FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS MALOCCLUSION?
Malocclusion literally means “bad bite” and it may come in the form of crooked, crowded or protruding teeth. If left untreated, these problems can become worse. Crooked or crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This may lead to decay, gum disease, and perhaps even tooth loss. A bad bite can cause abnormal wear of the teeth, difficulty chewing and digesting food, excess stress of the supporting bone and gum tissue, and imbalances which strain the jaw joints and cause headaches, jaw pain, or other facial pain.
ORTHODONTICS: WHO NEEDS IT, AND WHEN?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child’s first visit to an orthodontist take place by age seven, or earlier if a problem is detected. Although treatment may not actually be started until years later, early examination allows us to detect and evaluate problems and plan appropriate treatment. But don’t worry, it is never too late to improve your smile and the fit of your teeth! In fact, nearly 30% of our patients are adults, and we have treatment techniques that make the process practically invisible.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
A comprehensive examination is the only way to provide an accurate estimate of the time and cost involved in your treatment. To fit the needs of our patients, financial arrangements can be made to extend payments over a period of months following an appropriate down payment. If full payment is made at the onset of treatment, we will offer a fee discount. We are happy to work directly with your insurance company to help you maximize your orthodontic benefits, and will accept the assignment of insurance benefits.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Some limited treatments may take only a few months, while full treatment will take considerably longer. Full treatment for teenagers averages 18–24 months, while treatment for adults is usually slightly longer.
HOW DO WE GET STARTED?
Your first visit to our office is your opportunity to get to know us, have your questions answered, and discuss your concerns. It also gives Dr. Hime and Dr. Salome the chance to do a comprehensive examination and recommend if and when treatment is necessary. Our goal is to answer all of your questions regarding your orthodontic treatment at this first appointment. Dr. Hime and Dr. Salome, along with our new-patient coordinators, will show you exactly what’s involved with the treatment, what results can be expected, and how your active participation can help assure success.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Regularly scheduled appointments are an important part of any orthodontic treatment. We see most patients every 6–8 weeks to check progress and make adjustments. Regular checkups with your family dentist are also necessary every 3–6 months during your orthodontic treatment. Once the braces are removed, retainers will be made. Your retainers are designed to settle your teeth in their corrected position until your bones, gums, and muscles adjust to the change. This final treatment stage is the finishing touch and will help ensure a lifetime of beautiful smiles.