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Orthodontic FAQs

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 the orthodontic condition.

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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.


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 send us an e-mail. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.


Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Because of new advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.


How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time 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 perform an examination. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have several financing options available and will also review insurance policies to help maximize a patient’s benefits.


How often will I have appointments?
Most patients in braces will be seen every 6 to 8 weeks. If you are in Invisalign treatment, you will be seen every 10-12 weeks. This can vary depending on the treatment plan.


Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes! There is no reason a student can’t return to school the same day.


Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students after school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 6 to 8 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will make a sincere effort to meet scheduling needs.


Can I still play sports?
Yes! We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.


Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
Yes! We understand busy schedules, and we are happy to help make the most of a parent’s time. 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?
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. 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!”


Do you give shots?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.


Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with a family dentist are important while in braces. The dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while the patient is 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). Most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces can be avoided 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 a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.


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 is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 -10 and lasts about 6-18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.


Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
It is best to assume that a 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, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.


Will my child need an expander?
At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.


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.