Orthodontic Problems and Emergencies


Valderrama Orthodontics will provide priority scheduling for you during an orthodontic emergency. We even provide an after-hours number that you can call in case you need emergency treatment right away or on the weekend.

  • Regular Office Hours: 321.425.5050
  • After Hours: 321.544.4127

The next question is: What really constitutes an orthodontic emergency? Here is a closer look at some of the most common problems that we see at our Suntree, Viera, and Rockledge orthodontic practices.

Minor Orthodontic Problems

Real emergency orthodontic problems are not common, but they do happen. A lot of times, a consultation with Dr. V. on the phone can provide you with enough information for at-home treatment until an appointment can be scheduled the following week. You may have to put up with a little discomfort over a weekend, because the problem you’re experiencing is not serious enough to be considered an emergency.

Here are some orthodontic problems that might be considered minor:

  • Broken or loose wires or brackets on braces.
  • Wires poking the insides of the cheeks or mouth.
  • Discomfort from an orthodontic appliance or braces.
  • Losing your clear Invisalign aligners.

These are problems that can be fixed with a quick visit to Valderrama Orthodontics. These are not “end of the world” scenarios that require you to rush in for emergency treatment, and you can wait up to a couple of days to correct them. These are just general guidelines, however. You should still call our after hours number for a quick consult to determine the best course of action.

Orthodontic Emergencies That Require Immediate Attention

A true emergency will be much more serious and requires quick action to prevent further injury or damage. Here are some emergency situations in which you will want to come in for a special appointment with Dr. Valderrama.

  • Oral infection, which causes the face or mouth to swell.
  • Injury or trauma to the teeth, face or orthodontic appliances like braces.
  • Severe pain in the mouth, teeth, or face.

A lot of times these constitute real oral emergencies that should be treated as quickly as possible. Sometimes an injury can be so severe that it needs professional treatment above and beyond what our clinic can provide. This is why you should call us immediately in the event of an emergency.

Orthodontic Problems with Braces

Since braces are the most common treatment an orthodontist provides, most minor problems or emergencies will involve those. Braces can be damaged by hard foods, chewing on hard objects like pens or pencils, or facial trauma. While the damage might not constitute a full emergency, it should still be looked at within a day or two.

If you experience any of the following problems, you should call our office for an assessment and to schedule a quick appointment.

Loose Brackets

Brackets are the metal appliances that are secured to the front of the teeth using an adhesive. These can shift or come loose sometimes. If the bracket and wire are both moving, it could mean that the adhesive did not cure properly. If the bracket falls or rotates around the archwire, you can move back to roughly the correct position; use some wax to hold it in place. Dr. V. will reattach the bracket during an appointment.

Broken Wires

This is one of the most common minor problems that we see with braces. If your archwire breaks for any reason, it will likely cause some discomfort, soreness, or irritation inside the cheek. You or a parent can try to bend the wire into a more comfortable position with a pair of tweezers or a pencil eraser. This doesn’t completely fix the problem, but it will make it less uncomfortable until you can come in to have the wire replaced.

Loose Bands

A loose band might not cause any discomfort at all, but you will notice it when caring for your braces. It’s important that a loose band be reattached soon. If a band remains loose for too many days, it can cause discoloration on the tooth.

Call Us for Minor or Emergency Treatment

Most of the time, a quick and affordable orthodontist visit is all that’s needed to correct a problem. Whether you have a true emergency or a minor problem, contact us for a quick consultation and we’ll let you know the best way to proceed!


A mouthguard is a great way to protect your teeth, gums, and oral tissues if you play sports. However, not all mouthguards are the same. If you play a sport that carries the possibility of a “high speed collision” with another player, a mouthguard is important. It can mean the difference between keeping all of your permanent teeth, or needing dental implants to replace missing teeth! Dr. Valderrama can build you a custom mouthguard that will protect your teeth and keep you safe and sound on the playing field.

Why You Might Need a Mouthguard

Accidents happen in sports all the time. Football and soccer players are constantly bumping into each other and can suffer a blow to the face. Basketball players can “catch an elbow” from someone else on a rebound.

A blow to the face can cause damage to the enamel on the teeth, crack a tooth, or even dislodge it completely. There is also a good chance that your teeth will do some damage to your tongue or the insides of your cheek during a collision. Cuts inside the mouth can even require stitches if they are deep enough.

A mouthguard fits over your teeth and provides protection during sports. It protects the teeth, tongue, and cheeks. They’re made of materials that act as a buffer between your teeth and the rest of the oral structures in your mouth.

Dr. Valderrama can even build mouthguards that will fit over your braces, so you can still play your favorite sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment!

Types of Mouthguards

There are basically three types of mouthguards when it comes to protecting the teeth and/or braces during sports. There are cheap “boil-and-bite” mouthguards that can be purchased over the counter at any drug store. Another type is the one-size-fits-all stock mouthguard that some companies sell. The best mouthguard for sports, however, is the type of custom mouthguard that Dr. Valderrama can create for you.

Why You Should Get a Custom Mouthguard

Don’t just take Dr. Valderrama’s word for when it comes to the quality of custom-made mouthguards. Ask your insurance company!

If you use a cheaper type of mouthguard that is not custom made, and then suffer an accident that damages your braces, teeth, or tongue, your insurance company very likely won’t pay for emergency treatment. The insurance companies view it as if you assumed the risk for yourself by wearing a cheap mouthguard that isn’t a perfect fit for your teeth or braces.

This is why it’s a very good idea to have Dr. Valderrama create a custom mouthguard for you. Only professionally crafted mouthguards created by dental professionals or orthodontists are accepted by most insurance companies in case of an accident. (And they’re not that much more expensive than the over-the-counter ones anyway.)

How a Custom Mouthguard is Created

At Valderrama Orthodontics, we digitally scan your teeth in an initial appointment. This digital scan will be an exact match for your teeth and/or braces. The scan is 3-D printed and then used to fashion a mouthguard that fits you perfectly. You’ll then get to try on the mouthguard for the first time at a followup appointment. 

One thing to note is that if you have braces on both the upper and lower arches in your mouth, you will probably need a “double decker” mouthguard to offer full protection.

Call Us for a Custom Mouthguard

Call our office at 321-425-5050 to set an appointment to have your custom mouthguard created by us! We also offer many additional orthodontic treatments for our patients, from braces to Invisalign, and more.

How To Maintain Healthy Gums

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 47 percent of people over 30 have some form of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. While gum disease can certainly be treated, any dentist or orthodontist will tell you it’s better to take preventive measures so that it never develops in the first place. When plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth for too long, it can lead to the earliest stages of gum disease, which is gingivitis.

Gum disease is characterized by inflammation, tenderness, redness, and swelling of the gums. A person’s gums may also become prone to bleeding. Here are some things you should be doing to maintain healthy gums, and prevent gum disease from developing.

Regular Brushing

You should technically brush your teeth after every meal, but be sure to brush at least twice a day to maintain healthy gums. Brushing helps to get rid of the food and plaque from your teeth and around the gumline. Scrub your tongue with your toothbrush as well, since that’s an area where bacteria like to hang out. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits comfortably inside your mouth.

If you wear standard braces, lingual braces, or another orthodontic appliance, it is especially important to keep up with regular brushing. Use any specialized tools or picks that your orthodontist or dentist recommends, so you can get to those hard-to-reach places and clear out the plaque. Gum disease or tooth decay could develop more quickly while you’re wearing braces — so keep up with brushing!

Regular Flossing

The same goes for flossing. Be sure to floss your teeth at least once a day. Most of the bits of plaque or food that you miss through brushing can be removed with regular flossing. If you wear braces, use the floss threader that your orthodontist taught you how to use.

Use Fluoride Toothpaste

ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Some range in color and various flavors. It doesn’t matter what other features the toothpaste has. Those are just preferences. Any are fine as long as it has fluoride in it. That’s what helps to maintain healthy gums.

Use Fluoride Alcohol-free Xylitol Mouthwash

Using an over the counter mouthwash after you brush your teeth can flush away any excess food or plaque. Mouthwash will reduce plaque and can also reduce the speed at which tartar builds up on your teeth. And, of course, it can reduce or prevent early-stage gum disease. Remember that rinsing with mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing or flossing. Be sure to use all three (brushing, flossing, mouthwash) every day to have the best success in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Stop Smoking

Tobacco use is strongly associated with the onset of periodontal disease. If you are a smoker, your friendly and affordable orthodontist is always going to recommend that you kick the habit. Smoking has been proven to weaken the immune system, and that makes you more vulnerable to developing gum disease, along with a host of other potential problems.

If your gums become damaged by periodontal disease, it will take time for them to heal. Smoking can actually slow down that healing process. For the sake of your gums and your overall health, quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do.

Don’t Miss Oral Health Appointments

When you have regularly scheduled appointments with your dentist, keep those appointments! Having your teeth cleaned professionally, twice a year, is another way to stave off gum disease. Plus, your oral health care professionals are going to check your gums for early signs of gingivitis and gum disease during your exam. The earlier that gum disease is detected, the easier it will be to treat.

If you are a patient of Valderrama Orthodontics in the Suntree, Viera, Rockledge, or Melbourne areas and your gums are feeling sore or tender, let us know during your next appointment. If you are a new patient considering braces, Invisalign or another orthodontic treatment, contact us to schedule your first appointment.

Traditional, Clear, and Lingual Braces – How is Each Used?


The three main types of affordable braces that we offer at Valderrama Orthodontics are traditional braces, clear braces, and lingual braces. Each of these have their own pros and cons. Depending on the type of orthodontic procedure that you need, we might recommend one of these to you. Here’s a closer look at how these three types of braces differ.

Traditional Braces

Traditional metal braces have been around for more than a century, and they remain the most common type of orthodontic treatment used for straightening a patient’s teeth. They are most commonly used by children and teens, although they are appropriate for some adults as well. Metal brackets are affixed to the teeth and then a wire runs through the brackets. Your orthodontist tightens the wire every four to eight weeks at appointments, to shift the teeth over time.

Traditional braces are one of the most affordable options when it comes to straightening a patient’s teeth. Braces are also more convenient for children because they do not have to be removed at certain times a day like aligner systems. There’s no risk of your child accidentally misplacing their braces! The elastic bands that tie the wire to the braces also come in a variety of fun colors, so we let kids and teens personalize their traditional braces if they want.

Clear Braces

Clear braces are similar in function to traditional metal wire braces. The main difference between traditional braces and clear braces is the materials that they are made from. Clear braces are crafted from ceramic materials that match the natural color of the patient’s teeth. Although they are somewhat visible, clear braces tend to be less noticeable and less obtrusive when compared to traditional metal braces.

Clear braces are sometimes referred to as invisible braces or bride braces. For women who are planning to get married but want treatment with braces to start before the wedding, bride braces are a great option. The fact that they are nearly invisible means that the bride can flash her full smile for the wedding photos. Because clear braces are nearly invisible, the most common patients to request them tend to be teens and adults who don’t want everyone to know they are undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are one of the least common of all orthodontic treatments. They are an extremely specialized service that we provide here at Valderrama Orthodontics. Lingual braces are similar to traditional braces in that they are made with metal brackets and metal wire. However, lingual braces are affixed to the back of the teeth, so they are out of sight.

Even though they are less common, lingual braces are a great option for teens and adult patients who don’t want other people to know they are having their teeth straightened. Unlike clear braces, lingual braces are truly invisible to others, since they are attached to the backs of the teeth.

In some cases, lingual braces have a major advantage over traditional braces. Lingual braces are able to achieve certain orthodontic outcomes that are not possible with traditional or clear braces. As one example, lingual braces can be used to open up a deep overbite. They use a more complex wire pattern, so they are able to achieve significant shifts in the teeth that are not possible with traditional braces.

One downside to lingual braces is that they can impact a patient’s speech for the first two weeks or so. The patient will be able to feel the braces with their tongue, which can be uncomfortable at first. The speech issues and tongue discomfort will fade away in a couple of weeks as the patient gets used to having them on the backs of their teeth.

Call Us for a Braces Appointment in Melbourne

Contact one of our affordable orthodontist practices in Suntree, Viera, or Rockledge to schedule an appointment. Call 321-425-5050 or email us at newpatient@valderramaortho.com and make an appointment for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Valderrama and her team.  We take most insurance and are actually in-network with them, we are open on Fridays and Saturdays and treat you as our own family. Come see us today.

How Drinking Water Influences Your Teeth

Water is the most basic thing in the whole world that people need to consume for survival. Unfortunately, when you go to the store, there are countless other beverages to consume from coffee to sports drinks and more. All of these drinks aren’t as good for you as water, especially when it comes to the health of your teeth. Those pearly whites need water for so many reasons. When you don’t get enough water, it can affect your teeth in a very negative way.


At our Suntree, Viera, and Rockledge orthodontic practices, the team at Valderrama Orthodontics sees the effects that not drinking enough water can have on teeth. Let’s look at how drinking water influences your tooth structure, and why it’s so important to get H2O each day. Our goal is to specialize in perfect smiles at our orthopedic dentist office. Water can definitely help you get there.


Water Consumption Keeps Your Mouth Clean


Here’s a big part of why water is so important for your entire mouth. During the day and night, bacteria grows inside your mouth. There are extra food particles hanging around after you eat, as well. Of course, brushing and flossing helps to get rid of bacteria and food debris, but drinking water throughout the day helps to rinse off bad bacteria and tiny food particles that are otherwise going to get stuck to your teeth and gums.


Plaque won’t build up in the mouth as much when you get in the habit of drinking a lot of water each day. You’ll also notice that your smile is brighter when you drink water after eating or drinking anything that may stain your teeth, like coffee or wine. Just a few simple swigs can help to rinse off the teeth and prevent stains, which can yellow your teeth.


Healthy Tooth Enamel Needs Water


Water contains minerals and fluoride that are necessary for healthy tooth enamel. Drinking water is part of the “remineralization” process that restores and strengthens tooth enamel. Keep in mind that some of these minerals and fluoride aren’t in filtered or bottled water, so make sure you are drinking some tap or mineral water. If not, you may need to explore some fluoride treatments at your orthopedic dentist.


Prevents Dry Mouth


Drinking the right amount of water can help to prevent dry mouth. When you have a dry mouth, it means that you don’t have enough saliva that naturally washes away food particles and bad bacteria. Drinking water can increase healthy saliva amounts, which is beneficial for your mouth and teeth. When you don’t have enough saliva, it can compromise the structure of your teeth, wearing away the enamel and leading to more tooth decay.


How Much Water You Should Drink Every Day


So the big question becomes, how much water should you actually drink each day? According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, it’s 15.5 cups of water or 3.7 liters for men, and 11.5 cups of water or 2.7 liters for women.


A cup is 8 ounces of water. If it helps you keep track of how much water you are drinking, get a large container and fill it up each morning. That will help you get in the habit of watching exactly how much water you are drinking each day. Another smart tip is to bring a portable water container with you wherever you go. You’ll get used to having water on hand to drink throughout the day, which will get you where you need to be with your water drinking levels.


Avoid Beverages That Are Bad for Your Teeth


As much as you probably don’t want to hear this if you are a soda or juice lover, these beverages are terrible for your teeth. That includes all of those sugary coffee drinks, alcohol, wine, and energy drinks.


Anything with excess sugar is going to wear away tooth enamel and can cause cavities in otherwise healthy teeth. You especially want to take care of your teeth when you have gone through the process of having Clear Correct or invisible braces. Once you schedule an appointment with us and are on track for your dream smile, always remember to keep drinking water. So try to increase your water consumption because you’ll be amazed at how much better your teeth will look and perform for you in the long run.

Questions and Concerns About A Toothache


Although it is technically not a “holiday,” February 9th of each year is recognized as National Toothache Day. It’s a day for everyone to remember the importance of taking good care of their teeth, so they don’t end up having a toothache. Although treating toothaches is not the primary focus of an orthodontist, it’s not uncommon for us to see patients who inform us that they do have teeth issues. Here is some information about this uncomfortable condition and how dental professionals can help treat it.

What is a Toothache?

A toothache is an aching or painful tooth, usually due to some sort of infection or injury. The pain can be in the tissues surrounding the affected tooth, or inside of the tooth itself. A toothache can result from tooth decay that occurs over time, or due to an abscess — a type of infection in the root pulp of the tooth. Other causes can include a broken or fractured tooth, a cracked filling, or an infection of the gums around a tooth.

The most obvious symptom of a toothache is pain that occurs in or around the tooth. It can present as a sharp, stabbing pain or as a throbbing pain that occurs intermittently. In more serious cases, the pain is almost constant. Sometimes the pain only occurs when the patient bites down on something with the affected tooth. Toothache pain can also be caused by an infection of the gum tissue surrounding a tooth and can be accompanied by a fever or headache. If the interior of the tooth is infected, there might be a foul-smelling drainage associated with it.

When Should I Seek Medical Help for a Toothache?

Anytime the pain from a toothache is severe, it warrants a trip to your dental expert. If the pain does not subside for more than one or two days, call for an appointment. If the toothache is accompanied by a fever or headache, that’s also a warning sign that you should seek professional medical help.

The problem with toothache pain that is caused by an infection is that the infection can spread to additional parts of the face or skull. It can even invade the bloodstream and then spread to other parts of the body. Your orthodontist can prescribe antibiotics that will help to get the infection under control and prevent it from spreading and causing further problems.

How is a Toothache Treated?

Treatment for a toothache will depend on what is causing the pain. An exam will take place first to try to determine exactly why you have a toothache. This can include a visual exam and X-rays, as well as questions about the nature and severity of the pain.

If the toothache is being caused by a cavity or damaged filling that has left the root pulp exposed, treatment could be as simple as installing a new filling. In more severe cases, the tooth might need to be extracted.

If an infection has made its way all the way into the nerve of the tooth, a root canal will probably be necessary. This procedure involves removing the root pulp from the tooth and applying a sealant. The nerves inside our teeth are some of the most sensitive nerves in the body, so when they are exposed to infection, the result is almost always a very severe toothache.

Any fever or jaw swelling that accompanies a toothache will likely also mean a course of prescribed antibiotics. We should also note that depending on the type of treatment required for a toothache, we may refer you to another dental specialist, such as an endodontist, to perform a procedure.

Call Valderrama Orthodontics for an Appointment

Straight smiles and healthy teeth are what we specialize in at Valderrama Orthodontics! If you are experiencing a toothache or any other type of oral health issue, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our practice also specializes in affordable braces, Invisalign, invisible braces for adults, and other orthodontic treatments to provide our patients with healthy and bright smiles.

When Can Your Child Get Braces?


Children are often excited to get braces, because they will give them a distinct look while they are installed, and the end result will be a great smile. But what’s the best age for a child to get them? Additionally, how can you tell whether your child might need braces? Your friendly and affordable orthodontist at Valderrama Orthodontics is here to answer those questions!

When Can My Child Get Braces?

Most of a child’s adult teeth need to have erupted before they can be successfully treated with braces. Some molars might not come in until your child is in his or her 20s, so what’s the best age? For most children, the optimal time for braces is between the ages of 9 and 14. They will have lost most of their baby teeth and their adult teeth will be established by then. Some kids are even ready to start treatment at age 8, but that 9 to 14 range is the most common.

The major advantage of treating a child with braces at this age is that their bodies — including their teeth and jaw — are still growing and developing. The teeth are more pliable and can be shifted successfully, with really great results. The teeth “cooperate” more with the orthodontist when kids are in that age range!

This is not to suggest that adults can’t be treated with braces, too. You’ve probably heard of bride braces, invisible braces, and other types of appliances that are meant more for adults. We also have other options like Invisalign that adult patients prefer, since they’re very unobtrusive. We serve a great amount of children when they have the need for braces, but you would be surprised at how many of our patients are adults!

How Can I Tell if My Child Needs Braces?

Some of the signs that a child will need braces are fairly obvious to parents. If the teeth are coming in crooked or if there’s a gap between the teeth, those are obvious things that can be corrected with braces. Other problems that can be treated, such as a misaligned “bite,” are not always as easy to detect.

Ask your child if they feel any discomfort when they bite down on their food, or if they have trouble chewing. These can be warning signs that you will want to tell your orthodontist about.

This is why it’s so important for parents to bring their child in for that first orthodontic visit by age 7. Orthodontists are specially trained to determine how the teeth and jawline are going to develop when those permanent teeth start erupting. Dr. Valderrama will almost always be able to tell you wether your child is going to need braces after this first exam.

Another really important reason for your child’s first appointment is that if an orthodontic problem is identified, early intervention can be of great benefit to your child. For example, if the child will need more space in the jawline to prevent over-crowded adult teeth, some baby teeth can be extracted early to make more room. Sometimes early interventions can even eliminate the need for braces when a child gets older, or reduce the amount of time that they will need to wear them.

What Are the Benefits of Braces for My Child?

The most obvious benefit of braces for your child are that crooked teeth will be straightened, gaps between teeth will be filled, and they will have a dazzling, straight smile. Braces are a life-changing treatment for most kids just because of those things. But there are other benefits as well.

Braces can correct issues like a misaligned bite, which can lead to difficulty chewing their food, speech problems, and bruxism (grinding the teeth). Teeth that have been straightened are easier to brush and floss — for the rest of your child’s life. The teeth are also less likely to rub against each other, which can lead to cavities or infections.

Contact Valderrama Orthodontics

If you think that your child might need treatment with braces, or if it is time for you child’s first visit, contact us to schedule an appointment at our office. We serve patients in the Melbourne, Rockledge, Suntree and Viera areas — and we look forward to meeting you and your child!

Don’t Forget to Clean Your Tongue

clean tongue

At Valderrama Orthodontics, we specialize in invisible and regular braces for young people and adults. We talk about teeth all the time at our orthodontic practices in Melbourne, Rockledge, and Viera. For affordable braces, you can’t beat the options we provide! Chatting about the benefits of different braces is fun for us, but today, we’re going to discuss another important part of the mouth, how to best clean your tongue. Did you know that the tongue can harbor up to half of the bad bacteria in your mouth? That’s a pretty scary thing to think about especially if you aren’t that diligent about cleaning your tongue each day.

The tongue is such an integral part of oral health that, surprisingly, most people aren’t effectively cleaning the tongue each time they brush. This is something we end up telling our patients all the time, “don’t forget to clean your tongue.” Here are some tips on oral health for your tongue that you need to start doing each time you brush.

Why Cleaning Your Tongue Is Important

The tongue serves so many purposes for your mouth. It’s covered in small papillae that give your tongue a unique texture, almost like a fingerprint for your mouth. The problem is that this type of surface is also great at attracting and trapping dead skin cells, bacteria, and leftover debris from the foods you eat and even the liquids you drink.

If you don’t effectively cleanse your tongue each day, you are going to be at risk of having bad breath and a host of other issues, like contributing to more cavities and periodontal disease. That’s why it’s so vital that you pay special attention to this muscular organ in your mouth.

Various Options for a Cleaner Tongue

There are several methods to achieve a cleaner tongue. First, you want to make sure that when you are brushing your teeth with your toothbrush, you take an extra minute to brush your tongue. The best type of toothbrush is a soft one, so you don’t aggravate the tongue by being too harsh with cleaning.

A gentle toothbrush will work to scrub all those bad bacteria and food particles away. The best way to do this is to brush your teeth first, rinse off your toothbrush, and then scrub your tongue for at least 30 seconds. You can brush the roof of your mouth as well during this time. Do this routine twice a day for the best oral health.

The Benefits of a Tongue Scraper

Another way to cleanse the tongue is by using a tongue scraper. This is a tool that looks like a small plastic u-shaped hook. You hold both ends and gently scrape it down your tongue with light pressure. Rinse the tongue scraper after each time you scrape. Do this four or five times until your tongue feels clean. You can find one of these tongue scraping devices right in the oral health aisle of your local drugstore or big box store.

Refresh Your Mouth With a Mouthwash

Another way to kill bacteria on your tongue and freshen up your breath in the process, is to use an alcohol-free mouthwash. This doesn’t replace brushing or scraping your tongue, but it goes a long way in improving the oral health of your tongue.

Find a mouthwash you like and use it twice a day for the best oral hygiene routine. There are many brands and types available to buy at your local drugstore that contain fluoride, which improves the strength of the enamel on your teeth too.

A Sparkling Clean Tongue for Better Oral Health

You’ll be amazed at how much better your breath is with a cleaner tongue. When you start paying attention to this important area of your mouth, you are doing tons of good for your oral health. Even though at Valderrama Orthodontics, we specialize in all types of lingual braces, bride braces, and engineer braces, that doesn’t mean we can’t champion the health of your tongue. So when we say, “don’t forget to brush your tongue”, we are making sure that your total mouth health is a priority. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your next appointment.

Why Children Should See an Orthodontist Sooner Rather Than Later

children see orthodontist

Valderrama Orthodontics can help guide your child’s permanent teeth as they are coming in, which can prevent a number of developmental oral problems when your child matures. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Early prevention is best” when it comes to medical ailments. The same is true with orthodontics. The sooner your child comes to see your friendly and affordable orthodontist in Viera, Rockledge, or Melbourne, the better the outcome will be down the road.

What Age is Best for the First Orthodontic Visit?

It’s recommended that all kids come in for their first orthodontic visit no later than the age of 7. Your child should have a mixture of primary and permanent teeth by then. This allows Dr. Valderrama to examine your child’s mouth and determine whether there are going to be any developmental issues that can be dealt with sooner, rather than later. If your child is over the age of 7 and hasn’t had their first visit with us, don’t worry. Just contact us and schedule an appointment. Better late than never!

Problems Your Orthodontist Will Look For

Orthodontists are specially trained to identify and correct developmental problems with the teeth and jawbones. An early orthodontic visit can let you know whether your child’s teeth are going to come in perfectly straight, or if a potential problem is brewing.

For example, sometimes a baby tooth won’t fall out on time. If it stays in place and a permanent tooth tries to erupt beneath it, that permanent tooth can come in behind or in front of the spot where it should naturally grow. Or, it can push other permanent teeth aside, resulting in crooked teeth.

The orthodontist will also check to see whether proper growth and development of the jaw is taking place. This can determine whether your child will have an overbite or underbite, or whether the permanent teeth will be overcrowded or will have unwanted spaces between them.

Benefits of Developmental Orthodontics

If your orthodontist doesn’t find any problems with the teeth or jawbone, a followup visit will be recommended in another year or two. But if an early potential problem is diagnosed, the doctor will recommend a course of treatment based on your child’s age and the specific problem.

Developmental orthodontics can help guide the growth of the permanent teeth and jawbone. Some benefits of developmental orthodontics include:

  • Preventing teeth from coming in crooked or shifting.
  • Reduce the need for extracting permanent teeth later on.
  • Adjust gaps between permanent teeth.
  • Monitor the growth of the jaw and guide its development.
  • Help kids to have a great smile!

Not only will developmental orthodontic treatments help your child to have a fantastic smile, but it can also help with their speech. Straight teeth are important for developing proper speech patterns. They can also impact the types of foods your child can eat. If your child is going to need braces at some point, developmental orthodontics can benefit that process as well — potentially shortening the number of months that your child’s braces treatment will require.

What Age is Best for Affordable Braces?

In the majority of cases, treatment with braces will not begin until all of a child’s permanent teeth are in. For boys, this usually happens between the ages of 9 and 10. For girls, it happens around age 8 to 9. Prior to your child reaching that age, Dr. Valderrama might prescribe an orthodontic appliance to help better prepare the teeth for braces.

An example of this type of appliance is an expander. An expander is custom fitted to your child’s mouth and is made in a special Lab. This appliance fits over the teeth and helps to grow making more space for the teeth and to guide their bones development as your child is growing. The end result of wearing an expander is that your child may not need to wear braces for as long as what they might have had to without them.

Schedule Your Child’s First Orthodontic Visit

If you’d like to schedule your child’s first visit at Valderrama Orthodontics in Melbourne, Rockledge, or Viera, contact our office today. We look forward to seeing you at one of our convenient locations!

Cavities During Braces


Developing cavities while receiving orthodontic treatment with braces is not the end of the world — but it’s not the best possible outcome, either! Your friendly and affordable orthodontist in Suntree, Viera, and Rockledge, FL is going to want to have a chat with you about your diet, brushing habits, and other topics if you do develop cavities. Here’s what to expect if you are unfortunate enough to develop a cavity while wearing braces.

Taking Care of Your Teeth with Braces

Even when you are not receiving treatment with your braces, you should be brushing your teeth (with fluoride toothpaste) after every meal and flossing at least once per day. But this becomes even more important when wearing braces. Your teeth are actually more susceptible to decay and cavities while wearing braces, because it becomes harder to keep every area clean.

Traditional metal and wire braces are still the go-to method for straightening teeth, because they work better on children and young teens than any other system invented so far. If a patient is not diligent about brushing and flossing, it’s much easier for food particles and the resulting plaque and tooth decay to set in. If these food particles (or sugars from drinks) are not removed from the teeth, it can rapidly lead to decay and one or more cavities.

This is why it’s so important to follow Dr. Valderrama’s pointers when it comes to oral health and braces:

  • Brush your teeth after every meal. Use your regular soft-bristled toothbrush for this and brush from top to bottom, and bottom to top, on every tooth.
  • Floss your teeth with a floss threader. Get the floss in there, into the space between every tooth. This can seem like a hassle, and it takes longer than flossing without braces, because you have to get the floss underneath the wire on every space. But it’s also the single most important part of your oral hygiene while wearing braces!
  • Use the special tools that Valderrama Orthodontics recommends. A waterpik is great for blasting food particles out of those hard-to-reach spots that you can’t get to with a normal toothbrush or floss. Use a proxabrush — a specialty brush shaped like a tree — to get into those tough spots and brush them as well.

Treatment for a Cavity with Braces

As we mentioned at the top of this post, it’s not the end of the world if you get a cavity while wearing braces. Still… it’s not a walk in the park to correct that cavity.

When you are wearing braces, tooth decay is most likely to happen in the cracks between teeth, or around the brackets that are cemented to your teeth. In some cases, your dentist will be able to work around the brackets and wires to install a filling in a cavity. That’s the “best case scenario.” But if your dentist cannot reach the cavity to install a filling, here’s what happens.

First, you have to visit Valderrama Orthodontics for an appointment to remove the wire from your braces. If it’s a really bad cavity that extends behind one of your brackets, we will need to remove that bracket from your tooth as well. Then, you’ll need to head to your regular dentist to have a filling installed in that cavity. Finally, you get to pay another visit to Valderrama Orthodontics to have any removed brackets and the wire reinstalled. That doesn’t sound like a very fun day, does it? It can take up to three appointments with two oral health care specialists just to correct a single cavity.

The Perfect Smile is the Goal!

All of this concern about tooth decay and cavities is why it is required to have any cavities filled before your orthodontic treatment with braces begins. This applies to everyone from kids receiving a set of traditional braces to an adult being fitted with invisible bride braces. In the best case scenario — and if you keep up with great oral hygiene during the treatment with braces — you will get through it with zero cavities, and perfectly straight teeth, at the end of the process!

Ready for Braces? Call Us!

If you think that you or your child is a good candidate for braces, contact us in Suntree, Viera, or Rockledge to learn about our orthodontic practices and to schedule an appointment!