We're here to help you answer some of the most common orthodontic questions.

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Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry, focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received 2 to 3 years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.

That’s a tough question because no two cases are alike. We want to focus on quality and not speed. However, most comprehensive cases are completed in 18 to 22 months in our office. Obviously, depending on things like initial difficulty and patient compliance, some cases will take significantly less time and some will take a bit longer.

This refers to orthodontic treatment when all permanent teeth are erupted (adolescents or adults). It is more commonly used when a Phase I treatment was not performed.

Extraction treatment means that permanent teeth need to be removed, most often to allow the front teeth to be pulled back, if a patient’s teeth and profile are too protrusive.

Non-extraction treatment is accomplished by expanding the arches in order to make room for all the permanent teeth. It is less and less common to have permanent teeth extracted with today’s orthodontic techniques, but we don’t want you to get hung up on this decision. Our first choice is to not extract permanent teeth, but our greater purpose is to give you the best result possible.

We will carefully evaluate your case and recommend the decision that gives you the smile you deserve!

Yes. When teeth are missing, the teeth on each side of the space will tend to drift into the empty space. This can create a number of problems.

First of all, these spaces between the teeth are unattractive and can detract from your smile. Additionally, tipping of the teeth can lead to problems with function and recession of the gum tissue. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.

A Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics is a rigorous professional credential requiring case presentation of finished treatment results – representing a broad range of treatment categories. A board of experts in the field scrutinizes the treatment outcomes for excellence at extremely high standards before awarding the status of Diplomate. This is a credential that only 20% of all orthodontists attain.

Braces are used by us, your orthodontist, to help you improve the look and feel of your smile! There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:

  • Clear braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Invisible braces
  • Traditional metal braces

Orthodontic treatment has come a long way in recent years. New technology allows us to use lighter forces to move the teeth over a much shorter amount of time.

You can expect the braces to make your teeth sore for a few days after they are placed and after each adjustment. These adjustments will make you more conscious of your teeth, but they should not be painful. This annoyance can be relieved with an over-the-counter pain reliever (use as directed).

Today’s braces are smaller, more comfortable, and use technology that reduces the discomfort. We use the highest quality orthodontic products and materials in order to minimize discomfort and treatment time.

Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.

Not really. While adult teeth sometimes move a little slower than children’s teeth, you are never too old to benefit from braces.

A large portion of our practice is devoted to adult orthodontic care. In fact, we have several patients in their 50s, 60s, and even 70s!

It is usually difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight.

Also, there are some problems that look intimidating and complex which will resolve on their own. Asking your general dentist is a good reference, but we are your best resource since orthodontics is all we do.

Our initial exam is complimentary and we would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.

If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of 7; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself, or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.

Although determining if orthodontic treatment is necessary can be difficult for you to assess, the following symptoms may help in prompting you to seek our orthodontic advice:

  • Do you feel embarrassed when smiling or laughing?
  • Do you have trouble chewing or biting your cheek?
  • Is it difficult to clean between your teeth or do you frequently get food caught between your teeth?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then orthodontic treatment can help.

Two-phase treatment is not a clever way for orthodontists to get you into two sets of braces, we promise.

Two-phase treatment simply means that there will be two separate parts to your orthodontic treatment; however, this is not double the cost and double the time. Though we try to avoid this when possible, in many cases, it is needed for the best end result.

The first phase of treatment, Phase I, is aimed at intercepting a moderate or severe orthodontic problem early in order to reduce the severity or eliminate it. These problems most often include crossbites (of the front or back teeth) and crowding. Phase I treatment takes advantage of the early growth spurt and turns a difficult orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This can also greatly help self-confidence in the young child who is being teased or embarrassed by the position of his or her teeth. This phase of treatment usually begins while the permanent front teeth are erupting (typically around the age of 8-9). We usually recommend this treatment when waiting could cause orthodontic problems or social problems to worsen. 

The second phase of treatment, Phase II, will occur after all permanent teeth have completed eruption. This serves to complete proper alignment which cannot be achieved with baby teeth present. In our office, this phase of treatment is significantly discounted due to the expense of Phase I treatment. 

Absolutely not! Only certain orthodontic problems require early intervention. In fact, most of our patients are able to wait until most if not all their permanent teeth erupt to begin their orthodontic treatment.

This is not recommended. If your child needs Phase I treatment this usually means that he or she has a difficult problem that requires attention now. If no orthodontic action is taken, treatment options become limited, more difficult, and the long-term stability may be compromised. In addition, it may lead to extractions, jaw surgery, and increased costs.

That’s a tough question because no two cases are alike. We want to focus on quality and not speed. However, most comprehensive cases are completed in 18 to 22 months in our office. Obviously, depending on things like initial difficulty and patient compliance, some cases will take significantly less time and some will take a bit longer.

  • Always remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, brush your teeth, and floss, then remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean too by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also use denture cleaner twice a week. Do not use hot, boiling water or the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities).
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes) or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc). See our complete lists of foods to avoid and foods you can eat.
  • Be sure to schedule your routine check-ups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. We can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.

Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with us to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.


During your first office visit, we will work with you every step of the way

Your First Visit

This is when you get to meet our team, learn more about orthodontics, receive a complete initial exam, and find out which treatment options will best meet your needs.

How Flexible are Appointments?

We understand that "life happens," so we work with you to make sure that your appointments are scheduled around your busy schedule. We want you to spend less time in the dental chair, and more time enjoying the things you love.

We Offer Affordable Flexible Financing

During your first appointment you can ask about all our financing options. We believe financing should be easy and affordable.

Our Philosophy

We will explain everything that you will need to know about your orthodontic treatment, so that you can choose what's best for you – no strings attached. To get started give us a call at (408) 274-6111.

Freeman Orthodontics – San Jose California Braces & Invisalign

Freeman Orthodontics – Northern California Braces & Invisalign

Orthodontic Common Questions

We simply answer your common orthodontic questions.

If you didn’t find the information you were looking for, we want you to feel free to contact us at (408) 274-6111.

We’re here to help you answer some of the most common orthodontic questions.


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