Q. At what age should I schedule a child for an orthodontic screening?

A. The American Association of Orthodontist recommends at age seven. For most children, this will be too young, but occasionally treatment needs to be started early for severe crowding or bite problems. We are happy to evaluate young patients then see them yearly for observation.

Q. How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

A. Each case is evaluated on the complexity and length of time for treatment so it’s impossible to give an exact cost until you are evaluated. This fee and all financial information can be determined at the initial exam.

Q. What is an orthodontist?

A. An orthodontist is a dentist who after dental school completes an American Dental Association certified residency (2 to 3 years) to become a specialist in orthodontics. Orthodontics is the treatment of abnormally aligned teeth and jaws. As a specialist, an orthodontist no longer does cleanings, restorative dentistry or extractions.

Q. Is it necessary to have a dentist referral?

A. No, it is not. Once you or your family dentist feels that there is some orthodontic concerns you may call and schedule an initial exam.

Q. Can I be too old for braces?

A. A large percentage of our practice is adults who are seeking to improve the dental health and feel good about their smile. There is no age limit as long as the teeth and gums are healthy.

Q. Is there a fee for the initial records?

A. There is no charge for the initial exam where we discuss treatment options  and estimated  cost.  A screening x-ray may be taken at no charge if needed to make a diagnosis. The cost of additional records is included in the treatment fee.

Q. Is all the fee due at once and how does my insurance work?

A. We have many financing options available including no interest payments during treatment. We accept payments from most insurance companies and it most case can be applied to the down payment. Our financial coordinator will assist you in determining your insurance benefits and will file the claims.

Q. Do braces hurt?

A. Most patients are sore for a few days, enough to require soft food and Advil or Tylenol for discomfort. It is not ever necessary to get a “shot”. Most patients return to school or work the same day braces are placed.

Q. Do I still see my family dentist while in braces?

A. Yes, it is very important to continue regular cleanings and checkups while in orthodontic appliances. If any teeth need to be removed for the orthodontic treatment that would be done by your dentist or oral surgeon.

Q. How often do I come in and will I have to miss school?

A. After appliances are placed most visits are at five to eight-week intervals. We cannot schedule all your visits during after school hours. However, by seeing the longer initial visits earlier in the day we can accommodate most patients who need after-school time for their routine visits.

Q. Will I not be able to eat certain foods while in braces?

A. Hard sticky candy, bubble gum, ice and some other foods will damage and loosen braces. Some other healthy food may require more care while eating. A full list along with special hygiene instructions will be provided at the appointment braces are placed.

Q. Will early treatment prevent the need for full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

A. Early treatment or Phase One treatment is done to address significant bite problems and treat crowding early to avoid extraction of permanent teeth. Even when it is successful it is usually necessary to place full braces when all of the permanent teeth erupt. To avoid the problems of leaving braces on too long, braces are removed between Phase One and final treatment and the patient is monitored while teeth erupt and growth occurs

Q. What if I do not like the look of metal braces?

A. Although our metal braces are now smaller than ever we have other options to improve esthetics. There are tooth-colored ceramic braces which cost just slightly more. Many many patients can be treated with clear, removable aligners made by Invisalign and other companies.