What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has additional training in the speciality of orthodontics. Orthodontists have graduated from dental school and completed a full-time university-based education from an accredited orthodontics residency program supervised by orthodontists. This additional training program is 2-3 years in length where they learn about moving teeth (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopedics). Orthodontists are experts in the field of dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws. All orthodontists are dentists, but only a small percentage of dentists are specialists in orthodontics.

Why is orthodontics important?

An attractive smile and improved self-image is just one of the benefits of orthodontic treatment. Without treatment, orthodontic problems can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction, chewing and digestive difficulties, speech impairments, tooth loss and other dental injuries.

At what age should I bring in my child for an orthodontic screening?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7. By this age, many permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition. Children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics. Some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if treated early. An orthodontic evaluation at any age is advisable if a parent, family dentist or the patient’s physician has noted a problem.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you or your child can benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office or send us an email. When you schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.

What will happen and what will I learn from the initial exam appointment?

At the initial exam appointment, the doctor will conduct a thorough orthodontic exam of the patient. The doctor will then discuss his findings with the parent and child and determine if there is an orthodontic problem, and if so, what it is. He will then discuss what must be done to correct his problem and if treatment should start soon or wait until the patient develops.

How much will braces cost?

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. The cost of orthodontic treatment depends on the complexity of the treatment. Dr. Hesby will discuss the fee for your case at the treatment consultation appointment and answer any questions you may have. The treatment costs and financial arrangements will be discussed during the treatment plan consultation after initial orthodontic records are taken. We have several financing options available to accommodate your needs. Our front desk staff will review your insurance policy and help you maximize your benefit and file your claims.

Do you accept my insurance?

Yes, we do accept assignment from most major insurance plans. We will check with your insurance company at your initial exam and give you an estimate of your orthodontic benefits. If your insurance covers orthodontic treatment, you will receive the benefit of reduced personal costs. Many insurance policies have a lifetime orthodontic benefit that is distinct from regular dental insurance. Remember that insurance policies vary, and we will review your insurance to determine the appropriate course of action. Once treatment has started, we will file your claims.

Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

Will I need teeth extracted for braces?

Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment time lasts from 8-30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 20-24 months.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 5-7 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes, we understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with the front desk staff before dropping off their child.

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.

Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

Can I play sports?

Yes. We recommend you wear a mouth guard.

Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes! Regular check-ups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

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 these 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.

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.

What is Phase One (early) treatment?

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment usually last between 12-18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.

Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?

It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period”, during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

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

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 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!

Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.