1. Is it required that my family dentist refer or schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No, it is not. While many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, a consultation request from your dentist is not required. Many people take the initiative to schedule an examination for their children or themselves. Following the initial consultation, a detailed, report from Dr. Stush will be sent to your dentist.

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 or 8.

By this age, the permanent, upper and lower front teeth and first molars are present. Many primary or “baby” teeth still remain. This is a good time for an evaluation for a child. However, this does not mean that treatment should automatically be started now. While a percentage of children will benefit from earlier orthodontic treatment, most children can be ideally treated if orthodontic treatment waits for additional development. Timing is everything, in this regard.

3. Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?

Facial structures and the teeth are significantly and irreversibly changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly carried out. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training, after dental school, that enables them to provide their patients with professional, appropriate, individualized treatment. While dentists can provide some orthodontic services, they do not have the specialized training an orthodontist has attained in their residency programs.

4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you have questions about orthodontic treatment for you or your child, simply call our office and we will be happy to schedule a complimentary, thorough, initial consultation appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our staff will request some basic information from you.

5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Be prepared for an informative, friendly, stress-free visit. Upon arriving, each patient, child or adult, will be seen by Dr. Stush and his patient-oriented staff. We will take initial, digital photographs and a digital, panoramic x-ray so Dr. Stush can provide an accurate diagnosis and make appropriate treatment recommendations, that will be completely reviewed with you, after his examination.

6. What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are six important questions that we will answer during the initial examination visit:

  • Are there orthodontic problems, and if so, what are they?
  • What must be done to correct the problems?
  • When should treatment be started and why?
  • 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 sometimes cannot be avoided to achieve the best orthodontic treatment result. A great, straight smile and a balanced, facial appearance, with all teeth in stable positions, are the goals of modern orthodontic care. However, because new technology has provided for 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 problems. Full or complete treatment can range from 18 – 36 months dependent on the complexity of treatment. Limited or partial treatment times can be 12 – 15 months. The “average” time frame patients are in braces for complete treatment is usually 24 months. Remember, this does not include the time retainers are worn to keep that smile straight.

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 an examination has been performed. We will discuss the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination visit. We have many payment 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. Back to top

10. How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4 to 8 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 4 to 8 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatment. 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 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, as we may need to update you with your child’s progress. We will let you know when this is necessary.

13. Do braces hurt?

Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, such as when braces are first placed, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel significant 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. Most patients return to school the same day to show their new braces and their “colors” to their friends.

15. Do you give shots for braces?

Relax. No, shots (“novocaine”) for numbing of the gums or teeth are necessary as part of placing the braces or for routine orthodontic visits.

16. Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely Not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own, new, set of braces and other appliances to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

17. Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend and provide mouth guards, at no additional cost, for all patients who request one at any time during their treatment.

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

Definitely 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 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 dietary instructions.

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

Patients should brush their teeth as much as they can each day, especially after each meal, in the morning and before going to bed. We will carefully explain and show each patient how to brush and floss their teeth with braces on and may also provide special fluoride toothpastes and fluoride rinses, as needed. Back to top.

21. What is an emergency appointment?

If your braces are causing much discomfort or if something breaks or loosens you should call our office. Most of the time, we can address these issues with a same or next day appointment as needed. Sometimes, we can instruct you over the phone on how to care for a problem until we can see you to resolve your problem. Never hesitate to call if you have a problem or a question. We are always available should a problem develop.

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

Yes. There are some specific, orthodontic problems that are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, Dr. Stush 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 for children before their teen years. Phase One treatment can last from 6 – 24 months and usually requires later, complete or comprehensive treatment. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address specific, significant growth, developmental or dental eruption problems. These needs and the reasons for treatment will be thoroughly explained before proceeding.

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 “supervision/retention period”, during which facial 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?

Most patients do not really benefit from upper or lower jaw expansion as a routine, Phase One treatment procedure. There are specific, evidence-based, orthodontic guidelines for expansion. Normal facial growth, development and dental eruption usually eliminate the need for expansion for most, but not all patients. At your child’s initial consultation visit here, Dr. Stush will carefully explain whether or not expansion is in your child’s best interest.

26. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

A large 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 or to have the smile they always wanted!

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. Teeth that have been treated with root canal procedures, endodontics, can be moved too.

28. 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. Back to top