Orthodontic FAQ

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the field of orthodontics in order to diagnose, treat, and prevent improperly aligned teeth and jaws. Our doctors have completed many years of medical schooling in order to practice orthodontics. 

After schooling, a dentist can receive either a DDS or DMD degree. DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery and DMD stands for Doctor of Dental Medicine. There are other specializations that a dentist may go to school for:

  • Oral and maxillofacial (includes pathology, radiology, and surgery)
  • Endodontics (specialization in root canals)
  • Periodontics (specialization in gum disease)
  • Prosthodontics (specialization in dental implants)

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that diagnoses, prevents, and corrects improperly aligned teeth and jaws. This includes treatments like braces, retainers, and Invisalign.

Why should I choose to work with an orthodontist?

Orthodontic treatment makes permanent changes to your teeth and sometimes even the shape of your face, so it’s crucial that only an orthodontist oversees these changes. They have the education, training, and experience to provide their patients with the best results.

Do I need a referral from my dentist to see an orthodontist?

No. While general dentists often refer their patients to a trusted orthodontist, you do not need a dentist referral in order to schedule your initial consultation with us.

How do I schedule a free orthodontic consultation?

If you are interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself or your teenager, find the office closest to you and either call or send us an email: 

Our front office team will be happy to schedule one for you and they will request some basic information from you.

What happens during my free initial consultation?

An initial orthodontic consultation is a fact-finding appointment. You will fill out some light paperwork to help the orthodontist understand your oral health history and get a good idea of your treatment goals. We will take x-rays to get a complete picture of what’s going on in your mouth unless you can provide recent x-rays from your general dentist. The orthodontist will then perform an examination of your mouth to see how the teeth align and perform.

Once all the information has been gathered, it will be time to start discussing treatment options, including an estimation of how long the treatment will take and a quote of the cost of treatment. 

If the appointment is for a minor child, a parent or legal guardian must be present.

Do I really need orthodontic treatment? Won’t my teeth just straighten out naturally over time?

Unfortunately, no. In fact, teeth tend to grow more crooked with age, not less. Biting down with poorly aligned teeth can encourage them to shift even farther from their ideal position.

How long will my orthodontic treatment take?

The length of treatment depends on each patient’s orthodontic problems, but it will typically range from eight months to two and a half years. The best way to have the shortest possible treatment time is to follow the orthodontist’s instructions exactly.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments vary depending on the patient’s needs, but most patients with braces will come in every eight to ten weeks.

Do braces hurt?

After orthodontic visits, particularly ones involving adjustments to braces, your teeth may be sore for a few days as they get used to the change. Advil or Tylenol can ease the discomfort. Wires and brackets may sometimes rub against the inside of the cheeks and create soreness, but we can trim wires when necessary. Orthodontic wax is a great solution as well.

Does my child really need two phases of orthodontic treatment?

At My Orthodontist, we make treatment plans for children by asking: What is best for the child? Unfortunately, many practices consistently treat orthodontic issues with two-phase treatment when one phase would suffice.

At times, two-phase treatment can be detrimental to the patient. Detriments include:

  • Extended treatment time
  • No different results compared to single phase
  • Doesn’t prevent the need for future extractions or surgery
  • Greater risk of tooth decay, decalcification, and root resorption

Our years of experience and training show:

  • 90% of cases can be treated effectively in one phase
  • 84% of crowding cases resolve with one treatment phase or space maintenance
  • Some early treatment can totally relapse making phase two a duplication of treatment
  • There are times when early treatment or two-phase treatment is necessary. Schedule a consultation with us so we can develop the appropriate treatment option for your child.

Am I too old to have braces?

No patient is too old to wear braces! In fact, a quarter of all orthodontic patients are out of their teens — so don’t feel like you missed your chance for straight teeth just because you didn’t get braces in high school!

How will I brush my teeth with braces?

The only difference between brushing with braces and without is that there are a lot more nooks and crannies for food to get stuck and plaque to build up. Be very thorough as you brush and don’t forget to floss!

When should my child first see an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends a child’s first orthodontist appointment should be at the age of 7. For the vast majority of patients, this isn’t the beginning of treatment but it does allow the orthodontist to set a baseline to monitor growth and development and plan for the absolute best time to begin treatment (if needed).

What happens if one of my brackets breaks?

If a bracket breaks, you should call our office right away to schedule an emergency appointment. We can usually find time to reattach or replace the bracket quickly. Do not wait until your next regular appointment to do something about a broken bracket, as this could have a negative effect on your treatment.

What foods should I NOT eat with braces?

Some of the foods you should avoid while your braces are on include:

  • Ice 
  • Hard candy 
  • Raw vegetables
  • All sticky foods (such as caramel and taffy). 
  • Whole apples and corn on the cob (stick to apple slices and corn kernels). 

Eating banned foods is the easiest way to break a bracket, but it can also harm your teeth.

Do I need to see my regular dentist when I have braces?

Absolutely! Regular dental checkups are always important, especially while you have braces. Your dentist will let you know how often to come in during your orthodontic treatment.

Will my dental insurance cover my orthodontic treatment?

Here at My Orthodontist, we accept most insurance and PPO plans, but check with us to make sure yours is included. Call our office at (973) 672-4141 for more information about insurance. Make sure you have your insurance information handy when you call. Also, plan to pay your copay or deductible portion at the time of service.

What payment methods can I use?

For your convenience, we accept checks, cashier’s checks, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. If none of these payment methods suits your needs, we also provide payment plans through our office or third-party financing through CareCredit. We also provide discounts for those able to pay in full at the time of service. If you have any more questions regarding payment methods, please give us a call at (973) 672-4141 and we’ll do our best to find the right solution for you.

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