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How do I get started?

New patient consultation

If you are interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, simply call our office to schedule a new patient consultation.

Remember to bring your insurance card to your first appointment so that we can determine your future out of pocket expenses.

Because orthodontic treatment is accomplished over an extended period of time requiring multiple appointments, reimbursement for most treatment regimes is structured as payment plans. You will be quoted an estimate for the total cost of your treatment and, prior to beginning treatment, a down payment will be due. The remaining balance is then divided into a number of monthly payments depending on the number of months estimated to complete your treatment.

Patient’s undergoing comprehensive treatment are generally seen at 6 week intervals depending upon individual circumstances.

Why even the most beautiful teeth may still need orthodontic treatment

The long-term integrity of any structure is ultimately determined by the quality of its foundation. While appearances may look healthy and normal, underneath the facade, inadequate supporting structures may be fatiguing under otherwise tolerable stress. It may take many years before you notice the damage – but then its too late.

The primary objective of orthodontics is to establish the foundation for long-term health of the teeth and jaws. Without this foundation damage is inevitable. For instance, crowded teeth are not only unsightly, they also create uncleansable crevices for bacterial growth which leads to chronic infection and recession of the gums. This goes unnoticed until the teeth are straightened and large spaces between the teeth are revealed where the supporting tissues have eroded. Non-ideal bite relationships leave one prone to irregular and severe tooth wear, chipping of teeth, fractures of teeth, and TMJ problems. Although your teeth or your child’s teeth may look good, there are many other reasons beyond esthetics and cosmetics that warrant orthodontic treatment. Perhaps the greatest benefits of comprehensive orthodontic treatment are not related to cosmetics but to the long-term prevention by establishing the proper foundation. Almost everyone can benefit substantially from an investment in orthodontic treatment.

Will my teeth stay straight?

Following orthodontic treatment, your will surely move back to their mal-aligned positions unless a “retainer” is in place to hold the teeth in their new positions. Retainers should be worn full time for at least one year. After the first year, removable retainers may be worn only at night (permanent retainers should be kept in place indefinitely). Although the degree of stability increases over time, your teeth will always be capable of moving out of line unless they are being held in place by a retainer. Therefore, retention is forever! The goal is to “maintain” the correct position of the teeth for a lifetime by holding them with some type of retainer.

How will I feel after getting braces?

The discomfort you are likely to encounter during your treatment will generally be derived from the actual tooth movement and from the appliances irritating lips and cheeks. The actually procedure where braces are placed is not painful and no injections (no needles) for local anesthesia are necessary. The only discomfort experienced during this procedure will be derived from the struggle to keep your mouth open for an extended period of time.

Once the braces are placed, you will be immediately aware of the increased bulk against your lips and cheeks and the tension from the wire as it applies a gentle force to the teeth. As several days pass you will notice that certain areas of your lips and cheeks may become mildly irritated as they are constantly rubbing against the braces. The degree of soreness experienced is generally mild but different for everyone. If you experience a great deal of irritation to the lips and cheeks as they rub against the braces, place wax on the braces at the source of the irritation. The wax simply creates a smoother surface against which your cheek or lip can rest without being irritated. Often you will unknowingly injure your lips and cheeks at night while sleeping and then experience more soreness during the daytime. If you experience a lot of soreness, prior to going to bed at night, take a long piece of wax and flatten it with your fingers. Then press this length of wax against your braces and embed it into the braces. This will produce a smooth surface over an extended length for your lips and cheeks. Do this every night until the sore spots resolve. Over time, your lips and cheeks will toughen and you will no longer experience many instances of this type of soreness. It is always a good idea to place wax on sore spots at night to prevent irritation while you sleep.

In the days following placement of your braces, and also following adjustments, your teeth will likely become sensitive to pressure and may become sensitive to thermal stimuli (hot and cold). This is normal and indicates that the teeth are being moved. Certain of your teeth will become more sore than others. Some may get very sore while others do not get sore at all. The degree of discomfort should be nothing more than annoying and is easily managed by over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. It is best to take these medications as prescribed on the bottle and be sure and take them at the intervals indicated. They will be more effective when taken at regular intervals, as this will maintain a constant level of the drug in the blood stream. Narcotic medications should not be needed to manage this level of discomfort.

Most patients will experience changes in the way their bite feels. This is normal and will resolve as the teeth move toward their improved positions. Because the bite may feel uncomfortable and because your teeth will be pressure sensitive, chewing may become difficult. Do the best you can and try to eat only soft foods. It also helps to cut your food into small pieces. Always avoid hard foods when wearing braces because of the likelihood of breaking them.

The sensitivity to pressure and thermal stimuli will be greatest during the first few weeks after the braces are applied or after an adjustment and will begin to diminish thereafter. After several months, as the teeth align, the degree of soreness you feel after an adjustment will be less and less. The further along you get, generally, more comfortable you will become.

Will I need teeth pulled?

Current treatment philosophies in orthodontics today tend toward non-extraction (not pulling teeth). Whether a patient would benefit from having teeth removed depends upon many factors and the doctor will address these issues on an individual basis. Just because your teeth are very crowded (mal-aligned) does not mean you need teeth pulled. These days, the vast majority of patients are being treated without removing teeth!

How long will it take?

The duration of treatment depends upon many factors: the severity of your initial condition, the type of problems present, and your ability to comply with treatment recommendations. Technological advances in just the past few years have vastly improved treatment efficiency and patients are finishing faster than ever and with better results. The doctor will make an estimate of the duration of your treatment after he has an opportunity to examine your condition.

Will I need to wear rubber bands (elastics)?

Most patients will need to wear elastics for some duration of time. But again this is highly variable depending upon the condition being treated. There are many, however, who do not need them at all.

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Hygiene Instructions – How to stay healthy

Cleaning your teeth is extremely important even when not wearing braces. But when wearing braces, it becomes even more important and more challenging. Once you have braces, extra effort must be put into proper brushing and flossing.

Brushing
The presence of braces on your teeth will physically prevent your tooth brush from easily accessing certain areas, particularly, the areas between your gums and the braces and underneath the arch wire which connects each bracket. Therefore, you must learn new techniques for accessing these areas.

– Buy a new tooth brush (the softest Crest brand is highly recommended). It must be very soft to reach under the wires and braces!
– Brushing with tooth paste and flossing should be performed after every meal. It is best to avoid eating in between meals.
– The goal of brushing is to remove all bacterial plaque which forms on the teeth and braces.
– When wearing braces you must focus on brushing each bracket on all four sides and then check to verify that all areas have been cleaned.
– Use very short brushing strokes and work the bristles of the brush underneath the wire and brackets, in between all teeth, and underneath the gums.
– To verify that you have been successful, use a disclosing agent (the doctor will supply these tablets). The disclosing agent will preferentially stain plaque red so that missed areas are easily visible. Then you can simply brush away the red areas. If you do not detect any red stained plaque, congratulations on doing a great job.
– We recommend using a leading brand tartar control tooth paste such as Crest or Colgate. These pastes contain the most effective formulations of abrasives and tartar inhibitors. Try to avoid gimmicky brands, especially those without the ADA seal.

Avoid Sugary Foods and Beverages
Eating any type of sugar or sweets will rapidly accelerate plaque formation because the sugar is the favorite food of the bacteria! Bacterial plaque damages your teeth by secreting acid onto the surface of the tooth enamel. The acid produced by the plaque literally dissolves the tooth enamel as water dissolves table salt or sugar. Production of acid by the bacterial occurs as a direct consequence of exposure to sugars!
When the enamel is even lightly damaged by plaque acid, the enamel surface loses translucency and a chalky white spot is produced which is analogous to “scarring” of the tooth. This is referred to as a localized decalcification and is a permanent and very unsightly defect.

There are methods of removing these unsightly spots on the teeth once braces are removed. However, these methods require removal of the damaged enamel. Tooth enamel is irreplaceable and once lost, it cannot be reformed. Instead, restorative materials (bonding agents) are used to replace the lost enamel. Although quite effective, if extensive repair work is required, it can be quite expensive. Fortunately, avoiding damage to the enamel is quite simple if one is diligent with hygiene practices.

Brush your tongue
Good hygiene practices should always include a thorough brushing of the tongue. Often overlooked by adolescents, tongue brushing is vital to maintaining fresh breath and reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth. This is because the same bacterial that form plaque on the teeth also form a plaque on the dorsum of the tongue. This plaque often appears as a white-ish color film on the dorsum of the tongue and may often become discolored by food or drink (especially coffee). The bacteria secrete noxious waste products that cause bad breath. Tongue plaque can be even more difficult to remove than tooth plaque and often requires many vigorous cycles of brushing and rinsing…brushing and rinsing. Brushing and rinsing should continue until only the natural pinkish flesh color of the tongue is visible.

Flossing
When flossing many will find it arduous to thread floss underneath the wire. Its tough but it must be done regularly! You are otherwise placing your dental health at great risk because you are far more likely to get a cavity between your teeth when wearing braces.
To make it easier to floss and clean under braces, a number helpful products are available at drug stores and grocery stores. A “floss threader” works on the same premise as a sewing needle and greatly simplifies flossing by allowing you to easily thread the floss under the arch wire of your braces. Oral B manufactures SuperFloss which is floss with a rigid end designed to be threaded underneath the braces. It’s a little easier than using a separate piece of floss with a floss-threader. Gore also makes a similar product called “Glide Threader”. Other similar products are likely available which allow for easier flossing. Oral B also makes two kinds of inter-dental brushes. These little brushes look like pipe cleaners and are designed for accessing difficult to reach areas of your braces.

Bleeding Gums
When brushing and flossing, always look for areas of bleeding from your gums. Bleeding is a sign of inflammation and is a definite indication that your gums are infected and that you are not cleaning the area adequately. Do not be alarmed by the bleeding. But be sure to pay extra close attention to cleaning areas that bleed. If you clean these areas regularly, the bleeding will stop in a matter of weeks as the inflammation resolves and the area heals. Bleeding is a sign of infection and irritation from the bacterial plaque which accumulates in every crevice in your mouth. It will only be resolved by mechanical cleaning (brushing and flossing). While anti-bacterial rinses can help speed the process of healing, they certainly cannot cure the problem alone. Rinses that you buy at the store can be good adjuncts to brushing and flossing but should never be considered as a substitute.

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Questions and Answers

How do I get started?

New patient consultations are always complimentary.

If you are interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, simply call our office to schedule a new patient consultation.

Remember to bring your insurance card to your first appointment so that we can determine your future out of pocket expenses.

How much does it cost?

Initial consultations are complimentary and costs for subsequent treatment can vary substantially depending on the nature of each case and the type of treatment. Each person must be examined by a doctor prior to determining costs for treatment.

Do you offer flexible payment options?

Yes, we offer very flexible payment options with low down payments. Because orthodontic treatment is accomplished over an extended period of time requiring multiple appointments, reimbursement for most treatment regimes is structured as payment plans. You will be quoted the total cost of your treatment and, prior to beginning treatment, a down payment will be due. The remaining balance will then be divided into a number of monthly payments depending on the number of months estimated to complete your treatment.

How often do patients come in for adjustments?

Most of our patients are generally seen at 3-6 week intervals depending upon individual circumstances.

Why even the most beautiful teeth may still need orthodontic treatment

The long-term integrity of any structure is ultimately determined by the quality of its foundation. While appearances may look healthy and normal, underneath the facade, inadequate supporting structures may be fatiguing under otherwise tolerable stress. It may take many years before you notice the damage – but then its too late.

The primary objective of orthodontics is to establish the foundation for long-term health of the teeth and jaws. Without this foundation damage is inevitable. For instance, crowded teeth are not only unsightly, they also create uncleansable crevices for bacterial growth which leads to chronic infection and recession of the gums. This goes unnoticed until the teeth are straightened and large spaces between the teeth are revealed where the supporting tissues have eroded. Non-ideal bite relationships leave one prone to irregular and severe tooth wear, chipping of teeth, fractures of teeth, and TMJ problems. Although your teeth or your child’s teeth may look good, there are many other reasons beyond esthetics and cosmetics that warrant orthodontic treatment. Perhaps the greatest benefits of comprehensive orthodontic treatment are not related to cosmetics but to the long-term prevention by establishing the proper foundation. Almost everyone can benefit substantially from an investment in orthodontic treatment.

Will my teeth stay straight?

Following orthodontic treatment, your teeth will surely move back to their mal-aligned positions unless a “retainer” is in place to hold the teeth in their new positions. Retainers should be worn full time for at least one year. After the first year, removable retainers may be worn only at night (permanent retainers should be kept in place indefinitely). Although the degree of stability increases over time, your teeth will always be capable of moving out of line unless they are being held in place by a retainer. Therefore, retention is forever! The goal is to “maintain” the correct position of the teeth for a lifetime by holding them with some type of retainer.

How will I feel after getting braces?

The discomfort you are likely to encounter after getting braces will generally be derived from the pressure on your teeth from the braces and from the braces irritating your lips and cheeks. Placing the braces on your teeth (the procedure) is not painful and no injections (no needles) for local anesthesia are needed. Usually, the only discomfort you’ll experience during this procedure will be from the struggle to keep your mouth open longer than normal.

Once the braces are placed, you will be immediately aware of the increased bulk against your lips and cheeks and the tension from the wire as it applies a gentle force to the teeth. After a couple of days you will notice that certain areas of your lips and cheeks may become mildly irritated because they are constantly rubbing against the braces. The degree of soreness experienced is generally mild but different for everyone. If you experience a great deal of irritation to the lips and cheeks as they rub against the braces, place wax on the braces at the source of the irritation. The wax simply creates a smoother surface against which your cheek or lip can rest without being irritated.

Often you will unknowingly injure your lips and cheeks at night while sleeping and then experience more soreness during the daytime. If you experience a lot of soreness, prior to going to bed at night, take a long piece of wax and flatten it with your fingers. Then press this length of wax against your braces and embed it into the braces. This will produce a smooth surface over an extended length for your lips and cheeks. Do this every night until the sore spots resolve. Over time, your lips and cheeks will toughen and you will no longer experience many instances of this type of soreness. It is always a good idea to place wax on sore spots at night to prevent irritation while you sleep.

In the days following placement of your braces, and also following adjustments, your teeth will likely become sensitive to pressure and may become sensitive to thermal stimuli (hot and cold). This is normal and indicates that the teeth are being moved. Certain teeth will become more sore than others. Some may get very sore while others do not get sore at all. The degree of discomfort should be nothing more than annoying and is easily managed by over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. It is best to take these medications as prescribed on the bottle and be sure and take them at the intervals indicated. They will be more effective when taken at regular intervals, as this will maintain a constant level of the drug in the blood stream. Narcotic medications should not be needed to manage this level of discomfort.

Most patients will experience changes in the way their bite feels. This is normal and will resolve as the teeth move toward their improved positions. Because the bite may feel uncomfortable and because your teeth will be pressure sensitive, chewing may become difficult. Do the best you can and try to eat only soft foods. It also helps to cut your food into small pieces. Always avoid hard foods when wearing braces because of the likelihood of breaking your braces.

The sensitivity to pressure and thermal stimuli will be greatest during the first few weeks after the braces are applied or after an adjustment and will begin to diminish thereafter. After several months, as the teeth align, the degree of soreness you feel after an adjustment will be less and less. The further along you get, generally, more comfortable you will become.

Will I need teeth pulled?

Current treatment philosophies in orthodontics today tend toward non-extraction (not pulling teeth). Whether a patient would benefit from having teeth removed depends upon many factors and your doctor will address these issues on an individual basis. Just because your teeth are very crowded (mal-aligned) does not mean you need teeth pulled.

How long will it take?

The duration of treatment depends upon many factors: the severity of your initial condition, the type of problems present, and your ability to comply with treatment recommendations. Technological advances in just the past few years have vastly improved treatment efficiency and patients are finishing faster than ever and with better results. Your doctor will make an estimate of the duration of your treatment after examining your condition.

Will I need to wear rubber bands (elastics)?

Most patients will need to wear elastics for some duration of time. But again this is highly variable depending upon the condition being treated. There are many, however, who do not need them at all.

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TREATMENT TIME
Treatment time varies greatly depending on individual patient requirements – including, but not limited to – age, complexity of treatment, patient expectations, patient health, patient cooperation, missed appointments and broken appliances. Treatment time with braces could require from 10 to 12 months out to 20 to 36 months. Each treatment plan and time to treat are reviewed at the start of treatment and then periodically thereafter. Depending on patient physiologic response time, health, diet, and cooperation, treatment may be accelerated.

TREATMENT OPTIONS – For all ages
Most often stainless steel bands are placed on the molars and stainless steel brackets are placed on all other teeth. Brackets and bands constitute “Braces”. Clear or ceramic brackets which match tooth color may be selected for the anterior teeth.

EARLY TREATMENT – Juvenile and Pre-teens.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that the first orthodontic evaluation be done by age 7 years.

In most instances, treatment is not immediately necessary, and annual evaluations of growth and development are wise.

Any treatment required in children in this age range is termed Interceptive Treatment and is usually of short – 8 to 12 months – duration. However, some pre-teens have replaced all their primary teeth with their permanent dentition and treatment is longer in duration and could be considered the first phase of at least two phases of treatment.

ADOLESCENT TREATMENT – Puberty to Late Teens.
Usually consist of a single phase of treatment, but may be provided in two separate phases or time periods.

Nearly all treatment is provided using stainless steel appliances.

ADULT TREATMENT
Adult patients have the same choices of brackets as adolescent patients with the additional option of gold brackets, rather than stainless steel. Adult treatment may take longer than it would take for an adolescent, or teen age, patient. The number of specific cells available to remove bone and to form new bone decreases with age. Personal nutrition and general health are extremely important.

ADULT TREATMENT – Aesthetic Related Options.
Adults who have less serious problems or concerns may want to use the invisible tray system which consists of a series of clear, custom designed, removable trays used to correct minor tooth alignment problems in both the anterior and posterior teeth. This option is the most expensive of the treatments.

The FAAB Technique, or Fast Acting Adult Braces, could be a choice for those patients active in “people contact” positions. Conventional, clear or stainless steel brackets are used. Treatment is focused on only those anterior teeth which need cosmetic or aesthetic adjustments. This treatment is useful prior to the placement of anterior crowns or veneers. Invisible retainers are used to stabilize the finished treatment, i.e. a retainer cemented behind the anterior teeth. Treatment is usually completed in 6-10 months and cost is a fraction of the invisible or clear tray treatment.

We invite you to come by and see the various options available for braces.

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Why is orthodontics important?

Orthodontics can boost a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned, but an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important. Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing and digestive difficulties. A “bad bite” can contribute to head aches, speech impairment, tooth loss, chipped teeth, and other dental injuries.

When should orthodontic treatment begin?

Early intervention can prevent the need for future treatment or at least reduce the complexity and cost of future treatment, reduce the need for extractions and gain a better overall result. Orthodontics can also be successful for ADULTS. The biological process involved in tooth movement is the same in both adults and children.

What about cost?

This will vary, of course, depending on the nature of the problem. Many orthodontic problems require only limited treatment. You may be surprised to discover that orthodontics is less expensive than you thought! In fact, interceptive orthodontics which can correct severe discrepancies, guide growth, reposition teeth, and re-shape bone can cost as little as $1800 to $2600. From a simple exam, we can give you the total cost of your treatment. We offer payment plans to help meet individual financial needs.

We understand that people lead busy lives. We also have many patients that have to drive a long distance to get to us. We use comfortable self ligating braces that require fewer appointments and cut treatment time.

We have been providing orthodontic services since 1995.

The focus of the “Craniofacial and Masticatory Systems” is the diagnosis and treatment of both dental occlusion
and craniofacial bone structures. That said, we treat orthodontics and facial esthetics as a whole. Very few patients realize that both facial and dental esthetics can be treated at the same time.

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