Frequently Asked Questions

When should my child get an orthodontic evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a check-up by age 7 or when your child’s regular dentist recommends it. This early evaluation can spot problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth as well as correct some bad habits that can leave permanent teeth in less than ideal positions.

Why choose an orthodontist over my child’s regular dentist?

Just like a pediatrician has extra training over a general practitioner in treating kids, an orthodontist has extra training in moving teeth and bite alignment over a general dentist or pediatric dentist. An orthodontist has earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery and also obtained two to three more years of training in an orthodontic residency program.

While a general dentist can do braces, an orthodontist has the specialized education in different types of braces and retention devices, as well as space makers, space maintainers and habit breakers.

Can adults get braces too?

Yes! It is never too late to get braces! Want a prettier smile? We can help with that! Need a better bite? We can fix that too!

What should I expect at the first orthodontic visit?

We reserve thirty minutes just for you! The initial appointment is a clinical examination to determine your orthodontic needs. At this appointment, Dr. Stephens will get to know you. He will go over the medical information you provide to us on the new patient forms and perform an orthodontic examination to determine if braces or retainers are needed for your situation and if it is time to begin treatment. We will advise you of any dental problems (i.e. cavities) that need to be addressed before starting any orthodontic treatments. There is no charge for the initial exam.

I’ve had the initial exam, what’s next?

If treatment is indicated, orthodontic records can be taken after the initial appointment or a separate scheduled appointment. Diagnostic records consist of impressions for upper and lower study models, facial and oral photographs, cephalometric head x-ray, and panoramic full mouth x-ray.

What is a treatment plan and bonding?

The treatment plan and bonding can be done together or separately. At the treatment plan, Dr. Stephens will sit down with you and discuss the specific problems, the plan of treatment, the anticipated length of treatment and the total cost along with financial arrangements. The patient and a parent/guardian or spouse, are requested to attend this appointment. We reserve a half hour for discussion to make sure everyone is clear on the expectations both financially and physically. Once the consultation has concluded, it is time to begin putting the braces on! It usually takes about a half hour to put braces on one arch.

Should I continue to see my regular dentist?

We recommend a cleaning and check-up by your dentist before your orthodontic treatment is initiated. Also, we recommend that you continue to visit your dentist every six months for cleaning and check-ups after your brackets are placed on your teeth.

How often do I need to be seen?

Most orthodontic adjustments are at three to six week intervals during working and school hours. The total cost of braces is based on difficulty of the case and the length of treatment, not the frequency of visits. Although Dr. Stephens is good at estimating the length of time needed to achieve the treatment goals, the actual length of time depends on how cooperative your teeth are and how well you follow the treatment plan. Sometimes removal of your braces comes early, but sometimes things happen and it takes longer than anticipated. The cost of treatment does not change whether we complete the case early, late or right on time.