FAQ

Here are some of the questions and answers you may have regarding your orthodontic care.

Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No, many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves. If you are a SMILES pediatric dental patient, our team will keep track of your child’s growth and development and communicate when it is the perfect time to begin orthodontic treatment.

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 child’s orthodontic condition and determine if any early orthodontic treatment might be needed.

Will teeth straighten out as they grow?

No, they will not. The space available for the teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, if the baby teeth are crowded, then permanent teeth will be crowded as well.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Upon arriving, each new patient will be greeted by a member of our staff and have any necessary diagnostic records taken. The doctor will then complete a thorough examination and discuss findings and treatment recommendations.

What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

  1. Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  2. What must be done to correct the problem?
  3. When is the best time to address the problem?
  4. How long will the treatment take to complete?
  5. How much will the treatment cost?

Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

In most cases, orthodontic treatment can be completed without the removal of permanent teeth. However, some conditions do require tooth removal in order to achieve the most esthetic and stable result. Straight teeth, a great smile and a balanced facial profile are all goals of orthodontics.

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” time a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.

Can orthodontic correction occur while my child has baby teeth?

Yes. In most cases, braces are not necessary until all of the permanent teeth have erupted. However, early intervention is sometimes warranted to avoid lengthy and sometimes more complicated treatment later. Problems such as cross bites and open bites related to habits and severe crowding are best managed between the ages of 7 and 10. However, if your child is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow his or her growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

What is Phase One (early) treatment?

Phase One (early) treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-21 months and may include braces or other appliances, as recommended by the orthodontist. 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 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.

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?

No! A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25% of all orthodontic patients nationwide 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 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.

How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

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. Many insurance policy orthodontic benefits differ from one another, so our staff will take the time to research your particular policy and we will educate you on how to maximize your benefit and file your claims, during the initial examination.

Does your office offer Invisalign? Can I request that I be treated with Invisalign?

Yes, we do offer Invisalign for both adults and teens. Our doctors will be able to educate you on your orthodontic problem at the initial appointment and this discussion will include whether you are a candidate for treatment with Invisalign.

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 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. Most appointments are scheduled 6 to 10 weeks apart and most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We do offer appointments beginning at 7am and we will make every effort to meet your scheduling needs.

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 orthodontic assistant before dropping off their child.

 

Can I return to school the day my braces are placed?

Yes. There is no reason to miss any additional school outside of the actual appointment due to getting braces placed.

Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes! Regular check-ups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces. If you are a SMILES pediatric dental patient, we will work your cleanings into your scheduled orthodontic adjustment, as an additional service to you.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will provide complete instructions on how to care for your braces. In this information will be a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of these foods include ice, hard candy, and all sticky candy. You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following these instructions.

What is an emergency appointment and how are those handled?

On occasion, you may experience discomfort from a loose brace (bracket) or poking wire, which requires attention. If this occurs, we want you to call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the phone but we also set aside time in each work day to see any emergencies that may arise. If you experience discomfort after hours that cannot be managed until the next business day, we always have an assistant “on call” to help you.