Answers To Common Questions

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Orthodontic FAQs

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  1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist? Do I need a referral from my family dentist?
  2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening? How early should I begin orthodontic treatments?
  3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
  4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
  5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
  6. What will I learn from the initial examination?
  7. Will I need to have teeth pulled for braces?
  8. How long will it take to complete treatment? How long does treatment take? How long do you have to wear braces?
  9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available?
  10. How often will I have appointments?
  11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
  12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
  13. Do braces hurt?
  14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
  15. Do you give shots?
  16. Do you use recycled braces?
  17. Can I still play sports?
  18. Do I need to see my dentist while in braces?
  19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
  20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
  21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
  22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
  23. What is early (Phase I) Treatment?
  24. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase I treatment?
  25. Will my child need an expander?
  26. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
  27. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and/or am missing teeth?
  28. What is slenderizing of the teeth, and is it safe?
  29. Why should I choose an orthodontist?

1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, but many take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children have their first orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth have erupted in most children, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
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.

4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
Simply call our office, and the staff will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, we will ask for some basic information from you. Please have your dental insurance information handy.

5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
As a new patient, we want your first visit to be fun as well as informative. The initial consultation consists of a thorough, yet relaxing examination and a discussion of potential treatment options. The initial consultation is a complimentary visit, and no charges are rendered to you or your insurance until any treatment actually begins.

Please see our First Visit page for more detailed information.

6. What will I learn from the initial examination?
Our goal for the initial exam is for you to leave feeling confident and well-informed about the treatment we are recommending. We will cover essential questions, such as:

  • 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?

We encourage you to ask questions. We realize orthodontics is an investment of your time and money, and we hope to make it the best experience possible for your family.

7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. Because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment. Dr. Yue takes a very conservative approach to extractions and only recommends them if they are absolutely necessary.

8. How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem, as well as their cooperation. In general, treatment times for Phase I, or early treatment, range from 10 to 12 months, and treatment times for Full Treatment range from 16 to 22 months.

9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you and know what type of treatment you need. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial consultation. We offer several financing options to accommodate your needs. We also review your insurance policy prior to your visit (as long as you provided the information when you called to schedule the appointment) and familiar ourselves with your benefits. Our staff will help to maximize your benefit and file your claims for you.

10. How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in active treatment need to be seen every six to 10 weeks, depending on the appliances and what we are trying to accomplish at a particular point in treatment. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to schedule every appointment during after-school hours. We understand how difficult it can be to find a convenient time to come to orthodontic appointments, and we do everything we can to be flexible and to meet the demands of each patient's schedule. Because most appointments are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks in advance, we ask that you schedule your next appointment while at your current visit in order to get the best possible appointment times. Last-minute or emergency appointments may not have optimal times available. Please note that when other priorities (i.e., sports, music, vacations, etc.) require we schedule a later date than what Dr. Yue requested, it may delay your treatment time.

12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
Yes. We understand you are busy, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. We do ask that you come in to the office when you return in order to speak with the staff member who worked on your child and to schedule his or her next appointment time.

13. Do braces hurt?
Braces do not "hurt" in the traditional sense. After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days, similar to how your muscles feel after a strenuous workout. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol ease discomfort. After most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all!

14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

15. Do you give shots?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

16. Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

17. Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend patients wear a mouth guard when playing most sports. The typical "boil and bite" mouth guards are appropriate for patients with braces. If necessary your dentist can provide a specialized mouth guard that properly protects your appliances.

18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Dr. Yue recommends patients have cleanings every 3 months while in braces.

19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, we provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Hard, sticky and sugary foods are the worst for your appliances. Some foods to avoid include: regular gum (sugar-free is okay), ice, hard candy, popcorn, sodas and sugary drinks. Most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces can be avoided by carefully following our instructions.

Please see our Foods to Avoid page for more detailed information.

20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day — after each meal and before going to bed. We show each patient how to properly brush and floss their teeth with braces.

Please see our Oral Hygiene page for more detailed information.

21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something is loose or broken, please call our office. In some cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will do our best to find an appointment time for you that day. Please understand that an emergency appointment time may not be available during your ideal time, but we will do our best to accommodate you.

22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention, or Phase I treatment. However, Dr. Yue takes a very conservative approach to early orthodontic treatment and only recommends it if he thinks the long-term benefits of treatment outweigh the risks of delaying treatment. 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.

Please see our Early Treatment page for more detailed information.

23. What is Phase I (early) treatment?
The primary objective for Phase I treatment is to address significant skeletal and/or facial orthopedic problems and prevent them from becoming more severe. Straightening of the teeth is not the main objective, although it may be a temporary result from treatment. Since many of the permanent teeth have not yet come in, there is no guarantee that any straightening done during Phase I will be retained. Full braces are typically worn once all of the permanent teeth have erupted in order to cosmetically straighten all of the teeth. Dr. Yue takes a conservative approach to Phase I treatment and only recommends it for children if he feels it is absolutely necessary. Certain functional issues are best addressed at an early age and can reduce, if not eliminate entirely, the need for more invasive measures, such as surgery. To get the full benefit from Phase I treatment, it is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10 and lasts about 10 to 20 months, depending on the recommended treatment.

Please see our Early Treatment page for more detailed information.

24. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase I treatment?
It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase I treatment. The purpose of Phase I treatment is to address skeletal (functional) issues and not to straighten the teeth. Patients may have straight teeth at the end of Phase I treatment, but it is normal to experience shifting as the rest of the permanent teeth come in. The period following Phase I treatment is called the "resting period," during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored by Dr. Yue. Throughout this period, parents and patients are informed of future treatment recommendations.

Please see our Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment page for more detailed information.

25. Will my child need an expander?
At the completion of the initial exam, Dr. Yue will determine whether a patient needs an expander.

Please see our Types of Braces & Appliances page for more detailed information.

26. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
Absolutely not! A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are just as important to our adult patients. No patient is "too old" to wear braces!

Please see our Adult/Adolescent Treatment page for more detailed information.

27. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and/or am missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. In the case of missing teeth, orthodontic treatment can aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth. Implants, however, are permanent and cannot be moved with orthodontics. If you have plans for future implants or bridges, Dr. Yue can work closely with your dentist to design a treatment plan so that the teeth can be straightened prior to your dental restoration.

28. What is slenderizing of the teeth, and is it safe?
Dr. Yue may recommend enamel stripping, or "slenderizing," of the teeth to make them smaller and help alleviate crowding. The goal of slenderizing is to remove some of the outer tooth surface (enamel) and to create more space for the teeth. Slenderizing has been used by orthodontists for more than 50 years and has been shown to be safe and effective. Studies show that it neither makes teeth more susceptible to tooth decay nor does it predispose patients to gum disease. Dr. Yue takes a very conservative approach to slenderizing as to not compromise the overall health of the tooth.

29. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic treatment is individualized for each unique smile and dental situation, and orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.