Questions About Treatment

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BRACES

When should I take my child in for their first orthodontic evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children have an initial orthodontic evaluation at age seven. Treatment rarely is started at this age, but many times early interceptive dental treatment can be done to minimize future treatment needs. Most patients seen at this age will be placed into a growth and guidance status until the ideal treatment time is reached.

Can I accompany my child in the operatory during their appointment?

We appreciate it when parents remain in the waiting room unless summoned. This allows us to comply with the current HIPAA laws. (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). If you feel that you need to be with your child, please notify the front desk and we can make special arrangements. If you have questions or concerns, please let the assistant know and Dr. Cooper can visit with you afterwards.

Can you be too old for orthodontic treatment?

As long as the patient has an adequate periodontal status with good dental health, there is no age limitation for treatment. However, treatment options may be more limited on adult patients and treatment times may be longer.

How long will it take until my treatment is completed?

Treatment times vary depending on the type of treatment and the complexity of the case. Generally, full orthodontic treatment ranges from 18-24 months but many factors influence the amount of time a patient is in active treatment. Treatment times can be reduced with excellent patient cooperation or extended if patients fail to follow the Orthodontist's instructions.

How much do braces cost?

Treatment costs again depend on the type and complexity of the treatment plan. Difficult cases are generally more costly to treat than minor treatment needs. Most Orthodontists will base their fee upon what is needed and will be happy to give a projected cost estimate at the initial exam. Exact treatment costs will be determined following diagnosis and treatment planning and presented at the consultation visit.

Orthodontic treatment is an excellent investment in the overall health and well being of children and adults. Financial considerations should not be an obstacle to obtaining this important health service.

We offer several payment options: We’re pleased to offer our patients the CareCredit® card, North America's leading patient payment program. CareCredit works just like a regular credit card, but without high interest rates or other costly penalties. You’ll get low monthly payments for healthcare procedures not commonly covered by insurance, including dental procedures. Plus, you can use your card over and over for follow-up appointments. Learn more by visiting CareCredit.com or contacting our office. Ready to apply? Apply online for your CareCredit card today.

Will it be painful to do orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontics has come a long way to minimize patient discomfort. We now have super elastic wires that provide optimal forces to move the teeth and minimize discomfort. Most discomfort is mild and can be reduced by taking over the counter medication.

What is the difference between an Orthodontist and a general dentist that does braces in their office?

An Orthodontist is a person who has 2-3 years of additional training in a graduate residency program at an accredited university. This is in addition to the training received in dental school. During these additional years they specialize in orthodontic treatment and dentofacial orthopedics and are instructed by other Orthodontists. Most residents are also required to achieve a Master of Science degree as a part of the requirements.

How do I know if someone is an Orthodontist and has a specialty degree?

Most Orthodontists are members of the American Association of Orthodontists and will be happy to share their training qualifications with you. General dentists can legally perform orthodontic treatment in their practice, but they are not allowed to advertise as a specialist or claim to be an Orthodontist.

How long do I have to wear my retainers?

This depends upon the case and the degree of tooth movement needed to address the problem, but as a general rule most patients are actively checked for a period of at least one year following completion of treatment. Your Orthodontist may advise continued wear of retainers on a part time basis to maintain alignment.

Will I need permanent teeth removed before I can have braces?

Tooth removal may be required in some cases to address severe crowding and provide a more stable final result. The trend in orthodontics has been to treat more cases without the extraction of permanent teeth, but we still have to consider it as the best option for some patients. Treatment plans are customized for each patient and a number of factors determine if permanent teeth need to be removed prior to start of treatment.

Are there any risks to orthodontic treatment?

Fortunately the risks are very minimal if the treatment is done correctly. However, there is always the potential for root blunting, gingival recession, decay and decalcification. Your Orthodontist is trained to properly diagnose and treat in ways that minimize most risks, but patients also have a responsibility to follow instructions especially regarding care of the appliances. Unwanted decay and decalcification are usually the result of poor dental hygiene and diet during treatment.

Should I continue to see my general dentist during orthodontic treatment?

Yes. It is recommended that you continue regular dental checkups and cleanings during orthodontic correction. Most Orthodontists are willing to remove your wires prior to your dental checkup and replace them following your appointment with your dentist.

Do I have to be referred by my dentist to an Orthodontist before I can be evaluated?

No. Most patients are referred to the Orthodontist but it is not a requirement. You may make an appointment on your own for an initial evaluation if you are interested in treatment.

What are some of the long term benefits of orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment can not only enhance a person's appearance but may also lead to improved confidence and self-esteem. Correctly aligned teeth improve overall oral health and reduce the incidence of tooth decay, gum disease, and premature tooth wear.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

Phase I treatment may begin as early as age 8-9 and usually involves partial braces to create space for developing and erupting teeth, correction of crossbites, underbites, overbites and harmful habits. Only some children will require a Phase I treatment. Performing Phase I treatment can minimize future treatment needs but often times the patient will need further treatment or Phase II to complete the case.

Phase II treatment involves full braces, which allow for complete control of all teeth. It allows the Orthodontist to bodily move, tip, and torque the teeth into a more ideal location. Final long term retention is a component of Phase II treatment and a very important aspect of the total treatment process.

What alternatives do I have to metal braces?

Orthodontics is constantly improving the appliances and techniques used to straighten teeth. In addition to stainless steel braces that most patients select, we also have ceramic or tooth-colored braces and a number of colored elastic ties to choose from. There are also new techniques that use clear appliances rather than braces to align the teeth, such as Invisalign. Your Orthodontist will offer the appropriate types of appliances for your treatment needs and then you can select what would work best for you.