Common Questions 

Top Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions

10. At what age should a child see an orthodontist? The American Board of Orthodontists recommends that children be seen as early as age 7 to help identify developing problems and to help plan for future treatment needs.  However, if you or your family dentist suspects an orthodontic problem before age 7, an orthodontist should be contacted immediately for an examination.  Certain early treatments can be initiated at this time and other patients are best maintained on an "observation" program.  Each problem needs to be managed on an individual basis.  The objective should be to determine the best time to treat. based on maintaining maximum results, with as minimal time in orthodontic appliances as possible.
9.  Do all patients need orthodontic treatment when they are first seen by an orthodontist? The timing of orthodontic treatment is highly variable and depends on the skeletal, dental and physiological maturation level of the individual patient.  While early Phase I treatments are indicated for certain problems, all patients seen early do not necessarily benefit from an early phase.  In some cases it would be better to treat in one phase at a later age.  These patients would be closely supervised on an observation program until the optimum time to start treatment.
8.  I'm interested in getting braces, but I'm self-conscious
about flashing a "tin-grin" every time I smile.  Is there
an alternative to metal braces?
Patients no longer need to be self-conscious about wearing braces.  The "next-to-invisible" esthetic braces are here!  These "clear" ceramic braces are esthetically appealing and are popular with orthodontic patients of all ages.  They are equal to metal braces in efficiency with a pleasant, esthetic "look" that many patients of all ages desire.  It can make orthodontic therapy more "socially acceptable."
7.  What takes place at the first orthodontic appointment? There are usually several visits involved prior to the beginning of active orthodontic treatment.  At the initial examination visit, the orthodontist will determine if the patient can benefit from orthodontics and give the estimated treatment time and treatment fee.  If treatment is indicated, diagnostic records are taken so the orthodontist can develop the appropriate treatment plan to correct the individual orthodontic problem.  The last step is a conference appointment at which time the treatment plan is reviewed with the family.
6.  Is orthodontic care expensive? The cost of treatment depends on the type and length of treatment an individual needs.  On average, comprehensive orthodontic therapy costs $5000-$6500.  These are routine 18-30 month treatment times.  Also, limited and shorter treatment plans have much reduced fees.  Remember orthodontics plays an important role in improving overall oral health, thus reducing future health care costs.  The benefits of orthodontic treatment extend well beyond having a more attractive smile!
5.  Do I have to pay for orthodontic care all at once? An affordable individualized financial arrangement can be established to help meet an individual's financial needs.  Many insurance plans also provide some coverage to help offset the cost of orthodontic treatment.  It is our objective to make orthodontic fees fit into our families' budget.  Costs are quite reasonable to help obtain a "million dollar" smile.
4.  Should I continue to see my family dentist during
orthodontic treatment?
Definitely!  Regular dental check-ups are encouraged to prevent or detect dental decay and to monitor the health of the supporting structures.  We will do our best to work closely with general dental and specialty practices throughout orthodontic therapy.  We believe in the "TEAM" approach
3.  What is expansion therapy or do all patients need expanders? Expansion treatment is quite an old concept in orthodontics.  In
general, we can widen the upper arch easily  with many types of
expansion appliances and it will be stable.  This is primarily indicated when crossbites exist and is indeed excellent treatment.  However, when there are no crossbites, the benefits of expansion therapy is limited and has not been scientifically proven to be beneficial for all patients.
2.  How long are retainers worn?




The length of time retainers must be worn varies widely and depends upon many factors.  Generally, upper and/or lower retainer(s) (removable or fixed as determined best for the patient's needs) will be required to hold the teeth in their new positions.  On the average, retainer(s) will be worn for approximately 2 years with a minimal number of appointments.
In general, for the most stable result, we should consider "lifetime" retention.

1.  Should wisdom teeth be extracted? A number of studies have been done regarding the relationship between wisdom teeth and dental crowding after orthodontics.  Overall, there are no studies that have actually shown wisdom teeth as a direct cause of post-orthodontic relapse.  While wisdom teeth do need to be extracted for multiple other reasons, we can not scientifically say that impacted wisdom teeth will result in orthodontic relapse.