Dental Associates

Braces & Orthodontics Questions

Answers to common questions about braces and orthodontics

What are dental braces?
Braces are an appliance installed by an orthodontist to correct teeth that are crowded, out of alignment (crooked), protruding or have unequal spacing. Braces are used on both children and adults to align teeth in a straight position that’s esthetically-pleasing.

What types of braces are available?
Dental Associates offers a wide variety of braces, from standard metal brackets and clear ceramic brackets to invisible braces by Invisalign. We also offer the complete array of treatment options, from standard treatments for children, to two-phase treatments or partial treatments, we offer everything a child or adult would need in orthodontics.

What is malocclusion?
Simply put, malocclusion (literally “unhealthy bite”) is the cause behind patients needing braces. Malocclusion is a derivative of occlusion, which refers to how opposing teeth meet. More specifically, malocclusion refers to any degree of irregular contact of the teeth of a person’s upper jaw with the teeth of the lower jaw. This includes overbites, underbites and crossbites, as well as crowding of the teeth.

Most people seek treatment for malocclusion for cosmetic reasons instead of medical reasons. While the large majority of school-aged children have some degree of malocclusion, a small percentage have what would be considered severe or comprehensive malocclusion which may require orthodontics in combination with orthognathic surgery. This is orthodontics with treatment of the jaws to provide a stable, healthy, and attractive bite.

Does every person need braces?
As mentioned above, most people choose braces to correct mild cases of crooked teeth for cosmetic reasons, the benefits of which can last a lifetime if properly cared for.

When should a young child receive their first orthodontic check-up?
If your child is a current patient of a Dental Associates pediatric dentist, their dentist will keep tabs on their growth progress and recommend the right time to consider orthodontic treatment.

If you’re not currently a patient at Dental Associates, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. In some cases, early orthodontic treatment or two-phased orthodontic treatment is appropriate to catch some cases of malocclusion early on.

What age is right to start braces?
A child’s pediatric dentist will recommend an orthodontist consultation when they believe it’s best for the patient. All patients are different, so some children may start treatment earlier to correct more severe cases of malocclusion. The benefit of being a patient of Dental Associates is that when the time comes for a consultation, both the pediatric dentist and the orthodontist are in-house at your Dental Associates clinic, not across town from each other.

How long does a person wear braces?
Treatment plans vary from six to roughly 30 months. Simpler cases can be finished more quickly. The overall average orthodontic treatment time is roughly 24 months. While the longevity of an orthodontic treatment plan weighs heavily on the level of malocclusion that’s being treated (an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or crowding of the teeth), the patient’s dedication to sticking to the treatment plan assigned to them by their orthodontist can minimize the duration of treatment.

Are braces painful?
When a patient first receives braces they may experience some soreness for several hours after their appointment. This may last a few days for some patients, as their body adapts to the changes that are occurring within their mouth. Similar soreness is common at later appointments when the braces are adjusted. Your orthodontist will recommend over the counter pain relievers to help lessen the discomfort.

Who provides and places braces?
Orthodontists are the dentists who have received additional years of schooling to specialize in the practice of orthodontics. Orthodontics involves the movement of teeth to treat malocclusion and support facial development.

Are Dental Associates Orthodontists in the same clinic as Dental Associates Dentists?
Yes! Dental Associates specializes in having all your dental needs under one roof. At Dental Associates, Orthodontists are conveniently located in the same clinic a patient visits for their general dentist.

Can adults get braces?
Absolutely! Orthodontic treatment can benefit adults in the same manner it benefits children... maybe more so. If you have teeth that are misaligned or have spacing issues, braces can provide a beautiful, cosmetically-pleasing smile that will boost your confidence. Read about Braces for Adults to learn more.

Are there foods to avoid wearing braces?
Yes, there are plenty of foods that you will want to avoid while wearing braces for fear that you may negatively impact your braces components. Visit this page to learn about foods that are encouraged for braces and foods to avoid with braces

What do you do if a braces bracket or wire comes loose?
First, don’t panic, everything will be fine. If a braces bracket detaches or one of your braces wires comes loose, call your orthodontist then visit our Orthodontics Emergency Care page for temporary solutions.

Are all orthodontist appointments the same length in time?
No, orthodontic appointments will vary in length. Some early appointments may be longer in duration as diagnostic photographs and x-rays of the face, teeth and surrounding tissues are needed, as well as an impression, or mold, of the patient’s teeth. Later check-up appointments for adjustments will be shorter in duration.

What is “two-phase” orthodontic treatment?
In some cases, a pediatric dentist will consult with an orthodontist and recommend a two-phase orthodontic treatment. This consists of two separate periods when a child receives orthodontic treatment. The first phase of treatment is done while the child still has many or most of their baby teeth. Braces may or may not be used during a first phase of treatment. Rather, other orthodontic appliances may be used in this early phase. The second phase of treatment happens once the child has most or all of their permanent teeth. For more information, please see our Orthodontics Treatment Options.


How much do braces cost?
The cost of braces depends greatly on the type of insurance a patient has. Please call one of our nearby dental clinics to discuss your specific situation.

Many Dental Associates patients experience out-of-pocket savings by adding a supplemental dental insurance plan from CarePlus Dental Plans. Consult the CarePlus Dental Insurance Savings Calculator to determine the orthodontics savings that are possible for you.

Request an Orthodontist Consultation

If you’re ready to get started, visit our Locations page to find our dental clinic near you. Call the clinic of your choice and tell them you’re interested in a consultation with an orthodontist. You may also Request an Appointment here.

Braces & Orthodontics Insurance Dental Associates is the exclusive provider of CarePlus Dental Plans insurance. With CarePlus dental insurance, you can save money on braces, even if you already have dental insurance. Use their Savings Calculator to see how much you can save with your existing dental insurance. Visit CarePlus Dental Insurance for Braces