Woman surrounded by question marks

Dentist vs. Orthodontist for Braces

Thinking about getting braces? Or maybe you have just been informed that your child would benefit from treatment with braces. If so, you may be wondering if  you will need to see an orthodontist or whether this is something your own dentist can do. You are already familiar with your dentist’s office and know it is convenient, so you might be reluctant to go elsewhere for orthodontic treatment. There is a misguided assumption out there that dentists and orthodontists are more or less interchangeable. Even though they may share a similarity or two, there are also some significant differences that set them apart.

It is important when looking into orthodontic treatment like braces that you  understand what orthodontists like ours at Castilla Orthodontics have to offer that general dentists do not. To decide which option is best for orthodontic treatments like braces, and to learn more about these important differences, we have put together the informative list below. Read on!

Training and Education

Up until they graduate from dental school, orthodontists and dentists have followed a similar educational path, but graduation is what sets dentist and orthodontists apart. After graduation orthodontists enter into two to three more years of schooling and full-time training that specializes in Orthodontics. This includes a focus on the straightening of teeth, bite problems, and braces. There are a few dentists who might have some supplemental training, but for the most part general dentists will not have the kind of rigorous training that Orthodontists have.

To break it down, orthodontists are dentists who also have additional, specialized training in orthodontics. A dentist may refer to themselves as an orthodontist only after they have successfully completed this orthodontics residency program.

Can My Dentist Straighten My Teeth?

Yes, but only if a dentist has committed to taking continuing education seminars and acquiring experience in the subject are they then allowed to perform orthodontic treatments. However, this is nowhere near a perfect system. Rigorous training and testing are needed to truly learn the extensive and specific knowledge necessary to perform these procedures, and these workshops and seminars completely lack them. To be able to provide the best possible treatment plan for patients, much more than just a surface understanding of orthodontics is necessary.

Pros and Cons of Using Your Dentist

It is not unusual to consider using your primary care dentist for treatment if they offer orthodontic care. Before moving forward with braces by your dentist, consider that experienced orthodontists, like the one here at Castilla Orthodontics, have this to offer:

  • will be able to deliver the best possible outcome on your treatment plan, especially if your case is complicated or severe
  • will be more efficient at treatments and visits, since orthodontics are their only focused area of care
  • will be able to provide more treatment options, with a wide variety of braces and clear aligner therapies to choose from, depending on the particular case
  • will have experience treating multiple cases that are similar to your own

Orthodontists focus solely on orthodontic care, while general dentists practice a wider scope of treatment. We have spent a great deal of time and energy perfecting it, because this is our only specialty! We take advantage of as many continuing education courses as we can throughout the year, purchase the latest equipment, perform teeth straightening procedures daily, and keep up to date on industry practice. Rather than taking the one-size-fits-all approach general dentists are inclined to use, here at Castilla Orthodontics we are well versed in creating the best individualized treatment method for each of our patients.

Dr. Castilla with a patient

Who Should You Choose for Braces?

As the patient, the choice of care provider is always up to you. Orthodontists focus solely on orthodontic issues, and are much more likely to have dealt with the specific dental issues that require orthodontic care than general dentists, who will have had little to no amount of orthodontic experience. The orthodontist at Castilla Orthodontics puts alot of emphasis on optimal, customized treatment approaches. Orthodontists are able to recommend plans that can save you time and money, as well as reduce the chances of any complications developing because they have the training to notice the small things a dentist might overlook. By seeking treatment from someone with knowledge, experience, and a specialized education, you can keep your health and your finances intact.

Quality orthodontics are Castilla Orthodontics one specialty. We provide all of our patients with the best treatment options, cost, efficiency, and results. We offer complimentary consultations so you can see this kind of care in action.  We can determine if orthodontic treatment will benefit your smile after this initial exam is completed. If you do need orthodontic treatment, we can outline a personalized treatment plan for you. Even if you just want a second opinion or decide not to get braces, we are happy to address any concerns you might have in order to help you make an informed decision. Get in touch with us today if you are ready to see how treatment by a qualified orthodontist can transform your smile!

Women on a bike

Teeth Whitening After Braces

Here at Castilla Orthodontics, we know that orthodontic treatment with braces can be quite a journey, requiring a lot of time and dedication on your part. When the day finally comes to ditch the brackets and wires, it’s something worth celebrating! But what happens if your newly aligned teeth are discolored or you just want them whiter and brighter?

It’s common for patients to desire a whiter smile after completion of orthodontic treatment. After all, your teeth are now beautifully straight. Whitening can be the icing on the cake! The finishing touch! Fortunately, professional teeth whitening after braces can give you the kind of bright and beautiful smile you want to show off to the world.

Let’s take a closer look at what options are available to you once your braces come off.     

Options for teeth whitening

girl comparing tooth shades

There are quite a few options when it comes to teeth whitening, from toothpastes to in-office bleaching. While over-the-counter products are available for teeth whitening, professional procedures will generally provide the best results. These tend to use much more powerful products that are able to produce the desired effect in a shorter period of time. Over-the-counter products can contain abrasive chemicals that may irritate your mouth when used over an extended length of time. Professional services protect your entire mouth, including the tooth enamel.

Tray bleaching

Castilla Orthodontics are proud to offer our patients at-home professional whitening trays at an affordable price. These trays are made with a custom mold of your teeth so they fit perfectly over your teeth. This can take from a few hours to a few days to make. The whitening gel used with the trays is only available through a dentist or orthodontist. Once you receive the tray, you’ll place the whitening gel in the custom-fitted tray, and the gel will whiten your stained teeth. Unlike strips, this process is able to whiten all your natural teeth, not just the front ones. Although you may notice results in as little as three to five days, most at-home professional tray whitening will take about ten days to two weeks to yield the best results.

Paint-on teeth whiteners

Available in many over-the-counter varieties, this option tends to be relatively inexpensive, but is less effective than whitening strips or professional treatments. These whiteners essentially consist of a gel that you apply to the teeth using a small brush. This hardens into a film that coats the teeth and dissolves in the mouth. This gel has a peroxide component similar to the gel used in tray bleaching, but this variation is less effective because it dissolves in the mouth.

Whitening strips

Teeth-whitening strips usually consist of thin, flexible plastic polyethylene strips that have a thin film of hydrogen peroxide on one side. Whitening strip kits tend to come with two types of strips — one for the upper teeth and another for the lower teeth. The strips are placed across your teeth, gel side down, gently pressing the whitening agent in place, taking care to ensure contact with all your teeth. These are typically worn for thirty minutes, twice a day. The length of time required to see results will depend on how efficient the strip variety you’ve chosen is. While convenient, the main disadvantage of strips is that they only whiten your front teeth, while professional whitening will whiten all of your teeth.

Whitening toothpaste and mouthwash

Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are the least expensive and most easily accessible option for brightening up your smile. These products work to remove surface stains using mild abrasives, but cannot lighten the actual color shade of your teeth. They will, however, slightly lighten your teeth, as long as you are using them regularly.

Your regular toothpaste is designed to help remove some surface stains as they clean teeth and improve the health of your mouth. Whitening toothpastes take this one step further by adding more abrasive ingredients, such as silica, to scrub the surface of the teeth and help remove even more surface stains.

After you begin using a whitening toothpaste, it can take several weeks to begin to see results. Because a whitening toothpaste doesn’t change the actual color of your teeth, any results can be undone by continuing habits that contribute to stains on the teeth, or by discontinuing use of the product. Always look for a whitening toothpaste that has a seal of approval from the American Dental Association.

How does teeth whitening work?

To understand how teeth whitening works, you need to understand how teeth become discolored in the first place. There are two types of discoloration: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are basically surface stains left from coffee, tea, nicotine, etc. Brushing your teeth daily with a whitening toothpaste can help to remove some of these extrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains are actually below the enamel, and these are caused by years of exposure to staining substances, making them harder to remove.

Teeth whitening agents are able to get stains from “inside” your tooth out with whitening gels, or bleaching agents, that contain an oxidizing agent in the form of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. This is the active ingredient in most whitening agents. The gel reacts with the internal aspect of your tooth, mixing with the discolored areas and breaking them apart, giving your teeth a noticeably whiter appearance!

Results will vary when you use whitening toothpastes and other whitening products, depending on your specific teeth. Whitening treatments are also incapable of changing the color of fillings, veneers, or crowns. For lasting results with tooth whitening toothpaste, you’ll need to continue to use it as directed, brushing with it at least twice per day. Don’t forget to floss for the overall health of your teeth and gums, too.

Brightening your newly straightened smile with Castilla Orthodontics

Dr. Castilla and a patient

After your braces have been removed, we recommend getting a professional cleaning at your general dentist’s office before attempting any sort of whitening treatment. This will ensure all outer stains, plaque, or tartar is removed before the whitening process. Sometimes, whitening may cause tooth sensitivity. This sensitivity is temporary and goes away once you complete the whitening treatment.  If you know you are prone to sensitive teeth, you can try using a desensitizing toothpaste for at least one month before beginning any whitening. You should also let us know if you are having any sensitivity, as Dr. Castilla may be able to change the protocol or frequency of the whitening application.

Whether you are a current or past braces patient with Castilla Orthodontics, or you are looking for teeth whitening options in Salem or the surrounding areas, we can help answer any questions you have about achieving a brighter, whiter smiles after braces treatment. Get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation! We can help top your new smile off with the finishing touch!

Doctor with a patient

What Is Orthodontics?

Specialties exist everywhere you turn, from bakeries to hospitals, and teeth are no exception. Chances are you’ve heard the term orthodontics before, but you may be unsure what it actually means, or what an orthodontist really does. Castilla Orthodontics is all about keeping patients educated and informed, because when you know what orthodontic care entails, you can be a more active participant in your own care!

To help you better understand exactly what orthodontics is, what orthodontists like Dr. Castilla do, and the many ways both can benefit you, we’ve put together this guide to the basics. Keep reading to find out more!

The Basics of Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a dental specialty that falls underneath the umbrella of dentistry, and orthodontists like Dr. Castilla focus on correcting teeth and jaws that are improperly positioned. Before orthodontists can provide this kind of care and treatment, however, they have to learn a lot about the way teeth and jaws develop, and how to best correct any issues with that development. Like General Dentists, Orthodontists attend both college and dental school. However, Orthodontists then go on to study for an additional two or 3 years in an ADA-approved orthodontic training program. By the time they’re ready to begin taking on orthodontic patients, they have the kind of in-depth knowledge and training necessary to improve oral issues requiring orthodontic care.

Though straighter smiles are what most people tend to associate orthodontics with, cosmetic issues aren’t the only thing they can can address. There are actually many dental problems orthodontic treatment can correct, and this will often lead to better oral health overall as well. Crooked teeth are a perfect example of this. It’s definitely possible for them to detract from your appearance, but the much more important issue is how difficult it can be to keep your teeth and gums clean and free from bacteria due to their poor positioning. This can increase your risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease, and the misalignment can also cause extra stress on the chewing muscles. This may eventually lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome, or neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Some of the most common dental issues that can benefit from orthodontics are:

  • Overbite — the upper front teeth lie too far forward and stick out over the lower teeth.
  • Underbite — a “bulldog” appearance, where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth are too far back.
  • Crossbite — in normal bites, the upper teeth will be out over the top of the lower teeth when biting down. With a crossbite, this does not happen. There are a few different types of crossbites, depending on where the upper teeth fall in relation to the lower ones.
  • Open bite — there’s a space between the biting surfaces of the front or side teeth when the back teeth bite together.
  • Misplaced midline — the center of the upper front teeth doesn’t line up with the center of the lower front teeth.
  • Spacing issues — there are gaps in between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that don’t “fill up” the mouth.
  • Crowding issues — there are too many teeth for the dental ridge to accommodate

If you have experience with any of these problems, you may be a good candidate for orthodontic treatment, and we invite you to contact our Salem office to schedule an evaluation

Is orthodontic treatment an option for you?

family smiling down

Castilla Orthodontics is proud to offer a complimentary initial consultation. This gives Dr. Castilla an opportunity to evaluate your needs and address any concerns you have about your smile. During this first visit, we’ll use a variety of different diagnostic tools to determine if orthodontic treatment could be beneficial to you. These tools include:

  • a full medical and dental health history
  • a clinical exam
  • special X-rays and photographs

After a review of these items, Dr. Castilla will discuss with you which, if any, orthodontic treatment would be right for you. At that point, a customized treatment plan can be developed based on your specific dental needs and goals.

Orthodontic treatment

There are several different types of appliances that can be used by orthodontists to help move the teeth into more desirable positions. Depending on the case, we can use fixed or removable appliances. These are also able to retrain the muscles of the jaw, and affect its growth.

Orthodontic appliances work by placing gentle, continuous pressure on the teeth and jaws. Since every patient is unique, your specific need and the severity of your problem will be the biggest deciding factor in which orthodontic approach is likely to be the most effective.

Fixed appliances

Braces: Traditional metal braces are by far the most common and easily recognized orthodontic appliance. Bands are fixed around the teeth and used as anchors, while brackets are bonded to the front of the tooth. We then pass arch wires through the bands, and attach them to the brackets. Through regular tightening and adjusting of the arch wire, usually every 6-8 weeks, the gentle pressure on the teeth will begin to gradually move them into new and improved positions. This can take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the particular case.

Modern metal braces aren’t the bulky, uncomfortable appliance they used to be. Technology in recent years has allowed for a great deal of improvement, and today’s braces are smaller, more comfortable, and far less obvious than they used to be. They’re even available with brightly colored bands for those who like to make a statement and show off their personality! For patients looking for a less conspicuous option, there are also clear ceramic styles to choose from.

Fixed space maintainers: Sometimes life happens, and baby teeth are lost prematurely. It’s important to keep the remaining teeth from crowding that empty space out. We are able to provide customized space maintainers which can be fitted to keep the space open until the permanent tooth erupts.

Removable appliances

Woman with Retainer and InvisalignAligners: Clear aligners are currently the most popular alternative to traditional braces for teens and adults. Invisalign is the clear aligner system most people are familiar with. These removable aligners are able to move teeth the same way fixed appliances do without any of the hassle and restrictions that can accompany metal wires and brackets. Virtually invisible and easy to take out, it’s not hard to see why more and more orthodontists patients are choosing these to treat common dental issues effectively but discreetly.  

Jaw repositioning appliances: Also called splints, these devices can be worn on either the top or lower jaw, and can help train the jaw to close in a more favorable position.

Palatal expander: This device widens the arch of the upper jaw using a plastic plate that fits over the roof of the mouth. Gentle outward pressure is applied to the plate bya turning mechanism and this gradually separates the joints in the bones of the palate, widening it in the process.

Removable retainers: Most people are familiar with these, but may not realize what an important part of the orthodontic process they are! Worn over the teeth after the active orthodontic treatment has been completed, these devices keep teeth straight by preventing them from shifting back to their previous position. If retainers aren’t worn as directed, a newly straightened smile won’t stay that way for long.

Headgear: Headgear slows down the growth of the upper jaw, and holds the back teeth in place by placing a strap around the back of the head attached to a metal wire in front.

The best orthodontic experience in Salem with Castilla Orthodontics

We believe everyone deserves a healthy, beautiful, and functional smile they love! Orthodontics can positively impact your life in many ways, from cosmetic benefits to improved overall health, and we understand that choosing to invest in it is a big decision. Our team will put every effort into providing you with an optimal orthodontic experience, from state-of-the-art technology to the latest techniques. Dr. Castilla and her team have over 80 years of combined experience, so you know you’re in the best hands when you visit us!

If you’re in Salem or the surrounding area, and want to learn more about what orthodontics has to offer you and your family, get in touch with us today to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Castilla. Your very best smile could be right around the corner!

Young girl with braces and watermelon

Life with Braces: Food to Eat with Braces

braces marion county or
When you first get your orthodontic braces here at Castilla Orthodontics in Marion County, OR, you are probably going to experience some discomfort and/or soreness. It may also take some time to get adjusted to your new, affordable braces, but even then, you might not be ready to jump back into your normal eating routine as anything too hard or too crispy might be difficult to eat for a few days. Here are five of the best foods to eat with braces, clear braces, and/or Invisalign.

What’s a Great Food to Eat with Braces?

1. Yogurt. Looking for something quick and easy to have for breakfast or a snack on the go? Yogurt requires no chewing, and because there are literally hundreds of different types of yogurt, you are sure to be able to find one or many that you enjoy.

2. Mac and Cheese. Tip: boil the noodles for an extra minute so that they become extremely soft. Mac and cheese is a great choice of food to eat with braces. Some chewing is required, but this tip makes it manageable.

3. Chicken Noodle Soup. Chicken noodle soup is usually associated with cold winter days, or when one is sick, but it’s a go-to meal in the early stages of braces. Filled with protein, vitamins, and minerals, chicken noodle soup will also help your mouth heal. Live a little and soak bread or crackers in the broth until they too are easy to eat!

4. Zucchini Parmesan Crisps. Speaking of living a little, we here at Castilla Orthodontics in Marion County, OR, came across this tasty zucchini parmesan crisps recipe that won’t break your brackets!

food to eat with braces
5. Ice Cream. Whether you just got adult braces, or your child just saw a children’s orthodontist, ice cream is an ideal choice for new braces as it helps to numb the pain and relieve some of the inflammation that comes along with wearing braces. Bonus: getting to eat ice cream after getting your braces on is sort of like a reward for adults and children alike! You did something that might be a little difficult and a little scary, but you also get to have ice cream!

Let’s Talk Teeth!

If you’re interested in braces contact us here at Castilla Orthodontics in Marion County, OR to schedule a FREE braces consultation! And if you and/or your child already have braces and you know of any other foods to eat with braces during the first few days of new braces and/or adjusted braces, let us know!

Dr. Ana E. Castilla and the team here at Castilla Orthodontics are experts in braces. If you have any questions pertaining to braces, clear braces, Invisalign, or Invisalign Teen in the 97383 zip code area: Stayton, Sublimity, Monmoth, Keizer, Salem, or Marion County, OR, or would like to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Castilla, contact Castilla Orthodontics at: 503.399.0721.

five myths about braces

The Truth about Braces: Busting the Top 5 Orthodontic Myths

Choosing to pursue braces as treatment for a dental condition is a big decision. There are many factors to consider from cost to length of treatment to aesthetic. Dr. Ana E. Castilla and the team at Castilla Orthodontics are experts in braces and we want to alleviate your fears! Here are our top 5 myths (some silly and some understandable) about braces, BUSTED!

Busting Orthodontic Myths

Myth: Braces are always painful!

Some discomfort is inevitable when wearing braces, but due to advancements in materials used, the minor pain experienced is more than manageable! There are also options outside of traditional braces that offer varied levels of comfort and discretion.

Myth: Traditional braces are your only option!

When you think of braces, you may think of clunky, metal headgear. The truth is that there are new options outside of traditional, metal braces that can be more comfortable and make the appearance of braces far less obvious. They include:

  •         Invisalign
  •         Invisalign Teen
  •         Clear/Ceramic Braces
  •         Lingual Braces

Myth: I can’t play an instrument with braces!

As an expert in braces in Marion County OR, Dr. Castilla would never discourage her patients from doing something they love, especially something as important as playing music. Because braces are foreign to you, you will go through a period of adjustment, at first, but once that’s over, you will hardly notice that they are there, playing music as beautifully as before!

Myth: I will be more apt to be struck by lightning!

You’d be surprised at how often we are asked about lightning! People who wear braces have a 1 in 700,000 chance of being struck by lightning, which is the same as people without braces. We are glad to report that braces do not make you a lightning pole!

Myth: I’m too old for braces!

We hear this, all of the time! The truth is that 25% of all orthodontic patients are adults. With the development of some of the above mentioned options in treatment (most popularly, Invisalign), more adults are committing to pursuing orthodontics in order to improve their health, as well as their confidence!

Castilla and the team at Castilla Orthodontics want nothing more than for you to be comfortable with your choice to pursue braces in the Salem OR area. These myths prevent people from choosing to get braces that could improve the quality of his/her life! If you have any questions or concerns, we are always happy to bust the myths that may be keeping you from having your most beautiful smile!

Dr. Ana E. Castilla and the team at Castilla Orthodontics are expert providers of braces in Marion County OR. If you have any questions pertaining to braces, clear braces, Invisalign, or Invisalign Teen in Stayton, OR, Sublimity, OR, Monmoth, OR, Keizer, OR, Salem, OR, Marion County, OR, or the 97383 zip code area, or would like to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Ana E. Castilla, contact Castilla Orthodontics at: 503-399-0721