Maria A Lewis DMD 
Gordon D Barfield
Frequent Questions

      Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

      At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

      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.

       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 our request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you. Initial examinations in our office are always complimentary.

      What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will complete a thorough examination, and have a discussion of the findings. Initial diagnostic records may be taken at this time pending your schedule and desires. 

      What will I learn from the initial examination?
There are five essential questions that we will briefly address during the initial examination; definitive answers to these questions often will be provided after a complete analysis of diagnostic records:
• 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?

      Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result.  However, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment. Teeth are commonly removed in cases of severe crowding, bite problems, jaw discrepancies, unbalanced facial profiles, and in patients whom have lost the benefits of growth assistance. Certain treatment techniques may offer the possibilities of avoiding tooth extraction, and we carefully consider all options for your case before recommending any course of care. In most cases, careful evaluation of diagnostic records is necessary before decisions can be made regarding removal of permanent teeth.

      How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 24 months. We attempt to accurately estimate the length of treatment, but actual treatment time varies for every patient and is dependant on many factors, including consistency in maintaining appointments , compliance with instructions, and each patient's physiology.

      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 we have examined you. We will cover the estimated cost and review financial options during the initial examination, and present the exact cost during the case presentation visit. There are many 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 benefits.

      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. More frequent appointment intervals are common at certain points during the course of treatment.

      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 treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

      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 a team member before dropping off their child. We also require a parents presence at the time any minor is released from our office.

      Do braces hurt?
Generally, braces do not "hurt." After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, "It does not have to hurt to work!

      Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

      Do you give shots?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

      Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

       Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

       Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Absolutely! Regular checkups with your family dentist are crucial while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

      Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive 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 instructions.

       How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.

      What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

      Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow 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 initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 6-12 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe as permanent teeth develop, and to improve self-esteem and self-image.

      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 "resting period," during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

      Will my child need an expander?
After reviewing the diagnostic records, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander. Expansion appliances are commonly used in cases with extreme crowding, narrow jaws, and back teeth improperly aligned.

      Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
A surprising 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, in fact we have treated patients nearing their 80th birthday!

      Am I a candidate for Invisalign treatment?
Although Invisalign treatment offers many advantages, not everyone is appropriate for this type of therapy. The Invisalign system was developed to address a very specific and defined set of clinical criteria. Often, the severity of your case and your goals for treatment will determine your suitability for Invisalign therapy.

      Is Invisalign as good as braces?
In carefully selected cases, Invisalign has been shown to be an excellent alternative to traditional braces. We will determine (with you) whether Invisalign may be an appropriate treatment option for you. Not all cases are appropriate for braces, and likewise, not all cases are appropriate for Invisalign.

      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.

Website Builder