I. TIMING

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult? 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!

4. How long will it take to complete treatment? Treatment time depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 36 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 24 months.

II. FIRST EXAM

1. What will happen at the initial examination appointment? Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will introduce you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam.

2. What will I learn from the initial examination? There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

A. Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?

B. What must be done to correct the problem?

C. Will any teeth need to be removed?

D. How long will the treatment take to complete?

E. How much will the treatment cost?

III. FINANCIAL

1. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many 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.

IV. Lifestyle

1. 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!

2. 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.

3. Can I still play sports? Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

4. How often will I have appointments? Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every four weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

5. 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.

V. HYGIENE

1. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces? Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

2. 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 his or her teeth with braces.

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