Patient Education

We feel it’s important to educate our patients about each procedure so that they can make the best decisions regarding their care. Click on the following topics to learn more about the various types of procedures and treatments we offer here at Marston Orthodontics.

What Is Orthodontics?

An orthodontist is a dental professional with 2-3 years of specialized training beyond dental school and is a specialist at straightening teeth.
The Orthodontic specialist is concerned with the diagnosis, and the guidance of corrective treatment for malocclusions (Latin for “bad bite”).

Orthodontists are specially trained in the corrective treatment of the misalignment of teeth and jaws to promote long term oral health.
Orthodontists are required to study at an accredited orthodontic residency program as part of their extended education. Orthodontists limit their practice to orthodontic treatment only unless they have training in another dental specialty.

If you live in or around Rancho Penasquitos and looking for an orthodontist, please give us a call today!

Common Problems/Emergencies
If braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. Are you in need of an emergency appointment? We will schedule one for you. Be sure to reference the list below for some immediate solutions. Immediate Relief Solutions:

Protruding Wire

Using the tip of a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the irritation.

Loose Bracket, Band or Wire

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If a wire is loose, try using tweeters to put it back into place. If this does not help, place some wax over it.

Soreness After an Adjustment

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days following the adjustment. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. Another option is to use Orabase as a temporary covering to the affected area. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.

The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated during the adjustment process. They toughen as you get used to the feeling of braces. Put wax on the braces to ease the pain associated with this process.

If you live in or around Rancho Penasquitos and are in need of urgent orthodontic care, give us a call today!

Early Screening/Prevention
Orthodontists specialize in treatments to prevent or reduce the severity of developing malocclusions by maintaining the quality of an otherwise healthy developing oral structure. When an issue is noticed earlier, treatment can be shorter and less expensive compared to future developments that are left untreated. Common preventative treatments include:

Space Maintainers:

Primary teeth assist in guiding permanent teeth into position. When lost early due to accidents or dental disease, a space maintainer may be required. If the space is not maintained, other neighboring teeth may shift and drift into their place, preventing the permanent tooth from erupting or causing crowding and/or misalignment when it does. A space maintainer is an orthodontic appliance that keeps the space open so that the permanent tooth can erupt into its natural position. It is a simple device that can save your child many months of future orthodontic treatment.

Guided Eruption:

Crowding may be prevented or reduced if treatment begins while the permanent front teeth are erupting (around six years of age). This can be done by creating more space for the teeth and allowing natural alignment to occur. Ask our doctors about a space analysis to find out if this is a preventative option for your child.

Early Extraction:

Occasionally a primary tooth does not fall out when it supposed to or simply does not fall out on it’s own at all. In these cases, the permanent tooth can grow in the wrong location because it does the primary tooth has not been pushed out of the space. If this is the case, then it may be necessary to extract the primary tooth to allow the proper eruption and spacing location of the permanent tooth.

Thumb Sucking:

Extensive thumb sucking can cause the upper teeth or jaw to tip forward and can result in a serious overbite that requires extensive orthodontic treatment. With the use of a dental appliance that discourages thumb sucking, future costly orthodontic treatment may be prevented.

Dental Headgear:

Headgear is a preventive option used is to correct the way the upper and lower molars fit with each other. It can also be used to create additional space for permanent teeth alignment. Headgear is primarily worn in the home and at night during sleep. If you live in or around Rancho Penasquitos and considering preventive orthodontic treatment, call us today!

Two Phase Treatment

Two phase orthodontic treatment is a process that addresses physical and facial2 Phase Orthodontic Treatment, Two phase braces treatment, developmental changes over a period of time. Two-phase treatments seek to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal orthodontic results that will last you throughout your life.

At the beginning of the first stage, an orthodontic assessment is made and a diagnosis/treatment plan is established. During this time, certain appliances are used to promote the second phase of treatment when the permanent teeth emerge. Between both phases, the patient undergoes a resting period in which all permanent teeth are allowed to erupt.

The second phase is initiated when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces for about 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure that the teeth don’t shift. The second phase ensures that permanent teeth end up in their final position. When this balance is established, the teeth will function together properly, resulting in a healthy, straight, confident smile. If you live in or around Rancho Penasquitos, call or make an appointment today for a consultation to learn more about specialized two phase treatment and if it is right for you.

Adult Treatment
Adults often question if they are candidates for orthodontics and the answer is a definitive yes; it is never too late to address neglected teeth that are in need of orthodontic treatment. Crooked, misaligned teeth are more difficult to take care of and keep clean. With straight teeth, the results include healthier teeth with reduced chances of gum loss and decay. Also when the jaw is misaligned, teeth do not line up properly and can result in advanced wear of the tooth surfaces eventually leading to possible denture need. Straight teeth reduce or eliminate many additional oral health risks.

One way in which adult orthodontics is different from children’s orthodontics is that unlike children, adult’s bones are not in a state of change. Because of this difference there is slight increase in treatment time for the bones to shift. To counteract the increased treatment time, there are many advancements in orthodontic braces that result in reduced treatment time and are still esthetically pleasing. If you live in or around Rancho Penasquitos, call to schedule an appointment with us today to find out more about adult orthodontics and if they can improve your oral health

Caring For Your Braces
What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! If you’ve been wanting to drop a few pounds, the first week wearing braces is just your chance! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber again, but you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Chewing on hard things (for example pens, pencils, or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – position.

Care of Appliances

To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaw can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.


If you play sports, it’s important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouthguard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.

Athletic Mouthguards And Braces

Why should you wear a mouthguard during sports?

When it comes to protecting your smile during active sports, a properly fitted mouthguard is a key piece of athletic gear. Mouthguards cushion impact that may otherwise cause broken teeth, jaw injuries, or cuts to the lip, tongue or face. Wearing braces increases the likelihood of sustaining such injuries while participating in athletic events.

We recommend mouthguards while wearing braces for the following sports:

Contact: boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, basketball, water polo, martial arts, rugby, soccer
Non-contact: baseball, softball, volleyball, skateboarding, surfing, gymnastics

What kind of mouthguard should I get and where?

Dr. Marston recommends “The Shock Doctor” brand mouthguard. There are 2 types designed specifically to be worn with braces

Ultra Braces Upper Jaw Protection Only Ultra Double Braces Upper And Lower Jaw Protection
Ultra Braces
Upper Jaw Protection Only
Ultra Double Braces
Upper And Lower Jaw Protection

These mouthguards can be purchased at most local sporting goods stores or online. They come in two sizes and may, on occasion, need to be trimmed to fit around certain types of orthodontic appliances.

Once orthodontic treatment is completed and the braces are off, a custom-made mouthguard is recommended.

After braces are removed, the teeth still have tendency to move around a bit as a natural part of the growth process. Retainers are removable appliances that are used to prevent this kind of shifting. A removable retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth and holds them in their positions.
Turning Your Palatal Expanders
Click here to download a PDF of instructions.
Elastic Rubber Bands
WHY: Dr Marston is requesting your help! During this phase of orthodontic care, wearing rubber bands are important to make sure that your bit is in its proper relationship to ensure that each tooth functions properly.

With rubber bands, we have the ability to train your jaw to bite in its correct position. These rubber bands will become your best friend for the next few weeks with your help we will be putting the finishing touches on your smile.

HOW: This pressure is exercising your lower jaw to bite in the correct position and establish the correct bite.

HOW LONG: Each case is individually different, so the amount of time you will be wearing rubber bands largely depends upon you. The more help we get from you the sooner we will reach our goal, which is to get to that exciting day when we take your braces off!!

WHAT TO EXPECT: You can expect your teeth and jaws to be a bit sore. Once that initial soreness is gone your teeth and jaw will continue their momentum as you continue to wear them. So, hang in there and keep wearing them through the soreness! As it goes with rubber bands, they stretch and will soon give out in their strength so change them out throughout the day.

WHAT TO AVOID: Avoid eating with them. Take them out when you eat and brush your teeth. Once you are ready to resume wearing them, replace them with new ones.

WHAT TO DO IF: If you run out of rubber bands or lose them, please give our office a call and we will either drop some in the mail for you or you can stop by and pick some up. If your bracket that your rubber band attaches to comes loose or breaks, please contact our office, as we may want to see you sooner than your next appointment to repair/replace it: 858-484-6100

We appreciate your patience and co-operation! We consider this a team sport at this point in your orthodontic care we look forward to working with you to achieve the ultimate goal, your awesome smile!

Twin Force/Forsus Appliance
WHY: In orthodontics, there are phases that are important to the successful outcome of orthodontic treatment. Once we level and align your teeth it is important to make sure that your bite is in its proper relationship to ensure that each tooth functions properly. With Twin Force/Forsus , our goal is to correct the bite as much as possible so as to move on to the next phase. True, in some cases, “rubber bands” are sufficient enough to accomplish this correction. However, in your case, not only will they enable us to apply a gentle, consistent pressure at all times, it allows you the freedom from the added effort that rubber bands will require.

HOW: This pressure is exercising your lower jaw to bite in the correct position and establish the correct bite.

WHAT TO EXPECT: You can expect it to take a few days to get used to. Like your braces, it is something new that your tongue and cheeks will be very curious about. Similar to your braces, these springs make cause a bit of soreness and that is to be expected and will relieve as time allows.

HOW LONG: We anticipate the results we are striving for in 4-6 months, depending on the response from each individual case. Treatment times may vary from patient to patient.

WHAT TO AVOID OR DO: Especially at the beginning you will need to be careful of what you eat. Soft foods are recommended. As it goes with braces, they will require extra care to clean them with your toothbrush and rinsing. If at all possible avoid over extending your jaw by opening too wide, as this can affect the function of the appliance.

WHAT TO DO IF: There are components to your appliance that allow the top and bottom teeth to connect. Should any component to your springs come loose or break, please call our office in order for us to repair/replace it. In the event that the spring (connected to the top) and the rod (connected to the bottom) are not connected to each other, the appliance is no longer at work or active. Again, please call our office in order for us to make any adjustments needed to continue with your orthodontic care: 858-484-6100

We appreciate your patience and co-operation during this phase of your orthodontic care. The fact that you have reached this step means that you are that much closer to a beautiful finish line!


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