When should I begin orthodontic treatment?
Treatment can be started at any age, if a problem exists. Each case is evaluated on an individual basis during the Exam Appointment.
What happens after the Exam Appointment?
Prior to beginning treatment, diagnostic orthodontic records are gathered at the Records Appointment. Diagnostic records include x-rays, photographs, and impressions of teeth to provide the orthodontist with information to tailor a treatment plan for an individual patient. The following appointment is the Case Presentation, at which time the staff discusses the treatment plan prepared by the orthodontist and the fees, payment options, and insurance benefits associated with treatment.
How often will I have to come in for appointments?
There are several appointments needed within a matter of weeks to place the orthodontic appliances. Once the orthodontic appliances are placed, regular adjustment appointments are needed to guide the tooth movement. On average, these appointments are scheduled every six weeks, although treatment may dictate more or less frequent appointments.
How are teeth moved?
Teeth respond to gentle forces that are applied to them. “Braces” are a combination of brackets and wires. Brackets are attached to the teeth using cement and provide a “handle” to control tooth movement. Braces require a wire that connects to the brackets and provides the force to steer the teeth in the proper direction. The interaction of brackets and the wire enables the orthodontist to have three-dimensional control over the movement of the teeth. In many cases, additional forces are needed to help balance the underlying jaw structure and to help the upper and lower teeth to fit properly together. Some appliances that are used to supply these additional forces are: rubber bands hooked from the upper teeth to the lower teeth, headgear, functional appliances, and palatal expanders.
Will braces hurt?
Except for limited tooth soreness for the first few days following each adjustment appointment, you will likely experience only minor discomfort associated with braces.
How long will I have to wear braces?
Treatment time varies depending on the complexity of the orthodontic treatment and growth response as well as the level of patient cooperation. Generally, limited orthodontic treatment can range from 6 to 18 months or 18-36 months for comprehensive treatment.
What is expected of me during treatment?
Like other types of health care, patient cooperation with the directions of the orthodontist are key in determining the length of treatment and the quality of the outcome. Patient compliance with rubber band, functional appliance or headgear wear is often critical in obtaining a successful outcome. Proper cleaning of the teeth is important to prevent cavities, gum disease, and permanent discoloration of the enamel. Keeping the braces from breaking and wires from getting bent will speed treatment. Avoiding hard, sticky and chewy foods will prevent broken braces. You must continue to see your dentist at least every six months for regular cleanings and examinations. You should expect to be an active partner in the development and maintenance of your new smile.
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 or request an appointment on-line. 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 will be asked for the new patient forms and insurance card. The doctor will then complete a thorough clinical exam. Additional information, such as X-rays or photographs, may be needed for proper diagnosis.
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 not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.
How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment time lasts from 8 months to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 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 several 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 will be seen every 4 to 8 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 4 to 8 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. However, we will make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.
Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason you cannot return to school the same day. Anesthesia or shots are not needed for routine orthodontic treatment.
Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.
Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
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, raw vegetables 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 four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide an orthodontic care kit to get you started.
What is an orthodontic emergency?
Common emergencies do happen. We have provided a list of the common emergency situations and recommendations for handling them appropriately.