FAQ - Common Questions

 

What are the signs or symptoms of orthodontic problems?

Although it may be difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary, the following may help in prompting you to seek our orthodontic advice.

Take a look at your (or your child's) teeth. If you see any signs of crooked teeth, gaps between the teeth or overlapping teeth, orthodontic treatment may be necessary. Bite all the way down, but keep your lips open so you can see the teeth. Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? All these are indicators for potential orthodontic treatment. Look at your jaw alignment. Does the jaw shift off center during biting down? If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, it suggests a skeletal or jaw bone problem, which requires early orthodontic intervention. These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.


What is Phase I (Early Interceptive Treatment)
and Phase II treatment?

Phase I or Early Interceptive Treatment usually starts while the child has most of their baby teeth with few of their permanent teeth. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept a moderate or severe orthodontic problems early in order to reduce or eliminate them. These problems include jaw bone problems, cross bites and developing crowding. This phase does not use full braces as braces are never put on baby teeth. Generally we use expanders, removable appliances, herbst appliance (instead of headgear) and retainers during this phase. These treatment approaches takes advantage of the active growth to change the jaw bone structure to either make extra room or address jaw bone discrepancies. This helps reduce the need for extractions or jaw surgery and delivers better long term results and treatment options. Most Phase I patients require a Phase II treatment in order to achieve an ideal bite.

Phase II treatment involves use of full braces with a goal to finish the occlusion or bite ideally. It usually occurs when all permanent teeth are present. Many a times there is gap of some time between Phase I and start of Phase II treatment. This phase most commonly occurs around the age of 12 or 13 years.


At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends you have your child evaluated by an orthodontist by age seven. Read more about early orthodontic treatment.


Can you be too old for braces?
No, age is not a factor. No patient is too old to wear braces! As long as the gums and bone which support your teeth are healthy anyone can get orthodontic treatment at any age. Call us today with your braces questions! Read more about adult braces.


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, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.


Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
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.


Will my child need an expander?
During the initial examination, Dr. DuClos will determine whether a patient will need an expander.


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. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.


Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is an important time during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.


Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth or crowns?

Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth may drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, esthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems from happening and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth. During the initial exam Dr. DuClos will evaluate and recommend the proper treatment plan.


Will orthodontic treatment hurt?
As a rule, braces cause little discomfort initially. The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth. Teeth may also get a little sore a day after every adjustment appointment but they should not be painful. This annoyance can be relieved easily with over-the-counter pain relievers, if needed. Most of our patients do not need to take any pain relievers.


What is full or comprehensive orthodontic Treatment?
This is another name for orthodontic treatment in the permanent dentition at any age.


How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.


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.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.


How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment simply call our office.  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. You can also print out the initial Exam form, fill out at your convenience and bring to your appointment.


What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
To read all about your first visit, read Your First Visit page.


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. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.


How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4 to 6 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.


Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.


Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
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 their patient manager before dropping off their child.


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


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


Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity.  Just let Dr. DuClos know what type of sport you are playing and he will make sure you have the proper mouthgard you need.


Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.


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.


Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.


Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged brackets  by carefully following our instructions.


How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should maintain good oral hygiene being sure to brush their teeth after each meal, in the morning and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to properly brush and floss their teeth with braces and or appliances. Read more.


What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office right away. In most cases, we can address common issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you. Read more.


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 specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.