Questions to ask an orthodontist


Do You Take My Insurance?

We’ll work with you to maximize your insurance benefit for braces or Invisalign®. We accept most insurance policies and are considered in network for the following PPO insurances:

  • Aetna
  • Anthem
  • Cigna
  • Delta Dental
  • Guardian
  • Metlife
  • United Concordia

Do Braces Hurt?

Most patients feel pressure or tightness after getting braces and sometimes after adjustment appointments. Minor discomfort is normal for the first few days after you get your braces and after adjustments. 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!

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.

Do I Still Have To See My Dentist For Cleanings And Check-Ups?

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 If I Have A Problem Or 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.

You may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with us. You’ll need to know the names of your appliances and understand how they work so you can identify what’s broken or out of place. After alleviating your discomfort, it’s still important to call our office right away to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.

How Long Will It Take To Complete Treatment?

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

How Much Do Braces Cost? Are Financing Options Available? How Does My Insurance Work?

It’s not possible to give an exact cost for treatment until after we’ve examined you. After your initial examination, we’ll discuss costs and review the financing options we offer to accommodate your needs. We’ll also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

Is There Anything I Can't Eat While I Have Braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we’ll provide complete instructions and a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include ice, hard candy, raw vegetables, and all sticky foods (e.g. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency repair appointments by carefully following our instructions.

What Is Phase One (Early) Treatment?

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

Is It Too Late To Have Braces If I'm Already An Adult?

A surprising number of our patients are adults—in fact, 25% of all orthodontic patients are. No patient is “too old” for braces! Invisalign® and clear braces are excellent options for adults.