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Effective Orthodontics for Your Healthy Smile

If you’re looking for a quality orthodontist in Alhambra, Dr. Steven R. Bergara has the skills, experience, and compassion you deserve! We provide a wide variety of dental treatments to help patients of all ages enjoy a healthy, appealing smile. We even make and repair custom retainers right in our office!

Why spend another day regretting the way your smile looks and feels? The smile you want could be just a visit away! Contact our office to make an appointment today!


Why Straighten Your Teeth?

blonde woman with braces

Many people choose orthodontics for aesthetic reasons since straight teeth look and feel more appealing than those that are crooked or out of place. However, there are actually numerous health benefits to having a straighter, more aligned smile.

Crooked or crowded teeth collect food debris more easily, and are also harder to clean, which makes cavities, decay, and gum disease more likely to develop. Misaligned teeth often don’t meet properly, putting uneven pressure on teeth when biting and chewing. The misalignment makes chewing less effective, and the stress gradually wears teeth down.

A poor bite can also affect your facial features, especially if the jaw is too far forward or back. It can even contribute to other health disorders, such as sleep apnea. Headaches and jaw pain are also common side effects. Considering all of this, having straighter teeth is a proven way to enjoy a better bite and greater overall health.

7 Signs You Might Need Braces

It’s not hard to see when a tooth is crooked, or there’s a gap, but you may not be sure what makes the difference between a minor cosmetic issue and a major health concern. Here are seven signs that it might be time for and orthodontic evaluation:

  1. Your teeth don’t meet evenly.
  2. You have teeth overlapping each other.
  3. Your lower jaw is ahead of or way behind your upper jaw.
  4. Your jaw moves from side to side when you chew.
  5. You often bite your cheek, lip, or tongue.
  6. You frequently have headaches, jaw pain, or neck pain.
  7. You get cavities often.

When Should Kids Be Evaluated for Braces?

young asian girl looking at model of human jaw

We generally recommend an orthodontic evaluation for kids around age seven. This is when they usually get their first adult teeth, which makes it easier for us to see how their smile will develop with their new teeth. If early intervention is needed, Dr. Bergara will be able to determine what type and level of treatment are needed to prepare for and encourage a healthy adult smile.

Most children don’t need braces earlier than this point. However, be sure to discuss it with the dentist if you notice that your child’s teeth are severely misaligned, they have difficulty speaking, or their baby teeth don’t emerge or fall out on time.

Am I Too Old for Braces?

There’s no such thing as an age limit for braces! While we do encourage children to get braces if needed because their growing jaws make changes easier, it’s possible to correct a bite at any age. Dr. Bergara provides braces and Invisalign for adults and teens as well as kids, and he’ll be happy to help you achieve your ideal bite whether you’re 15, 25, 55, or even older!

Types of Orthodontic Treatment in Alhambra

While most people know the traditional metal braces, there are a wide variety of braces and appliances that can help you achieve a straighter smile. At our office, we provide:

  • Traditional Braces – Metal brackets bonded to teeth supporting a metal archwire. These braces use increased tension to shift teeth into alignment.
  • Ceramic Braces – Similar to metal braces, but the brackets are made with enamel-colored ceramic to blend in with teeth.
  • Self-Ligating Braces – These braces are capable of adjusting themselves as your treatment advances, so you have fewer appointments, and your treatment takes less time.
  • Invisalign® Clear Braces – An alternative to brackets and wires, these braces use custom-made plastic trays that fit comfortably and discreetly over your teeth.
  • Retainers – Custom orthodontic appliances designed to keep teeth from shifting once treatment is complete.
  • Phase One Retainers – Retainers used on young children to facilitate tooth movement and make later treatment with braces easier.

Invisalign vs. Metal Braces – Which Should I Get?

Our Alhambra dental office provides Invisalign as well as traditional braces. Both options have advantages, which may leave you wondering which choice is better for you.

Dr. Bergara and his team will happily discuss your orthodontic options and help you understand which choice makes sense for you. To help you decide, here are the most important qualities of each type:

Braces with Brackets

Who can use them: Metal braces can be used on smiles of all ages for mild, moderate, and severe bite misalignment.

How they work: These braces use an archwire to provide tension that increases over time, pulling teeth into the desired alignment.

How long they take: Metal braces can take anywhere from a year to three years to complete treatment, depending on the type of misalignment and age of the person.

How to care for them: Patients wearing metal braces must brush and floss regularly. Special tools can be used to make brushing and flossing around the wire and brackets easier.

Invisalign Clear Braces

Who can use them: Invisalign is recommended for adults and responsible teens, and can correct mild to moderate cases of crowding, spacing, and other misalignments.

How they work: Invisalign uses a series of specially-designed aligner trays that put pressure on specific points to gently push teeth into alignment. Each tray moves teeth slightly further before moving on to the next set after two weeks.

How long they take: On average, patients wear Invisalign anywhere from 6-18 months. Aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours every day to be effective, which is why they typically aren’t a good choice for preteen children.

How to care for them: Invisalign aligners can be removed for eating and brushing teeth, making them easy to work with. Care must be taken to ensure the aligner trays aren’t broken, warped, or lost.

Getting Started with Braces

patient with braces looking at her smile on the mirror

The first step in your journey with braces is an evaluation. Dr. Bergara uses a thorough exam, x-rays, and digital imaging to determine whether your bite needs correcting and what kind of treatment will be most effective. Once your treatment is selected, we begin preparing the braces or orthodontic appliance.

Braces with brackets are applied directly in our office. Dr. Bergara will carefully monitor your treatment over time, gradually adjusting the wire thickness to help guide the teeth in place.

Invisalign uses 3D imaging to create a digital map of your smile, which is used to design your custom aligner trays. This technology also allows you to see how your smile will change during treatment and what the final results will look like.

Do Braces Hurt?

It’s normal for teeth to feel sore or sensitive when braces are first applied or when adjustments are made. This is your body’s way of alerting you to the change and will go away as your body adjusts.

Typically, the soreness only lasts a few days. You can use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce the effect and stick to soft foods and liquid to keep it from bothering you while eating. Yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs are a few choices that can help while you’re adjusting.

If your teeth are still sore after four or five days, contact our office and let us know.

Caring for Teeth with Braces

dental brush for braces

Taking good care of your teeth becomes more important than ever when you’re wearing braces. Whether you have wire brackets or Invisalign, you don’t want food particles to become stuck in your teeth and cause cavities or gum disease.

When wearing braces, good hygiene means brushing after every meal as much as possible. If you can’t always brush after a meal, it’s important to at least rinse your mouth and floss if you can to try to remove any food debris.

When you brush, take care to cover every tooth surface, including those around the brackets and under the wires. There are specially designed brushes to make it easier to brush around braces. Flossing is also vital and must be done at least once a day. You can use a floss threader to get the thread around the wires or try an alternative like water flossing.

Invisalign wearers can remove their braces when eating or brushing, so they can brush and floss normally. However, you must brush your teeth and rinse the tray after every meal. Otherwise, it could lead to bad breath and tooth decay.

Getting Your Braces Off and What Comes Next

Girl holding rainbow coloured orthodontic retainer

Once your teeth are finally aligned, and your braces treatment is complete, the next step is making sure your teeth stay in their new alignment. Teeth naturally want to drift back to their original position, even if they fit together better after treatment. To prevent this, Dr. Bergara will provide you with a retainer to keep your teeth in place.

These removable appliances are designed for your unique smile. They fit over your teeth and keep them from moving with daily activity. We offer a variety of retainers and can make, repair, or replace them right in our office. If you have difficulty with one type, we can experiment to find the type of retainer that works best for you, your dental habits, and your lifestyle.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Orthodontic emergencies aren’t very common. Most situations, such as sore teeth after adjustments or loose brackets, are a normal part of the process and can be addressed at your scheduled visits. However, if you do have an emergency that needs to be addressed quickly, Dr. Bergara can take care of you.

Contact our office quickly if you or a loved one experience:

  • Traumatic injury to the teeth, face or mouth
  • Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth or face
  • Bleeding of the gums or mouth
  • Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain

Helping Alhambra Enjoy Healthier Smiles

At the office of Dr. Steven R. Bergara, we love helping our patients achieve smiles that feel good to them and help them feel good about themselves. From simple cleanings and exams to full orthodontic treatment, we strive to offer quality, friendliness, and care in every service we provide.

Ready to take the next step toward a healthier smile? Schedule your orthodontic consultation today!


Contact Us

We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.


We combine experience with the latest in dental technology to deliver the best patient experience possible.