AT WHAT AGE SHOULD I BRING MY CHILD IN FOR AN ORTHODONTIC CONSULTATION?)

We agree with the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontics that children should see an orthodontist by age 7, before they have lost most of their baby teeth. Even if your child doesn’t need braces at this age, and few do, we may want to begin early intervention that can prevent or reduce the need for braces in the future. Early intervention doesn’t necessarily increase the total cost of the child’s orthodontic treatment.

It’s especially important to bring your child if you notice the following:

  • Difficulty chewing or biting.
  • Sucking thumb, fingers or pacifiers.
  • A lisp or whistling when talking.
  • Mouth breathing.
  • Jaw or teeth that are out of proportion to the child’s face.

HOW MUCH DOES A CONSULTATION COST?

We do not charge for an initial consultation. During this visit, we do conduct a thorough exam of your child’s mouth and teeth, including x-rays. The procedure takes about an hour, and when we’re finished, we will be able to tell you if your child will need braces and present you with a full treatment plan, including costs and the length of treatment.

AM I TOO OLD FOR ORTHODONTICS?

Never! People in their 70s, 80s and 90s have completed successful orthodontic treatment. A pretty smile is important at any age, but more important is that correctly aligned teeth can resolve health problems an incorrect bite may bring on, including headaches and earaches when the jaw is not aligned, gastrointestinal issues when food can’t be chewed properly, or gum disease, which can lead to loss of teeth and bone and cause increased decay. Braces are more appealing to adults now than when they were children because they are more comfortable and less visible. Even if you don’t opt for Invisalign or clear braces, standard metal braces no longer wrap the teeth in clunky metal. No more metal mouth!

WHAT DO BRACES COST?

The cost of braces varies with each person, depending on individual need. Some patients will have serious issues such as crossbite and require comprehensive treatment; others may need only limited orthodontic care. We offer what we call a "tune-up" for people whose issues are minor, such as front teeth that are not exactly straight, but who don’t need full realignment of their bite. Often these are people who had braces in the past and whose teeth have reverted slightly. Normally, the more complex the treatment, the greater the cost. "Tune-ups" sometimes require only six months or less.

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE INSURANCE?

For patients without insurance, we offer a flexible payment plan with no interest. We also offer a discount to patients who pay in full at the beginning of their treatment.

WHAT IF I’VE BEEN TOLD I’M NOT A CANDIDATE FOR INVISALIGN?

We have found that almost anyone is a candidate for Invisalign, the nearly invisible trays that fit over your teeth. If you have been told you can't use Invisalign, please make an appointment for a consultation with us. Dr. Jordan has completed many extra hours of continuing education specifically on Invisalign and has successfully treated patients who thought they weren’t candidates.

HOW LONG DO I NEED TO WEAR MY RETAINER?

You should wear your retainer for as long as you want to keep your teeth straight. Sometimes that may mean wearing it, at least intermittently, for the rest of your life. Braces require serious time and financial commitment and wearing your retainer as your orthodontist prescribes will ensure your investment is not wasted.

DO BRACES HURT?

Today’s braces cause fewer pain issues that braces a generation or two ago. Having a new appliance, of whatever type, in your mouth, can cause discomfort, and placing and tightening the braces can, too. A broken wire can be painful as well, but it’s easily fixed. In any case, the pain is never so great that you would need numbing for your orthodontic treatments. And we do offer Netflix you can watch while we're working on your braces.

WILL MY CHILD NEED BRACES IF HE OR SHE HAS PHASE 1 TREATMENT?

Phase 1 treatment is performed in younger children, whose permanent teeth have not all erupted, to treat problems that should not wait until the child is older. This phase of care enables orthodontists to correct some types of malocclusion while the child’s jaw and mouth are still growing that would be difficult to fix once the bones are set.

It is likely your child will need braces in a few years after Phase 1 treatment, but that treatment will be shorter and less complicated than without the early braces. The total cost of both treatments is often not more than the cost of one full treatment performed later – but it will be much easier on your child.

CAN I WEAR INVISALIGN OR BRACES EVEN THOUGH I HAVE CROWNS AND MISSING TEETH?

Yes, crowns, missing teeth and implants do not prevent you from wearing braces. If you know you’re getting implants, though, and you need braces, it is usually beneficial to do the braces first

WHAT IS AN EXPANDER AND WILL MY CHILD NEED ONE?

An expander, or palatal expander, is a small metal appliance placed in the roof of the mouth and anchored on the teeth. Its purpose is to expand the immature jaw to make room for adult teeth. If a child needs an expander, it’s important to start young while the two halves of the mouth’s arch have not yet fused together, which happens around puberty. Whether your child will need an expander depends on the bite. The most common issues that call for this appliance are crossbite, crowding and impacted teeth (teeth that are blocked by other teeth). In all three cases, widening the jaw helps correct the bite alignment.

WHAT TYPES OF APPLIANCES DO YOU OFFER?

What we do not offer is that old-fashioned clumsy headgear. We now have alternatives that look better and achieve better results and we are able to do all the work inside your mouth.

ARE THERE FOODS I CAN’T EAT WHILE I HAVE BRACES?

With Invisalign, you can eat anything you want while your trays are out (usually not more than two hours a day). You must be careful to clean your teeth before reinserting the trays.

With other types of braces, there are some food restrictions. Logically, you don’t want to consume anything that can get caught in or break the braces. Sticky foods are off limits, too, as are hard foods you would bite directly into with your front teeth. Here’s a list of representative things you should not eat: gum, popcorn, nuts, hard taco shells, corn chips, pretzels, hard crackers, sticky or hard chocolate, ice. Foods you should cut up before eating include raw vegetables, corn on the cob, hard rolls, apples and similar fruits, hamburgers, submarine sandwiches and hard-crusted breads.

This list may seem long, but keep in mind that the list of foods you can still enjoy is much longer.

DO I NEED TO GET A REFERRAL FROM MY FAMILY DENTIST TO VISIT AN ORTHODONTIST?

No, even with insurance, you may make an appointment directly with us for a consultation. Most of our patients are referred by their friends and colleagues.

DO I NEED TO SEE MY FAMILY DENTIST WHILE I’M HAVING ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?

Yes. Orthodontists do not clean your teeth or address decay issues. It is especially important to keep your regularly schedule dental treatments while you’re undergoing orthodontic work.

CAN I STILL PLAY SPORTS?

Yes, you can. For some sports, you may need a mouth guard to fit over and protect your braces.

I HAD BRACES AS A CHILD AND DON’T WANT THEM AGAIN. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?

If you’ve had braces and your teeth have now shifted a little, you probably don’t need a full course of treatment again. As mentioned above, we offer "tune-ups" to fix minor misalignment. You may need braces only on the top front teeth, perhaps, or only on the top or bottom rows. In any case, it’s likely we could complete your course of treatment in a few months at a cost that is much lower than full braces. We have many more options than you probably had as a child, too – such as nearly invisible Invisalign and clear braces. You may schedule a free consultation to learn exactly what your treatment plan would entail.