Do you charge for an initial visit?
No. As a courtesy to you and your family dentist, we will always discuss the feasibility of braces or tooth straightening without charging a fee for the initial consultation.
At what age do you start seeing patients?
As a rule of thumb, we like to evaluate young patients after the 6-year molars erupt and the front permanent teeth just start to appear. This is usually between the ages of 6 and 8. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children be seen for the first time by age 7.
Why do you evaluate patients so young?
One purpose of early evaluation is to inform and observe. At this early age, the eventual needs may be identified and discussed. Some of these younger patients can also greatly benefit from early “Phase 1” treatment. At this earlier age, we can do a lot to help the growth of the patient’s jaws and face. There are some valuable treatments pertaining to airways, facial development, space-creation for the eruption of permanent teeth, etc. that can only be achieved when initiated on younger patients during this stage of their development. If early treatment is not indicated at this time, an observation schedule is arranged until the patient is ready to begin treatment.
How long will the first visit take?
The first visit can last anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour depending on how ready the patient is for treatment. We may just do a visual exam and explain the situation or we may suggest one or more X-rays and complete diagnostics including impressions of the teeth with photographs to document the current position.
Do you take patients transferring from out of town?
Yes we do. We handle a patient transferring into our office from another city just like a new patient. We gather complete diagnostic records to show the current status and propose treatment to complete the work that has been started.
Do you have any adult patients?
Absolutely. Twenty to twenty-five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults. New, more cosmetic appliances are making adult treatment much more comfortable and convenient.
What is Phase I and Phase II Treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (e.g., expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, and underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of 11 and 13.
How do braces work?
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.
How long does Orthodontic Treatment take?
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.
Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires, you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. However, we strongly recommend that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are comfortable, and we are happy to provide our patients with the appropriate mouthguard.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.
What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist that graduated from dental school first, just like a general dentist. To become an orthodontist, the doctor then completed at least 2 more years of full-time residency training in orthodontics resulting in a nationally accepted specialty certificate. The orthodontist then limits their practice to straightening teeth and dentofacial orthopedics.
Can I make all my appointments in the afternoon after school and late in the day?
In order to have early and late appointments available for the majority of patient appointments, some procedures need to be accomplished during the hours of 9 and 3. We will do our best to work with your schedules and accommodate your family needs.
Do you see patients for emergencies?
Yes, our contact information for an emergency is posted on the website. Feel free to visit our emergency care page for more information.
Do retainers need to be worn after braces?
Yes. We recommend that our patients wear their retainers at least 12 hours per night for the first few months after treatment has been completed, followed by nighttime wear indefinitely.
Why do teeth get crooked after wearing braces or aligners?
Teeth move throughout life whether you have worn braces or not. It is part of the natural aging process. This is why retainer wear is recommended indefinitely to maintain your orthodontic results throughout your lifetime.