FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why should you 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 in growth and development, biomechanics, dental materials, and esthetic reconstruction that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments. For more information see American Board of Orthodontics, American Association of Orthodontists, or Indiana Board of Dentistry.
Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
No. Although we strongly recommend patients be referred by their family dentist, many patients 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. For more on this see Early Treatment
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. Facial width increases until age 8-9 years. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt at age 6-7 years, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment call our office to get an initial examination set up. When you call to schedule your appointment, our scheduling coordinator will request some basic information from you.
What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Your first examination is complementary at which we will take necessary photographs and x-rays for proper diagnosis. See First Visit for more information.
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 or surgery performed?
- 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, new technology has made extracting teeth less common in orthodontics.
How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time depends on each individual patient’s specific orthodontic problem. Average treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.
How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
There is no generalized cost for treatment. Each treatment is individualized based on the patients specific treatment needs. An exact cost for treatment and financial options will be given once the doctor has examined you if you are ready for treatment. Many financing options are available to accommodate your needs. For more on this see Financial/Insurance
How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4-8 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. However, because most appointments are scheduled 4-8 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.
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 the treatment coordinator before dropping off their child.
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!”
Can I return to school or work the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school or work because of an orthodontic appointment.
Do you give shots?
No. Local anesthetic injections are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.
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 all sports which are available at our office upon request.
Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in active orthodontic treatment. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces, however, we recommend at least 2-4 visits per year for examinations, fluoride treatments, and cleanings.
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). Please see the Foods to Avoid list.
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. Please visit our Brushing and Flossing in the Patient section for effective oral hygiene techniques.
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. Please see Emergencies under about treatment for more info.
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. For more info see: Early Treatment
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 6-12 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant skeletal problems to prevent them from becoming more severe. This is typically reserved for width discrepancies between the two jaws, bony asymmetries (e.g. right side bigger than left side), or dental midline shifts. Another significant objective of Phase One Treatment is 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 to correct the width of a narrow upper jaw bone. Most patients do not 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, 25-30 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! For more info see Adult Treatment
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown or root canal 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 so that cemented bridge work or dental implants can replace missing teeth.