What do orthodontists do?
Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose and treat problems with the position, alignment or spacing of the teeth, and related irregularities in the face and the jaw. We use a number of special treatments, including braces and other oral appliances, to correct these problems.
Why should I (or my loved ones) get orthodontic treatment?
There are two good reasons: function and aesthetics. Orthodontic treatment allows your teeth, joints, muscles, and jaw to function better, making for an overall healthier bite and clear breathing airways, which leads to a healthier body. As for aesthetics, having an attractive smile not only changes the way people see you — it enhances your own self-image and provides a significant boost in self-confidence.
When should orthodontic treatment be started?
You're never too old to begin orthodontic treatment — but if you start at an earlier age, your problems may be easier to treat. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child who may need orthodontic treatment should come in for a first visit around age 7.
How can I recognize a potential bite problem?
Teeth that are protruding, crowded together or erupting out of position are clear indications that treatment is needed (View Examples). Less obvious signs are mouth breathing, frequent biting of the cheek or palate, speech difficulties, and thumb sucking that goes past 3-4 years of age. If teeth don't meet properly when the mouth closes, or if jaws make sounds or shift as they move, this may also indicate an orthodontic problem.
Does getting braces hurt? What about wearing them?
Having braces put on is generally painless. Some people experience minor aches and pains in the first couple of days or so, as they adjust to wearing their appliances; periodic adjustments may sometimes cause soreness as well, though it typically lasts only a short time. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to alleviate any discomfort, but are usually unnecessary.
How long will treatment take?
It's different for each person, but generally the active stage of treatment (that is, wearing braces or other appliances) may take from 6-30 months. After that, a retainer is worn continuously for at least several months more.
How often will I come in for an appointment?
It depends on what's being done, and how often you need to be monitored. During active treatment, you'll typically come in to our office once every 4 to 10 weeks.
Will I need to have any teeth extracted?
If your teeth are severely crowded (because your mouth is too small to properly accommodate all of them) — or if you have impacted teeth (teeth that are trapped beneath the gum line by other teeth) — then extraction may be necessary. In the case of younger patients, early treatment may make extraction unnecessary.
Will I have to watch what I eat?
Yes — you should pass up the types of foods that could damage or become trapped in your braces. Some of these include raw vegetables, hard candy, caramel, taffy and ice cubes (fortunately, ice cream is OK). We will give you a list of foods to avoid.
Will I be able to lay sports/ play my instrument?
In a word: Yes. Of course, whether you wear braces or not, we recommend you wear a mouthguard when playing most sports. Musicians are generally able to play their instruments just as they did before, but they may need a short adjustment period after getting braces.
Do I still need to see my regular dentist while I'm getting orthodontic treatment?
You do — in fact, it's more important than ever! Keeping teeth free of plaque (and potentially, decay) can be challenging when you're wearing braces. Your dentist can help you avoid these problems with frequent cleanings and exams.
Will I wear a retainer when my braces come off?
Almost always, the answer is yes: If you don't wear a retainer, your teeth can rapidly shift out of position — and then all the effort put into your treatment is lost! Your retainer helps you maintain that good-looking smile for a lifetime.
Is orthodontic care very expensive?
Orthodontic care is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. Yet its cost hasn't increased as fast as many other consumer prices, and many financing options are available that make orthodontic care affordable. Weighed against the true cost of living with problem teeth, however, orthodontic treatment can be a wise investment indeed.
What if my appliances become loose during treatment?
Loose appliances are a part of orthodontic treatment. Appliances that can become loose during your treatment include bands and brackets. We understand that accidents happen and the average patient will loosen one to two brackets or bands during the course of his or her treatment. We understand and do not get upset about it. However, we do want you to know that the first two (2) loose metal brackets or bands are on us but if you loosen more than three during the course of treatment, there is a charge of $100 for each additional loose bracket or band. If you have ceramic brackets, you are allowed only one. For more information on our loose band and bracket policy, read here.
Please try really hard to be kind to your braces.
What if I miss a scheduled appointment?
We understand that our office is not the only stop on your list of important places to be in a day, and we'll do our best to honor your schedule. Our regular office hours are Monday - Thursday from 8:30am until 5:00pm. Because we take measures to respect your time, we ask that you do the same for us and our other patients. Due to the nature of our practice, many appointments are more than an hour long, and if cancelled at the last minute are difficult to fill.
Please give at least 48-hours notice if you need to reschedule an appointment. This allows us time to fill that space with another patient. We understand that last-minute illnesses or emergencies occur, and we respond in kind if you need to cancel an appointment. However, generally, if you miss an appointment or provide less than 48-hours notice, there will be a minimum broken appointment charge ranging from $50 to $125, depending on the length of the appointment. For more information on our appointment policy, read here.
Will my insurance cover orthodontic expenses?
Chira Orthodontics is not affiliated with any dental or medical insurance provider. If you have orthodontic benefits, we will provide you with a claim form that you can submit to your dental insurance company. The insurance company will reimburse you if a benefit is due to you according to your policy. If you have an orthodontic benefit with a dental insurance company or any other provider, we strongly encourage you to become aware of your specific benefits by contacting your insurance carrier.
You as the patient or parent, are ultimately responsible for any fees incurred at our practice. We are happy to work with you to maximize your orthodontic benefit and can provide you with a statement of services rendered. Please be aware that most insurance companies do not cover the initial exam or diagnostic records, so payment of these services are your responsibility. We accept cash, check and Visa and MasterCard. For more information on our insurance policy, read here.