FAQ

  1. Why is orthodontics important?
  2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening and why may it be important to have orthodontic treatment at a young age?
  3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
  4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
  5. What will happen and what will I learn at the initial examination appointment?
  6. What infection control procedures do you follow?
  7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
  8. How long will it take to complete treatment?
  9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
  10. How often will I have appointments?
  11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
  12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
  13. Do braces hurt?
  14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
  15. Do you give shots?
  16. Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
  17. Can I still play sports?
  18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
  19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
  20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
  21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
  22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
  23. What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
  24. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
  25. Will my child need an expander?
  26. Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?
  27. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
  28. What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

1. Why is orthodontics important and what are some of the possible benefits?

Our smile influences not just how we perceive ourselves but how others perceive us as well.  In one research study, teachers perceived the kids with straight teeth and normal bites as smarter. Ridiculous? Yes, but true. 

An attractive smile and improved self-image are just a few of the benefits of orthodontic treatment.  Alleviating and preventing dental health problems is just as important. Untreated orthodontic problems can promote tooth decay, gum disease, loss of bone around the teeth, chewing and digestive problems, speech impairment, excessive tooth wear, tooth fracture, and even tooth loss.

        POSSIBLE BENEFITS:

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

 

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2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening and why may it be important to have orthodontic treatment at a young age?

Dr. Beckwith follows the American Association of Orthodontists recommendation for children to have an orthodontic screening by age 7. At this age, several permanent teeth have usually erupted allowing us to effectively evaluate the occlusion (bite) and jaw growth.  Dr. Beckwith is conservative in his recommendations for early orthodontic treatment.  He recommends phase one (early) treatment only for those patients with certain bite problems or when esthetics has already become a concern for the patient or parent. 

Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct at an early age when much jaw growth is left or at least before jaw growth has slowed.  Early treatment may allow a patient to avoid jaw surgery and more serious complications.  Too, the vast majority of our two-phase treatment patients can be treated without permanent tooth extractions.

 

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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 actually decreases over time. While we can gain significant space with orthodontic treatment after this age, most kids do not gain any more space for permanent teeth on their own after age 10.

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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 or fill out or appointment request form on-line. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office team member will request some basic information from you.

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5. What will happen and what will I learn at the initial examination appointment?

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?

 

To learn about your first visit to our office, please see our First Visit page.

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6. What infection control procedures do you follow?

We adhere to the procedures and standards recommended by the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control, and OSHA.  We especially follow the concept of Universal Precautions. All instruments are cleaned and sterilized between patients, new gloves are used with each patient, and each chair and operatory are disinfected after each patient visit.

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7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

Removing teeth is generally not needed when you are treated in this office. With that said, extractions sometimes are required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight healthy teeth, a beautiful smile, and a balanced facial profile are our treatment goals!

In order to improve the eruption path of the permanent teeth to follow, Dr. Beckwith will sometimes recommend extraction of primary (kid) teeth.

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8. How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. It will depend on how  much your jaw needs to change and how far your teeth need to move. In general, treatment time lasts from 6 months to 30 months. The "average" time frame to wear braces is approximately 18-20 months.  We are committed to making your treatment as swift and effective as possible.

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9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

It is not possible for us to give you cost information for treatment until we have examined you to determine your orthodontic needs. We are generally able to provide exact cost information and financial options during the initial examination. We have several 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.

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10. How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Active patients will be seen at intervals ranging from 3 to 12 weeks.  Our typical appointment intervals are 4 or 8 weeks.

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11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

This is a challenge for every orthodontist's office. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. Longer visits to place and remove the appliances at the beginning and end of treatment must necessarily be scheduled during school hours.  Some other appointments may also need to be scheduled during school.  Because appointments are typically scheduled 4 to 8 weeks apart, most patients will not miss much school due to their orthodontic treatment. Dr. Beckwith works during most of the school days off in order to accommodate our patients.  We will make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

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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 an office team member either before dropping off their child or at the end of the appointment.

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13. Do braces hurt?

Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically.  Today's braces are smaller, more comfortable and use technology that reduces the discomfort.  Putting the braces on generally does not hurt at all.  After the appliances are initially placed, it is normal for the teeth and inside of the lips and cheeks to become sore for a few days. Later in treatment, the teeth may again be sore after certain visits. In these situations, over-the-counter pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. After most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, "It does not have to hurt to work!"

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14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school after an orthodontic appointment at our office.  We encourage our patients to return to work or school and continue with their planned activities.  By staying in your routine, you will think about your orthodontic appliances less.

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15. Do you give shots?

"Shots" are not typically necessary in orthodontic treatment.  We will anesthetize (numb) the tissue for initial placement of an orthodontic temporary anchorage device (TAD) or when we need to utilize our soft tissue laser to uncover an impacted tooth, etc..

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16. Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

No, though there may be an initial period of adjustment.  In addition, we can provide brace covers to prevent discomfort.

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17. Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend a protective mouth guard for all sports. We will give you a mouth guard to wear while you are wearing orthodontic appliances.

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18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes! Regular checkups, at least every 6 months, with your family dentist are even more important while in braces. Your dentist will determine if more frequent cleaning appointments are indicated while you are in braces.

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19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a more comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw un-cut vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most add-on appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

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20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. We show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.

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21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

Fortunately, true emergencies are rare with orthodontic treatment.  In the case of such an emergency, one of our team members can always be reached via our office "pager" cell phone.  The phone number may be obtained by calling our main office number, 303-651-1315.  If necessary, we will meet you at the office after hours to address the emergency concern.

If you experience a significant trauma to your face that involves the teeth or braces, please call our office immediately.  Some examples might be a baseball to the mouth or an elbow or head to the face while playing a sport. 

If your braces are causing pain that is not being adequately controlled by over-the-counter pain medication or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone or at an office visit during regular hours. 

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22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems such as cross-bites, etc. are best be corrected early. If your child's teeth are not yet ready for treatment, Dr. Beckwith will monitor their growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

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23. What is Phase One (early) Treatment?

Phase One treatment, when indicated, is usually initiated between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment at our office usually lasts  between 6-12 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address certain problems that are best corrected early, shorten treatment time later and/or to improve self-esteem and self-image.

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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 at some time after Phase One treatment. We refer to the period following Phase One as the "interim phase", during which Dr. Beckwith will check and adjust retainer(s) while monitoring growth and tooth eruption. Throughout this period, we will keep you and your child informed  of future treatment recommendations, specifically the necessity and timing of the second treatment phase.  Patients who have had an orthodontic phase one generally have a shorter time in full braces once the remaining permanent teeth erupt, typically at age 12 or 13.

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25. Will my child need an expander?

Possibly. It is not possible to answer this question without seeing your child.  We will answer this question at your initial examination.

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26. Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?

No, it is never too late!  Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Orthodontic treatment can restore good function, and teeth that work better usually look better, too. Twenty-five percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are important to everyone regardless of their age. No patient is "too old" to wear braces and many of our adult patients can be successfully treated with clear aligners such as Invisalign.

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27. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

Yes. A tooth with a crown will generally move just like other teeth. When teeth are missing, the adjacent teeth will drift into the space.  This will cause a functional, esthetic, or periodontal problem.  Orthodontic treatment can help correct and prevent these problems from happening, can align the remaining teeth, and can establish proper space for replacement of the missing teeth.

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28. What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

While it can be confusing to the general public, it is legal for a general or pediatric dentist to provide orthodontic treatment and to advertise that they do orthodontics.  They just cannot call themselves an orthodontist.

Orthodontic specialists are dentists who continued their formal education for 2-3 years beyond dental school to learn and do orthodontics only. It is Dr. Beckwith's opinion that their is no substitute for the extensive and specialized training of an accredited orthodontic residency. In addition, orthodontists gain the experience of treating hundreds of orthodontic patients each month while a general dentist who does orthodontics would typically see a only a few orthodontic patients per month between fillings, hygiene checks, etc.  Since the teeth and jaw structures are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment, it is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed.  An orthodontist is an expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with patients to help make sure the teeth stay in their new position.

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