Our office is currently closed until May 3rd due to the Marin County “Shelter in Place” order. We will keep you updated if the order is extended.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some answers to commonly asked orthodontic questions. If you can’t find the information you need below, call our office and one of our skilled and friendly receptionists will be happy to assist you.
No, you do not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule a complimentary examination themselves.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an email, or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.
Upon arriving, each patient will be asked for the new patient forms and insurance card. The doctor will then complete a thorough clinical exam. Additional information, such as X-rays or photographs, may be needed for proper diagnosis.
There are five essential questions that we will cover 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 approximate cost be?
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goals of orthodontics. Because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment. We will do our best to avoid the need for extracting any teeth.
Treatment time depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment time lasts from 8 months to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person spends in braces is approximately 18-24 months.
It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have several financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy with you to help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4 to 8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
We are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. This means you may be able to schedule your appointments before or after school depending on how far away you live and what time you start/get out of class. You will only need to come in once every 4-6 weeks, which means even if you do miss school, the time away will be minimal.
Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check-in with our Patient Manager before dropping off their child.
Generally, braces do not "hurt." After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. After most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all. We often remind our patients, "It does not have to hurt to work!"
Yes. There is no reason you cannot return to school on the same day.
No. Shots are not necessary for orthodontic treatment.
Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.
Yes! Regular check-ups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are undergoing braces treatment.
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). Some good foods can be cut up and chewed on the back teeth. You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.
Patients should brush their teeth at least three times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride mouthwash or toothpaste if necessary.
If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.
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.
Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 6-18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address problems early on to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image in children.
It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period 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 of future treatment recommendations.
At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether your child could benefit from an expander.
A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adult patients. Health, happiness, and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is "too old" to wear braces!
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.
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.