These are some frequently asked orthodontic questions. We are here to answer your questions, so feel free to call us if you still have concerns.
How often do I come in for appointments?
The frequency of appointments depends on each patient, and what type of appliance he or she may have. Patients with braces will require an adjustment appointment every 5-8 weeks, on average. Some types of retainers only require appointments every few months. There are certain types of appointments that may only be offered at specific times of the day, but we will do our best to work with you in scheduling.
Do braces hurt?
The appointment where we put braces on your teeth does not hurt. There is no need to numb your tissue or use shots or anything uncomfortable. Our experienced team will make sure you have the best experience possible! Afterwards, you may feel tenderness or soreness when your teeth begin to move. This will be minimal discomfort and will subside within a few days or even hours of your appointment.
How much does treatment cost?
Cost of treatment varies based on the patient’s needs. There is a wide array of treatment options and combinations to be applied to each specific patient. Since the first visit to our office is free of charge, it is easy to stop in and meet our doctors and allow them to clinically examine your needs to give you an accurate price of treatment at your first visit.
Do you have payment plans?
Yes! We offer no interest payment plans and love to work with our patients to find their best options for them. When you leave your first appointment, you will have a payment options sheet so you will be best informed should you wish to continue with treatment.
Do you require a down payment?
We do not require a down payment to sign-up for treatment.
Why is a retainer needed? Do teeth move after orthodontic treatment?
The objective of a retainer is to keep your child’s teeth in perfect alignment after braces are removed. Usually, when braces are first removed, your teeth will all be in perfect alignment, but your gums, bones, etc. will not have completely shifted into their new positions. The retainer holds your teeth in position until your gums, bones etc. settle in to their new positions. Also, in the case of a child, they are still growing after the braces are removed. Sometimes, your child’s mouth will grow unevenly. If so a retainer can be used to make sure the child’s teeth stay in perfect alignment as your child grows.
What happens if my child does not use the retainer?
If your child does not wear a retainer, your child’s gums and bones will not fully settle into their new positions. Eventually, the incorrectly shaped bones will push your child’s teeth causing the teeth to move out of perfect alignment.
How long do retainers have to be worn?
Dr. Holwegner recommend that patients wear their removable retainers full time for 6 months and then at nighttime indefinitely. Fixed retainers should be worn for atleast 2 years. If the fixed retainer is removed for whatever reason, a removable retainer should be used from that point on. Teeth will always have a tendancy to shift as you age.
Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
Because orthodontic treatment often involves permanent changes to the face and teeth, it’s important that the treatment be done properly and by a licensed orthodontic specialist. They are experts at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with you to help make sure the teeth stay in their new positions. In addition, some advanced techniques such as Invisalign are only available through a specialist. Other treatment options that claim to straighten your teeth in a short period of time such as 6 months are only “straightening” your teeth and not working to improve your bite so your jaw functions correctly and your bite is placed in the correct position for chewing. Patients who only have treatment that “straightens” their teeth, run the risk of needing orthodontic treatment again which comes with additional cost and time to the patient and their families.
Do I need a referral from my family dentist to see an orthodontist?
No, you do not need to have a dentist referral. It is common for patients to be referred by their dentists, but not always. Word of mouth is a great way for us to meet new patients. So if you like us, spread the word!
Why should teeth be straightened?
Orthodontic treatment improves your smile and your health. A great smile improves your appearance, and also leads to enhanced confidence. But most importantly, straight teeth are healthy teeth. Poorly arranged teeth can break easily and trap food particles that cause tooth decay and gum disease. People with crooked teeth generally have heightened risks for cavities and gum problems because the teeth are harder to clean and place extra stress on the other teeth, as well as the gums and jaw. Crooked teeth are also harder to clean so that people with crooked teeth tend to have more cavities and gum problems than people who have orthodontic treatment. Crooked teeth wear in ways that they should not. This puts extra stress on your teeth, gums and jaw which can lead to problems later on. A lesser known risk with crooked teeth is the possibility of breathing problems. As you get older the roof your mouth can sometimes partially block the air passages in your nose. If you have orthodontic treatment you can avoid this possibility.
How do braces work?
Small brackets are bonded to each tooth with an orthodontic adhesive. The brackets are then connected by an arch wire and held in place by small elastics (which are available in many different colors). The archwire provide a gentle pressure that slowly moves each tooth into their correct positions.
What types of braces are there?
Braces can vary in a variety of matieral and apperance. For example, here at Holwegner Orthodontics we carry braces that are either metal, or ceramic (which are clear in appearance). We also carry Invisalign, a replacement for traditional braces that consists of clear retainers that conforms to the shape of your teeth. Braces are an example of fixed appliances. There are also a number of less permanent solutions. These removable appliances consist of retainers, which are often used to hold teeth in place after braces are removed, Invisalign, as well as springs, elastics, and rubber bands which can be used in conjunction with braces.
Is someone ever too old for braces?
No. So long as the bone and gum tissue around the teeth are healthy, age isn’t a factor. About a fifth of orthodontic patients are adults.
How do I take care of braces once they’re on?
Maintaining good oral hygiene is key. Brush regularly as directed by the dentist and floss daily. Scheduling dental visits can also help keep teeth healthy. Patients should also maintain a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. You may want to avoid certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. These foods may include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel or other chewy candy.
Do braces force people to change their lifestyle?
For the most part, no. You’ll want give up extremely hard and sticky foods and consume more soft foods. You’ll have to spend a few extra minutes cleaning your braces after meals. If you play sports, using a protective mouth guard is highly recommended. If you play wind or brass instruments, you should still be able to play them with some slight adjustment.
How long will braces have to be worn?
The amount of time patients are in braces varies from person to person, depending on the problem as well as the treatment plan. An average time frame would be 18-24 months.