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Our Tenleytown orthodontic practice has your braces questions covered. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, call or text us at 202-686-2108. Our friendly team is always happy to help.

What are braces?

Braces are a fixed orthodontic appliance used to improve the function, appearance and health of your smile. We offer both metal braces and clear braces at Bird Smiles Orthodontics.

How do braces work?

Braces involve a system of brackets and wires that exert continuous, gentle pressure. The force stimulates a natural biological response called bone remodeling. This is where the jawbone and tissues break down, allowing the teeth to move where we want. Once in place, new bone forms and the ligaments tighten back up, securing the teeth in their new positions.

How long does braces treatment take?

The length of braces treatment varies depending on the individual patient and the complexity of their case. Treatment can last anywhere from six to 30 months, but most standard braces treatments take about 18 to 22 months.

How often do I need to visit Bird Smiles Orthodontics during braces treatment?

Most of our Washhington, DC braces patients visit our office every six to eight weeks during their treatment. We make these check-ups fun, educational and efficient.

Do braces hurt?

No, you should never feel any significant braces pain. That said, you might experience mild discomfort for a couple of days after getting your braces put on. This will go away once your teeth, gums, cheeks, lips and tongue get used to your new appliance.

What happens when I get my braces put on?

When you visit us for metal or clear braces in Washington, DC, we set aside 60 to 90 minutes for the appointment. This gives us time to put your braces on and teach you how to take care of your new appliance.

Getting your braces on does not hurt at all. We’ll use a cheek retractor to give us a view of your teeth and keep them dry. Dr. Talley or Dr. Clark will clean your teeth and paint on a solution to prep the enamel for the adhesive. They’ll place your brackets on your teeth, ensuring they’re in the perfect positions and form a strong bond. They’ll then thread archiwres through the brackets and secure them with elastics.

What happens when I get my braces taken off?

Getting your braces taken off is just as painless as getting them put on. Using special tools, we’ll remove the wires and gently take off your brackets. We’ll polish your teeth to get rid of any leftover adhesive and make your new smile shine before letting you check it out in the mirror. To help you maintain your results, we’ll wrap things up by taking a scan of your teeth to create custom retainers for you.

Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?

Your braces are magnets for food particles and plaque, which can put you at risk for tooth decay and gingivitis. To keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy and clean, be sure to brush your teeth in the morning and after meals and snacks during your braces treatment. Floss at least once a day too.

How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?

We’re glad you asked!

  • Brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once daily.
  • Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride and, if you’re prone to cavities, ask us if you need a fluoride rinse too.
  • Take your retainer out to eat and put it in its case so it doesn’t get lost. Brush your teeth before putting it back in.
  • Clean your retainer twice a day by brushing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinsing it with lukewarm water. Don’t put it in boiling water or in the dishwasher! For a deep clean, you can soak your retainer in denture cleaner once a week.
  • During treatment, avoid or minimize foods and drinks with lots of sugar and simple starches (i.e, candy, potato chips, soda, etc.). Eating things high in sugars and starches increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, potentially causing cavities.
  • Avoid really sticky, chewy and hard foods (i.e., caramel, gummy bears, nuts, hard candy, ice cubes, etc.) and things that can get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, ribs, taffy, etc.).
  • Continue to see your general dentist for a routine exam and cleaning once every six months.

Do I still need to go to the dentist for checkups during braces treatment?

Yes! In fact, it’s even more important to visit your dentist regularly when you have braces. Your braces trap food and give plaque places to hide, which can lead to cavities and gingivitis. Your dentist will make sure your teeth stay healthy and clean while you wear braces.

Will braces interfere with activities like sports, playing an instrument or singing?

You can still do all of your favorite activities when you have braces. There might be an adjustment period when you first get your braces, but once you acclimate, you’ll be able to sing and play like you always did. If you play a contact sport, be sure to wear a mouthguard to protect your braces and smile.

How much do braces cost?

Your braces cost will depend on how complex your orthodontic issue is, how long your treatment lasts and the appliance you choose. We strive to make braces affordable for our Washington, DC patients and families. We can work with HSA or FSA funds and we have financing options to help you break up the cost of treatment into monthly payments.

Do I need braces?

To determine if you need braces, visit a certified specialist in orthodontics like Dr. Sonia Talley and Dr. Katie Clark. An orthodontist’s training makes them uniquely positioned to diagnose orthodontic problems and use appliances, including braces, to correct issues. If you want to find out if your braces are right for you, schedule a consultation at Bird Smiles Orthodontics in Tenleytown, Washington, DC. Call or text us at 202-686-2108 to book a visit.

Schedule your complimentary consultation today!

Every beautiful, confident smile we create starts with a consultation. Schedule an exam for you or your child at our boutique orthodontic practice today! We are conveniently located in Tenleytown, DC with easy access to the Tenleytown-AU metro station, bus stops and street parking.