Q: Do I need a referral from my general dentist to see an orthodontist?

A: No, you can schedule a complimentary initial exam without a referral.

Q: At what age should an initial orthodontic evaluation be scheduled?

A: The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that initial evaluations be performed at age 7. At this age, dental and skeletal development can be evaluated for crowding and jaw growth problems. Treatment timing and potential growth modification can be discussed based upon findings from the initial evaluation. Children and adults of any age can pursue orthodontic treatment.

Q: How do I schedule an appointment for an initial orthodontic evaluation?

A: Simply call our office (651) 488-5622 and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. You will be sent a welcome letter with information regarding the initial appointment along with a patient health history form for you to bring to the appointment.

Q: What will I learn from the initial orthodontic examination?

A: Dental and skeletal development will be evaluated to determine the following:

a. is there an existing or developing orthodontic problem?

b. what treatment options are available to address the orthodontic problem?

c. will treatment need to start soon or will the patient be placed on recall for future re-evaluation? d. if treatment is recommended, what are the costs and how long will treatment take?

Q: Will teeth need to be removed?

A: A decision regarding the removal of permanent teeth will be based upon achieving the best orthodontic treatment result. Properly aligned teeth, a balanced facial profile and a healthy smile are all goals of orthodontic treatment. With the development of new technologies, removing teeth is not always necessary.

Q: What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?

A: A healthy smile improves self-esteem and self-confidence. Properly aligned teeth are easier to take care of and keep clean. Brushing and flossing will be easier, leading to a decrease in potential future gum disease problems. A proper bite relationship will reduce wear making teeth less likely to chip or break which could lead to costly restorative dental procedures.

Q: How much do braces cost? Is financing available? How do insurance benefits apply to orthodontic treatment?

A: The exact cost of orthodontic treatment will be established once a complimentary initial orthodontic examination has been performed. Variables such as dental development, patient age and the amount of treatment necessary will all affect treatment costs. We provide no-interest payment plans that coincide with the expected length of treatment. We will send pre-treatment estimates to your insurance carrier to help establish benefit levels.

Q: How often will I need appointments

A: Typical treatment intervals are 4-6 weeks once orthodontic treatment is initiated. While we do our best to not interfere with school schedules, some appointments take longer (appliance placement and removal) and require mid-morning or early afternoon times. However, most adjustment appointments typically fit into before and after school schedule.

Q: Do braces hurt?

A: Braces will take time to get used to. Typically, the next day or two following adjustment appointments, teeth will be sore. This can be easily managed by over-the-counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol.

Q: Are there special instructions regarding tooth brushing and foods to avoid while in braces?

A: Once orthodontic appliances are placed, we will provide each patient with special tooth brushes and instruction in order to maintain the best possible oral hygiene. Clean teeth and healthy gums promote more efficient tooth movement and can reduce treatment time. We also go over specific foods to avoid and provide a written list to each patient.

Q: How long does orthodontic treatment take to complete?

A: Treatment time varies with the amount of treatment required to address the specific malocclusion. Generally, comprehensive orthodontic treatment takes 18-24 months to complete. Interceptive orthodontic treatment or growth modification can take longer, based upon individual variations in growth and dental development. Missed appointments, broken braces, poor oral hygiene and in some cases, slow dental eruption patterns can also affect treatment time.

Q: Will I need to wear retainers?

A: Yes! After braces are removed, the teeth need to be held in place for a period of time to allow the gum tissues and bones to heal or harden around the teeth to stabilize their position. Once the gum tissues and bone have healed, retainers are worn at night.

Q: Should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

A: Upon completion of your orthodontic treatment, a panoramic radiograph will be taken to evaluate wisdom tooth development. Based upon space available and tooth position, an extraction decision will be made to determine removal timing, if necessary.

Q: Can I play musical instruments or sports with braces?

A: Absolutely!! We provide wax to cover the braces when playing musical instruments. Specially-designed mouthguards have been developed for contact sports such as football, hockey, lacrosse and wrestling.

Q: Why should I seek treatment from an orthodontic specialist?

A: From your initial examination to the completion of your orthodontic treatment, orthodontic specialists have received extensive and specialized training to deal with dental development and facial growth. Utilizing state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging, orthodontic specialists are able to provide their patients with individualized treatment plans. As a specialist, we have completed advanced education through an ADA-accredited orthodontic program.