Frequently Asked Questions about Smart Orthodontics
- 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 are referred to us by their family or friends. Others take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.
- 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.
- 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.
- How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
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 and we request you visit our website to download all the require forms. If you do not have a computer these forms can be filled out when you arrive at the office.
- What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Your initial appointment will consist of a thorough examination and a discussion of potential treatment options. This important screening visit will give us valuable insights into you or your childs orthodontic needs. Ample time is allowed for all your questions to be asked.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
We will do our best to schedule most appointments for students during after-school hours. However, there are some longer appointments that we schedule only in the morning such as the day we put your braces on, the day we take your braces off and recementing broken appliances. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs and minimize the amount of time a patient has to miss school.
- Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
For minor patients under treatment, it is our preference that a parent or guardian be present in the waiting room area. Although it is unlikely to experience emergency situations we can never predict when this may occur.
- Do braces hurt?
Generally, on the day that the braces are applied to the teeth, it does not hurt. The wire when engaged into the bracket slot creates a mild force to move the teeth and there can be soreness or discomfort. In these situations we recommend that patient's take Advil or Tylenol to ease the discomfort. With time, the patients become accustomed to this feeling.
- Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.
- Do you give shots?
No. It is not necessary in most orthodontic treatment cases. However, in some adult cases where we use invasive techniques, we do give shots.
- 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.
- Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for some sports.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 exam, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander. We use expanders primarily for arches that are extremely narrow or constricted or for teeth in cross bite.
- Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults as well as children. No patient is ever ""too old"" to wear braces!
- 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.