1. 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.
2. 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?
3. 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.
4. 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 24 months.
5. How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every three to six weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
6. 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 three to 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.
7. Do braces hurt?
Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. Discomfort can be eased by taking pain relievers such as Tylenol. The initial light wires used are activated by heat aka your body temperature, consuming cold drinks and food will help. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all!
8. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.
9. Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.
10. Do I need to see my dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
Often 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.
17. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 35 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!
18. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.