We have compiled commonly asked questions new patients have asked regarding braces.
1. Is it required that I be referred by my family dentist to schedule an appointment?
No, it is not. Most of our patients are referred by their family dentist, however many patients are concerned about the look and function of their teeth and take the initiative to schedule themselves for an examination to have their need for orthodontic care evaluated.
2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age seven. By this age, the six-year molars and several permanent teeth in most children have erupted allowing the doctors to effectively evaluate most developing orthodontic problems.
3. Will my child’s teeth straighten out on their own as they grow?
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as a child grows. In most people, after the permanent 6-year molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth actually decreases with age.
4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
If you think you or your child would benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office (262-694-5272) and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some very basic information concerning you and your child.
5. Is there a cost for the initial examination?
No, there is no cost for the initial examination at our office. We believe that the relationship established during a patient’s first visit is much more important than an “office visit” charge.
6. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving each patient and parent will be seen by one of our Treatment Coordinators who will acclimate you to our clinic and prepare for the initial exam. A brief but thorough exam will then be completed by the orthodontist. Building a comfortable and trusting relationship with the orthodontist and staff is a significant goal of our initial exam.
7. What will I learn from the initial examination?
There are five important questions that will be answered 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?
In addition to these, Dr. Crawford or Dr. Wright will take the time to answer any other questions a patient or parent may have.
8. Will I have to have any teeth removed for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes needed to get the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are always the goal. However, because today’s technology has resulted in advanced orthodontic procedures, the need for removing teeth has been greatly reduced.
9. 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. An “average” time a person is in braces is approximately 18 months.
10. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
It is hard to give an exact cost for treatment until the doctor has actually examined you or your child. The treatment fee and financial options will be discussed at the initial examination. We have many financing options available to meet most needs and we will be happy to review them with you.We file insurance on the patient’s behalf, and also offer a discount for fees paid in full at the beginning of treatment. Proper orthodontic treatment to correct a problem is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop in later years.
11. What is included in the orthodontic fee?
Our fee includes every orthodontic appointment, even if there are minor emergencies or extra visits. Permanent retainer wires (usually upper and lower) are included along with a removable, night-time retainer. If the removable retainer is lost or broken, there is a "lab fee" to replace it. We do not charge to rebond or replace permanent retainer wires. Also included in our treatment fee are numerous retainer checks: 6 weeks after finishing, 6 months after, then yearly checks for a few years. Things not included in our orthodontic treatment fee are the records appointment (x-rays and scans) or appointments at other offices like extractions or oral surgery.
12. How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each individual patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 6 to 8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, appointments will be scheduled accordingly.
13. Can I have all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for student patients during after school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 4 to 8 weeks apart, most patients miss very little school due to their orthodontic treatments. We reference all area school calendars and try very hard to meet the scheduling needs of our patients.
14. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
We are very understanding of busy schedules and working parents’ desires to run errands while their child is at our office. On some occasions the doctors may want to speak with parents when they return, so we request that parents check in with their patient manager before dropping off their child.
15. Do braces hurt?
Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After some visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol can be used to 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 be uncomfortable to be progressing.
16. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss a whole day of school because of an orthodontic appointment.
17. Can I still play sports?
Yes. We can recommend a mouth guard for all sports. Custom made mouthguards are available upon request.
18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are very important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine how often you should be seen for cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, very complete instructions and a comprehensive list will be provided regarding foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). Many emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces can be avoided by carefully following instructions regarding what foods to avoid.
20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day: after breakfast, lunch (or as soon as they get home from school), after dinner, and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces on and will also provide a prescription for a special fluoride gel to help protect teeth.
21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
If something happens and your braces are causing pain or if something is broken, you should call our office 262-694-5272. In most cases, we can address these issues over the phone. If an emergency appointment is needed, daily time is available for timely attention.
22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has some 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.
23. What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
Phase One treatment, when needed, is usually initiated on children between the ages of seven and ten. Phase One treatment usually takes about 12 months. There are several primary objectives for Phase One treatment.
– To address significant problems early to prevent them from becoming severe corrections later.
– To develop jaws for crowding concerns and modify jaw growth for an improved jaw relationship.
– To reduce risk of trauma or current traumatic bites that are damaging the teeth.
24. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
Many children who need early treatment (phase I) also need phase II (full braces) once all of their teeth erupt. The period of time 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 as to any future treatment recommendations.
25. Is it too late to have braces if I am an adult?
We treat a large number of adult patients. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to straighten his or her teeth!
26. 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 so that the space where the teeth are missing can be properly restored.
27. Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?
Teeth and sometimes entire facial structures are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is very important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists, like Dr. Crawford and Dr. Wright, have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide all types of orthodontic patients with professional and state of the art treatments.