Frequently Asked Questions


Q1: What age should orthodontic treatment occur?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age seven. Although only a few orthodontic problems need to be corrected at that age, an early exam allows the orthodontist to offer advice and guidance as to when the appropriate age to start treatment would be. Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.  Let your orthodontist guide you as to when to start treatment. Even if your child is past age 7, it is important to have an orthodontic check-up as soon as possible. Most orthodontic patients begin active treatment between ages 9 & 14.

Q2: Why is orthodontic treatment so important?

Straight teeth help an individual to effectively bite, chew and speak.  Straight teeth contribute to healthy teeth and gums.  Properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent physical health problems.  Teeth that work better also tend to look better.  An attractive smile is a pleasant “side effect” of orthodontic treatment. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and ultimately tooth loss. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue, and possible jaw joint problems. Finally, without treatment, many problems become worse. Orthodontic treatment to correct a problem may prove less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop in later years.

Q3: Am I too old for braces?

Today, about 25% of orthodontic patients are over the age of 18. Healthy teeth, bones and gums respond well to orthodontic treatment at any age. Today, orthodontic treatment is a viable option for almost any adult.  It is well recognized that when left untreated, many orthodontic problems may become worse.  When you have a malocclusion (“bad bite”), your teeth may be crowded, excessively spaced or may not fit together correctly.  Such conditions may lead to dental health problems.  Crowded teeth are hard to clean and, given time, may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. You’ll be pleased to learn that orthodontic treatment will fit in with your current lifestyle – you can sing, play a musical instrument, dine out, kiss, and even have your picture taken. One in five orthodontic patients is an adult.

Q4: Will braces hurt?
Most orthodontic patients experience mild discomfort the first week after the braces are placed and for about 24-48 hours after they are tightened. Over the counter pain relievers should help ease the discomfort.

Q5: How long will I have to wear my braces?
The time necessary to correct your bite varies for each patient and is dependent on how far your teeth and jaw must move and how cooperative the patient is during treatment. Generally, the length of comprehensive orthodontic treatment can range from approximately 18 months to 30 months, depending on treatment options and individual characteristics.  Patients must maintain good oral hygiene, be careful not to damage the appliances, keep regular appointments, and wear all extra oral appliances as instructed.

Q6: Will I still be able to play sports or musical instruments?
Yes. We recommend that patients protect their teeth by wearing an orthodontic mouth guard when participating in sports. There will be an initial period of adjustment with instruments.

Q7: How much do braces cost?
The cost of therapy varies depending on the type of treatment and the severity of the case. We offer a complimentary consultation, which is an excellent opportunity for you to receive information about the type of treatment required and the cost to correct your bite.

Q8: What is a retainer?
A retainer is an orthodontic appliance worn after the braces have been removed. It is designed to prevent your teeth from shifting and moving while the bone around your teeth hardens and stabilizes. Retainers provide assurance that your teeth will stay in perfect alignment while your jaw continues to grow and during the aging process. The longer you wear your retainer, the more likely your bite will not relapse.

Q9: Do I still need to have my teeth cleaned while I have my braces on?
It is VERY important to have regular dental cleanings during orthodontic treatment. Regular check-ups will ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy during treatment.


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4925 University Dr NW # 118, Huntsville, Al 35816

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