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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect at my first visit?
Your first visit to our office will start with an evaluation by our treatment coordinator. The treatment coordinator will take preliminary information from you, such as your chief orthodontic concerns as well as answer any questions about the office, you may have. Then you will meet with either Dr. Fields or Dr. Gallois who will gently examine your teeth and discuss orthodontic problems that may be present or developing. If the doctor determines that you are ready for treatment, diagnostic records will be recommended. If you are not ready for treatment you may be put on a recall and evaluated periodically until the time is just right for you to begin treatment.

What are diagnostic records and consultation?
The diagnostic records appointment takes about an hour and consist of taking photographs, x-rays, and digital study models of your teeth. These records are used by the doctors to study your teeth and formulate a treatment plan to correct your orthodontic problems. A later consultation visit, with either Dr. Fields or Dr. Gallois, will be scheduled to go over every detail of your diagnosis and treatment plan. This visit is a great opportunity for you to learn about what your treatment will be like and ask as many questions as you want. Therefore, we feel that it is important that the patient be present at the consultation visit. From here we can go forward with scheduling the placement of your orthodontic appliances or braces

What should I expect the day I get my braces?
On the day you begin your treatment, you will be greeted by one of our highly trained orthodontic assistants. The assistant will first explain to you what we will be doing for that day and begin any preliminary procedures to get your teeth ready for the braces. Dr Fields or Dr. Gallois will then put your braces on. Depending on what type of braces you are getting, your appointment may last as long as two hours. During this time you will also learn how to take care of your teeth and new braces. Later in the day your teeth may feel a little uncomfortable as they begin the process of moving. This is totally normal and may last for a few days. It is recommended that you take Tylenol or Advil to alleviate any discomfort you may have.

What do I have to do to make my treatment progress smoothly?
Because your treatment is a team effort we all have to do our part. The Doctors will place the braces and make the adjustments. Mom and Dad will make sure you get to your appointments. Your responsibility is to take good care of your teeth and braces, as well as wear any appliances and elastics you’ve been given. Teeth move over time, therefore your treatment really takes place during the time between visits, not at the office. Nothing slows treatment like broken braces, broken wires, lost appliances or lack of wear of elastics and appliances. This means that by doing your part between visits, your treatment will go smoothly. Also keeping your teeth clean is important to avoid unwanted cavities and gingival inflammation.

What foods and activities do I need to avoid while I have my braces?
Because broken braces and wires can slow down your treatment, it is important to take good care of them. Gum chewing is one of the worst things for your braces and needs to be avoided. Nail biting, pencil chewing, and putting things in your mouth are potentially damaging to your braces. Certain foods such as meat on the bone, corn on the cob, hard crusty breads and sticky, chewy candies should be avoided. Foods that are normally hard to chew can really cause damage to your orthodontic appliances. You will be provided with a list of foods to avoid, the day you have your braces put on, but this is only a partial list. So use common sense when selecting foods to eat and this should limit any problems.

What do I do if I have an emergency?
First of all don’t panic! Most orthodontic emergencies are minor. If you think some part of your braces is broken or something is poking or hurting you, call the office. An appointment will be given to you to come in to fix the problem. Don’t wait until your next appointment. If it is after office hours, a number to call will be available to reach one of the doctors by phone. Sometimes things can be handled with some instruction over the phone, but if necessary an emergency office visit can be made to care for the problem. If you are unsure if a problem exists please don’t hesitate to call. We are always happy to ease your concerns and get you through any emergency.

How long do I have to wear my retainers?
Once your braces come off you will be given a set of retainers. Because tooth movement is a biological process the teeth can move over time and they are most vulnerable to moving right after the braces have been taken off. Therefore, retainers are to be worn full time for the first six months after braces. This means you can take them out to eat and brush but they should be in your mouth the majority of the day. After these six months night time wear of the retainers is required. Retention is a life-long event. Because your body changes over time and your teeth are part of this biological system some changes can be expected in your teeth as well. Therefore, when we are no longer seeing you in the office we recommend continued retainer wear at night or at a minimum of every other night to insure that your teeth stay where we left them.

What should I do if I lose or break my retainers?
Because you should always have and wear retainers to keep your smile beautiful, call the office as soon as possible if they are lost or broken. You will be given an appointment to come in to fabricate new retainers or try to fix existing broken retainers. If only one is lost or broken continue to wear the other one because it is still doing its job. Depending on the type of retainers you have it can take up to a week to get new ones, so don’t delay in calling the office.

At what age should I have an orthodontic evaluation for my child?
The American Association of Orthodontist recommends that children first be evaluated at age seven. At this age the orthodontist can evaluate the child’s bite, growth and development and eruption of the permanent dentition. This is a good time to intercept any serious developing orthodontic problems or just begin monitoring the child’s dental development. Sometimes parents may be concerned about a child younger than seven years old. It never hurts to take a look at any age. There is usually no fee associated with an initial examination, so if you have a concern about your child, schedule an appointment for an examination.

Do I need a special mouth guard to play sports?
If your sport requires that you wear a mouth guard the answer is yes. Standard mouth guards that you buy from the store and boil and bite to mold to your teeth will prevent your teeth from moving. Because your teeth are on the move they need a flat plane mouth guard that lets them continue to move while being worn. Ones that are molded to the teeth will always try to force the teeth back to the position they were in when the mouth guard was fitted. We are happy to provide you with an appropriate mouth guard to protect your teeth. Just ask one of the staff or the doctors when you need one.