Common Orthodontic Questions

How long will treatment take?

Braces may be on between 6 months to 30 months, or in rare instances longer. This depends on the development of the dentition, the severity of the problem and the degree of tooth movement required. Missed or rescheduled appointments, lack of cooperation, not wearing elastics, or any physiological delays can greatly affect treatment time. Following all instructions and keeping appointments is you best insurance to finish treatment on time.

Is a referral from my dentist needed for an orthodontic evaluation?

Although many of our patients are referred to our office by their family dentist, it is not necessary to have a referral if you are concerned about the position of teeth or a “bad bite”. Dr. Poser’s practice continues to grow successfully through referrals from our patients and their families. The highest compliment we can receive is when patients are recommended to our office.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. All orthodontist are dentists, but only six percent of dentists are orthodontist. Admission to orthodontic programs is extremely competitive.

It takes many years to become an orthodontist and the educational requirements are demanding.

Only dentists who have successfully completed specialty training in a graduate program at a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association may call themselves orthodontists.

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion,” which means “bad bite.” The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances, such as braces, to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment, thus achieving facial balance.

What Causes Orthodontic Problems?

Most malocclusions are inherited, and some are acquired. Inherited problems include crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra teeth, congenitally missing teeth and a wide range of discrepancies involving the jaws, teeth and face. Acquired problems can be caused by trauma, thumb or finger sucking, airway obstruction by tonsils and adenoids, dental diseases and premature loss of baby or adult teeth. Many of these problems affect not only alignment of the teeth but facial development and appearance as well.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment?

It is usually difficult for you to determine whether treatment is necessary because many problems can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Also, some problems that look intimidating and complex will resolve on their own. Your general dentist is a good reference, but we are your best resource because orthodontics is all we do. Our initial exam is comprehensive and informative, and we would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.

Our initial exam is comprehensive, informative and complimentary. We would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.

What are the Early Signs of Orthodontic Problems?

Although you may find it difficult to determine whether treatment is necessary, the following signs can help in prompting you to seek orthodontic advice: crowded or overlapping teeth; gaps between the teeth; poor alignment of front top teeth with bottom teeth; top front teeth that do not meet with the bottom teeth; and top front teeth that cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth. If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, your child may have a skeletal problem that could require early orthodontic treatment.

At What Age Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child be evaluated by age 7. An orthodontic screening no later than this enables the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems that exist, advise the parent on whether treatment will be necessary, and determine the best time for any treatment. Early detection of orthodontic problems is important so that early corrective action can be taken and more difficult treatment later can be avoided.

Can Adults Have Braces?

Age is not a factor in considering orthodontic treatment. Any adult in good general health with healthy gums and good bone support for the teeth is a good candidate for orthodontic treatment. About 25% of our orthodontic patients are adults, and that number is still growing!

Is Orthodontic Treatment Painful?

Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule, braces make your teeth tender and sore for a few days, but are not painful. This annoyance can be relieved with an over-the-counter analgesic. Today’s braces are more comfortable and use technology that reduces the any irritation. We use the latest in biocompatible braces, the advanced technique with light force and the highest quality orthodontic materials in order to reduce discomfort and treatment time.

What is the Difference between Extraction and Non-Extraction Therapies?

Each treatment is a way to address crowding of the teeth. Extraction therapy is a technique in which one or more teeth are removed to make room for the other teeth in the mouth. This is in contrast to non-extraction therapy, in which the patient’s jaw is expanded and/or the shape and size of some teeth are adjusted to make them fit within the jaw. Our office’s treatment philosophy is very conservative, and we do make every effort to avoid extraction. However, for severe crowding and severe jaw discrepancy, extraction may be required.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial consultation?

Simply call our office! We will be happy to schedule your appointment. Our scheduling coordinator will request some basic information from you. We will then mail to you a welcome packet including all of the information needed for your initial appointment.

At what age should I schedule an appointment for an initial consultation for my child?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening by the age of seven or earlier if a problem is detected by the parents, family dentist, or pediatrician. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic needs.

What will I learn from the initial evaluation?

There are four essential questions that Dr. Poser will answer during the consultation:

  • Is there an orthodontic concern, and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

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.

Will I need to have permanent teeth extracted for braces?

Dr. Poser uses the latest orthodontic technology: The Damon System, which greatly reduces the need for extraction of permanent teeth.

Do braces hurt?

Generally braces do not "hurt" but they do feel foreign at first and take about a week to get used to. Dr. Poser utilizes the latest orthodontic technology: The Damon System, which straightens teeth with less discomfort. After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days and an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol (acetaminophen)will provide relief.

How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

Orthodontic fees depend on the complexity of the correction. We will explain the exact cost and financial options during the initial consultation. We have financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review each of these with you. We will also review your insurance information, help to maximize your benefit and we will file your claims for you.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Dr. Poser utilizes the latest orthodontic technology: The Damon System, which requires less frequent visits. Most patients are seen every 6 to 10 weeks.

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 6 to 10 weeks apart, patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatment. 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 the receptionist upon their return to the office.

Can I still play sports?

Yes, but we do recommend the wearing of a mouth guard for all contact sports. We have special mouth guards for our patients to protect your teeth, braces and jaw joints. Just ask and we will be happy to fit you with a mouth guard.

Do I continue to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes! We recommend seeing your family dentist at least every 6 months for a thorough cleaning and examination while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes, once your treatment begins we will provide you with complete diet instructions and a list of foods to avoid. These include the chewy, crunchy, and sticky items such as ice, hard candy, caramel, nuts, taffy, etc. that can distort of break your braces. You can avoid extra repair appointments and reduce your time in braces by carefully following these instructions.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Excellent oral hygiene is a must with braces. Patients should thoroughly brush at least 2-3 times each day; after each meal, if possible, and before going to bed. Once your treatment begins, we will provide toothbrushes, flossing aids, toothpaste and mouth rinses to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile.

Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. All orthodontists are dentists, but only about six percent of dentists are orthodontists. Admission to an orthodontic postgraduate program is extremely competitive and selective.

It takes many years to become an orthodontist and the educational requirements are demanding.

An orthodontist must complete college requirements before starting a four year graduate program at a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). After dental school, at least two or three academic years of advanced specialty education in an ADA-accredited orthodontic program are required to be an orthodontist. The program includes advanced education in biomedical, behavioral and basic sciences. The orthodontic student learns the complex skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).

Only dentists who have successfully completed these advanced specialty education programs may call themselves orthodontists.

Is Orthodontic Care Expensive?

When orthodontic treatment is implemented at the proper time, treatment is often less costly than the dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop years later. Orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products. Financing is usually available, and our office offers many payment programs that will meet your needs. In addition, many insurance plans now include orthodontics.