San Antonio Braces & Orthodontic FAQ

At the orthodontic office of Dr. Roy Gonzalez, we provide superior orthodontic care to our patients so they can have straight, healthy smiles. We offer a wide range of orthodontic treatment options to meet the needs of our patients, and aim to be a reliable and comprehensive information resource about orthodontic care. If you are considering orthodontic care, we have included the answers to the most frequently asked questions about orthodontic treatment. If you don’t find the answer to any of your questions here, just contact us and we will be happy to assist you. 

1. Does My Family Dentist Need To Schedule My Appointment With The Orthodontist?

Dr. Gonzalez’s Patient

If you want to start orthodontic treatment and don’t want to wait for the referral from your dentist, you can contact us to schedule your appointment. While many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, many other patients schedule an examination themselves. 

2. What Is The Best Way To Schedule My Orthodontic Appointment?

We offer many different ways to schedule an orthodontic appointment so you can choose based on your personal preference. You can call us by phone, email us, or use our online appointment request form and a member of our orthodontic staff will be able to assist you. 

3. At What Age Should I Schedule My Child’s First Orthodontic Appointment?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that you schedule your child’s first visit to the orthodontist by the age of 7. At this age, your child should have already started developing their permanent teeth, which is the ideal time for Dr. Gonzalez to identify and treat any possible orthodontic issues. 

4. Do Teeth Straighten Out As I Get Older?

No, they will not. What determines if your teeth will be straight or crooked is the space in your mouth and the alignment of your jaws. If your jaws are misaligned, it is more likely that your teeth will not fit together. Once your teeth have fully developed, they will not straighten out naturally since the alignment of the jaw will remain the same. The only solution for straightening teeth is through professional orthodontic treatment. 

5.  What Will Happen At My First Appointment?

The first appointment with Dr. Gonzalez is focused on introductions and initial planning for treatment. Upon arriving at our office, the first step is meeting our team, getting a tour of the office, and filling out some new patient forms so we can get to know you. We will then move on to taking x-rays and photos of your smile so we can understand the current state of your oral health and development, allowing us to begin crafting a personalized treatment plan.

For more information about your first appointment, you can visit our First Visit page for new patients. 

6. What Will I Learn From The Initial Orthodontic Examination?

There are five essential questions that we aim to find an answer for during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

During your visit, we will be reviewing the answers that we find based on your exam. 

7. Will I Need To Have Teeth Extracted For Braces?

This depends on each individual case. We will be able to determine if teeth need to be removed by taking x-rays and molds of your teeth to measure them and the available space. Early treatment for kids will guide orthodontic development. Removing teeth may still be necessary, but due to the many advances in treatment technology it is less common. 

8. How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?

Treatment time varies from patient to patient. The length of your treatment depends on the severity of your tooth or jaw misalignment. The average patient treatment length is around 12 to 30 months. 

9. How Much Will Braces Cost? Are Financing Options Available? How Does My Insurance Work?

It is impossible to give fee for treatment until we have examined you and see what needs to done. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

10. Will I Have Follow Up Appointments With Braces Or Invisalign?

Yes, follow up appointments are essential for allowing Dr. Gonzalez to ensure that your treatment is proceeding as it should and make any necessary adjustments. Most patients will have appointments every 4 to 6 weeks. Sometimes there are cases that require more frequent monitoring, so we will schedule appointments accordingly.

11.  Can I Schedule All Of My Orthodontic Appointments After School?

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 4-6 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, do our best to accommodate your scheduling needs. We also offer appointments starting at 7:30am before school. 

12. Can I Drop My Child Off For Their Orthodontic Appointment?

Yes you can drop your kids off at the office. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. We do request that all parents check in with the dental assistant before dropping off your child. We also want to keep parents updated on how treatment is progressing, so please come in to speak with our team when you come to pick up your child. 

13. Do Braces Hurt?

Generally, braces do not "hurt", but patients do experience minor soreness during the first few days of getting braces. The reason for this discomfort is that the braces are applying a small amount of pressure to the teeth in order to move them. When you first get braces, your teeth are not used to the pressure. After a few days, the discomfort will fade as your teeth move. To alleviate any discomfort, you can use over-the-counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol. In many cases, patients have little or no discomfort.

14. Can I Return To School The Day I Have An Appointment?

Yes, after your appointment you can go back to your day as normal. Once the braces are in place, there is no necessary recovery period. After your appointment you can go about your day as normal. 

15. Do I Get A Shot When Getting Braces?

No there are no shots when you are getting braces. We are simply attaching the brackets and wires to your teeth, and no anesthetic is required.

16. Do You Use Recycled Braces?

Absolutely not! The braces that you get are made just for you, customized to fit you comfortably based on the shape of your jaws and teeth.

17. Can I Still Play Sports With My Braces?

Yes you can still play sports with braces, but we recommend using a special orthodontic mouthguard whenever you play. Orthodontic mouthguards are specifically made for athletes with braces, protecting their braces and teeth from being damaged from any impact, while allowing the teeth to move. Heat molded mouthguards can stop treatment and break off brackets. We recommend not using that type of mouthguard. 

18. Do I Need To See My Family Dentist While In Braces?

Yes! Regular check-ups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces. We recommend checkups every 3-4 months with your dentist while in orthodontic treatment. By getting regular cleanings with your dentist, you will ensure that your smile is healthy when you get your braces off. 

19. Are There Foods I Cannot Eat While I Have Braces?

Unfortunately, some foods can cause damage to braces. It is recommended that you avoid hard or sticky foods. Biting into something hard or crunchy, like a piece of ice, will put enough force on your braces to dislodge a bracket or bend the archwire. With sticky foods, they can easily be caught in brackets and accelerate tooth decay, or pull a bracket off when chewing. When you get your braces, we will review all of the foods that you should avoid to protect your braces. 

20. How Often Should I Brush My Teeth While In Braces?

Since it’s easier for food particles to be caught in your braces, we recommend that you brush your teeth once after each meal and once before going to bed. Flossing is also essential for ensuring that your teeth are clean, so we will teach you on how to use floss threaders to guide the floss between your braces. 

21. What Is An Orthodontic Emergency? What Do I Do During An Emergency?

An orthodontic emergency can be major or minor. In the event of an question, you should contact our office immediately. We offer 24/7 orthodontic emergency assistance, and many times Dr. Gonzalez or his staff will be able to help you address the emergency over the phone. If it is something minor, we will get you scheduled for the next available appointment so Dr. Gonzalez can make any necessary repairs or adjustments. However, in the event of a major emergency Dr. Gonzalez is available to you 24 hours a day. 

22. Can Orthodontic Correction Occur While A Child Has Baby Teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. These include differences in jaw growth such as underbite and harmful habits such as thumb-sucking. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient's growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

23. What is Phase One (Early) treatment?

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment usually lasts about 16-21 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image. 

24. Will My Child Need Full Braces If He/She Has Phase One Treatment?

It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the "resting period," during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations. Kids that have had Phase One treatment may have shorter treatment when in braces.

25. What Is An Expander? Why Does My Child Need One?

A “palatal expander” is an orthodontic appliance that is used to expand and align the upper jaw  and create more space in the mouth as a child’s permanent teeth begin to develop. This allows for the teeth to have more room to grow. During your child’s initial appointment, we will conduct an examination to determine if a palatal expander is necessary.  

26. Is It Too Late To Have Braces If I Am Already An Adult?

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25% of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are important to adults. No patient is "too old" to wear braces! You can learn more on our adult treatment page. 

27. Can I Wear Braces Even Though I Have Crowns And Missing Teeth?

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling, since they are still anchored to your natural teeth. When teeth are missing, orthodontics will aid in their replacement by preparing the space for the new future teeth.

28. Why Should I Choose An Orthodontic Instead Of A Dentist For Braces?

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments. Dr. Gonzalez is a board certified specialist and is a member of the American Board of Orthodontics.

29. Contact Us With Your Questions!

If you have any questions that you didn’t find on this list, just contact us and a member of our staff will be more than happy to provide you with all of the information you need. If you’re ready to get started with orthodontic treatment, just schedule an appointment with us by giving us a call, reaching out by email, or using our online appointment request form. Dr. Gonzalez and our team look forward to providing you with the professional orthodontic care that our practice is known for.