Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
Orthodontic problems can range from mild to severe. The key is to be able to fully recognize and understand the problems, as well as knowing the best approach for treatment. Some changes made by orthodontics can alter facial structure permanently, and should be provided by someone with a thorough understanding of the growth and development of your child. Following their dental training, orthodontic specialists like Dr. Radkowski, and Dr. Little continue for 2 to 3 years of additional university training specifically focused on your orthodontic needs.
At what age should I schedule my child for an initial orthodontic exam?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an initial orthodontic screening for children by the age of 7. The purpose of the screening is to detect any problems in dental and jaw development that may lead to more serious issues down the road. Only about 15% of patients will need some orthodontic treatment before full dental development. (This is sometimes referred to as Early Treatment or Phase I Treatment.)
Is there a cost for the initial exam?
No. There is no cost for the initial exam; they are always done as a courtesy. If orthodontic records are needed to diagnose and plan for treatment, there will be a fee for these records and a following treatment conference.
Do I need to have a referral from my dentist for an initial exam?
No. We welcome anyone seeking orthodontic care. If you have any questions about your teeth, or your child’s teeth, you are encouraged to call our office.
Can Adults get braces?
Yes. Adults are being treated today with greater frequency than ever. With cosmetic advances in braces, such as clear brackets and clear tray aligners (i.e. Invisalign), getting braces as an adult has never been easier. In fact, 25-30% of our patients are adults, with the oldest being 75!
How long do I have to wear the braces once they are on?
The length of treatment will depend on three factors; how complex the problem is, what the treatment plan is, and how well the patient helps out with taking care of the braces and wearing any additional appliances like rubber bands. However, braces can be worn from 10 months to 30 months, with the average being around 18 months of treatment.
How much do braces cost?
The fee for braces is dependent on the complexity of the orthodontic problems. We do offer a variety of payment plans that can make getting braces very affordable. You can find more information about payment plans under the patient information pages.
Will braces hurt?
The amount of discomfort from braces is different for everyone. It does not hurt to put the braces on. However, there may be a few days of discomfort after the braces have been placed because the teeth are starting to move. Eating softer foods like pasta, mashed potatoes, or soups can be of help.
Do I still need to see my family dentist while I am in braces?
Absolutely! It is very important to continue regular checkups with your dentist while in braces. It is also recommended to see your dentist for a thorough cleaning and exam when you get the braces removed.
What can I do for an orthodontic emergency?
True orthodontic emergencies are very rare. However, if something were to go wrong with the braces, please call the office. If the call is outside of office hours, the answering machine will provide the information to get in touch with one of our doctors.
How long will I have to wear my retainer?
Retainers need to be worn full time for six months after the braces are removed. The teeth have been moved into new positions by the end of treatment and the bone surrounding the teeth is newly formed. Studies show that solid bone formation takes around six months to complete. After the teeth are stable it should be understood that all teeth, having had braces or not, will change with age. To keep your beautiful smile for a lifetime, retainers are simply worn while sleeping (easy!).