.g., Fresh Guard) to clean the mouth guard. Once washing is complete, rinse it with warm water.
  • Now, use toothpaste and a toothbrush (designated for the guard) to move the toothpaste into the crevices where the teeth sit.
  • In addition, the mouth guard can be placed in mouthwash for 10 minutes or overnight.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

The fewer germs on your child’s teeth when he or she applies the mouth guard, the better. While brushing the teeth at least twice a day (typically morning and night) is recommended, athletes should also brush before and after wearing their guards.

Store the Guard in Its Case

From sweaty socks to cleats and jerseys, numerous dirty items are carried around in a gym bag. Your child can keep his or her mouth guard safer and cleaner by making sure it remains in its firm, perforated case.

Keep the Mouth Guard Away from Heat Sources

The tailored shape of a guard may change if it is left in the heat too long. Therefore, your child should avoid leaving it in the car, near a radiator or in direct sunlight.

Replace the Guard as Needed

With use, a mouth guard will start wearing down. You or your child need to examine his or her guard after each use. If breakage, cracks, rough spots and/or holes are evident, replacement is necessary. This ensures that during gameplay their teeth receive the most protection possible. Furthermore, if the guard has not already been replaced, once a season comes to an end, Dr. Natalia Valderrama recommends that her patients replace their mouth guards.

The Don’ts:

Avoid Chewing on the Mouth Guard

Approximately 50 percent of teens experience at least one dental injury prior to graduating from high school. If your child is able to chew on his or her guard, chances are it is not secure enough to protect the teeth: Therefore, it is time to make an appointment with Dr. V.

Never Trim the Guard

Trimming the mouth guard may put your child’s teeth at risk for injury. Furthermore, if the guard is under warranty, trimming it on your own makes that warranty void.

Do Not Store the Mouth Guard in Anything Except Its Case

Using a plastic bag or a dish with a lid to store a guard inhibits its ability to dry out properly, which can lead to an accumulation of bacteria, mold and yeast. Therefore, your child should only store his or her mouth guard in its case: These cases are ventilated, which allows it to dry out.

If your child participates in sports, his or her teeth are at risk. Contact Valderrama Orthodontics today at 321-544-4127 to find out more about the custom-designed mouth guards we offer. Dr. Natalia Valderrama is dedicated to providing her patients, in and around Melbourne, Florida, with convenience, a comfortable environment, compassionate dental professionals and the high-quality orthodontic care they deserve. We look forward to welcoming you to the Valderrama family and meeting all your orthodontic needs.

Adult Braces: Are They for You?

Adult Braces

If you are an adult with misaligned teeth, you may be wondering whether or not adult braces are right for you. After all, braces are really just for kids, right?

Actually, there are over a million adult orthodontic patients in the United States and Canada. Nowadays, more adults are seeking orthodontic corrections than ever before. Wearing braces is no longer age-specific. Grown ups are regularly choosing braces to correct bite problems, align crooked teeth, and improve their overall appearance.

In the past, an adult orthodontic patient may have had few treatment options from which to choose. However, adult patients now have multiple options for straightening their teeth. Many of these applications are inconspicuous, so they are difficult to notice once they are in place. Here is a bit of information to help you decide whether or not adult braces are right for you.

Why Do Adults Get Braces?

Most adult orthodontic patients want braces to improve their appearance. Your teeth play a significant role in the way that you look. In fact, an observer can often guess a person’s age range, gender, and sometimes even the socioeconomic status by looking at the individual’s teeth. In addition, the way that you perceive your teeth can have a large impact on your self-esteem and confidence.

Still, there are additional reasons for wanting braces. Here are a few of them:

Speech Problems

A person’s bite can affect his or her ability to speak clearly. When the teeth are misaligned, it can be difficult to pronounce certain consonant sounds. Consequently, some adult patients want braces to ensure that their speech is well understood. Being able to clearly communicate can impact a person’s ability to be successful in the workforce, especially if an occupation involves a large amount of talking.

Jaw Pain

When the jaws are not properly aligned, the adult patient may experience constant discomfort. The pain may be exacerbated as he or she chews or speaks.

In addition, the jaw discomfort while eating may result in gastrointestinal issues. Often, a person who experiences pain while chewing fails to masticate the food thoroughly. As a result, the food is not broken down sufficiently for easy digestion.

Braces can be used to correct the dental misalignment and adjust the bite. After the alignment of the jaws is corrected, the pain usually subsides.

Tooth Decay

A person may suffer from tooth decay more easily if the teeth are crowded or misaligned. Crowded teeth can make it difficult to floss correctly. In addition, some areas of the teeth may simply be inaccessible to a toothbrush. Nevertheless, all areas of the teeth are still subject to tooth decay.

Once teeth are properly aligned, they become easier to clean. Thus, people who regularly incur cavities may notice that their teeth remain healthier after an orthodontic correction.

What Options Are Available for Adult Orthodontic Patients?

Adult patients can choose traditional braces if they prefer. However, there are discrete alternatives, such as clear braces, lingual braces, and clear plastic aligners.

Clear Braces

Clear braces are made with transparent ceramic brackets. Since the brackets are basically colorless, clear braces are much more difficult to discern in the mouth than their traditional metal counterparts.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces have metal brackets that are placed on the side of the teeth that lies closest to your tongue. Thus, the braces are not visible to a casual observer. Instead, the front of your teeth remains unobstructed while the braces are in place. The placement of lingual braces also makes them a great option for people who play contact sports in which inadvertent blows to the mouth may occur.

Clear Plastic Aligners

Clear plastic liners are transparent mouth trays that apply pressure to move the teeth into proper position. Because the aligners are transparent, they are practically invisible when worn. This option is sometimes preferred by adult patients because the aligners are removable. This means that you can clean your teeth or eat a meal without having to adjust to the bulk of an orthodontic appliance.

If you are considering adult braces, contact our Melbourne, FL office to schedule an appointment. Dr. Valderrama will gladly help you determine the best option to meet your needs.

The Top Health Benefits of Braces

Benefits of Braces

If you’re considering braces, you probably immediately think of the aesthetic benefits of having straighter teeth. Braces definitely help you achieve the beautiful, straight smile that you want. However, braces offer a number of other health benefits to consider as well. Here’s a look at some of the health benefits of braces you can enjoy.

Health Benefit #1 – Enjoy Easier Flossing and Brushing

Flossing and brushing are important for preventing tooth decay, but it’s often tough to reach the entire surface of the tooth if you have overcrowded or crooked teeth. When your teeth aren’t aligned properly, there can be extra nooks and crannies where bacteria and food particles build up. Unfortunately, these areas are tough to reach with floss or your tooth brush. When teeth are realigned with braces, it’s easy to floss and brush, reducing the buildup of plaque, tooth decay, and many other oral health problems.

Health Benefit #2 – Improved Bite

When teeth are overcrowded, widely spaced, or crooked, you may end up with a misaligned bite that makes it tough to eat. This can cause teeth to wear out faster and can increase your likelihood of losing teeth as you grow older. You’ll have an improved bite after braces address your bite issues, reducing the risk of tooth loss as you age.

Health Benefit #3 – Reduce the Risk of Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

Using braces to align your teeth can also reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. If teeth are crooked or crowded, tight spaces between the teeth form often called foot traps. Debris easily builds up in these areas, and it can turn into plaque, increasing your risk of cavities, even if you work hard to have great oral hygiene. Once your teeth are aligned after orthodontic treatment, you shouldn’t have problems with these food traps, cleanings, dental exams, and daily oral hygiene will be more efficient, reducing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Health Benefit #4 – Enjoy Improved Speech

You may not realize that the way your tongue moves against your teeth affects your speech. If your teeth are pushed far forward or they lie backward within the mouth, you may deal with speech problems. Many kids that visit speech therapists are actually referred to an orthodontist for orthodontic treatment. Aligning the teeth with braces can often result in improved speech after treatment has been completed.

Health Benefit #5 – Prevent Bone Erosion

The placement of the teeth can affect the pressure put on the jawbone when you chew and talk. The pressure helps to stimulate bone growth, which is essential for holding teeth in place over time. If your teeth are misaligned, too much force may come down on particular teeth when you’re eating, eroding away your bone. There may not be enough pressure in some areas, resulting in a lack of stimulation and bone erosion as well. Moving teeth to the right position with braces can ensure the right amount of pressure is kept on the jawbone to keep them healthy and prevent erosion.

Health Benefit #6 – Improved Digestion and Nutrition

If your teeth are severely misaligned, it’s tough to eat with them. It’s hard to chew properly when teeth do not fit together as they should. The digestion of food starts in the mouth, since chewing food thoroughly makes it easier for your body to break down foods into particles that are easily digestible. This allows the body to get as much nutrients and vitamins from food as possible. If you’re unable to chew properly, then you can deal with digestive problems and malnutrition. Once teeth are aligned properly, you’ll have fewer digestive problems and enjoy better nutrition from the foods you’re eating.

Health Benefit #7 – Reduced Risk of Dental Injuries

If you have protruding front teeth or other issues with misaligned teeth, you have a greater risk for dental injuries. It’s very common for people who have misaligned teeth to accidentally bite their tongue or cheek. Teeth can more easily become broken. If you’re involved in sports, you may also have a greater risk of injury if teeth are misaligned. Braces can align teeth properly and reduce your risk of those painful injuries.

Health Benefit #8 – Lower Overall Health Risks

Since braces can reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, they’ll also help you lower your overall health risks as well. Infections associated with gum disease can actually increase your risk of problems like stroke, heart disease, and more. Reduce your risk for gum disease with braces and you’ll reduce your risk for many other health problems, too.

When Should You Consider Braces?

Have you ever thought about getting braces, but are unsure if you needed them? We will take a look at some of the reasons why teens and adults consider getting braces.

Braces Fix Crooked, Overlapping, and Crowded Teeth

In an ideal world, your teeth would grow and develop in your mouth in a straight, slightly arched line. All the teeth would be neatly placed next to each other and not overlap, slant to the side, or push against each other. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

Many people develop crooked, overlapping, or crowded teeth. This can be caused by a number of things ranging from improper jaw development or growth and losing baby teeth too early to injury to the surrounding teeth or improper dental care. Dental braces are designed to slowly shift misaligned teeth and place them into proper positions within the mouth.

Correction of Malocclusion or a “Bad Bite”

Malocclusion occurs when there is a considerable difference between the upper and lower jaw. The difference could be that the upper jaw is larger than the lower jaw which creates an overlap. When this happens it is called an overbite. If the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw, it creates a protrusion of the lower jaw. This is called an underbite.

Braces can be used to help shift your jaw back into proper alignment. With the help of springs, coils, and rubber bands, the braces will slowly and subtly shift your jawline back into its proper place. This does not happen overnight and can take anywhere from six month to several years.

Are Braces Always Used to Fix Dental Problems?

Most of the time people get braces to correct dental problems, such as overcrowding or overlapping, which can cause tooth decay due to the difficulty people have keeping the teeth clean. Also, there are cases where people have spaces, and braces can help close those spaces where food gets trapped.

Sometimes people believe that braces aren’t always used to correct dental problems. They believe braces are used for cosmetic purposes. However, this belief is incorrect. The primary purpose of Orthodontics is always the correction of dental malocclusions and the added benefit to this purpose (secondary result) is a nice cosmetically appealing smile in most cases. Occasionally, even after braces, teeth that are stained or too small need extra help from the general dentist to look better.

However, braces aren’t always used to correct dental problems. They can be used for cosmetic purposes as well.

Some individuals may not experience overcrowding, crooked teeth, or overlapping, but they still are not happy with their smile. Dental braces can help these individuals achieve the smile they have always wanted by slowly and subtly shifting teeth to make them look a certain way.

When Should You Start Considering Getting Braces

It is recommended that children should start considering braces around the age of seven years old. While most orthodontists won’t place braces on teeth at this age, they will conduct an oral examination that could help determine if braces will be needed in the future.

The ideal time to have braces placed is when you really need them, it can vary between the ages of 6 all the way to 14. This is an ideal time because your teeth, head, and jaw are still growing. Since they are still growing, it makes it easier for the braces to shift and move your teeth and jaw into proper alignment.

If you didn’t have braces when you were 14 that doesn’t mean you can’t have braces. Braces can be placed on your teeth at any time regardless of your age. However, the older you are, the longer you may have to wear braces as your growing has been completed and shifting the jawline and teeth may take longer.

What Options are Available for People Who are Considering Braces?

Once you have decided you will get braces, you will have to choose which braces you will want to get. Dr. Natalia Valderrama can provide recommendations for which type of braces will help you get the results you want.

Some options you may have for braces include:

  • Metal or clear brackets – this is where tiny little brackets are bonded onto the front of your teeth. The brackets are connected with a wire and adjusted every so often to help encourage your teeth to move.
  • Lingual braces – Similar to metal or plastic brackets, but instead of the brackets being placed on the front of the teeth, they are placed on the back of the teeth
  • Invisalign – A series of customized clear plastic trays that are worn for a period of time. The trays are designed to encourage your teeth to shift into proper place.

If you are considering getting braces, make an appointment with Valderrama Orthodontics in Melbourne, Florida. We will gladly help you determine if braces are necessary and help you explore your options.

Tips for Retainer Care

Your retainer is an essential component of teeth straightening and overall improvement of your smile. While taking care of your retainer may seem pretty straightforward, there are some important retainer care tips that you may be unaware of. You can make certain that your retainers lasts as long as possible by taking the best possible care of it. With the following retainer care tips, you can help achieve a beautiful and healthy smile for the rest of your life.

Always Remove Your Retainer Prior to Eating

It’s very important to remove your retainer prior to eating. If you wear a retainer while eating, it becomes all too easy for food particles to get trapped and for bacteria to take hold in the gums and around the teeth. By simply removing the retainer while you eat, you can keep both the retainer and your teeth clean. It’s also much easier to chew properly when you’re not wearing a retainer.

If you don’t have time to perform a full retainer cleaning before you re-insert it after eating, that’s okay. Just take a moment to rinse the retainer under lukewarm or cool water before placing it back in your mouth, and don’t forget to do a daily cleaning later.

It’s usually just fine to drink with your retainer in, but beware of very hot or very cold beverages as they can damage the plastic part of the retainer. If you need to drink ultra hot tea or frozen drinks, remove your retainer beforehand to be on the safe side.

Store the Retainer Properly Each Time You Remove It

It’s important that you store the retainer properly each and every time that you remove it from your mouth. Sometimes it may be tempting to simply place the retainer in a napkin or on a tissue — but this makes it far too easy for the retainer to be accidentally tossed into the trash. Use your retainer case all the time and you’ll keep the retainer protected from accidental disposal and keep it clean at the same time.

Cleaning Your Retainer

Just as it’s essential that you clean your teeth properly each day, your retainer needs to be carefully cleaned as well. Your retainer is constantly in direct contact with your teeth and the soft tissues in your mouth, which means that a dirty retainer can quickly spread bacteria around your mouth. Always remove your retainer first and then clean your teeth and retainer separately.

There are two main ways to clean a retainer properly: brushing with a toothbrush and toothpaste or soaking in a baking soda solution. Denture cleaning tablets can also be added to a glass of water for cleaning retainers if desired. Never use very hot or boiling water when cleaning your retainer, as it can damage the plastic and change the shape of the retainer as a whole. There are also cleaning products made especially for retainers.

Don’t Leave Retainers Outside

When you remove your retainer and place it in its case, keep it with you. If you leave your retainer in your car — especially during the middle of the summer or winter — it may be virtually destroyed by the time you try to use it again. Freezing weather can crack the plastic part of the retainer, while hot and humid weather can easily melt and warp the plastic.

Need a Retainer or Help With Your Current Retainer?

Valderrama Orthodontics is a well established orthodontic practice serving patients in the Melbourne, Florida area. They offer pediatric, teen, and adult orthodontics. Their services include retainers, early treatment, traditional braces, clear braces, lingual braces, clear aligners, and sports mouth guards.

Valderrama Orthodontics is very much dedicated to making all patients feel like they are a part of the Valderrama family. They even offer a unique After School Program in which a member of the team will actually pick your child up from school to bring them in for their orthodontic care. You can then meet your child at the office before, during, or after their appointment.

Call Valderrama Orthodontics anytime to discuss retainers or any other orthodontic issues.

The Right Way to Clean Your Braces

Maintaining good oral hygiene is extremely easy when you don’t have braces. You brush, floss, rinse with mouthwash and continue on with your day. Unfortunately, things get more difficult when braces are put on.

All the hardware that makes up your braces from the wires and brackets to the expanders, bands, elastics, springs and screws, present unique challenges that make cleaning difficult. Learning how to work around these challenges and properly clean your braces will help you protect your teeth.

Understanding Why Cleaning Braces can be so Difficult

Before you learn how to properly clean your braces, you must learn about why it is so difficult to clean your teeth when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Cleaning your braces is difficult because there are so many different surfaces where food can get stuck, plaque can build up, and acid can collect. When this happens it can cause germs and bacteria to grow and spread throughout the mouth. Bacteria and plaque growth can cause tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis, and even damage the structure of your teeth.

Properly cleaning not only your teeth, but the hardware around your braces will help prevent any damage from occurring that may be caused by germs and bacteria.

How to Properly Use a Toothbrush When You Have Braces

Brushing your teeth when you have braces is different than brushing your teeth without braces. You will still use the same type of toothbrush, either a manual or electric toothbrush that has soft bristles and a compact head, but your brushing technique will be different.

To properly brush your teeth when you have braces, do the following things:

  • Remove any elastic bands you may have in your mouth before brushing
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle right along the gum line.
  • Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion across the teeth
  • Sweep the toothbrush over the biting surface of your teeth
  • Gently brush the tops, fronts, and bottoms of the brackets
  • Brush the wires

Learn Proper Flossing Techniques for Flossing with Braces

Flossing helps remove food that may have gotten stuck between your teeth or under the wires. When wearing braces it is important that you thoroughly floss your teeth at least once a day. This involves taking a silky gloss dental floss and threading it between the teeth and under the wires. This will help remove any food particles that may have become stuck between your teeth or around your braces.

Flossing while on the go can be difficult as it is time consuming. If you don’t have enough time to properly floss your teeth, you can choose to use interdental picks, proxybrushes, or soft picks to remove any food particles. These items are not as effective as traditional flossing, but they will help keep your teeth clean until you can get home and properly floss. Best of all, they are small enough that you can easily fit them in your pocket, wallet, or purse and take them while you are on the go.

Use an Oral Irrigation System to Clean Your Teeth

Even with proper brushing and flossing, food can still get stuck between your teeth and around your braces. An oral irrigation system can help remove any food, plaque, or bacteria that are left behind after brushing and flossing.

Oral irrigation systems take water and create a gentle stream. The stream has just enough force that it can flush out food, bacteria, and germs that accumulate around hard-to-reach places in your mouth.

Using an oral irrigation system can help improve your oral health when you are wearing brace. However, it should never be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing. It is still important that you brush and floss several times a day whether you use an oral irrigation system or not.

Your Orthodontics Team is There to Help with Proper Cleaning of Your Braces

Your orthodontics team at Valderrama Orthodontics wants to make your experience wearing braces easier. Our team will take the time to walk you through the proper way to clean your braces and answer any questions you may have about the process. If you should ever run into a problem, you can call our office and we will gladly assist you.

Are you interested in getting braces for you or your child? Call our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss orthodontic treatment.

Back to School with Braces

Heading back to school after summer break will certainly put butterflies in your stomach. The idea of meeting new teachers and learning a new schedule can seem daunting! And if you’ve gotten braces on your teeth over the summer, returning to school gets even more nerve wracking. Don’t panic though. We’re here to help with some tips for going back to school with braces.

Create a braces care kit

Some simple tools will help you take great care of your braces at school. Put a kit together and keep it in your backpack, purse or your locker. Just make sure it’s convenient so you can get to it when you notice food is stuck in your braces. Not only can that be embarrassing, but leaving food stuck in your braces is unhealthy for your mouth and can lead to decay.

Your braces care kit should include:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Lip balm
  • Wax for your braces

After lunch or a snack, take your kit to the bathroom and clean your teeth and braces. You’ll avoid walking around with food stuck in your teeth while maintaining good oral hygiene. And if your lips get dry and chapped or your brackets start to irritate your gums or cheeks, you’ll have the right tools in place to alleviate symptoms.

Watch what you eat

Unfortunately, braces require you to avoid some foods and treats. Don’t eat hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy foods while you’re wearing orthodontics. Chewing gum, many types of candy, popcorn, pretzels, corn on the cob, beef jerky, ice and overly starchy foods like tortillas will be off limits during the course of your treatment.

At school, it can be tempting to indulge in some of these foods when you’re with friends who offer to share their own snacks. To avoid eating things you shouldn’t, pack your lunch and keep some safe snacks with you. Foods that are OK to eat include:

  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Raw carrots, apples and celery, cut into small pieces
  • Hull-less popcorn
  • Melon
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Bagels, if torn into small pieces
  • Puddings
  • Sandwich bread
  • Pancakes and muffins without nuts
  • Chicken
  • Meatballs
  • Lunch meat
  • Grapes
  • Cheese

If you do eat sandwiches at school, cut them into small, bite-sized pieces. When you bite into a sandwich, the bread, condiments, meat and cheese can become lodged in your front braces where it’s time consuming to remove. By packing a lunch everyday, you can prepare your foods ahead of time so you have more time to socialize during your lunch period.

Get a mouthguard

If you’re like most students, you participate in sports during school. Whether in PE or as part of an organized team, it’s important to wear a mouthguard while participating in athletics. Getting hit in the face with a ball or bat is not only painful, but it can be devastating to your braces. You can purchase a special mouthguard to protect your braces during these activities. Doing so could save you a lot of hassle and pain in the event of a sports-related accident.

Drinks lots of water

Sure, it’s important to stay hydrated to keep your entire body healthy. But drinking water throughout the day is also good for your teeth. The water will remove food particles from your teeth and braces. Drinking water will also help avoid the desire to drink sugary drinks like soda and juice. If you do decide to indulge in a carbonated beverage occasionally, be sure to use use a straw so you keep the liquid from touching your teeth to the extent possible.

Don’t be embarrassed!

These days, tons of school-aged kids undergo orthodontic treatment. Just look at your classmates’ smiles, and you’ll soon discover how many other kids are wearing braces, too. Don’t feel embarrassed to smile or laugh! Since today’s orthodontic appliances are much thinner and smaller, others will barely notice your braces. So feel free to laugh, smile and talk without restraint!

Do you have other questions about heading back to school with braces? Give us a call to learn more: (321) 432 – 2529.

Contact us today about making an appointment.


Everything You Didn’t Know About Lingual Braces

When it comes to straightening the teeth, there are many different orthodontic options. One of them is lingual braces. Still, many people are not familiar with this relatively new orthodontic appliance. Here is a bit of information to explain everything that you didn’t know about lingual braces:

Exactly what are lingual braces?

Lingual braces are braces that are positioned on the rear side of the teeth, next to the tongue. Since they are not applied to the front of the teeth, they are not readily displayed when you smile, speak or laugh.

Lingual braces are made of metal, just as traditional metal braces are. In addition, they work in a similar manner. They apply consistent but gentle pressure to coax the teeth into proper alignment.

What is the process for receiving lingual braces?

Once your orthodontist has assessed your teeth and confirmed that lingual braces will work for you, he or she prepares a mold or impression of your teeth. This impression is forwarded to a dental lab, where it is used as a guide to create the brackets of your braces. The process takes several weeks. Once the brackets are received back at the dental office, the orthodontist affixes the brackets to the back side of the teeth using dental cement.

How long does the treatment take with lingual braces?

Aligning the teeth with lingual braces usually takes between a year-and-a-half to three years. The time needed to reposition the teeth depends on how severe your misalignment and bite issues are.

Are lingual braces more expensive than traditional braces?

Lingual braces do cost a bit more than traditional braces due to their customized design. However, if you are an adult who is choosing to have your teeth straightened, the extra cost is probably more than worth the investment. Many adults prefer to have their teeth realigned discreetly.

How do you care for lingual braces?

Lingual braces, like other orthodontic appliances, require regular cleaning in order to discourage tooth decay and gum problems. Once your lingual braces are installed, be sure to do the following:

  • Brush twice daily. Even with your braces in place, you will still need to brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes or more. This will help ensure that plaque does not build up on your teeth or your orthodontic appliance.
  • Floss at least once a day. It is also important not to neglect to floss after receiving your braces. A floss threader is often a great option for people who wear braces to ensure that the dental floss can be navigated around the brackets. Even though you may be brushing meticulously, a toothbrush is unable to reach the areas between your teeth.
  • Use an oral irrigator. Oral irrigators or water flossers can help remove food particles and plaque that may become trapped in your brackets or between your teeth. The irrigator includes a wand that directs a concentrated stream of water at the desired area of your mouth to flush away debris.
  • Use a fluoride rinse. Using a fluoride rinse while wearing your braces can help ensure that your teeth remain strong. Fluoride can make your teeth more resistant to damages from bacterial acid. When your tooth enamel is exposed to fluoride, the substance attracts dissolved minerals back to the surface of your teeth to form a new, more acid-resistant tooth material.
  • Visit your dentist every six months. With lingual braces, you still need to receive routine dental cleanings at least every six months to ensure that tartar buildup is regularly removed during your alignment process.

Is there any discomfort associated with lingual braces?

Like other types of braces, your mouth will need to become acclimated to the lingual braces. Initially, there may be a bit of irritation to your tongue. However, wax can be used to cover the braces and make them less irritating as you become accustomed to them. Also, you will have to get used to speaking while wearing the braces.

With traditional braces, patients have to become acclimated to moving their lips over the bulk of the braces on the front of their teeth. With lingual braces, you must become acclimated to moving your tongue while having the brackets bordering the backside of the teeth. Acclimation doesn’t take long at all, but the sensation may feel foreign to your tongue at first.

To determine if lingual braces are right for you, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Benefits of Clear Braces

Teeth that are unevenly spaced or misaligned can negatively affect an individual’s smile as well as his or her overall bite pattern. If these issues are not addressed, undue wear and tear on overused natural teeth will affect his or her smile as well as the health of the overworked teeth.

Orthodontic Treatment Options

Unlike years gone by, when orthodontic treatment is necessary today, patients have a variety of treatment options. One of the most popular treatment options is clear braces (ceramic braces). Clear braces are the same size and shape of traditional metal braces. However, these braces consist of transparent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets that blend well with the patient’s teeth.

Ceramic braces can be used to treat the same issues that metal braces treat, including:

  • Crooked teeth
  • An overbite
  • An underbite
  • An open bite
  • Teeth that are widely spaced
  • Malocclusion
  • A crossbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • A horizontal overlap (overjet)

Whereas, traditional metal braces significantly affect your smile, clear braces offer transparency:

Therefore, directly after you begin treatment, your smile will remain, for the most part, the same. However, as treatment continues, your teeth will slowly move to their proper positions. Once treatment is complete, you will have the beautifully-aligned teeth you have always desired and, chances are, you will love your new smile!

The Benefits of Clear Braces

Clear Braces Provide Inconspicuous Treatment

Clear braces are perfect for individuals who want to straighten their teeth inconspicuously. The majority of our patients’ state that most people do not even notice they have braces.   

Tooth-Colored Wires

To camouflage their braces even more, some patients choose to have tooth-colored wires as well.

Easy to Replace Brackets

In the event that a bracket breaks or becomes stained, replacement brackets are readily available and can be applied quickly, and easily.


When compared to the clear aligners, ceramic braces are much more economical. Ceramic braces are slightly more expensive than their metal counterpart; however, for most people, the additional cost is well worth the overall benefits received. Furthermore, some patients choose to reduce the additional cost by placing clear braces on the visible front teeth and traditional metal braces on their back molars.

Financing for Clear Braces is Available

At Valderrama Orthodontics, we accept many insurance providers. For a list of these providers, please click here. If your provider is not on the list, please contact our office and we will do our best to assist you.

We also offer our patients a variety of financing options, including:

  • Care Credit
  • In-House Payment Plans
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo

Our After-School Program

Since Dr. Natalia Valderrama has three teenage children of her own, she knows just how busy life can be. For this reason, she has created a program that is designed to assist parents by ensuring their children are able to attend their monthly follow-up appointments.

When you choose to take advantage of our After-School Program, we will pick your child up from school and bring him or her to the office for their appointment. Once his or her check-up and adjustments are complete, your child will remain in our office until you arrive to take him or her home. During this time in our office, your child can work on homework and socialize with the other children participating in the After-School Program.

It is Never Too Late to Improve Your Smile

No matter your age, it is never too late to address teeth and jaw irregularities. Now, with clear braces, you can discreetly attain the smile you have always wanted. Teenagers are ideal candidates for ceramic braces as well.

Dr. Natalia Valderrama, DDS, PA and her staff are dedicated to providing patients with exceptional, compassionate care. As a previous dental brace wearer herself, Dr. Valderrama knows the joy that her patients experience when their braces are removed to reveal their newly revised smile: Beautiful smiles really can change lives!

If you think you or your child needs braces, contact Valderrama Orthodontics today at 321-544-4127 to schedule a complimentary initial consultation, or, if you prefer, you can fill out our online contact form by clicking here.

Protecting Your Braces While Playing Sports

Spring sports are in full swing and summer sports will soon be here, and from softball, to spring football, to dancing, there are so many great options for kids and adults to get moving. If you’re an athlete who has braces or you have a child who wears braces and wants to play sports, it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of your smile while you’re out there having a great time, whether it’s on the baseball field, the football field, or a basketball court.

Can You Play Sports While Wearing Braces?

Even if you’re going through orthodontic treatment and wearing braces, it’s still possible to play sports and have a great time. The braces won’t get in your way while you play, and you can stay active and enjoy your favorite sport while your smile is being transformed. Of course, many sports present potential risk to the teeth, particularly if you’re wearing braces, so it’s essential to learn how to protect your smile when you’re out there having a great time.

Protecting Your Braces and Smile

There’s no need to give up a sport you love if you’re wearing braces, but to stay on course with your current treatment plan, you must protect your teeth and braces when you do play. An orthodontic mouthguard can be used to protect your smile. When you’re playing sports, jumping, running, kicking, and playing, there’s a chance that objects can hit the teeth and result in damage. If this occurs and you’re not wearing a proper mouthguard, you can end up with fractured teeth, bleeding gums, or broken brackets. Failing to wear the right mouthguard can also allow the wires and brackets from your braces to cut your lips and cheeks.

Is a Regular Mouthguard Okay?

A regular mouthguard isn’t the right choice for you if you have braces. Most regular mouthguards are fitted to your teeth, and since your teeth are continuously shifting when you have braces, a fitted, regular mouthguard isn’t going to fit properly for long. You also want to avoid wearing a mouthguard that is tight against the teeth. All it would take is a hit to the mouth and your mouthguard could shift and cause your brackets to pop off your teeth.

The Orthodontic Mouthguard

To protect teeth while wearing braces and playing sports, you need a special orthodontic mouthguard. These mouth guards have a special design to keep the lips from hitting the teeth and they protect brackets and help soften impacts if there’s any impact to your mouth. They are generally larger than regular mouthguards so there is plenty of room for both your teeth and your braces to fit comfortably. Even though an orthodontic mouthguard is a bit larger, they’re still designed to fit comfortably so you’re comfortable and protected while enjoying your favorite sport.

Normal mouth guards are made from hard plastic, and if your mouth were to be hit while playing a sport, it could result in serious damage to your teeth and braces. This could result in additional treatment time and the need for more office visits. Orthodontic options are made from softer silicone to offer cushioning to the teeth and braces to prevent damage. Since they are softer and a bit larger, an orthodontic mouthguard will continue to fit your mouth, even as your teeth shift with your orthodontic treatment.

Taking Care of Your Orthodontic Mouthguard

Once you have an orthodontic mouthguard, it’s important to take care of it properly. Bacteria can colonize in used mouth guards, so every time you take your mouthguard out after playing sports, make sure you clean it. Use a soft toothbrush and a good toothpaste to clean the mouthguard gently, or an anti-microbial solution can be used to rinse your mouthguard to kill bacteria. Make sure you keep the mouthguard in a case when you’re not using it, and don’t leave it sitting in the sun when you remove it.

Even if you do wear your orthodontic mouthguard, injuries can still happen. If you do sustain an injury to the facial area, give our office a call. We’ll examine your teeth and braces to make sure there are no serious issues and deal with any injuries that have occurred. Remember, the best way to prevent injuries is to make sure you’re wearing your orthodontic mouthguard. If you don’t have one, schedule an appointment today to have one fitted to your mouth so you can enjoy your favorite sports safely.