FAQ (Orthodontic)

Young dentist man with blue eyes holding orthodontic dental

Questions about Treatment

No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the first (or six-year) molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 20% of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to everyone, so no patient is “too old” to wear braces.

Yes. These teeth 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.

There are five essential questions that we will cover during the consultation that follows your orthodontic records appointment:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • 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?

You should also always feel free to ask your orthodontist any questions you have.

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.

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 doesn’t have to hurt to work!”

No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment time lasts from 5 months to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person receives full orthodontic treatment is approximately 18-24 months.

Questions about Treatment for Your Child

Phase One Treatment – also called Early Treatment – is usually initiated between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One Treatment typically lasts 5-14 months. The primary objective of Phase One Treatment is to address significant problems in order to prevent them becoming more severe.

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.

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.

During the initial examination, we can determine whether a patient will need an expander.

Questions about Scheduling

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

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.

If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply contact us and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.

Select a location to get started:

Bedford Office

Needham Office

Franklin Office

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 5 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Yes, it is possible to not miss any school at all.  The appointments when the braces go on at the start or come off at the end of treatment require longer visits, and we typically do these in the morning or early afternoon on weekdays.  However, we also see patients on Saturdays for these appointments, which would not impact school attendance.  Throughout treatment we see patients for tightening visits approximately every 8 weeks- these can be scheduled after school, in the evenings until 8:30pm, and on Saturdays.

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 s/he returns.

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

If a component of your braces 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.

Questions about Caring for Your Braces

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of dangerous foods. These include hard candy, crunchy raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy); sticky foods should be avoided entirely, but many hard fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed by chewing them in slices with your back teeth. You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

Ideally, patients with braces should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.

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

Other Questions

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is crucially 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.

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have complete an examination for the patient. Not all dental insurance plans cover orthodontic treatment, but many do. We have several 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.

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