Orthodontist FAQs

What does it mean to be an Orthodontist?

All Orthodontists are dentists, but only about 6% of dentists are Orthodontists. The educational requirements of Orthodontic training are demanding, and they include advanced knowledge in biomedical, behavioral, and general sciences. Orthodontists must complete college requirements, graduate from dental school, and have at least two-to-three years of academic Orthdontic special training.

Why is Orthodontic treatment important?

A healthy, attractive smile is a source of confidence and emotional well-being. But often, people’s teeth, lips, and jaws don’t line up the way they should, detracting from their smiles. This is what we call “malocclusion,” which is simply another way of saying “bad bite.”

A bad bite can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss at any age. It can also contribute to abnormal wear of the tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and speaking, and excessive stress on the bone that supports the teeth and gum tissue.

Do braces hurt?

Braces do not usually cause much pain. After each appointment, teeth and gums may be slightly sore. Many patients report having no pain throughout their entire treatment! If you are in severe pain, call the office immediately.

What is the ideal age to be evaluated for Orthodontic treatment?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child should have an Orthodontic check-up no later than age seven. By this time, the teeth have developed to the point where accurate diagnosis is possible.

No matter how young your child is, if you notice early indicators of possible problems, he or she should have an orthodontic checkup right away. By checking early we can spot subtle problems with teeth or jaw growth, determine if treatment is needed, and, if so, when it should start.

No one is too old for braces. While a significant number of our patients are children and teenagers, we also serve many adults!

How long will treatment take?

Although every case is different, patients generally wear braces from one to three years. Treatment times vary with several factors, including the severity of the problem(s) being corrected, how well the patient follows the Orthodontist’s instructions for wearing appliances, and how well the patient attends to oral hygiene.

Can I have braces if I have missing teeth, fillings, crowns, or other dental work in my mouth?


Will I have to have teeth removed?

It is possible that tooth extraction will be a part of your treatment plan, but many cases do not require teeth to be removed.

How often should I brush my teeth?

You should brush your teeth and floss at least three times per day to maintain good oral hygiene. Permanent damage can occur if you do not keep your teeth clean.

Do I need to see my primary dentist while I have braces?

Absolutely! It is critical that you have regular cleanings from your dentist while you have braces.

Can I still play sports and musical instruments with braces?

Yes! You can sing and play musical instruments just as you always have, and wearing a mouth guard while playing sports will help protect your mouth. Any time that you are engaged in an activity where your face can come in contact with something hard—another player, a ball, the pavement, or any hard object—it’s a time that you should be wearing a mouth guard! Depending on the activities that you participate in, the Orthodontist can help you determine the best type of mouth guard for you.

What happens if I have an emergency (loose bracket, poking wire, etc.)?

If you are in pain, you can come in form an emergency without a appointment from 8:30-10:30 in the morning and from 1:00-2:30 in the afternoon. If you are not in pain or discomfort, it is alright to wait and come in at your regular appointment time.

How much does it cost?

Because each case is different, it is impossible to determine cost without first examining your teeth. At your initial exam we will discuss payment plans.

What happens if I lose my insurance?

If you lose your insurance, please communicate with us. We want to see you. It is dangerous to your health if you do not come in for regular appointments as hygiene can suffer. Please call us and explain your situation and we can discuss your options.

What happens after treatment is finished?

After the braces are removed, the patient often wears a retainer for some time to keep, or “retain,” the teeth in their new positions. The Orthodontist will determine how long the retainer needs to be worn.