Orthodontics FAQs

FAQs for Braces

1. At what age should a child first be seen for an orthodontic evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be examined by age 7.

2. What is the best age for orthodontic treatment to begin?

There really is no “best” age to start treatment. An early evaluation by age 7 often prevents a developing problem from worsening. However, most orthodontic treatment begins between the ages of 9 and 14.

3. Are braces just for children?

No. Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. In fact, 20% of orthodontic patients today are adults.

4. What types of braces are available?

While traditional metal braces have been around the longest, clear braces made of porcelain are a popular alternative for older teenagers and adults. Invisalign, or orthodontics without braces, is also an option for older teens and adults with minor orthodontic needs.

5. How long does treatment take?

Although every case is unique, on average patients wear braces from 1 to 3 years. Treatment times vary with the severity of the orthodontic problem and patient compliance. After braces are removed, most patients wear retainers for several years, even if just while sleeping.

6. Do braces make your teeth sore?

Teeth can’t move without getting tender. Fortunately, it usually resolves within a few days. Over-the-counter analgesics will help ease the tenderness. A soft diet may be necessary for a short time. Good oral hygiene will keep gum tissue healthy.

7. How much do braces cost?

The cost of orthodontic care varies on an individual basis depending on the complexity and length of treatment. We will be glad to discuss the cost with you before treatment begins.

8. How do you pay for braces?

An initial payment is required the day braces are placed, and the balance is spread over the course of treatment. Many dental insurance plans include orthodontic benefits. Today, flexible medical savings accounts are popular ways to make braces more affordable. A “no down payment” alternative is available through Care Credit or Chase Health Advance. Talk to the treatment coordinator if you would like to apply for this.

9. My wires are poking what should I do?

If the pain is only mild, use wax provided by the office to cover the end of the wire and protect your cheeks. If a patient is still in discomfort even after using the wax, contact our office and we will be happy to clip the wire.

10. What should I do if I break a bracket?

If the bracket is only slightly loose leave it as is. If the bracket is completely loose a patient may remove it from the wire. If next scheduled appointment is more than a week away, the patient will need to contact our office to make an extra appointment to have the bracket replaced. If a scheduled appointment is less than a week away the patient will need to contact our office to have their appointment adjusted, as necessary, based on appointment availability. Broken brackets are not an emergency unless they are resulting in serious discomfort.

11. What constitutes an emergency?

If at any time a patient experiences pain or serious discomfort, contact our office immediately. If a patient experiences any trauma to the mouth, teeth or trauma that is any way related to the braces, then our office should be contacted. Also, if any of the brackets, wires or appliances result in any cutting or bleeding our office should be contacted. Please note that broken brackets are not an emergency unless they result in pain. Patients should also be aware that tightness, tension and mild pain are normal symptoms associated with orthodontic treatment and Advil or Tylenol may be used to relieve the pain.

12. What types of food am I not allowed to eat?

Hard Candy, Sticky Candy, Chewy Candy, Ice, Pop Corn, Nuts, Jerky, Coke, Corn on the Cob, Apples (Uncut), Carrots (Raw).

Paitents that are unsure about eating certain food items should ask our staff.

13. Do I need to continue going to the dentist? How often?

Our office does not provide the regular cleanings that a general dentist provides, nor do we diagnose or treat problems unrelated to orthodontics. It is Imperative that you maintain regular visits with your dentist especially during your orthodontic treatment.

14. How can I ensure that I keep my treatment time as short as possible?

Keeping patient treatment times as short as possible is as simple as maintaining your regular appointments, not breaking any brackets and strictly following the instructions of Dr. “A” and his assistants.