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- Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
- At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
- Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
- How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
- What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
- What will I learn from the initial examination?
- Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
- How long will it take to complete treatment?
- How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
- How often will I have appointments?
- Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
- Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
- Do braces hurt?
- Can I return to school/work the day I receive my braces?
- Do you give shots?
- Do you use recycled braces?
- Can I still play sports?
- Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
- Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
- How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
- What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
- Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
- What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
- Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
- Will my child need an expander?
- Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
- Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
- Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
It is a common misconception that a dental referral is needed prior to scheduling an orthodontic exam. While many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves. A referral is not needed prior to calling our office for an initial appointment. Back to Top
2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
Once a child’s permanent teeth begin to come in, it is a good time to get a consultation from your orthodontist.The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. While Dr. Ragan will begin treatment on most children between the ages of 11 and 15 years, there are certain types of cases that could benefit from earlier corrective action.Most early consultations just confirm that everything is on track. Back to Top
3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
The space available for teeth in the mouth does not increase with age so, unfortunately, there won’t be any opportunity for your child’s teeth to straighten. The fact is, after the molars erupt (usually in the sixth year) the space in the mouth actually gets smaller as the child grows older. So, if your child has crooked or crowded teeth, it’s best to get an orthodontic evaluation sooner rather than later. Back to Top
4. 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, send us an e-mail or fill out or appointment request form online. 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. Back to Top
5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
During your first visit you’ll have a chance to sample our warm and friendly atmosphere. Your initial appointment will consist of our records technician giving you a tour of our office, obtaining photographs of your face and teeth along with x-rays. Dr. Ragan will then complete a thorough examination and discuss potential treatment options and discuss what you can expect with braces. If treatment is recommended then our office manager will finish the appointment by discussing financial options, any available insurance benefits and will schedule any future appointments that may be required. Back to Top
6. What will I learn from the initial examination?
It is very important to us that you come away from the first visit with a clear understanding of your individual orthodontic needs, how these needs will be met, how long it will take and how much it will cost. We always want you to feel comfortable asking any questions that you may have about any part of the orthodontic treatment process.
You will have an opportunity to discover some important traits about our office:
- Caring and compassionate staff along with an energetic and personable doctor
- No wait time
- Easy scheduling process; self check-in and check-out
- Efficient treatment plans
- Affordable and flexible payment options
- Warm family atmosphere
There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:
- Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
- What must be done to correct the problem?
- Will any teeth need to be removed?
- How long will the treatment take to complete?
- How much will the treatment cost?
7. 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. Back to Top
8. How long will it take to complete treatment?
The amount of time a patient will be in orthodontic treatment depends upon the complexity of the individual case. In general, treatment time lasts from 8 months to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 months. Every case is different and treatment times can vary depending upon how the patient responds. New technology, such as the space age wires and fast braces, are decreasing the amount of time a patient will be in braces. Back to Top
9. 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 our flexible financial options during the initial examination. We have several 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 file claims on your behalf, should orthodontic benefits be available. Back to Top
10. How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs and the appliances that the patient is currently wearing. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4 to 12 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly. Back to Top
11. 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 5 to 10 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. Back to Top
12. 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 clinical technician treating their child before dropping off their child. Back to Top
13. Do braces hurt?
The honest answer is that braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious. In most cases, there may be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the brackets, which may last for a few days, however, generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days and in these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! Back to Top
14. Can I return to school/ work the day I receive my braces?
There is no reason that you or your child would need to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment. Discomfort from treatment is generally very minimal and should not interfere with your regular routine. Back to Top
15. Do you give shots?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment. Back to Top
16. Do you use recycled braces?
No! While this is done in a few offices, we feel that orthodontic brackets should only be used on a single patient. It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own specific treatment plan and appliances to achieve the best orthodontic result possible. Back to Top
17. Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports. Our office will provide a mouth guard to any patient that specifies their need or participation in a sporting event. Back to Top
18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. We will work with your family dentist to determine the amount of time needed between cleaning appointments while you are in braces. Back to Top
19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will review proper care instructions with you and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions. Back to Top
20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
It’s best to brush within five minutes after eating anything, even if you’re just snacking, and especially after a meal. Brushing away cavity-causing bacteria helps keep your teeth cavity-free. Carry a travel toothbrush in a backpack, purse or briefcase to always have on hand for brushing away from home.In general, patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day. We will demonstrate the proper way to floss and brush with your orthodontic appliances in place. Back to Top
21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. Back to Top
22. 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. Back to Top
23. What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment usually lasts about 16-21 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image. Back to Top
24. 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 called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations. Back to Top
25. Will my child need an expander?
At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.
26. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces! Back to Top
27. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth. Back to Top
28. 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. Back to Top