FAQ

  1. Do I need a referral?
  2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
  3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
  4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
  5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
  6. What will I learn from the initial examination?
  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. Are any needles given?
  16. Do you use recycled braces?
  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. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
  27. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
  28. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
  29. Does Dr. Wheeler do Invisalign?

1. Do I need a referral?

No, you do not need a referral. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

It is nice if we can see patients before their growth spurt, because often we wish to use their growth to help us get the best result. Therefore it is good to evaluate girls by 10.5 years of age and boys by 12 years of age. There are some patients who should be treated at 7 or 8 or 9 years of age, but if this is the case, then your dentist will have referred you to see us at that earlier age.  If in doubt, then book an appointment and we can always evaluate early, and if it is too early we will tell you that we need to wait.

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.  Many people believe there will be more space as patients grow, but this is not true, the jaw grows  at the back, the space at the front is set by  7 years of age.    In most people, after the permanent molars erupt(at around six years of age), the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

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. 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.

5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Upon arriving, Dr Wheeler will carry out a brief, but thorough, orthodontic exam.
Then we will explain our findings to you.
To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit Page.

6. What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:  Whether orthodontic treatment is indicated for you?  What is going on with your bite and jaws?
Whether now is the right time for treatment?   What would be involved in the orthodontic treatment?  What the cost of treatment would be?

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

Most of the time teeth do NOT need to be removed for orthodontic treatment.  But sometimes  sometimes the removal of teeth is  required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Adult teeth need to be removed in about 25% of the orthodontic cases that we treat.   Straight teeth and a good bite are the goal of orthodontics.

8. 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 19 to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.

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 we have examined you, as each person's treatment is as individual as they are.
The whole payment is not required at the beginning of treatment, the payments are broken down into monthly payments and then spread out over 18 to 24 months. We will try to cover the cost and financial options during the initial examination.
If you have orthodontic insurance coverage, we will prepare a predetermination form for you, that you will need to submit to your insurance carrier to enable them to be able to let you know how much of the fee will be covered by them.

10. How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every four to nine 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. 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 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 us before dropping off their child.

13. 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!”

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

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because you just got your braces on.

15. Are needles (freezing) given in an orthodontic office?

Almost never. The exception is if some minor laser treatment is required, in which case we will have informed you of this. The other exception is if we need to place an anchor to pull the teeth  to (again a very rare occurance).

16. 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.

17. Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for some sports.

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

Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Often it is better to go for more frequent cleanings at your dentists' office during orthodontic treatment because it is harder to keep your teeth clean with the braces in place. Your family dentist can help you 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 comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables (raw vegetables are alright if cut into smaller portions) and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy), and crunchy foods (i.e. croutons, toffee, nachos, popcorn...etc.). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

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. Back to top

21. 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.

22. 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 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 on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 8-18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems early to give us a chance at better results later.

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 again later 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.

25. Will my child need an expander?

During the initial examination, and diagnostic record analysis, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander. About 30-35 percent of orthodontic patients require upper arch expansion.

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

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is "too old" to wear braces!

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 can aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

28. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontists have extensive and specialized training (an extra 2-3 years of University training specifically related to orthodontic treatment, beyond what they have already learned to have become a dentist)  that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.

29.  Does Dr. Wheeler treat with Invisalign?
Yes.  Dr. Wheeler does treat with Invisalign.  If your case is appropriate to be treated with invisalign we will let you know.