Just for Patients

FAQ

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training, which requires 2 to 3 years of schooling beyond dental school, that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.

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.

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.

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.

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.

On your first visit we will carefully evaluate your orthodontic needs and answer any questions you may have such as: 1) whether treatment is indicated, 2) what treatment is recommended, and 3) when it is best to start. We will take the necessary photographs and x-rays to allow us to make a proper diagosis. We can also outline the approximate length and cost of treatment. There is no charge for this exam.

To read more about your first visit, see our Getting Started page.

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 often not necessary for orthodontic treatment.

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 36 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 28 months.

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.

To learn more about financing and insurance, see the Flexible Financing and Insurance pages.

Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. We often need to speak with a parent when they return to make the next appointment.

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled about six 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.

For more information, see Hours and Scheduling on the Contact Us page.

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.

Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, if pain medications are desired to ease the discomfort, Tylenol is the drug of choice. Research has shown that the anti-inflamatory drugs such as Ibuprofen (Advil), Naproxen Sodium (Aleve), and aspirin all slow tooth movement, and should not be taken on a regular basis during orthodontic treatment. 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!”

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

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.

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.

Learn more on the Foods to Avoid page.

Patients should brush their teeth at least five times each day – first thing in the morning, after each meal, and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and will also provide a special prescription fluoride to be used at home at least twice a week.

If your braces are causing extreme 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 for you.

For more information, or to trouble-shoot a problem, see our Emergency Information page.

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.

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-21 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.

It is best to assume that your 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.

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

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!

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.