Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Feldman, Dr. McDowell, and Dr. Brockway answer some of Blue Wave Orthodontic's most frequently asked questions about general orthodontics, Invisalign, and traditional braces in these FAQ sections. If you have a question that still needs answers, give us a call or ask on one of our social media channels 24/7.

What is orthodontics?

"Orthodontics" is derived from the Greek orthos ("correct", "straight") and -odont- ("tooth"). Orthodontic treatment can focus on dental displacement only, or deal with the control and modification of facial growth.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

All orthodontists are dentists, but only 6 percent of dentists are orthodontists. Although there are some general dentists that offer orthodontic treatment like braces and Invisalign, an orthodontist would be the best choice to do braces or Invisalign. Both a General Dentist and Orthodontist have to graduate from dental school. In dental school, they both learn things like cleaning teeth, extracting teeth, removing cavities and placing fillings. Once a dentist graduates from dental school they go on to practice general dentistry. An Orthodontist continues with their education and completes at least two more years of both clinical and academic study in Orthodontics and growth & development of children and young adults.

Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?

No, many adults choose braces to treat orthodontic problems that were not corrected in childhood. Nowadays, more and more adults are choosing clear aligners treatment (Invisalign). Straight teeth are also much easier to maintain and clean than crowded or crooked teeth. Having straight teeth will help you avoid tooth decay, eventual gum disease, and potential tooth loss.Some adults are advised to get braces to correct their bite or misalignment of their jaws. Correcting these problems can improve speech and chewing, and reduce wear on your teeth and stress on the supporting bone and jaw joints.

Do I need to continue to see my dentist during orthodontic treatment?

Yes, during treatment, you will continue to see your regular dentist for check ups, cleanings, and any necessary restorative dental work.

What are the causes of crooked teeth?

If you guessed genetics, well you would be right – at least in some cases. In other cases, crooked teeth are the result of bad habits such as poor oral hygiene. Loss of one or more teeth can cause the others to shift – spaces to be created – and thus crooked teeth. For others the problem even started as children by overuse of a pacifier or via thumb sucking. Also, airway issues play a great role in dentofacial growth and development. Allergies, deviated septum, and polyps are both structural and functional causes of changes in facial and dental growth patterns and do lead to various malocclusions! So genetics, airway and habits are the 3 main factors in the causing of misshaped faces and crooked teeth.

At what age should I bring my child in for an orthodontic evaluation?

Most children should see the dentist or the pediatric dentist at 2 years of age and the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children see the orthodontist at 7 years of age. The development milestone is when the first molars come in. So either, 7 years of age or when the first molars are all in, that’s the perfect time to see the orthodontist. During the developmental window of opportunity, not only you can avoid surgery or extracting teeth, but their bone turnover is quicker, faster, they’re growing, there are a lot of physiologic changes that occur. There's many things that trained orthodontist’s can pick up at 7 years of age and make the appropriate recommendations to either avoid surgery later on, avoid taking teeth out later on, or at least minimizing treatment time.

Do I need a referral from a dentist before getting braces?

Many of our patients are referred to us by their dentist, but you don’t need a referral to visit us at Blue Wave Orthodontics.

Does Invisalign really work?

Yes! Invisalign works! AMAZINGLY simple! There are already over two million beautiful smiles that have been created using Invisalign.  Call our office today and let our team show you just how beautiful your smile can be with Invisalign treatment!  Blue Wave Orthodontics has a Top 1% in the world designation, which means we have finished over 1,000 patients with Invisalign treatment.  Currently we are #1 in Florida, and #11 in the world in completed cases! 

How much does Invisalign treatment cost and how long does it take?

The length of treatment time with Invisalign, like traditional braces, depends on the severity of the case. Dr. Feldman, Dr. McDowell, or Dr. Brockway will be able to determine how long your treatment time will be at your initial consultation. In many cases, Invisalign takes less time than traditional braces with an average treatment time of about 12-14 months. Invisalign is also very affordable, with a cost similar to that of traditional braces...at least in our practice!

Are there restrictions on what I can eat and drink?

No. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners can be removed so there is no need to avoid certain foods for fear of breaking a wire or bracket.

Will wearing the Invisalign aligners affect my speech?

Like all orthodontic treatments, aligners may temporarily affect your speech; however, this is quite rare. If you do develop a slight lisp for a day or two, your tongue will get used to having aligners in your mouth, and the lisp almost always disappears quickly.

How often must I see my orthodontist?

Our doctors will schedule regular appointments, usually about once every 10-12 weeks. This is the only way your doctor can be sure that the treatment is progressing as planned.

Who is eligible for Invisalign Teen?

Invisalign Teen treatment is appropriate for patients who have shed all their baby teeth and have second molars at least partially erupted - includes most teens from 12-18 years of age. Call us today to schedule your FREE consultation and to find out if you qualify to start treatment now.

Does Invisalign treatment hurt?

Most people experience very slight tooth soreness for one to two days after starting each new aligner. This is normal. It is a sign that the Invisalign aligners are working - sequentially moving your teeth to their final destination. This soreness should gradually go away within a couple of days after you insert the new aligner in the series. However, since we have our patients change your aligners weekly this hardly ever occurs. If it does not, you should promptly call our office.

How often must I wear my aligners?

Invisalign ONLY works while you are wearing the aligners. We recommend that you wear your aligners 24/7, day and night. The only exceptions are to eat, brush, and floss your teeth. 22 hours is the least amount of time to wear your aligners to be effective!

How does Invisalign Teen work?

3D computer imaging technology maps the complete treatment (clincheck) from start to finish. From the virtual reality plan, a series of custom-made aligners is produced. You wear each aligner for 1-2 weeks. During this time, the aligners gradually move your teeth until they achieve the desired final position.

How long does Invisalign Teen take?

The length of treatment depends on the severity of your case and can only be determined by our doctors; however, the average case takes about 12-14 months. After your 3D computer imaging plan, you will know the exact duration of your customized treatment.

How do I get started?

Call our office today at (813) 968-2483 to make an appointment for your no charge Invisalign consultation. Let us show you how easy it is to get the smile you've always wanted!!!

Do I need to see my general dentist while in braces?

Yes, regular checkups and cleaning appointments are very important. We will instruct you as to how often this will be necessary.  We will be happy to coordinate  your appointments with your dental office in order to have arch wires removed. This helps your hygienist to be able to do a thorough cleaning. Normally, you will need to have  your teeth cleaned every 6 months.

Can I have all my appointments after school?

Unfortunately, we can not schedule all appointments for students after school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled every 8 to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss very minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

The doctor and staff of Blue Wave Orthodontics, put a high value on time; both yours and ours. We pride ourselves in our ability to run the office in a timely and efficient manner and with your help we can continue to achieve this goal.

We schedule longer appointments during school hours and shorter appointments before and after school. This allows us to accommodate as many patients as possible for the extremely popular prime time appointments.

Are retainers necessary and how long will I have to wear them?

A retainer is a device which you will wear full time for the initial four days after brace removal then to night time wear. Retainers are designed to prevent your teeth from drifting or moving while the bone around your teeth harden and stabilize. ​Retainers should be worn for 8 weeks full time and then to night time wear. After one year your retainers can be worn 3-5 times a week. The more you wear your retainers the longer your teeth will stay straight.

Can I still play sports?

YES!

We offer mouthguards for any sport. However, we recommend that you should not purchase any non-custom mouthguards, you can either allow us to fit one for you OR we will provide and fabricate one at your next appointment. The reason is: because the teeth are moving with your braces on and we do not want anything that is too form fitting around your braces which may prevent or slow down your progress.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes, once treatment begins, we will explain the  complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list regarding foods to avoid.  Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, popcorn, and all sticky foods (ie: gum, taffy,and caramel).  Many emergency appointments can be avoided to repair damaged braces or appliances by carefully following our  instructions.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patients needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 8 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

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 is to develop both the upper and lower jaws  sufficiently to allow the eruption of the permanent teeth.  So often early treatment can prevent  situations  from becoming more severe, which can improve the self-esteem and self-image of the young patient.