Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate for your situation and completed properly. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training beyond dental school that enables them to provide their patients with safe, personalized and effective treatments.

At what age should I schedule an orthodontic evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate a possible orthodontic condition. Keep in mind that it is never too late to enhance your smile. We are happy to provide orthodontic services to all ages.

Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

No, it is never too late for orthodontic treatment! 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vital to adults, and a confident smile is an important part of this.

Do I need a referral to schedule an appointment with the orthodontist?

No, it is not necessary to have a referral from your dentist. Many of our patients are referred by their dentist, yet others take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

Will my teeth straighten as they grow?

No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as your grow. In most cases, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

How do I schedule my initial examination?

If you think you or your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office or send us an email. Our office staff will request some basic information from you and will be happy to schedule an appointment.

What will happen at my initial examination?

Upon arriving to your appointment, our staff will acclimate you to our office and review the initial exam with you. We will take any necessary photographs and X-rays that will allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will complete a brief, but thorough, exam. If treatment is appropriate, he will create a customized treatment plan for your review. This will include what concerns need to be addressed and how long treatment may take. Our office staff will review treatment costs, insurance and payment options with you. We are happy to help you with any questions or concerns you may have regarding orthodontic treatment.

For more information, see Initial Examination under Scheduling.

Will I need to have teeth extracted for my orthodontic treatment?

Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. It is possible that removing teeth may be required to achieve this goal, but due to advanced orthodontic procedures, it is not always necessary.

How long will it take to complete my orthodontic treatment?

Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic concerns. We will review a plan designed for you at your initial examination. Early treatment may be as little as 6 months, while more complicated cases may take up to 30 months. The average time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.

How much will my orthodontic treatment cost? How does my insurance work? Are financing options available?

It is impossible to give you a cost for treatment until our doctor has done an examination. We will discuss the costs of your recommended treatment during your initial examination. We will review your insurance policy, file your insurance claims and help you to maximize your benefits. There are financing options available to accommodate your needs, we will review these with you at your initial examination.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s individual orthodontic treatment plan. Most patients in braces will be seen every 5 to 10 weeks. There may be specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, and we will schedule those appointments accordingly.

Do you offer flexible scheduling?

We do our best to accommodate our patient’s schedules. We will make a sincere effort to accommodate your scheduling needs. Most students will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatment, but unfortunately we cannot schedule all appointments after school.

Can I drop my child off for their appointment?

Yes, we understand your busy schedule and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent at the end of the appointment, so we ask that parents check in with our front office staff before dropping off their child.

Will my orthodontic treatment hurt?

No, it does not have to hurt to be effective. After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. If needed, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. After most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all.

Can I return to work or school the day I get my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss work or school after an orthodontic appointment.

Do you give shots?

No, shots are not necessary for orthodontic treatment.

Can I still play sports?

Of course, but a mouth guard is always recommended for protection while participating in any sports.

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

Yes. Regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist are important while you have braces. Your dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments during this time.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once your orthodontic treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of these foods include ice, hard candy, raw crunchy vegetables and all sticky foods such as caramel and taffy that may damage or stick to your brackets or appliances. You can avoid most emergency appointments for broken or damaged braces and appliances by following our instructions that we review with you at the start of your treatment.

How often should I brush my teeth while I have braces?

We suggest brushing after each meal and before bed to remove any food particles and bacteria from around your brackets and appliances. We will provide tools and instructions on the best way to floss your teeth with braces. We may also recommend a special fluoride rinse if necessary.

What if my orthodontic appliance or braces break or become loose?

If something breaks, becomes loose, or is causing you extreme pain, you should call our office. In many cases, we can address these issues over the phone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. If a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will advise you of this and continue to follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

What is Phase One treatment?

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment can last anywhere from 6 to 21 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems early to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem, and self-image. It is possible that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the resting period, during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, patients and parents will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like any other tooth. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the aligning the remaining teeth.