Sporting Smiles
A Great Dentist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Orthodontics

How can we help you?

When it comes to your child's health, being engaged matters. We are here to answer your questions and help you feel confident in the decisions you make. 

We've collected some of the questions we hear most often here at Sporting Smiles. If your question isn't on this list or you need more information, please don't hesitate to call our office. 


Yes! We are in the process of expanding our orthodontic hours and will have availability Monday - Thursday from 7:00am-4:00pm. Please give us a call to schedule your next orthodontic appointment!


Foods You Can Eat with Braces:
Milk based soft foods and drinks such as cheese, pudding, etc.
Soft Breads such as pancakes and soft tortillas.
Cooked Grains such as pasta and rice.
Meats such as meatballs, deli meats and cooked chicken.
Seafood such as crab cakes, salmon and tuna.
Cooked Vegetables such as mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and cooked beans.
Fruits such as bananas, applesauce and cut fruit.
Treats, but limited, milkshakes, Jelll-O, soft cake and simple ice cream flavors.
Foods to Avoid with Braces:
Sticky Foods such as caramel, chewing gum and chunky peanut butter.
Hard Foods such as nuts, hard candies and granola bars.
Hard Breads such as bagels, hard rolls, and pizza crust.
Crunchy Foods such as popcorn, chips or ice.
Other Foods: apples, carrots and corn on the cob.

When wearing braces, it is even more important to brush and floss daily! We want to keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment. Prior to starting Dr. Vahab will discuss the proper way to brush and floss while wearing braces. Daily brushing and flossing will reduce the risks of cavities, decalcification (white spots), and gingivitis/periodontists (gum disease) during your orthodontic treatment. Patients with poor oral hygiene may require more frequent visits to perform additional check-ups, and/or cleanings with the Pediatric Dentist.

Brushing Instructions

To get started, remove elastics, bands or removable parts or orthodontic appliances.

1. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Take the brush and sweep or roll away from the gumline.

2. Brush teeth and gums gently in a circular motion.

3. Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth and along the gumline.

4. Use the tip of your brush to brush the inner surface of your teeth and gumline using short back-and-forth strokes.

5. Lastly, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.

It does not hurt to put braces on.  However, for the first few days you may feel mild to moderate tenderness and aching of your teeth. This discomfort will not affect your day to day experience, and you can continue to go to work, school or socialize events as normal.

Yes.  It is recommended that you continue your regular hygiene visits every six months. This is very important to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy during treatment.

  • When it comes to infants, avoid putting them to bed with a bottle. It’s also beneficial to try to keep shared utensils or toys away from them, so they don’t get additional germs in their mouth.
  • It is important to establish a healthy oral hygiene routine as early as infants have their first tooth come in. Parents can begin brushing at least once a day at bedtime and as children become old enough to brush, parents can create a routine and make it fun!
  • Children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice per day and for at least two minutes each time. Do not forget to brush your tongue as well. In addition to brushing you also need to floss at least once per day.
  • Visit to your dentist’s office at least every 6 months for a check up and cleaning. This will help ensure a healthy mouth, as your dentist will be able to discover any issues that may arise.
  • See an orthodontist as recommended by your dentist or if you feel you have issues that may warrant a consultation with one. Such issues as bite misalignment, braces, and teeth straightening are best handled by an orthodontist, who is a trained specialist in these areas.
  • Always use a mouth guard when playing sports. This simple little device, which can be picked up at a sporting good’s store, can save you a great deal of pain and money later!
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly, which is every two to three months or as the bristles become frayed.
  • Keep drinks in check! Sugar drinks should be avoided or kept to a minimum, as well as highly acidic drinks (e.g., citrus sodas and sports drinks, etc.), which can eat away at and erode the tooth enamel.

In the event you need to transfer your orthodontic care prior to the completion of treatment, it is recommended that you visit your current orthodontist right before you leave. Your records will need to be prepared for transfer and an AAO (American Association of Orthodontics) active patient transfer form must be completed as well, this allows the new office to legally resume care.

Your first appointment at a new office (or at our office if you are transferring care to us), will include a consultation with the orthodontist, the patient, and their parent or legal guardian if the patient is a minor. During the first appointment, the orthodontist will review the initial records taken at the beginning of treatment, any progress notes or progress records and discuss with you the orthodontic plan of care moving forward. After this first visit with your new provider, you will likely resume routine visits every 4-6 weeks or as recommended at the discretion of the orthodontic provider.

When in braces brushing 3x per day for a full two minutes and floss once per day is all you need to keep your teeth healthy.  Electric brushes and water piks are great, but they are not required.  We will evaluate your hygiene at each visit to make sure you are brushing correctly and to keep you on track.  

After your braces have been placed, you will be placed on a 4-6 week recall schedule. Before you leave the office is it important to set up your next periodic orthodontic treatment visit, this will help keep you current with all of your appointments. Scheduling and keeping your orthodontic treatment visits up to date allows our office to maintain an accurate record of your orthodontic treatment needs and progress. This also allows us to monitor your oral hygiene and any additional concerns, or unexpected necessary repairs during the course of treatment. 

Maintaining optimal oral hygiene and following the dietary guidelines set forth during orthodontic treatment are two very large contributing factors in staying current with orthodontic treatment. While it is common to require a few slight repairs to your brackets, wires, and/or appliances; frequent broken brackets, misplaced wires and/or loose appliances can have a large impact on the duration of treatment. Frequent, unexpected repairs or replacements can set back the patient in their care - following directions along the way will allow your treatment to progress the way it should. 

Orthodontics can range from 6-36 months. The average treatment time for realignment of the “occlusion” or bite is 18-20 months. However, if the bite is already in good function, a dramatic aesthetic improvement of the front teeth can be achieved in 6-12 months.

Orthodontic dental benefits are separate from overall dental benefits and carry a separate maximum amount.


We encourage you to reach out to your plan directly to determine what percent of coverage your plan allows for orthodontics and the maximum dollar amount allowed.


You will need to be seen every four to six months for adjustments. On average these appointments are 30 minutes long.  Invisalign appts are every 6-8 week and are 15-20 minutes.

There is no age limit for achieving the smile you always wanted.  I see a lot of patients that come in for a consultation and say, “I have been wanting straight teeth my whole life!”

Yes. You can make an initial payment using your FSA/HSA card, and set up an auto bill for the remainder. If at any time the card updates to a new expiration date or a new card is issued, please contact our office to update the information so that we can prevent any delay or late charges.

At any moment, there are over more than 5 million children and adults in the US currently wearing braces. At Sporting Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Family Orthodontics we want to make the experience of wearing braces a positive one. Therefore, we want to dispel many of the popular, weird and myths about braces:

Can Braces Rust?

NO – Braces are made of high grade medical metals, like titanium alloy, and therefore will NOT rust.

Can I Play Contact Sports Wearing Braces?

YES – Wear a mouth guard! Mouth guards are for everyone, whether they wear braces or not. Mouth guards not only save teeth, but may also protect against jaw fractures.

Am I Able to Play A Musical Instrument While Wearing Braces?

YES – Of course you can.

Can Braces Become Locked Together if Two People with Braces Kiss?

Almost Impossible – It is extremely difficult to lock braces while kissing as today’s braces are much smaller and sleeker.

Do Braces Set Off the Metal Detectors at The Airport?

NO – The amount of lightweight medical grade metals used in braces will not affect metal detectors.

Do Braces Interfere with Electronic Devices or Radio Signals?

NO – Braces are not magnetic nor do they interfere with popular electronic devices or your favorite radio station.

When you are reviewing your options, be sure the new plan covers work in progress and has no waiting period. If these options are not available, your new insurance plan may not provide coverage towards current active treatment.

Orthodontic specialists have 2-3 years of advanced clinical and academic training in addition after becoming a dentist. They specialize in aligning teeth and Jaws, establishing healthy bites, and improving the function of your smile.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends having an orthodontic exam by age 7 to baseline dental development and screen for indicators of future problems. Dr. Vahab has a conservative approach, and recommends starting orthodontics when all the adult teeth have erupted (11-13 years old) whenever possible.  “Early” treatment between 8-10 years old, is reserved for severe space deficiencies and other problems that cannot be corrected later. 

Orthodontics is not limited to children and teens.  1 on 5 orthodontic patients are above the age of 21.  So, it’s never too late to get the smile you have always wanted.

Our dedicated orthodontic coordinator will work with your insurance company to maximize any available orthodontic benefits and create a payment plan suitable for your budget. 


For an idea of what to expect, please use our cost calculator.


Yes! Dr. Vahab was a trumpet player in high school so we love musicians in our office.  Invisalign is always the best choice for serious musicians, because they can be removed while playing.  You can certainly play with traditional braces; however, it may take some adjusting so practice, practice practice!!!

Sporting Smiles is our name and we love sporty kids! Dr. Vahab recommends using a mouthguard to protect your teeth and jaws from injuries.  Dr. Vahab will assist help you choose the best customizable mouthguard for you. He will also adjust them so that they do not interfere with your braces.

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