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FAQ

Actual Patient - Female teen brushing her teeth

Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
What will I learn from the initial examination?
Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
How long will it take to complete treatment?
How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
How often will I have appointments?
Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
Do braces hurt?
Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Do you give shots?
Do you use recycled braces?
Can I still play sports?
Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
What is Phase One (early) treatment?
Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
Will my child need an expander?
Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

 


1. 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.

2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an e-mail or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.

5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by one of our treatment coordinators who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam. If the patient is ready and comfortable proceeding, frequently diagnostic records are taken at this first appointment.
To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit page.

6. What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, is this the correct time to investigate?
  • Is now the right time to start treatment?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

7. Will I need to have 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.

8. How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.

9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims. For more information see our Financial and Insurance information.

10. How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4 to 6 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. Our appointment scheduling system helps us provide the most convenient and fair scheduling possible for all our patients. Longer appointments such as bondings are scheduled in the late morning and early afternoon to allow the doctors to spend the time they need. Short routine adjustment appointments are scheduled in the early morning and later afternoon. We will make every attempt to minimize missing school or work, but sometimes this is unavoidable. Making sure we run on time helps to minimize missing important classes.

12. 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 our clinical team before dropping off their child. If you have questions about treatment or have not see the doctors for some time, please accompany the patient back during their appointment.

13. 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! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is typically no reason a patient cannot return to school or work after an orthodontic appointment.

15. Do you give shots?

No, luckily shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

16. 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.

17. Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports and provide each patient with one complimentary mouthguard. Mouthguards that are specifically designed for use with braces can also be obtained at sporting goods stores. Patients with braces need to avoid the boil and bite type mouthguards. The boil and bite mouthguards will break the braces and not allow the teeth to move.

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

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

19. 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. Out biggest concerns are foods that don't promote good oral health (candy) or damage braces (hard and crunchy). Some of those 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.

20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least three-four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to brush and floss their teeth with braces and provide a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste for use brushing before going to bed.

21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

There are few true orthodontic emergencies. Our major concern is discomfort. If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. If after hours, the doctors' cell phone numbers are on the office answering machine. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require a special appointment, we will set aside time for you.

22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient's growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

23. 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 lasts about 12-21 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.

24. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase I treatment?

It is best to assume that your child will need Phase II even after Phase I treatment. The goal of Phase I is to correct problems which would be more complicated to correct with comprehensive ortho later. Hopefully a Phase I will reduce the treatment time for Phase II.  After Phase One treatment we closely monitor growth and tooth eruption. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

25. Will my child need an expander?

At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander. Expanders correct side to side problems. If the top jaw is too narrow then an expander may be indicated. Often expansion at age 8-10 is ideal.

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

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25-30 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!

27. 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.

28. Why should I 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.

Britton Orthodontics

  • Alamo Heights Location - 110 Chichester Pl., Suite 100, San Antonio, TX 78209 Phone: (210) 824-2333 Fax: (210) 824-0680
  • Stone Oak Location - 1130 E. Sonterra Blvd., Suite 100, San Antonio, TX 78258 Phone: (210) 497-6688 Fax: (210) 545-1884
info@brittonortho.com

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