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 and completed properly. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized 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 your orthodontic condition. Keep in mind that it is never too late to enhance your smile.
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 vitally important to adults.
Do I need a referral from my dentist 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 people, 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.
For more information, see Initial Examination under Scheduling.
What will I learn from the initial examination?
These are some essential questions that we will cover during your initial examination. We are always willing to answer any additional questions you may have.
- Is there an orthodontic concern, and if so, what is it?
- What must be done to correct the problem?
- Will any teeth need to be removed?
- How long will the treatment take to complete?
- How much will the treatment cost and what are my payment options?
Will I need to have teeth extracted for my orthodontic treatment?
Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. 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. In general, treatment times range from 12 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 we have examined you. We will discuss the costs of your recommended orthodontic treatment during your initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy, file your insurance claims and help you to maximize your benefits.
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.
Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after school hours. We will make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs, and because most appointments are scheduled 5 to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatment.
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 work. After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, 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 in orthodontic treatment.
Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! Each patient will be provided with their own orthodontic appliances and braces that are customized to their individual needs in order to achieve the best orthodontic result.
Can I still play sports?
Yes, but we recommend wearing a mouth guard while participating in all sports.
Do I still need to see my dentist during my orthodontic treatment?
Yes. Regular 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. You can avoid most emergency appointments for broken or damaged braces and appliances by following our instructions.
How often should I brush my teeth while I have braces?
Patients with braces should brush their teeth at least four times each day. We suggest brushing after each meal and before bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces. We may also provide patients with 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 lasts about 12 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.
Will my child need braces after Phase One treatment?
It is best to assume 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.
Will I need an expander, appliance or braces?
At your initial examination, our orthodontists will determine the appropriate plan for your best results.
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 alignment of the remaining teeth.