Frequently Asked Questions
For many of our patients, this is their first experience with orthodontics, so we know that you may have questions. Here we have compiled and answered the most frequently asked questions so that you can feel informed.
Are you a board-certified orthodontic specialist?
“Board certified” means that your Orthodontist has achieved certification from the American Board of Orthodontics by demonstrating skill and knowledge in the specialty field of Orthodontics through clinical and written exams.
If an orthodontist is not board-certified, you should make sure that he or she is at least board-eligible. This means that the necessary courses have been completed, but the subsequent orthodontic testing has not.
“Orthodontic Specialist” means that your doctor has completed all of the necessary education to receive a Master of Orthodontics after graduating from dental school. While General Dentists can provide orthodontic services, it is important to know the difference between an Orthodontic Specialist and a Dentist.
Orthodontic treatment is a long-term endeavor, so making sure your doctor is completely skilled and experienced in all manners of orthodontics will set your mind at ease from the beginning.
What types of dental braces do you offer and recommend for my orthodontic needs?
Braces come in several different styles and serve a range of functions. A skilled orthodontist can tell you the pros and cons of each type of treatment option for your unique dental circumstances.
Remember that not all orthodontic options are appropriate for every patient. During your consultation, you can ask your orthodontist what they recommend and why, then use that information to help you make the best decision for your needs and budget.
At Haney Orthodontics, we offer traditional metal braces, Invisalign® clear aligners, clear ceramic braces, and more.
How long does my child need to wear braces?
Braces may be worn from as little as 6 months to over 2 years. The length of orthodontic treatment will vary depending on several factors:
- The complexity of your orthodontic issue
- Type of orthodontic treatment you choose
- Patient compliance
- Patient growth
- Adult teeth eruption
- Unexpected or repeated damage to the orthodontic appliance
Your orthodontist can give you an educated estimate of the length of your treatment after conducting an oral evaluation. In addition, some orthodontic treatments depend on jaw growth and position which can be unpredictable.
How often will we need to visit the orthodontist during treatment?
Typically, orthodontic patients are seen every 4-8 weeks during active treatment, which means that the appliances used are actively moving teeth the entire time they are in the mouth. Some dental appliances need more monitoring or cleaning than others, so how frequently you need to be seen by the orthodontist will largely depend on the type of treatment and appliance you have.
Your orthodontist can give you a fairly accurate estimate of how often you will need to schedule appointments, however, you should remember that making adjustments is part of a good orthodontic plan.
With the Dental Monitoring app, Invisalign® treatment can be tracked remotely, cutting down visits to the clinic. You can find out more about Dental Monitoring here.
Will there be any restrictions on activities or food while wearing braces?
Patients with braces have no limitations on what kind of activities or sports in which they can do during treatment. Your orthodontist will likely recommend a mouth guard for sports involving more potential contact, such as football, wrestling, soccer, or basketball. You should consult your doctor if you are concerned about a particular activity. Your orthodontist can recommend the best mouthguard for you or your child, as well as make a custom mouthguard if you prefer.
Most braces will require some food avoidance, such as sticky and gooey foods or hard foods that can damage or break your braces. Your orthodontist will supply you with a list of items that should not be eaten (or should be cut into small pieces) while wearing braces, as well as suggest some enjoyable alternatives to the food that are temporarily off-limits.
You can find more information on food avoidance here.
How will dental hygiene habits need to change while wearing braces?
Wearing braces can make it more difficult to effectively keep your teeth clean and free from plaque and food debris. Diligently brushing under the wire of your braces will remove bacteria and any food that may be stuck. You must pay special attention to keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces to avoid decalcification (loss of calcium due to plaque accumulation, appearing as white spots on teeth).
A dental floss threader and a special brush called a proxabrush can also be used to clean between the teeth and behind the archwire. Your orthodontist will provide you with all the information you need to properly care for your teeth whilst wearing braces, as well as give you some supplies you may need, such as orthodontic wax, floss threaders, and a proxabrush.
Following your doctor’s instructions on caring for your orthodontic appliance will help you keep your smile healthy.
For more information on how to maintain your oral hygiene, click here.
Will teeth need to be extracted before getting braces?
Typically, there is no need to extract teeth before fitting braces, however, sometimes permanent teeth need to be extracted to create room for the teeth to be properly aligned.
Extraction may be recommended if the patient has severe overcrowding of teeth or if his or her jaw is too small to accommodate the teeth that have already erupted.
In other cases, primary teeth may need to be extracted to help a permanent tooth erupt properly.
What happens if the dental appliance breaks or gets lost?
Loose brackets or wires are mildly common during orthodontic treatment. If this should happen, you should contact us as soon as possible so that we can schedule an appointment to repair it as quickly as possible.
Your orthodontist can give you instructions on what to do about a bothersome wire until it can be fixed, as well as what to do in case of an orthodontic emergency. We also have some short video guides below which you may find helpful.
If your appliance (such as a retainer) gets lost, your orthodontist can make you a replacement, however, it can be costly. Make sure that your child understands the importance of treating his or her appliance with care and keeping removable appliances in case when not in use.
Will I need a retainer when my braces are removed?
Your orthodontic treatment plan is not over just because your braces are removed. Most treatment plans require a retainer once the dental braces come off. Teeth need to settle into their new positions and are most susceptible to moving out of alignment right after the braces are taken off.
Retention visits will be scheduled for your orthodontist to make sure your teeth stay in place. These visits will eventually be spread out over longer periods but, until then, you should continue with follow-up visits and treatment to maintain the alignment you invested so much time in.
To find out more about retainers, click here.
How much will my treatment cost?
The cost of dental braces usually ranges from $3,000 – $10,000, depending on the type of braces worn and the extent of treatment. We offer payment plans to help make your chosen treatment affordable. If you have dental insurance, make sure that the orthodontist accepts your plan and find out from your insurance company how much your portion will be.
Being prepared before treatment starts will help make the process go smoothly. Also make sure that the price quoted for braces includes:
- All follow-up visits
You can discuss costs and finance plans further with our Treatment Coordinator at your free initial consultation.Book a free consultation