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FAQs

1. Is there a charge for an orthodontic evaluation?

There is no charge for an orthodontic evaluation at our office. Our doctors will do a thorough examination, educate you about the orthodontic problems, and offer you available treatment options.

2. Do I need to see my general dentist while I'm having orthodontic treatment?

All patients should continue to see their general dentists during orthodontic treatment at least every 6 months for cleanings and dental examinations or for any other restorative work that needs to be done.

3. How is an orthodontist different from a general dentist?

Orthodontists specialize in the treatment of orthodontic problems of children, teens, and adults. As orthodontic specialists, we devoted additional years of study to orthodontics after dental school. We are dedicated to helping your teeth and jaws work in unison so that you can speak, bite and chew comfortably and effectively. As an orthodontist, we limit our practice to this specialty and have in-depth experience in orthodontic care. We use our knowledge and skills to help you get the best results possible.

4. When should I bring my child for his/her first orthodontic evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an examination by an orthodontist at the age of 7 to ensure problems are diagnosed early and opportunities to limit the severity of later problems are not missed as the permanent teeth and jaws develop.

5. Am I too old to have orthodontic treatment?

It’s never too late to improve your smile! In the absence of gum disease, we are able to safely move teeth at any age. We specialize in complicated adult cases that require exceptional communication between various dental specialists. We offer clear braces and clear Invisalign aligners to minimize the visibility of the appliances during treatment. We would love to help you achieve the healthy, beautiful smile that you have always wished for.

6. Will I be able to afford treatment?

Given the time and number of visits required to treat a complicated orthodontic problem and follow a patient while in retainers, orthodontic treatment remains one of the best values in dentistry and medicine. Once your treatment options are determined, our staff will be happy to discuss payment plans that include no interest in-office financing and third party financing options without a down payment and extended payment schedules.

7. Do you accept patients who have Medicaid?

We accept Medicaid patients who have been referred to our office by their dentist. At the evaluation appointment, we will take diagnostic records to submit for approval of treatment.

8. What is 3D imaging and how does it help?

We are proud to have installed the area’s first dental conebeam (CBCT) scanner. This amazing imaging allows our doctors to view every structure in the head and neck region in detailed three dimensions. This information is invaluable in the assessment and treatment planning of orthodontic problems. We are committed to providing the highest level of care and technology available in orthodontics today.

9. What are Damon braces and why are they special?

Orthodontic treatment with conventional braces often requires removal of permanent teeth and/or the use of palatal expanders to make space for crowded teeth. Damon smiles are full, natural smiles achieved with light forces, and are specifically designed to improve the overall facial result of each patient.  Because of the advanced technology in the brackets and wires, visits can be spaced farther apart meaning fewer visits over the course of treatment and shorter treatment time.  Damon braces have a unique sliding gate mechanism that holds the wire in place and allows us to use far lighter forces to move teeth to their correct positions. So not only is your treatment shorter, studies have shown that moving teeth with Damon braces is more comfortable than with conventional braces.

10. What is Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign treatment uses a custom-made series of aligners created just for you to move your teeth.  These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements the doctor planned for your treatment. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks until your treatment is complete. The best part about the process is that most people won’t even know you’re straightening your teeth.  We are an Invisalign Premiere Provider.

11. What is the AcceleDent device and how can it make my treatment go faster?

AcceleDent is a simple-to-use, hands-free device designed for faster orthodontic treatment with only 20 minutes daily use. By inserting the mouthpiece – fitted around your existing braces or Invisalign aligners – and turning on the activator for 20 minutes every day, AcceleDent speeds up tooth movement.  Through gentle micropulses, bone remodeling is accelerated, allowing teeth to move up to 50% faster. The micropulses also make tooth movement more comfortable.

12. What is two Phase Treatment ?

Two phase orthodontic treatment begins at an early age to intercept a problem before it gets out of hand. The idea is to shift teeth, manipulate growth, create space for unerupted teeth, break habits, and prevent trauma before it is too late. Children between the ages of 7 and 10 are best suited for this treatment. Phase I treatment usually lasts 6 to 12 months after which the child is monitored and a decision as to the need for a second phase is made. Most children will require a second phase of treatment when most of their permanent teeth erupt in order to create a completely stable, functional, and aesthetic result.

13. Will it hurt?

When braces are placed, it typically takes about a week for the lips and tongue to adjust to rubbing against the braces and wires. The soreness of the teeth usually lasts 2-3 days after the braces are placed or an adjustment is done. We recommend that patients take ibuprofen or Tylenol to alleviate soreness.

14. How frequently will I need to come to appointments when I am in treatment?

Any type of orthodontic treatment will require regular visits to monitor progress and make adjustments. Depending on the types of appliances used, your visits may be spaced anywhere from 3 to 10 weeks apart. Retention of the final result is an important part of any orthodontic treatment. Retainers will be fabricated and monitored to ensure a lifelong beautiful smile.

15. What should I do if I have an orthodontic emergency?

  • Poking Wire: try to push the poking wire down with a spoon or pencil eraser.  You may also clip the wire yourself with wire clippers or cuticle clippers that you may have at home.  Remember to clean the clippers with alcohol before putting them in your mouth.
  • Loose Wire:  Try to place the wire back in place with tweezers.  (If you have Damon braces, the gate on the bracket may have come open.  After the wire is in the bracket, slide the gate up to close it.) If you are not able to get the wire back in the bracket and it is uncomfortable, place wax on it or clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened.  Use wire clippers or cuticle clippers that you may have at home.  Remember to clean the clippers with alcohol before putting them in your mouth.  Call to schedule an appointment if the wire is not in the brackets
  • Loose Band or Bracket:  If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it in place.  If it is uncomfortable, place wax on it.  If it comes off completely, put the brace or bracket in a baggie and bring it to your next appointment.  Call to schedule a rebond appointment.
  • Elastic Hook (Rubberband Hook) Broken: Call for an appointment
  • Loose Appliance: Call for an appointment
  • Soreness: use warm salt water rinses and/or Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

If you have an after hours emergency that you cannot handle on your own, please call our office at 434-385-4499. Select the emergency option to leave a message for one of the doctors. The doctor will immediately be alerted and will return your call.

16. What foods should I avoid with braces?

Patients with braces or other orthodontic appliances should avoid the following foods which may cause damage:

  • No sticky foods such as caramels, caramel apples, toffee, Starbursts, Sugar Daddies, Sugar Babies, Tootsie Rolls, Now & Laters
  • No hard foods such as apples or carrots (unless they are cut into small pieces), nuts, popcorn, hard candy, corn on the cob, bagels, pizza crusts, jerky, hard pretzels, ice
  • Avoid chewing on pencils and pens and biting fingernails

17. Will I get retainers at the end of treatment?

At the end of orthodontic treatment, our patients receive retainers.  There are different types of retainers, but all of them are important to keeping orthodontic results stable for a lifetime.  The doctor will instruct you about how frequently to wear your retainers, usually every night for the first two years after orthodontic treatment.  If you break or lose your retainers, please call our office immediately.  Failure to wear retainers even for a few nights during the first 2 years after treatment may result in undesirable movement of the teeth which could necessitate re-treatment.  Over time, you will be instructed to wear the retainers less frequently.  However, you will need to continue to wear your retainers at night at least one night every week indefinitely to maintain your result.

18. How do I take care of my retainers?

Retainers are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to excessive heat, so they should be kept away from boiling water, dishwashers, heaters, car dashboards, or any place where the temperatures exceed 115 degrees.  The retainers should be cleaned before and after placement in the mouth.  Gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush and toothpaste will remove plaque.  A denture cleaning solution, such as Efferdent, will aid in removal of plaque and tarter.  Use denture cleaner for 5 minutes or less to avoid damaging solder joints on wire retainers.  Be sure to rinse the retainers thoroughly after cleaning to remove any cleanser residue.