Your Orthodontic FAQ’s
If you have pressing questions, please contact our office where one of our friendly Beach Braces Team members will be able to help you.
Alternatively complete the form on our Contact page. We’ll be happy to answer any orthodontic FAQ’s you may have.
We also encourage you to view our Video Gallery for more orthodontic FAQ’s.
1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.
2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.
3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an e-mail. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.
5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam.
To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit Page.
6. What will I learn from the initial examination?
There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:
- Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
- What must be done to correct the problem?
- Will any teeth need to be removed?
- How long will the treatment take to complete?
- How much will the treatment cost?
7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.
8. How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.
9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.
10. How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every five to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled five to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.
12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
Yes. We understand your busy schedule, 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 their patient manager before dropping off their child.
13. Do braces hurt?
Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”
14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.
15. Do you give shots?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.
16. Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.
17. Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.
18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.
20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.
21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.
22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.
23. What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-21 months. The primary objective for Phase One orthodontic treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.
24. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.
25. Will my child need an expander?
At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.
26. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!
27. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and 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.
28. Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.
29. What is the typical cost of braces?
Once we determine your specific needs, we can discuss the wide range of options available. There are treatment plans to accommodate almost any budget. We will work with your insurance to maximize your benefits and financing is available to ensure you receive the best treatment at an affordable price.
30. What are the different types of braces?
Traditional metal braces
Traditional metal braces, which utilize metal brackets that are adhered to your teeth with an adhesive and connected by wire, are the most common braces used today. Corrective pressure gradually straightens your teeth and aligns your jaw as needed. Clear and ceramic brackets are also available with traditional braces and are a less visible alternative to metal brackets.
Self-ligating metal braces
Self-ligating braces are similar to traditional metal braces, but they do not require the use of elastics, which means fewer appointments. These braces are typically more comfortable with less plaque build-up and less irritation. Reduced treatment time is often another benefit.
Lingual braces are metal braces that are attached to the back of the teeth and function similarly to traditional braces. Lingual braces are the best option for those with the highest cosmetic concerns because they are completely invisible when you smile. Lingual braces (Incognito) are by far the most invisible of the choices, but they are far more costly compared to clear/ceramic brackets or Invisalign.
31. Do lingual braces hurt?
You may feel slight discomfort but no more than traditional braces. However, it takes a little longer to get acquainted with lingual braces since they are near your tongue.
32. Is the price for lingual braces more than clear braces?
The price for lingual braces as clear braces is dependent on the treatment you need. But generally speaking, lingual braces are a little more expensive than clear braces.
33. How much do lingual braces cost?
Lingual braces require a completely different approach to treatment. The brackets are custom made to each tooth out of gold and the wires are custom bent by computer automated production equipment. This technology combined with the additional experience and continued education Dr. Panucci results in a more expensive treatment option. Also, due to the process of fitting the lingual braces, the appointments are typically 15-20 minutes longer than traditional braces.
34. Do lingual braces work?
Yes. We have many case studies and happy patients. Ask in office to see our Before & After Gallery.
35. Are lingual braces more expensive than standard braces?
Yes, because of the complexity and additional skill required by Dr. Panucci to work behind the teeth, lingual braces are a little more expensive.
36. What are the pro’s and cons of lingual braces?
Pros: Two of the pros of lingual braces are that they are completely invisible (as they are places on the inside of the teeth) and the treatment time is the same as traditional braces.
Cons: It’s not uncommon for speech to be affected for about 2 weeks after lingual braces placement of. Also, lingual braces may irritate the tongue and have slightly longer appointment times.
37. What is Invisalign and how much does it cost?
Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear trays to adjust the alignment of your teeth. The trays are custom made for your orthodontic needs. Invisalign offers many benefits over traditional metal braces including aesthetics, comfort, convenience, and easy oral hygiene. The cost is comparable to clear/ceramic braces, but varies depending on the complexity and length of treatment.
38. How many invisible braces options are there?
There are different options for ‘invisible’ braces. The following ‘invisible’ braces are available in order of most expensive to the least expensive:
- Incognito (lingual braces),
- Invisalign (clear removable aligners)
- Ceramic/clear brackets.
The most esthetic or invisible of the above choices is Incognito but it also far more costly compared to Invisalign or clear brackets.
39. Does Invisalign cost more than metal braces?
Typically, Invisalign does cost more than metal braces but there are less visits to the practice and/or time missed from school or your office.
40. Are invisible braces prices less for shorter treatment times?
Yes, this is generally true.
41. What are the benefits of ceramic vs. metal braces?
From a results perspective, ceramic and metal braces are very similar. The primary benefit of ceramic braces is they are less visible. However, you do need to take more care of them.
42. What are ceramic braces?
Ceramic braces are similar in color to your teeth and provide a more esthetic option to traditional metal braces.
43. What is the price of ceramic braces?
The price of ceramic braces is virtually the same as metal braces.
44. What are the pros and cons of ceramic braces?
The advantage of ceramic braces is that they are less visible. There are really no cons other than they are more visible compared to Invisalign (clear aligners).
45. Do ceramic braces stain teeth?
No, ceramic braces do not stain your teeth.
46. Does insurance typically cover orthodontic care?
Orthodontic coverage varies depending on the insurance company. We will work with your insurance company to determine what your plan covers and to maximize your benefits.
47. Is there a difference between orthodontic care for adults versus children?
The cost of orthodontics is usually the same for both children and adults and always varies depending on complexity and length of treatment. Adults, however, typically choose more aesthetic treatment. Incognito or Invisalign are preferred among adults, which is more expensive than traditional metal braces.
48. Are braces painful?
Braces are not painful. However, teeth may be sensitive or sore after an adjustment, particularly when eating. This will typically only last a couple of days. Modern orthodontics allow for smaller forces, which minimizes discomfort.
49. What are the most popular combinations of colors for braces?
Many patients choose pink because it’s cute or the brace colors to match their favorite sports team. However, we have an extensive array of braces colors to choose from, so if you get tired of the color you pick you can always try something new!
50. Is jaw surgery typical with orthodontics?
No, it’s very uncommon with early orthodontic treatment that is also known as Phase 1. There have been many advances in orthodontic treatments in the last few years which can now accomplish things that used to require surgery.
51. How do I safely remove food stuck in my braces?
The 3 most effective methods to clean food stuck between your braces are to floss, use an interproximal brush and a regular toothbrush. The team at Beach Braces will provide specific instructions at the time your braces are placed for braces care. Of course, we are always available throughout your orthodontic treatment plan to answer any questions you may have about oral hygiene and looking after your braces.
52. What are the most popular types of braces for adults?
Many adults tend to prefer Invisible or lingual braces. Younger patients prefer Invisalign Teen for the freedom it gives them.
If you have any other orthodontic question please contact Dr. Panucci at Beach Braces here.
Patricia J. Panucci DmD, MS • Specialist in Orthodontics For Children and Adults in California