Questions to Ask an Orthodontist

Here are some of the questions we frequently receive from prospective and new patients. We value transparent and comfortable care, so if you don’t see your question answered here, please contact us – we are here to help!

Prospective Patient Questions

Do you take my insurance?

We work with many insurance companies. Each plan has its own benefits and rules, which we will help you navigate to maximize your insurance coverage.

How long will treatment take?

Treatment plans depend on each patient’s specific orthodontic needs. In general, treatment time frames range from 12–30 months. The average length of time for braces is approximately 22 months.

What is Early (Phase One) Treatment?

Early, or Phase One, treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children ages 7–10 and lasts approximately 12–21 months. The primary objectives for early treatment are to address significant problems and prevent issues from becoming more severe.

Click here to learn more about Early Treatment.

How much do braces cost? Do you finance?

Finances and insurance speak can be super confusing – but we’ve got your back.

While the exact cost of treatment isn’t able to be determined until after a free consultation, we have created an online cost calculator to help you better understand what payment options are available.

In your free consultation, we will be able to dive deep into how your specific orthodontic benefit works. We will also chat about what payment options are available, including in-house financing.

Do braces hurt?

Most patients feel pressure or tightness after getting braces and sometimes after adjustment appointments – this is normal. You can take Advil, Tylenol, or Ibuprofen (unless you’re allergic to these medications) as prescribed on the bottle for 3–4 days to relieve any discomfort. Eating soft foods like pasta, eggs, bananas, yogurt, and ice cream may also help.

Some patients say their teeth feel loose a couple of days after their adjustments. This is a completely normal feeling as teeth move into their correct positions. Don’t worry—it’s only temporary!

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

It is never too late!

Currently, about 50% of our patients are adults. We have great tools like Invisalign and Lightforce that make orthodontic treatment as an adult more discreet than ever.

Click here to learn more about Adult Treatment.

Current Patient Questions

What if I have an emergency?

Please note: If you have a traumatic injury or life-threatening condition, please call 911 or visit an emergency room.

True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but we’re available to you when they do occur. As a general rule, you should call the office whenever you experience severe pain or have a problem with your appliances. We’ll schedule an appointment to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Our after-hours emergency number is (804) 316-9260.

Do I still need to visit my dentist for cleanings and check-ups while in braces?

YES, YES, YES. Please continue to see your dentist regularly, ideally at least every six months. This is very important. Your dentist may ask for your wires to be removed before a cleaning appointment in order to make the hygienist’s job easier. If you schedule a cleaning appointment with your dentist, please let us know at least four weeks in advance so we can coordinate appointments between both offices.

What do I do about the sores on the inside of my mouth?

Your mouth will usually adapt within the first month to the feeling of the braces, but it’s normal for your cheeks and lips to become irritated from time to time.

If an ulcer forms, you can use a small piece of the wax we give you to cover the braces that are causing irritation. The wax will stay in place when you eat and drink if you make sure the area is dry before application. Orabase-B can ease discomfort if applied over the affected area, and warm salt water rinses can also aid in healing. Ulcers generally take 7–10 days to heal, but please call us if one lasts more than two weeks.

Are there certain foods I should avoid while in braces?

Yes. Buzz-kill, we know. But to keep those braces in tip-top shape, here are some foods you should avoid: popcorn, nuts, hard taco shells, sticky and hard candy, ice, corn chips, pretzels, hard cookies or crackers and sticky or hard chocolate.

On the bright side here are some great foods that you can have: hull less popcorn, yogurt, bananas, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and other fruits without pits, cheese, mashed potatoes, peanut butter and jelly, ravioli, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and other noodle dishes.

Highly recommend Bates Ortho. My whole family loves them.

Bates Orthodontics is the absolute best! We are beyond pleased.

Dr. Bates and his team made the process incredibly easy. I love my new smile!

Dr. Bates and staff are committed to both patient care and overall experience.

Everyone is so kind and happy. It's like a little family and I just love them!

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