What Happens When You Don’t Wear Your Retainer?

wear your retainer

Once your braces come off or you’re done wearing invisible aligners, you’re probably ready to keep appliances out of your mouth. However, your retainer is very important to keep your teeth looking great. Fail to use your retainer as directed and you could lose the progress you made throughout your orthodontic treatment.

Unfortunately, many patients think that their journey is over once the braces are gone, but your retainer is an important part of the next phase of tooth correction. Here’s a closer look at what can happen if you fail to wear your retainer as recommended.

The Importance of the Retainer

First, you need to know what your retainer actually does. A retainer is an orthodontic appliance that’s removable, and it works to hold your teeth in their proper place after braces have been removed. They come in various forms, and if you take care of them, they can last a long time. Some are made with plastic and wires, while other retainers look just like the clear Invisalign braces. Your orthodontist, Dr. Natalia Valderrama,  will custom make a retainer for your mouth and teeth so it’s as effective as possible.

When braces are taken off, your teeth can start to move back towards their initial positions. The whole purpose of wearing a retainer is to keep your teeth in place so you can continue enjoying your beautiful, new straight teeth for a lifetime.

Why Teeth Move

During that first year after braces, teeth are the most likely to make some big moves. When you’re done with braces, your gums and teeth will remain a bit flexible. You’ll no longer have brackets and wires holding them in place. The natural process of aging can result in shifting teeth as well, so over the years, your teeth will move. Unless some type of external pressure is used to keep them in place, they’ll keep moving back to their natural positions. A retainer is a tool that puts pressure on your teeth so they stay in the corrected shape.

If you don’t wear your retainer as ordered by your orthodontist, then your teeth will go back to their original positions. Nature will eventually win the fight if you don’t have the force of the retainer.

How Long Will You Need a Retainer?

Everyone is different, and your orthodontist will give you some specific instructions tailored to your unique situation. In most cases, you’ll have to wear your retainer frequently right after your braces are removed. Most people end up wearing their retainer daily for 1 month, and then they can go to nightly retainer use.

Later, to keep teeth in place for life, you may be required to wear the retainer every night or at least 4 nights per week. As time goes by, you may need to replace your retainer so it keeps its strong holding power.

The most crucial time for wearing your retainer is right after you’ve completed orthodontic treatment. This is when your teeth have the highest risk of moving back to their original positions.

When Should You Replace Your Retainer?

Different types of retainers are available, and each type varies in holding power and quality. If your teeth were only moved slightly, then clear retainers that look much like Invisalign aligners may be enough to keep your teeth in shape. However, these retainers aren’t as durable as others and should be replaced every few months.

If your teeth were drastically moved, then you may need to go with a stronger type of retainer that’s made with wires and acrylic. With good care, these retainers may last for 5-10 years. To prolong their life, make sure you clean them every day and store them in a safe place where they won’t get damaged.

If you notice that your retainer isn’t as effective or it’s not holding its shape, be sure to see your orthodontist so you can have a new one made.

When You Don’t Wear Your Retainer

Wearing your retainer as directed is a big deal. If you fail to wear it, all the time you spent going through orthodontic treatment will be wasted and you will lose your straight smile. You’ll have to go through treatment all over again to get it back. Avoid losing the beautiful smile you’ve waited so long for – make sure you talk to your orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama about how often you need to wear your retainer to maintain your results.

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!

The Importance of Keeping your Scheduled Appointments

scheduled appointments

When you opt for metal, ceramic, or lingual braces, you make a commitment to straightening your teeth. Part of that commitment is regular appointments with your orthodontist, and in most cases, this means that you will be seeing Dr. Valderrama every few weeks for a brief appointment. Many patients wonder why are those appointments so important, and we always say that there are many reasons — read more about them below.

Making the Movement

While the braces themselves are vital to teeth straightening, they’ll only work effectively if you have them adjusted as needed. Every six to eight weeks, Dr. Valderrama will make small but crucial adjustments that tighten the braces. While you’ll notice a sensation of tightness for a day or two after each appointment, it’s rare for patients to have serious pain or discomfort. You’ll grow accustomed to the sensation and it will become routine very quickly. With every appointment, your teeth are shifted into a better position. Over time — usually anywhere from a year to two years, depending on your particular situation — your teeth can be moved into the optimal position if you’ve had those appointments. If you miss appointments here and there — even if it’s just a few appointments over the course of a year — that can mean that your teeth won’t move into the right position. This, in turn, means that you’ll likely have to wear braces longer than you had planned to get the desired results. At Valderrama Orthodontics, we always send reminders before your scheduled appointments — and it’s a wise idea to make note of your appointments on your personal calendar as well.

Identifying Issues

While most patients enjoy a relatively problem free braces experience, there are always potential issues that may develop. Problems like loose wires or brackets or even broken brackets can mean big issues for your braces and for your smile in the long term. If you stick to your scheduled appointments at Valderrama Orthodontics, Dr. Valderrama can identify these types of problems before they have a chance to cause serious damage. Loose wires can cause tearing or even ulcerations in your delicate mouth tissues and loose brackets or wires can mean that your teeth aren’t in the position needed to achieve the correction you want. You’ll never have to worry about these issues when you’re seeing the orthodontist on your regularly scheduled appointments.

Adjusting the Teeth Straightening Plan as Needed

While Dr. Valderrama will usually be able to give you a general idea of how long your teeth straightening will take, it’s important to realize that this timeline is just an estimate. Many different individual factors may play into your braces timeline, which means it can be very difficult to be precise about how long you’ll wear braces in total. As you come in for each scheduled appointment, Dr. Valderrama can adjust the teeth straightening timelines as needed — and this might sometimes mean that you’ll get the good news that you won’t need braces quite as long as you had previously thought! Of course, a big part of this is your own behavior. You’ll need to strictly follow the guidelines that you’re given for braces care to make certain that you’re getting the most out of your straightening time.

Seeking a Reliable Orthodontist For Your Child or Yourself?

The team at Valderrama Orthodontics specializes in orthodontic care including metal braces, ceramic braces, clear braces, lingual braces, clear aligners, retainers, mouth guards, and much more. Patients of all ages from children to adults can get a straighter and healthier smile with the help of Dr. Valderrama and the Valderrama Orthodontics team.

The focus is always on patient comfort and convenience. Our cozy office, compassionate staff, and special after-school program are some of the many things that help Valderrama Orthodontics patients feel welcome. We want to help you get the straight teeth that you have always dreamed of — and it might be easier than you had imagined thanks to all of the teeth straightening options available today. Contact us anytime to arrange a visit!

What Do My Rubber Bands Do?

rubber bands

Many orthodontic patients are given a bag of rubber bands and told they have to wear them daily. This type of request may seem unusual or a bit odd, but those tiny rubber bands play a huge role in helping you to improve your smile. Discover why orthodontists use rubber bands as part of your treatment and learn some tips that will help you adjust to wearing rubber bands.

The Two Types of Orthodontic Rubber Bands

Orthodontists use two different types of rubber bands to help shift and move your teeth into proper alignment. Every orthodontic patient will have at least one type of rubber band – ligatures – as their treatment, while not everyone will need the second type of rubber bands – interarch rubber bands – as part of their treatment.

Ligatures are tiny little rubber bands that are used by every orthodontic patient who gets traditional braces. These small rubber bands are wrapped around each of the brackets that are placed on your teeth. Their purpose is to hold the archwire in place during your treatment.

Ligatures are the fun part of having braces. They come in a variety of colors which allows patients to customize how their braces look. Some patients love picking out different colors during each of their appointments while others prefer the clear rubber bands that have a more natural look.

The second type of rubber bands, interarch rubber bands or elastics, are a common part of orthodontic treatment, but not everyone will need this treatment. These are larger than ligatures and are placed on both sides of your mouth.

The purpose of the interarch rubber bands is to help adjust your bite. The rubber bands provide enough tension that your jaw will subtly and slowly shift forwards or backwards. Over time, the jaw movement will give you a properly aligned jaw and completely fix your bite.

How are Interarch Rubber Bands Worn?

Unlike ligature rubber bands that only can be removed by your orthodontist, interarch rubber bands will need to be replaced on a daily basis. This means you must learn how to properly hook them up to your braces.

The following is a brief look at how you attach the rubber bands:

  • Rubber bands are worn on each side of your mouth
  • Top of the rubber band is hooked on a bracket that has been attached to one of your canines or one of your molars
  • Rubberband is stretched and then hooked on the bracket that is on a bottom molar or on a bottom canine
  • Sometimes rubber bands are worn as triangles or boxes or in the center of your mouth to align your front teeth also.

Dr. Valderrama will show you how to properly remove and replace the interarch rubber bands. If you should encounter any problems, you can always call the staff at our Valderrama Orthodontic’s office who will gladly answer any questions you may have or walk you through how to replace the rubber bands.

Tips for Adjusting to Wearing Rubber Bands with Braces

Wearing stretchy, rubbery material in your mouth is a completely new experience. There will be a period of adjustment as you get used to how the rubber bands feel, the subtle pain they may cause, and the new routine you will have to do on a daily basis.

Orthodontic patients have found the following tips useful in helping with the adjustment period:

  • Use a mirror the first few times you replace interarch rubber bands
  • Be patient. It will take a while to learn how to hook the rubber bands in your mouth. If you still find it difficult, your orthodontist may be able to give you bigger rubber bands. However, they often like to keep the rubber bands as small as possible as that helps create the tension needed to move the jaw.
  • Always keep the rubber bands close by as you never know if they may break
  • Change the rubber bands daily at the same time. This will help it become a part of your daily routine.
  • Make sure you remove the rubber bands before you brush your teeth or whenever you want to eat something – even if it is a small snack
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water if you feel any pain or discomfort

Have any other questions about rubber bands or want to learn more about orthodontic treatment options then call Valderrama Orthodontics. Our office staff will gladly answer any questions you may have or schedule an appointment so you can speak with our orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama at 321.425.5050.

Is Invisalign as Effective as Traditional Braces?


Kids, teens, and even adults who need teeth straightening today have several potential treatment options. While traditional metal braces are the best-known teeth straightening option, newer devices like Invisalign are becoming increasingly popular. One of the first questions that many patients have is whether Invisalign is as effective as traditional braces. Here’s what you need to know.

How Effective is Invisalign?

The main reason that many patients want Invisalign rather than traditional braces is that it’s virtually invisible. Nobody will even be aware that you’re wearing clear aligners in most cases. While this is certainly a major benefit, Invisalign isn’t always exactly like traditional braces in terms of effectiveness.

Invisalign can treat teeth alignment issues including overbite, underbite, crossbite, crowded teeth, and open bite. All of these issues can be treated with traditional braces as well. The main difference is that Invisalign is appropriate for mild to moderate alignment problems.

Invisalign is typically best for cases where you want teeth straightening primarily for cosmetic reasons. However, if the problem is very severe and major re-shifting of the teeth needs to take place, traditional braces may be the superior option. For example, if teeth have to be shifted vertically to achieve proper alignment, traditional braces can do that more effectively than Invisalign.

Ultimately, this doesn’t mean that Invisalign can’t be as effective as traditional braces — but it does mean that Invisalign and traditional braces each have an area where they perform particularly well. For Invisalign, it’s mild to moderate realignment of teeth for aesthetic reasons. For braces, it’s moderate to severe realignment of the teeth for aesthetic reasons, structural reasons, or both.

Is Invisalign Right For You?

If you’re interested in straightening your teeth with Invisalign, consider the following questions.

  • Can you adhere to a strict schedule of wearing the aligners? If you choose Invisalign, it’s very important to remember that it can only work while you’re wearing it. You’ll need to wear the aligners almost all the time, removing them only for oral hygiene and eating.
  • Is having metal free teeth important to you? If having metal free teeth is important to you, you might just be the perfect Invisalign candidate. With Invisalign, you get to skip the metal brackets and wires.
  • Are you willing to wear a retainer to preserve your Invisalign results? After Invisalign treatment — usually 12-24 months — you’ll need to commit to wearing a retainer to preserve your good results. Most Invisalign patients opt for a clear retainer which is similar in style to the Invisalign aligners.

What if the Dentist Recommends Braces Instead?

If you’ve got teeth alignment issues that would be more effectively corrected with traditional braces, you still have options. These include:

  • Traditional metal braces: traditional metal braces include brackets and wires that are periodically tightened to help reposition your teeth into the optimal position.
  • Clear ceramic braces: clear ceramic braces still have traditional hardware, but it’s made from a clear ceramic that makes it difficult to see the braces on your teeth.
  • Lingual braces: lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth, which means your smile isn’t affected at all.

As you can see, braces have come a long way in the last couple of decades, so you now have plenty of good options for straightening your teeth. Ultimately, the question of Invisalign versus traditional braces isn’t black or white. It all depends on your particular problems, your needs, and your treatment goals. Dr. Valderrama will be happy to work with you to help you determine whether Invisalign or traditional braces is more effective for your needs.

Valderrama Orthodontics is a Melbourne, Florida orthodontic practice led by Dr. Natalia Valderrama, fondly called “Dr. V.” by her patients. Dr. V offers skilled and compassionate orthodontic care to children, teens, and adults. Services include not only Invisalign, Clear Correct, and metal braces but also clear braces, lingual braces, retainers, and mouth guards for sports. The Valderrama Orthodontics team always goes the extra mile to make sure that patients feel welcomed and supported. Contact the office anytime to arrange an appointment for you or your child.

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.

What are TADs?


Over the years, many people with braces have had to wear uncomfortable and often embarrassing headgear. While this headgear performs an important job in moving your teeth by applying extra force, wearing headgear is cumbersome. The good news is that many patients can now use TADs instead of headgear.

TAD is an acronym that stands for Temporary Anchorage Device. These small, screw-like devices work like small anchors that help your braces apply enough force to move your teeth effectively. TADs are not new – they have been around for more than 35 years – but their use has become more common in the past decade or so.

Temporary anchorage devices offer a more attractive and comfortable alternative to those orthodontic appliances with external parts braced by the head, neck or chin, also known collectively as “headgear.” Unlike headgear that sits in front of your face to hold braces in place, TADs work behind the scenes to give you a more attractive smile. Most people will not even realize you are wearing TADs.

How Braces and TADs Work

Braces work by applying force to teeth in ways that make the teeth move to a new position on the jawline. Whenever possible, orthodontists use the patient’s back teeth as an anchor. In some cases, though, the back teeth do not work well enough as anchors to move the other teeth. In these cases, an orthodontist might recommend cumbersome headgear.

Moving teeth to a new location in your jaw is a little bit like moving a stick through deep sand. You apply force to the stick to move it through the sand. As the stick moves, sand moves to the side in front of the stick and fills up the empty space left behind by the stick.

The “sand” in orthodontics would be the bone cells and other cells of the ligament that attaches your teeth to the bone. Applied force from the wires and brackets of braces causes teeth to move, while the tissues move aside and reform behind the moving teeth.

To do its work, though, the force needs a fixed point on which to push. Going back to the stick comparison, imagine trying to move the stick while you float free in water. Instead of causing the stick to move through the sand, the force of pushing against one end of the stick would cause you to float around while the other end of the stick would remain in the same spot. If you plant your feet deep in the sand to use an anchor, however, you have enough force to push the stick through the sand.

About Placing TADs

Orthodontists place TADs directly into the bone between the roots of your teeth. The dental professionals may place the anchors on the lip side of your upper or lower jaw, or position the TADs in your palate. As the name implies, TADs are only temporary – your orthodontist will remove them once your teeth have moved to the desired position.

Everyone’s mouth is a little different. TADs allow orthodontists to place the anchor in the location that works best for each person, depending on the patients’ individual dental needs and cosmetic goals. It is a personalized procedure, so the location of your TADs may be different from someone else’s. The orthodontist will decide on the correct location by evaluating the amount of force required to move the teeth and determine the direction, or vector, the teeth should move.

You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that this procedure requires only a small amount of local anesthesia. Placing and removing TADS is a pain-free, minimally invasive procedure. Your orthodontist will numb the area, so you will feel only gentle pressure as the TADs device is inserted. The entire process usually takes just minutes to complete.

TADs require very little maintenance, so they are easy to take care of. To keep your TADs clean, just brush your teeth as normal.

Patients like TADs because they are comfortable and nearly invisible but orthodontists like temporary anchorage devices because TADs produce predictable results, even in the most serious or difficult orthodontic cases. TADs allow teeth to move more efficiently and comfortably

To learn more about TADs, talk with your Melbourne orthodontist, Dr. Valderrama. Call today to schedule a free consultation! 321-425-5050.