Braces FAQ

Are metal braces my only option?

Nope! Space City Orthodontics offers a customized approach to orthodontic treatment, so our doctors offer ceramic/clear braces, self-ligating braces, and clear aligners

What are my diet restrictions with braces? 

Take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances. We recommend choosing soft foods to eat with braces, including any of the following: 

  • Dairy – soft cheese, yogurt, pudding, milk-based drinks 
  • Breads – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts 
  • Grains – pasta and/or soft-cooked rice 
  • Meats/Poultry – soft-cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats 
  • Seafood – tuna, salmon, crab cakes 
  • Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans 
  • Fruits – bananas, apple sauce
  • Treats – ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, gelatin, soft cake
What foods should I avoid with braces? 

Common sense goes a long way here, as the goal is to avoid foods that might result in broken brackets, loose wires, or broken appliances. For example, you should avoid: 

  • Chewy foods such as bagels, fruit leathers, or beef jerky 
  • Sticky foods like caramel candy, licorice, and marshmallows 
  • Crunchy foods like chips, raw carrots, raw celery, and popcorn 
  • Hard foods such as hard candy, hard breadsticks, or pizza crust 
  • Foods that require biting into such as corn on the cob and apples. You can still enjoy these foods by slicing the apples or removing the corn from the cob. 

We often tell patients: if it sounds like eating something might damage your braces, it probably will, so avoid it. 
Patients also wonder, “When can I eat normal foods?” We tell patients it’s best to avoid foods that can damage braces throughout the treatment period. If you can’t say no to the craving, eat with extreme caution. 

How do I brush my teeth with braces? 

Your step-by-step guide to brushing with braces: 

  1. Before brushing, rinse your mouth with water to dislodge any food particles stuck between the wires or brackets. 
  2. Begin brushing at the gum line, using a 45-degree angle of approach. 
  3. As you move towards the brackets, brush from both the top and the bottom. 
  4. Make sure the bristles reach under wires and around brackets. This process may take some extra time in the beginning, but it will become routine for you once you’re used to it.  
  5. Be sure to follow up with thorough flossing to remove any remaining food particles or debris. 
What toothbrush is best to use with braces during treatment?

We recommend using an electric toothbrush such as Sonicare or OralB. If you do not decide to use an electric toothbrush, use a toothbrush with soft bristles. 

Do braces hurt? 

Generally, braces do not hurt, but when you first get them, you may feel a little sore or uncomfortable immediately afterward. Soreness is normal, and it’s temporary.  

One thing that helps is a saltwater rinse: 

  1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a full cup of lukewarm water.  
  2. Swish it around your mouth for a few minutes.  
  3. Repeat, if needed.  

If soreness persists, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil®) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®) may help. Lastly, if you have lip, cheek, or tongue irritation in the weeks after getting braces, use your orthodontic wax to help alleviate the problem quickly. 

How long will I have my braces? 

The duration of braces treatment can vary based on factors such as the degree of your bite issue. Typically, patients require braces for 12 to 24 months, but this can differ depending on individual cases. Your Space City Orthodontics doctor will provide you with an overview of what to expect. Then, as treatment progresses, it becomes easier to evaluate progress and provide a more precise estimate of the remaining duration of your braces treatment. 

How much do braces cost? 

The cost of braces treatment varies based on the type of braces you choose, how long you need treatment, and any other factors unique to your treatment plan. If cost is a concern, we offer affordable payment plans with 0% APR financing, and we’re willing to help you maximize your insurance benefits to help make treatment affordable.  

Can I return to work or school the day I receive braces? 

Yes. Generally, you’ll be able to return to school or work the same day. 

Can I play sports with braces? 

Yes, you can still play sports with braces. We recommend that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliances. Please ask your doctor about mouthguard options. 

Am I too old for braces? 

No matter how old you are, the answer is no. There is no age limit for braces, and our doctors provide braces for children, teens, and adults. We also offer modern adult braces that are more discreet, comfortable, and effective than what historically has been available. In fact, more adults are choosing orthodontic braces treatment than ever before. 

Is it normal for my teeth to wiggle or feel loose during treatment? 

Your teeth may begin to feel a little loose. This is a 100% normal part of treatment. Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will stabilize and no longer feel loose.

Invisalign® aligners FAQ

How often must I wear my aligners? Can I just wear them when I sleep?

Wearing them only while sleeping isn’t very effective. We find that clear aligners are most effective when worn 22+ hours per day and removed only for eating, brushing, and flossing.  

How do I clean my aligners? 

We recommend that you always rinse your aligners as soon as they are removed from your mouth. Then, soak your aligner trays with the Invisalign brand crystal cleaning solution every day. It helps remove bacteria from your aligners. Also, use a soft bristle toothbrush (but not your usual, daily toothbrush) to lightly sweep away any remaining debris after the soak. Finally, rinse off your aligners and place them back in your mouth after the cleaning process.

How long do I wear my set of aligners? 

Great question! It varies according to your treatment plan. Generally, aligners work for two weeks and are exchanged for the next set. Sometimes you may wear an aligner set for as little as a week before they’re switched out. This will depend on your specific treatment plan, so always follow our recommendation on when to change out your aligners. 

What are the benefits of Invisalign aligners? 

Invisalign aligners are a popular choice because of many benefits: 

  • Clear aligners for a more aesthetic appearance 
  • Comfortable as it is custom-made to fit your bite 
  • Affordable (about the same price as traditional metal braces) 
  • Faster treatment 
  • Less time spent at the orthodontist 
  • No restrictions on food 
  • You can carry out your oral hygiene routine much easier than with traditional braces brackets and wires. 
Who is eligible for Invisalign aligners? 

Our doctors offer Invisalign for teens which is suited for patients aged 12-18 years old. For adults, we offer Smile Express™ at-home aligners and Invisalign aligners for full comprehensive treatment.

General orthodontic FAQ

At what age should I schedule my child for an appointment for a consultation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic consultation at the age of 7. By this age, most children have several permanent teeth starting to surface, which gives our doctors an effective way to evaluate your child’s orthodontic health. Plus, in certain cases, early evaluation may help our doctors identify missing permanent teeth or problems with jaw growth as well as habits like thumb sucking which can be more easily corrected if caught early. Our Rising Star program helps children avoid future problems as well as potentially expensive corrections. 

Can I drop my child off for an appointment? 

We understand your busy schedule, so yes! We are happy to help make the most of your time. Occasionally, we may request to speak with you when you return, so we ask you to check in with our concierges before dropping off your child. You can also schedule any remote care treatment check-ups by using the Smile Doctors Anywhere app.

Does my family dentist have to schedule my appointment with an orthodontist? 

While we love dental referrals and see a number of our dental colleagues’ patients, your dentist doesn’t need to make an appointment. Most patients call us directly and mention the dentist who referred them. We always love to send a thank you note to our local dentists. 

How much will my treatment cost? 

The cost of braces or Invisalign aligners depends on the length of treatment and the type of braces and aligners that you choose. Our doctors and treatment coordinators are happy to develop a payment plan that meets your budget. 

Let’s get you smiling more, starting today

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Your Trusted Houston Area Orthodontists

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Space City Orthodontics – Houston Clear Lake

1140 Clear Lake City Blvd, Ste C, Houston, TX, 77062-8128
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27880 Birnham Woods Dr., Suite A, Spring, TX, 77386