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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:    How do I know if I need orthodontic treatment?
A:    Gaps between teeth, or teeth that are crowded, turned or protruded are the most common signs that a person might need orthodontic treatment.  But sometimes, the need for treatment isn't that obvious.  Teeth that appear straight but don't bite together properly may also need fixed to prevent problems such as uneven tooth wear and damage to the jaw joint.  At your next checkup, ask your family dentist if he or she thinks you need treatment or contact us for a FREE orthodontic examination.  In the meantime, take our Bite Down Early test to make a preliminary assessment of potential problems.

Q:    When should I bring my child for an orthodontic checkup?
A:    Ten to fifteen years ago, the idea was to wait until all the permanent teeth were in, then get braces.  Since then, orthodontists have developed ways to identify potential problems long before they occur.  Nowadays, many orthodontic problems can be prevented with interceptive treatment during the growing years.  This approach leaves only minor problems, such as tooth rotations, to be fixed when all the permanent teeth erupt.  Due to the tremendous advantages of interceptive treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7.  The idea now is that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Q:    How much does orthodontic treatment cost?
A:    The cost of treatment depends entirely on the nature and severity of the problem and the time and appliances it will take to fix it.  After an initial exam, your orthodontic specialist will discuss fees with you before any treatment begins.  At our office, you will be able to choose one of several financing options which will allow you to spread the cost out over several years and make a lifetime of great smiles more affordable than you might imagine.

Q:    How long will my treatment take?
A:    Again, the nature and severity of the problem are major determining factors, although cooperation can seriously affect the actual time it takes to get a great smile.  Good brushing habits, wearing auxiliaries (e.g. rubber bands) as prescribed, and not breaking appliances can minimize the time you spend in treatment.  As a rule of thumb, interceptive (Phase I) treatment typically lasts 9-15 months; corrective (Phase II) treatment, 9-18 months; adolescent treatment, 18-24 months; and adult treatment, 15-24 months.


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