Frequently Asked Questions - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an advanced education program following dental school, to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more attractive smile
  • Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
  • Better function of the teeth
  • Possible increase in self-confidence
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
  • Better long term health of teeth and gums
  • Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
  • Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
  • Aid in optimizing other dental treatment

What are some signs that braces may be needed?
Below are some of the more common signs that orthodontics may be needed:

  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth

Do I need a referral?
No, although we work closely with area dentists, you do not need a referral to schedule a Consultation.

How much do Braces Cost?
Because orthodontic issues and treatment options vary so widely, a specific figure is very difficult to give. Your specific issue may only require a special type of retainer or removable appliance, which would range from about $85 to $235. A First Phase or Partial treatment may range from approximately $115 to $2400, depending upon what the treatment goals are, and what further treatment is/is not needed. Perhaps you are a candidate for removable aligners like Invisalign (or other aligner systems), or Lingual braces that go behind your teeth. Those prices depend upon the length of treatment/number of aligners prescribed and if you are treating one or both arches. Comprehensive treatment with fixed appliances (braces) also ranges in cost depending upon if you are an adult or child, if you need extractions or not, if palatal expansion is recommended, or if you have a case that requires surgical coordination with an oral surgeon. Many of those orthodontic treatments mentioned above may range from approximately $800 to $5200. Also keep in mind that these costs are specific to our office; treatment costs can also range depending upon the orthodontist and where that orthodontist practices.
Consultations are free and there is no obligation, so we encourage you to come in with your questions. You will learn about orthodontic treatment options specific to your case and you will receive a cost estimate if treatment is recommended for you or your child. We work with your insurance and flexible spending plan, and have payment plans available. We also offer special courtesies, including a Family Discount. Come see us - we look forward to answering your questions!

At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a child visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child's physician.  This doesn't mean that the child will be ready for braces, but it can help detect any issues early and perhaps something simple, like extraction of a baby tooth, will help permanent teeth erupt in a more desirable position.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.

How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns. We keep several types of mouthguards at the frontdesk.

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.

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