Questions We Get Asked Most Often
Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.
At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.
Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an e-mail or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.
What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the treatment coordinator who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a thorough, exam. To read more about your first visit, see our page: Your First Visit.
What will I learn from the initial examination?
There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:
- Is there an orthodontic problem, 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?
Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is usually not necessary for orthodontic treatment.
How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment times vary depending on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, most treatment times range from 12 to 30 months.
How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the 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 and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.
How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces or clear aligners will be seen every 6 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 6 to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.
Can I drop my child off for an 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 when they return, so we ask that parents check in with their patient manager before dropping off their child.
Do braces hurt?
Orthodontic treatment has never been more comfortable than it is today. Generally, braces do not “hurt.” 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.
Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school following getting braces or after a regular orthodontic adjustment appointment.
Do you give shots?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.
Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.
Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports to protect your teeth from injury.
Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.
How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least three times each day – after breakfast and lunch, and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.
What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
If your braces are causing unusual discomfort or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you. Please visit the Emergencies page of our website for instructions on handling some common problems that may occur with your orthodontic appliances.
Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.
What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children that do not yet have all of their permanent teeth in place and still have some primary (baby) teeth present. In Phase One treatment, the orthodontist will intercept a particular problem and resolve it as quickly as possible in an attempt to prevent more severe problems from developing, to reduce the risk of trauma to the teeth, or to improve self-image and self-esteem.
Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
It is very possible that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. After Phase One treatment ends, your child will enter an observation period during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored.
The orthodontist must evaluate the position of the teeth and the bite as dental development continues in order to determine if a second phase of treatment will be needed to align all of the permanent teeth and establish an ideal bite.
Will my child need an expander?
An expansion appliance may be necessary if the orthodontist determines that there is a cross-bite present or that the upper jaw is too narrow to fit properly with the lower jaw. Expansion appliances widen the upper jaw to allow proper coordination of the upper and lower arches of teeth.
Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.
Why should you 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 properly completed.
After completing four years of dental school, orthodontists have at least two years of specialized training in an accredited orthodontic specialty program that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments. Orthodontists are experts in establishing ideal alignment of the teeth and jaws and creating beautiful facial balance.