Q & A’s For and From Our Orthodontist
Is it required that I be referred by my family dentist to schedule an appointment for orthodontic treatment?
At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
Will my child’s teeth straighten out on their own as they grow?
How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
Is there a cost for the initial examination?
What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
What will I learn from the initial examination?
Will I have to have any teeth removed for braces?
How long will it take to complete treatment?
How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
How often will I have appointments?
Can I have all of my appointments after school?
Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
Do braces hurt?
Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Do you give shots?
Do you use recycled braces?
Can I still play sports and/or musical instruments while in braces?
Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
What if the emergency occurs after normal office hours?
Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has some baby teeth?
What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
Will my child need an expander?
Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?
1. Is it required that I be referred by my family dentist to schedule an appointment or orthodontic treatment?
No, it is not. Most of our patients are referred by their family dentist, however many patients are concerned about their health and appearance, and take the initiative to schedule themselves for an examination to have their need for orthodontic care evaluated.
2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age seven. By this age, the six-year molars and several permanent teeth in most children have erupted allowing the doctors to effectively evaluate most developing orthodontic problems.
3. Will my child’s teeth straighten out on their own as they grow?
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as a child grows. In most people, after the permanent 6-year molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth actually decreases with age.
4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
If you think you or your child would benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some very basic information concerning you and your child.
5. Is there a cost for the initial examination?
No, there is no cost for the initial examination. We believe that the relationship established during a patient’s first visit is much more important than an “office visit” charge.
6. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving each patient and parent will be greeted by the front office staff and asked to return the new patient questionnaire that was mailed to them earlier. The doctor will conduct a brief but thorough examination of the patient’s mouth to determine if there is a need for orthodontic treatment. He will determine if there is enough room to hold all of your teeth, if the top teeth are lined up correctly with the bottom teeth, if any teeth are crooked or not growing in the right position, and if there are missing or extra teeth. He will also ask the patient if they are experiencing any breathing problems, had they had any finger or tongue habits, or experienced any jaw joint problems. The necessary photographs and x-rays will be taken.
7. What will I learn from the initial examination?
There are five important questions that will be answered 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 permanent teeth need to be removed?
How long will the treatment take to complete?
How much will the treatment cost?
In addition to these, our doctors will take the time to answer any other questions a patient or parent may have.
8. Will I have to have any teeth removed for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes needed to get the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are always the goal. However, because today’s technology has resulted in advanced orthodontic procedures, the need for removing teeth has been greatly reduced.
9. How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 15 to 28 months. An “average” time a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.
10. 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 the doctor has actually examined you or your child. The exact cost and financial options will be discussed at the initial examination. We have many financing options available to meet most needs and we will be happy to review them with you.We file insurance on the patient’s behalf, and also offer a discount for fees paid in full at the beginning of treatment. Proper orthodontic treatment to correct a problem is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop in later years.
11. How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each individual patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 8 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, appointments will be scheduled accordingly.
12. Can I have all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for student patients during after school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 8 to 10 weeks apart, most patients miss very little school due to their orthodontic treatments. We reference all area school calendars, and try very hard to meet the scheduling needs of our patients.
13. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
We are very understanding of busy schedules and working parents’ desires to run errands while their child is at our office. On some occasions the doctors may want to speak with parents when they return, so we request that parents check in with their patient manager before dropping off their child.
14. Do braces hurt?
Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After some visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol can be used to ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, it does not have to hurt to work!
15. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.
16. Do you give shots?
No. No shots are necessary in orthodontic treatment.
17. Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the very best orthodontic result possible. Our doctors would never use worn, used or recycled braces.
18. Can I still play sports and/or musical instruments while in braces?
Yes. We can recommend a mouth guard for all sports. If you play an instrument such as a trumpet, we can provide you with a “lip protector” that works to cushion your lip from your braces. Please inform us when you need a mouth guard or lip protector.
19. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are very important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine how often you should be seen for cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
20. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, very complete instructions and a comprehensive list will be provided regarding foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). Many emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces can be avoided by carefully following instructions regarding what foods to avoid.
21. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day: after breakfast, lunch (or as soon as they get home from school), supper, and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces on, and will also provide a prescription for a special fluoride gel to help protect teeth.
22. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
If something happens and your braces are causing pain or if something is broken, you should call our office. In most cases we can address these issues over the telephone.
23. What if the emergency occurs after normal office hours?
Our office is available after normal working hours by calling the office and waiting for the answering machine to answer. The recorded message will give you the pager number of the person on call. Any time you are unsure of a situation our staff will be glad to assist you.
24. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has some baby teeth?
Yes. However, we do not require braces for every patient who visits our office. 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.
25. What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
Phase One treatment, when needed, is usually initiated on children between the ages of seven and 10. Phase One treatment usually takes about 6 to 12 months. There are two primary objectives for Phase One treatment. First, to develop the jaw so that it will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and to properly relate the upper and lower jaws to each other. Secondly, to improve a child’s psychological self-image and self-esteem, both very important during their formative years.
26. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period of time following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed as to any future treatment recommendations.
27. Will my child need an expander?
At the completion of the initial examination, the doctor will determine whether a patient will need expanders or not.
28. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
Over 30 percent of our patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!
29. 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 so that the space where the teeth are missing can be properly restored.
30. Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?
Teeth and sometimes entire facial structures are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is very important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide all types of orthodontic patients with professional and state of the art treatments.