Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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, but 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 and the need for any early treatment to help avoid poor skeletal growth patterns.

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 staff and doctor who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. During this time, we will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam.

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 orthodontic treatment. 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 times range from as little as 3 months for simple cases to 24+ months for complex cases. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 14-18 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 for you, 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 6 to 12 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

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. While your child waits for their appointment or for their parent to pick them up, they can enjoy their free time in our game room.

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not "hurt" in the general sense. However, after certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days as part of the natural process of tooth movement. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. After the patient gets used to the routine of orthodontic treatment, very little, if any, soreness is felt at all after adjustment appointments! We often remind our patients: "It does NOT have to hurt to work!"

Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school after your orthodontic appointment due to discomfort as there is typically little to no discomfort after your appointment!

Do you give shots?

No. Shots are not necessary in routine 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. Therefore, each patient gets a brand new set of brackets that come directly from the manufacturer.

Can I still play sports?

Yes. However, we recommend a mouth guard for all sports to protect your teeth and soft tissues.

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. We are happy to remove your wires before you head to the dentist then replace them when you are done.

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). A more detailed list of foods can be found under the "Foods to Avoid" section. You can avoid most emergency appointments for repair of broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth a minimum of twice each day: after breakfast and before going to bed. However, we encourage patients to brush after each time they eat for the best possible oral hygiene. We also recommend that each patient floss their teeth a minimum of once per day, preferably before going to bed. We show each patient how to properly brush and floss their teeth after appliances are placed to ensure mastery of the techniques.

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If your braces are causing excessive pain 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 to see you as soon as possible.

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. We provide this growth monitoring service for free as a courtesy to our patients