Orthodontics

Today, orthodontic treatment is simple, convenient and affordable for patients of all ages. And an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Orthodontic treatment results in correctly aligned teeth that provide ideal jaw function and a great smile! Additionally, your teeth are easier to clean and more resistant to gum disease. Perhaps most importantly, orthodontic treatment almost always provides improved self-confidence.

How Does Treatment Work?

Each patient’s orthodontic condition requires a treatment plan based on a specialized diagnosis of the case. The treatment process involves x-rays, dental impressions and photographs. Braces have one aim: to use gentle pressure to move teeth into proper alignment. Treatment time varies depending on age, patient compliance and the severity of the condition. Generally, treatment lasts for 24 months and is facilitated by ideal patient cooperation.

First Visit

We are always excited about meeting new patients during their first visit to our office. Your initial appointment will consist of a thorough examination and a discussion of potential treatment options. This important 30-minute visit will give us insight into your orthodontic needs. We know your time is valuable, so to expedite treatment, we may also reserve time following the exam for diagnostic records. The records include X-rays, photos and impressions for study models and are necessary for developing the appropriate treatment plan. This additional appointment will last approximately one hour.

During the initial examination for each patient, we will address the following questions that cover the basics of orthodontic treatment. We encourage you to ask questions as well.

  • Is there a condition that orthodontics can address?
  • Is treatment needed now or should treatment be delayed until appropriate growth, tooth eruption or other factors have occurred?
  • What treatment procedures will be used to correct the problem?
  • Do any permanent teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will treatment take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What are my payment options?

While we can often answer these general questions about treatment during the initial examination, we will address specific areas after careful analysis of the diagnostic records. We feel it is important to analyze each patient's specific needs, because in-depth planning leads to superior results and higher patient satisfaction.

We will then schedule a consultation visit to discuss treatment options, time frames and financial arrangements. We insist that our patients leave the office with a clear understanding of their specific needs, what the treatment will consist of and how long it will take. Also, we will answer any additional questions.

Please assist us by providing the following information at the time of your first visit:

  • Any panoramic X-ray taken within the past six months.
  • If you have orthodontic insurance, bring your insurance card. By providing this information at the first visit, we will be able to give you an estimate of your costs.

FAQ's

  1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
  2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
  3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
  4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
  5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
  6. What will I learn from the initial examination?
  7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
  8. How long will it take to complete treatment?
  9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
  10. How often will I have appointments?
  11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
  12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
  13. Do braces hurt?
  14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
  15. Do you give shots?
  16. Do you use recycled braces?
  17. Can I still play sports?
  18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
  19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
  20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
  21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
  22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
  23. What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
  24. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
  25. Will my child need an expander?
  26. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
  27. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
  28. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
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.
 
2. 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 orthodontic condition.

3. 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. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
 
4. 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, 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.
 
5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam.

To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit Page.
 
6. What will I learn from the initial examination?
There are five essential questions that we will cover 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 teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

 
7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
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 not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.
 
8. 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 12 to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.
 
9. 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 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.
 
10. How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every five to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
 
11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled five to 10 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.
 
12. 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 patient manager before dropping off their child.
 
13. 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!”
 
14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.
 
15. Do you give shots?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.
 
16. Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.
 
17. Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.
 
18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
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.
 
19. 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). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.
 
20. 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.
 
21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
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.
 
22. 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.
 
23. What is Phase One (early) treatment?
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.
 
24. 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.
 
25. Will my child need an expander?
At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.
 
26. 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!
 
27. 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.
 
28. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
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 that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.

Common Problems

Upper Front Teeth Protrusion
The appearance and function of your teeth are impacted by this type of bite. It is characterized by the upper teeth extending too far forward or the lower teeth not extending far enough forward.

Overbite
The upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth, sometimes causing the lower front teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth.

Crossbite
The upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, which may cause tooth stratification and misaligned jaw growth.

Openbite
Proper chewing is impacted by this type of bite, in which the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. Openbite may cause a number of unwanted habits, such as tongue thrusting.

Other Problems

Crowding
Crowding occurs when teeth have insufficient room to erupt from the gum. Crowding can often be corrected by expansion, and many times, tooth removal can be avoided.

Spacing
Spacing problems may be caused by missing teeth, or they may only be a cosmetic or aesthetic issue.

Dental midlines not matched
This type of problem is caused when the back bite does not fit and match appropriately, which may negatively impact jaw and proper dental function.

Oral Hygiene

Interdental Toothbrush

A Proxabrush is an interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush that you may use to clean underneath and around your wires and braces. Use the Proxabrush gently to avoid damaging your wires. The Proxabrush will help you to clean your braces while maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Antibacterial Mouthwash

Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse, will reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks. Peroxyl helps to prevent infection and decrease irritation that may develop from your braces. Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of Peroxyl (half a capful) for one minute and then spit it out. You may use Peroxyl up to four times daily following your schedule for brushing: after meals (or after school) and before bed. Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, Peroxyl helps the inside of your mouth heal. Peroxyl can be used for general irritation caused by your braces or for canker sores, cheek bites and other minor temporary injuries to the gums.

Topical Fluoride

Phos-Flur is a sodium fluoride gel that helps prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces by killing bacteria and replacing minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to harmful acids. The use of Phos-Flur does not replace daily brushing and flossing but should be done following your daily schedule at bedtime. Place a small strip of Phos-Flur on a toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute and spit it out. You may not eat or drink for 30 minutes after you use Phos-Flur. It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes, so do not wash it away by eating or drinking.

Cleaning Your Removable Appliance

Brush your removable appliance every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Because food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, soak the appliance daily. Dissolve a Polident, Efferdent or other denture-cleaning tablet in a glass of tap water at room temperature and soak your appliance once every day. Your appliance will taste better, and you will prevent plaque and bacterial accumulation.