We have included a list of questions we most commonly answer on several topics for your convenience. If you have additional inquiries, please call our office and we will be happy to answer them for you!
Does my dentist have to schedule the initial orthodontic appointment?
No, you do not need your dentist to schedule an appointment. If you feel it is time to for you or your child to have an orthodontic examination, give us a call. Many of our patients are referred by friends and satisfied patients, as well as their dentists.
Do you see out of town patients?
We do see orthodontic patients visiting from out of town. If you need a repair, we will do our best to try to work you into our schedule. Please give us a call if you have any questions
At what age should I schedule my child for an orthodontic examination appointment?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends an orthodontic screening for your child at age 7. By this time, several permanent teeth have erupted in most children, allowing us to effectively evaluate your child’s orthodontic condition. While treatment most likely will not be recommended at this age, we will be able to let you know what is coming up down the road.
Can adults receive orthodontic treatment?
Of course! It is never too late to seek orthodontic care. In fact, 1 in 5 patients are adults!
What will happen at my initial examination and consultation appointments?
At your initial appointment, Dr. Speck will examine your condition and if treatment is indicated at this time, take x-rays, models, and photos, if necessary. At the consultation appointment, Dr. Speck will lay out a specific treatment plan customized for your treatment needs, and discuss financial information. For more information, see the Your First Visit page under the Patient Info tab.
Should I bring my child to the consultation appointment with Dr. Speck if the child will be the patient?
Yes, Dr. Speck prefers to have the patient at the consultation with the parents. Most patients are more comfortable if they understand what to expect during treatment and are able to express their opinions or preferences before starting. He loves questions and takes this opportunity to answer as many as possible, from the kids (and their siblings!) as well as the parents.
How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces are seen every 5-6 weeks.
Can I schedule all of my appointments either before or after school, or on a Saturday?
Dr. Speck feels that orthodontic treatment should not interfere with a child’s education. That is why we open at 7:00 a.m. during the week and work every Saturday during the school year. The before school, after school, and Saturday hours are very popular. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for all students during these times, but we will make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.
Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
Yes. We understand that parents have busy schedules, 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 they return, so we ask that parents check in with the front desk when picking up their child and making their next appointment.
What is an emergency appointment? How are they handled?
If your braces are causing extreme pain or something breaks, please call our office. In some cases we can address solutions to problems over the phone. For those we need to see in our office, we do our very best to handle all emergency appointments in a timely manner.
What is Phase I treatment?
Phase I treatment is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10, and typically lasts about 10-16 months. This phase of treatment is only recommended by Dr. Speck if the child will significantly benefit from early care. This phase enables more normal eruption of the teeth in extreme cases, allowing a less difficult Phase II treatment later on. After Phase I treatment is completed, the child’s growth and tooth eruption will be closely monitored.
What is Phase II treatment?
Phase II treatment is the orthodontic term for treatment once the permanent teeth have erupted. Most people will only ever have Phase II treatment.
How long does it usually take to complete treatment?
Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem, regular appointment attendance, and the frequency of minor breakage. Missing appointments and the frequent need for repairs will lengthen the time projected to complete treatment. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months, with an “average” treatment time of 22 months.
What are the health benefits of wearing braces?
Orthodontics improves your bite, makes it easier to brush and floss, and improves self-esteem and confidence!
Do I still need to see my dentist while wearing braces?
Yes. Regular check-ups with your dentist are very important. Your dentist will determine how often you will need cleaning appointments. We recommend a thorough cleaning every 4-6 months.
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns or missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown 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.
Do braces hurt?
After certain visits, the teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, we recommend pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol to ease the discomfort. For our sensitive patients, we suggest taking pain reliever before an appointment. Chewing non-stick gum for 20 minutes following an appointment has been shown to lessen this pain.
Do you give shots or use anesthesia?
No. Shots and anesthesia are not necessary for orthodontic treatment. Nothing we do warrants using it.
Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes necessary to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goals of orthodontics. However, removing teeth is not always necessary due to improvements in technology. Ask Dr. Speck about it at your initial exam appointment if this is a concern of yours.
Will my child’s teeth straighten out as they grow?
No they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as your child grows. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
I grind/clench my teeth at night. Do you sell night guards?
Our office can make a custom night guard for you to wear if you habitually grind or clench your teeth while sleeping. Night guards are like thick invisible retainers that protect your teeth from damage.
Life with Braces
Can I still play sports or instruments while wearing braces?
Yes. We recommend, and most schools now require, that patients wear mouth guards while participating in a sport and a lip guard while playing an instrument. We are an authorized retailer of Shock Doctor mouth guards, and we sell both mouth and lips guards in our office. Please ask the front desk if you are interested in purchasing one.
What foods should I avoid while wearing braces?
At the start of treatment, you will be given a list of foods that you should not eat. These foods have a high tendency to break orthodontic appliances, including braces, and eating them could length your treatment time. These foods generally include hard candy, ice, and sticky foods (such as taffy). For more information, visit our Caring for Braces page under the Patient Info tab.
How often should I brush my teeth while wearing braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times a day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to brush and floss their teeth while wearing braces. We also recommend using Colgate’s Phos-Flur mouthwash once a day to help break down food deposits in hard to reach places. Electric toothbrushes are not necessary, but may be used during orthodontic treatment. For more information, visit our Caring for Braces page under the Patient Info tab.
What kind of gum is okay to chew with fixed appliances, such as braces?
Patients may chew any kind of non-stick, sugar free gum. A few popular brands include Extra, Stride, and Trident. Read the label to find out if it is appropriate. Do not chew gum balls, Double Bubble, or similar types of hard gum because they will break your braces.
How much do braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
It is impossible for us to give you an approximate cost of treatment until we have examined you. We will cover exact costs of treatment at your Consultation appointment. We have several payment/financing options to accommodate your needs. We will work with your insurance company to maximize your benefits and file your claims. For more information, visit our Financials & Insurance page under the Our Office tab.
Do you do direct debit?
We will not automatically charge your bank account, however you may set up your account to automatically send us payments if you prefer.