Do I need a referral to see an orthodontist?

Nope! Although many pediatric dentists and dentists can and do make referrals to orthodontists for specific reasons, you do not need a referral to see an orthodontist. Anyone can come see us without needing a referral! Anyone can come see us without needing a referral! All you need to do is call us at (804) 256-2808email us, or submit our online form to set up a new patient consultation appointment!

When should I take my child to see an orthodontist for the first time?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child see an orthodontist no later than age 7 to evaluate eruption timing and pattern and determine whether or not there are any orthodontic problems that might need to be addressed early. At age 7, children typically have their 6-year molars in place and have lost 2-6 baby teeth, so we can start to see some of the eruption patterns present with his/her permanent teeth.

Why should I see an orthodontic specialist for braces or Invisalign®?

Orthodontists complete 3 more years of additional training at an accredited orthodontic residency program after 4 years of college and 4 years of dental school in order to specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of improperly positioned teeth and jaws and improper bites. That’s 11 more years of school after high school! And while all orthodontists are dentists, only 6% of dentists are orthodontists. With this additional training, orthodontists become experts in safely straightening teeth, correcting bites, guiding and modifying growth (also known as dentofacial orthopedics), and aligning jaws using braces, Invisalign®, orthodontic appliances, and sometimes surgery.

How much do braces and Invisalign® cost?

The cost of your orthodontic treatment will vary, depending on your individual needs and treatment plan. When you come in for your initial consultation, we will discuss your treatment options, estimated treatment time, and payment plan options. We will provide you with an all-inclusive price for your orthodontic treatment that includes a set of retainers at the end of treatment—no add-on fees or surprises, so you can budget accordingly. We don’t want to let finances stand in the way of your beautiful new smile. We have flexible payment options to fit your financial needs to make payments more manageable.

How long will treatment last?

The amount of time it takes to treat your smile with braces depends on several key factors:

  • What needs correction — Treatment times vary depending on the complexity of your treatment. We will evaluate your teeth and bite and will determine your specific treatment plan and expected treatment time. 
  • Growth — Growth is a variable we unfortunately can't completely control (we as orthodontists really really wish we could), but we evaluate the direction and timing of your jaw growth and factor that growth into our treatment plan to determine the timing of getting started and if growth modification is needed. 
  • YOU! — Your willingness to wear your rubber bands (if needed) plays a major role in the length of time it takes to complete your treatment. Also taking care of your braces and avoiding the hard, sticky, and chewy foods that can sometimes cause breakage of appliances, will keep you on track with treatment. We will give you all of the specifics you need to know to get you in and out of braces or Invisalign® within the estimated treatment time. 

Do braces hurt?

Pain isn’t a word that we use in our office. Pressure is normal and to be expected at times during treatment – that’s how you know your teeth are moving, but we never want you to experience pain. When the wires are placed at your initial bonding appointment (the day you get braces) and when you come in for an adjustment and get new wires, you will feel some pressure, but the pressure only lasts about 48 hours and can be easily managed with ibuprofen or Tylenol.

Will I have to wear rubber bands?

Rubber bands are used to help move your teeth in the desired direction to achieve a perfect bite. They help fit the top teeth over the bottom teeth, similar to a lid fitting onto a box. Most patients wear rubber bands at some point during treatment. Some patients might need to wear them longer than others depending on the amount of bite correction needed. It is really important to make sure you wear your rubber bands when and where you’re supposed to when the time comes and when you are instructed to do so.

How often will I have appointments during treatment?

For patients in braces, we typically see you every 6 to 8 weeks for adjustments, and for patients in Invisalign® treatment, we typically you every 6 to 12 weeks and can schedule virtual appointments throughout the course of your treatment, depending on your scheduling needs.

What foods do I need to avoid with braces and why?

  • Avoid hard, sticky, & chewy foods – examples include caramel, snickers, starburst, taffy, skittles, hard candies, nuts, popcorn, crunchy pizza crust, tortilla chips, and harder breads like a baguette
  • Avoid eating certain foods with your front teeth – examples include whole apples, carrots, and corn on the cob
  • Avoid biting pens, pencils, fingernails, & ice
  • Eating hard, sticky, or chewy foods can cause broken brackets, bands, and wires. Breakage oftentimes extends your time in braces and adds unnecessary trips to our office for repair visits.