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FAQ

At what age should my child have his/her first dental visit?

In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears. This usually occurs between 6 and 12 months of age, or no later than his/her first birthday.

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How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?

Have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water then your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.

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When will my child’s teeth start to erupt?

Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as 4 months, the first primary (or baby) teeth to erupt are the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors. All primary teeth usually appear by age 3, the pace and order of eruption varies from child to child. Permanent teeth appear around age 6, this process continues until approximately age 21.

Click here to view the “tooth chart”.

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What are healthy foods for my child’s teeth?

Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay.  You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth.

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How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle.  Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth.

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What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

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How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?

A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

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Are dental radiographs (X-rays) necessary?

Radiographs (X-rays) are a vital and necessary part of your child’s oral health process. Without them, some dental conditions can and will be missed. Used for more than detecting cavities, they are useful to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, or plan orthodontic treatment. It is recommended by the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentists) that X-rays be taken every 6 months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. Typically X-rays are taken once a year. Approximately every 3-5 years is recommended to have a panoramic X-ray taken.

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How much and when should we begin using toothpaste?

Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced as soon as your baby’s teeth begin to come into the mouth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. Use no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice of fluoridated toothpaste on children younger than 3 years. For children 3-6 years of age, make sure only a pea-size amount is on the brush.

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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.

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At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7.  By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

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Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

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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.

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What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam.  The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam.  Finally, if you are ready to begin treatment, we will take the necessary photographs, X-rays and models to make a proper diagnosis.

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Do I need to see my dentist while in braces?

Yes!  Regular checkups with your dentist are important while in braces. Your dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

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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.

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How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. 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.

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How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs.  Most patients in braces will be seen every 6 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

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Do braces hurt?

Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. 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! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

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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 cost and 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 and file your claims.

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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!

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Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

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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.

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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, and 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.

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Do you give shots?

No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

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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.

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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.  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.

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How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.

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Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?

It is possible 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.

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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.  In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone.  If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

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Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still 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.

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What is Phase One (early) Treatment?

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. It usually lasts about 12 months or less. 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.

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What will I learn from the initial examination?

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?
  • When is the proper time to begin treatment?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?W

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