At what age should I schedule an orthodontic consultation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age several permanent teeth have erupted in most children, allowing the evaluation of your child’s orthodontic condition.

Must my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No. Many patients are referred by their family dentist, but many others take the initiative to contact us themselves.

Will teeth straighten out as a child grows?

This almost never happens. The space available for the front teeth normally decreases with age.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam or consultation?

If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontics, simply call our office, send us an e-mail, or fill out an appointment request on this website. We will be delighted to schedule an appointment for you.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Dr. Rodriguez and his treatment coordinator will complete a thorough examination. If treatment is needed and the timing is correct, they will discuss potential treatment options and review financial arrangements. To learn more about your first visit, see our First Visit Page.

What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are five basic questions that we will cover during the first examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem and, if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • When is the best time for orthodontic treatment?
  • How long will the treatment last?
  • How much will the treatment cost?
Will teeth need to be extracted with orthodontic treatment?
Removing teeth is sometimes needed to achieve the best orthodontic results, but Dr. Rodriguez is very conservative about recommending extractions. New orthodontic procedures and technologies have allowed most cases to be treated without the removal of teeth.
How long will treatment take to complete?
Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic needs. In general, treatment times vary from 6 to 30 months. The average time a person is in orthodontic treatment is 24 months.
How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
Providing an exact cost for orthodontic treatment is not possible without first examining the patient. We will cover the exact cost of treatment and financial options at the initial examination. We have many financial options to meet your needs. We will also review your insurance and help maximize your benefits.
How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces are seen every 4-8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent attention, we will schedule the appointment accordingly.
Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Unfortunately, no orthodontist can schedule all appointments for students during after school hours. Since most appointments are scheduled 4-8 weeks apart and many can be scheduled before or after school, most patients will miss minimal school or work due to orthodontic appointments. We will make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.Our office makes every effort to see patients at their appointed times and we do this very successfully. We respect your time and have organized our office not to waste it!
Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
Yes. We understand your busy life and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. At some appointments, we may request to speak with a parent when they return.
Do braces hurt?
Normally braces do not hurt. After some visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) will ease the discomfort. However, after many visits, patients do not feel any soreness. We often tell our patients that “no pain, no gain” does not apply to orthodontics.
Can a patient return to school the day the braces are placed?
Yes, there is no reason to miss school after an orthodontic appointment.
Do you give shots?
No, shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.
Can I still play sports with braces?
Yes. We have special mouth guards available for patients who need one.
Do I still need to see my family dentist while in orthodontic treatment?
Absolutely! In fact we give incentives to encourage patients to have regular checkups with their dentist while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the interval between checkups and cleaning appointments while you are in orthodontic treatment.
Are there foods I should not eat while in braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain how to take care of the braces and provide a list of foods to avoid. Most of these foods are extremely hard (like ice) or extremely sticky (some candies) and can damage the braces or wires and lead to extra visits for repair or a prolonged treatment time.
What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
If your braces are causing pain or something is broken, you should call our office. If you require an extra or emergency appointment, we will schedule time for you. For emergencies during non-business hours, Dr. Rodriguez (or another orthodontist) is on call.
Can orthodontic treatment occur while a child still has “baby” teeth?
Yes. Many orthodontic treatments are begun while there are still “baby” teeth in the mouth. If a patient is not ready for treatment, we will monitor that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.
What is Phase One (early) treatment?
Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually started on children between 7 and 10 years of age. Phase One treatments usually last about 12-18 months. The primary goals of Phase One treatment are to improve significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.
Will full braces be needed after Phase One (early) treatment?
You should assume that a child will need full braces after Phase One treatment. Usually there is a resting period after Phase One treatment. During this resting period, Dr. Rodriguez monitors growth and tooth eruption and keeps parents and patients informed of future treatment needs. A second phase of treatment with full braces is usually necessary after the resting period to complete the correction of problems with the teeth that were not yet erupted during the first phase of treatment.
Will my child need an expander?
This question can often be answered at the initial examination. Sometimes, x-rays of the jaws and models of the teeth must be evaluated to determine if the patient will benefit from an expander.
Is it too late to have braces if I am an adult?
Certainly not! Many of our patients are adults. Health and a beautiful smile are vitally important to adults. No patient is too old for orthodontics.
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns or missing teeth?
Yes, a tooth with a crown moves like any other tooth. If teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will straighten the remaining teeth and will sometimes be able to close the space where a tooth is missing.
Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is critical that orthodontic treatments are carefully planned and expertly performed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive, specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments. Dr. Rodriguez has a commitment to providing excellence in orthodontics and service to his patients.