Common Orthodontic Questions & Answers

Do I Need Braces?

smiling kids at beachHaving a bright, straight smile gives you confidence throughout your life.  Whether you’re asking that special someone out on a date for the first time or are interviewing for the job you’ve always wanted, confidence goes a long way.  While not everyone “needs” braces, many choose to improve the look of their teeth and the shape of their smile. Call our office today for your complimentary consultation and we will answer any questions you may have.  The initial visit is completely free of charge and you will leave with the confidence of knowing what your options are, how much it will cost and how long you will be wearing braces.

How Much Will Braces Cost?

All of our treatment plans are customized to each individual patient.  Patients needing extensive work, multiple appliances and perhaps surgery will have a higher treatment cost than those who need few corrective measures to achieve the desired smile.  Some patients qualifying for our Smiles For A Lifetime program can receive treatment completely free of charge.  We work with our patients to provide the most affordable orthodontic solutions.  After your initial consultation Dr. Patel will give you a custom treatment plan and review financial and insurance options with you.

How Long Will My Treatment Time Be?

The age of the patient and severity of the bite determines the length of treatment.  Some patients only need orthodontic treatment for 10 to 12 months while others may be in-and-out of various appliances and treatment types for several years.  Comprehensive treatment for adolescents and adults usually takes 20 to 24 months with office visits every 4 to 8 weeks.

Do Braces Hurt?

In our office we use no needles or other sharp medical instruments.  The only “pain” some patients experience is a slight soreness after braces are placed for the first time.  This is due to pressure being placed on the teeth and that pressure transferring to the bone and connective tissues of the mouth. More than just your teeth move when you wear braces, everything holding your teeth in place also moves.  After your first few adjustments your bone tissues are loose enough to be comfortable with the continuing change and you will experience less soreness.  Near the end of your treatment you will barely notice you even had an adjustment.

What Does It Mean To Get Your Braces “Tightened”?

Brace “tightening” is a common misconception.  Several things happen during your adjustment.  At every appointment, we always remove your wires so you can thoroughly brush and floss your teeth.  New wires may be placed depending on your treatment schedule.  If the same wires are used Dr. Patel may place slight bends in the wires to move specific teeth where she wants them.  These bends or new wires place different amounts of pressure on your teeth than what you were used to when you came in for your appointment.  This change in pressure is what is commonly called “tightening” though your braces are never really “tightened.”

How Do Dental Cleanings Work With Braces?

Dr. Patel highly encourages you keep up with your scheduled 6 month cleanings with your general dentist.  For adults or patients with heavy plaque build-up, we may recommend cleanings every 4 months. We accommodate these cleanings with what we call a “wires out – wires in” appointment. First, come to our office to have the wires removed. Then, drive to your dentist’s office for your scheduled cleaning.  Once complete, return to our office to have your adjustment and get your wires back in.

Am I Too Old To Get Braces?

The short answer is “no.”  Advances in orthodontic technology have widened the range of ages able to receive treatment.   The common misconception is that adult bones have completed growing and therefore in a permanent position and unable to move.  This is not the case.  We have successfully treated many adult patients, often in as short of treatment times as many of our children and teen patients.

Will Dr. Patel Have To Pull Any Teeth?

Dr. Patel considers removing permanent teeth a last resort.  With the Damon system, we have the ability to correct significant crowding using these high-tech brackets and expanded wires. However, if teeth removal is necessary, and there are no alternatives, Dr. Patel will correspond with your dentist and send them a letter indicating which teeth need to be removed.

Can’t My Dentist Give Me Braces?

With their extensive training, orthodontists use their knowledge, skills and experience to give you a healthy, attractive smile to last a lifetime. After graduating from dental school, orthodontists study an additional two-three years and receive formal education in the science of tooth movement. Although some general dentists who have attended training courses can provide Invisalign treatment, only an orthodontist has the ability to place braces, whether traditional, the Damon System or Insignia Braces. Dr. Patel has the experience and expertise to understand the root of the orthodontic problem and offer you the best treatment possible.

Will My Insurance Cover Orthodontic Treatment?

Many dental insurance providers offer at least some orthodontic coverage.  We accept all insurance plans and file all claims for you. To learn more about our financial and insurance policies, click here.


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