While we’ll explain everything you need to know in detail at your consultation, in the meantime, here are the answers to some of your most pressing braces questions.

Q: What is malocclusion?

A: Malocclusion is the technical term for a bad bite. Underbites, overbites, crossbites, openbites, spacing and crowding are all types of malocclusions. Dr. Yoo and Dr. Sona are specially trained to prevent, diagnose and treat malocclusion for a beautiful, healthy smile.

Q: Do I need to visit an orthodontist?

A: If you want stable, dramatic results then, yes, you really need to see an orthodontist. Treatment can permanently alter your teeth and facial structures, so it’s important that your treatment is customized and appropriate for your case. That’s where a certified specialist in orthodontics comes in. They have the advanced training and expertise to come up with the correct diagnosis and treatment plan in order to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Q: At what age should I schedule an appointment for my child’s first orthodontic screening?

A: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends little ones receive an orthodontic screening by the age of seven. At this point, some of the permanent teeth have come in and we can observe their growth and development and keep an eye out for red flags.

Q: Do I need a referral from my dentist to visit Palo Alto Orthodontics?

A: Nope! While we certainly welcome referrals from dentists and other specialists, they’re not required. You can give us a call or book your free consultation online and we’ll set you up with your first appointment.

Q: Will my teeth straighten out on their own as I grow?

A: No. We have yet to see that happen. In fact, the space available for the front teeth tends to decrease with age.

Q: What will happen during my first visit?

A: You’ll be greeted by our friendly staff and you’ll get to check out our office. We’ll take some photos and x-rays, if necessary, and Dr. Yoo or Dr. Sona will conduct an examination of your mouth, teeth, jaws and face. The doctor will explain your options, answer your questions and go over things like the cost and financing choices. Once they have the opportunity to review your diagnostic records, they can develop a comprehensive treatment plan suited to your needs.

Q: Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

A: We do everything we can to avoid extractions. Plus, new technology and advanced treatments can often let us achieve awesome results without removing any teeth. However, in some cases, extracting teeth is only way to get the results you want.

Q: What happens when I get my braces put on?

A: The pain-free process usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour. First, Dr. Yoo or Dr. Sona will clean your teeth and dry them off. Then, they apply the special bonding glue and stick on the brackets. Finally, they’ll run the archwire through the brackets and secure everything in place with elastics or ties. If you’re wearing self-ligating braces, which are tie-less, we’ll skip that part. When we’re finished, we’ll give you a primer on how to care for your braces and send you on your way.

Q: Can I go to school or work the day I get my braces put on?

A: Yup! You can go straight to work or school after your orthodontic appointment.

Q: Do you give shots?

A: Nope! Breathe a sigh of relief because shots aren’t necessary during treatment.

Q: Do you use recycled braces?

A: Absolutely not! We give every patient their own braces to help them achieve the best results possible.

Q: What happens when I get my braces removed?

A: Congratulations! You made it! Dr. Yoo or Dr. Sona will use special tools to loosen and remove your brackets and wires, which also doesn’t hurt. Then, they’ll scrape off the bonding glue and polish your teeth so they’re smooth. You’ll get to admire your beautiful new smile.

Q: Are there foods I should avoid while I have braces?

A: Yes, but we promise it’s worth it! Once treatment begins, we’ll give you a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of these foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables (unless cut into tiny pieces), popcorn and anything sticky like gum or caramels. Following our instructions carefully can go a long way in helping you avoid emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces.

Q: Am I too old for braces?

A: You’re never too old to perfect your smile! We’ve been seeing more and more adult patients at Palo Alto Orthodontics. Braces are an excellent way to straighten your teeth, align your bite and will even improve your oral health. Adults are typically good candidates for esthetic options like ceramic braces and Invisalign, so no one will even have to know you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Q: How much do braces cost? Are there financing options available?

A: The cost of braces depends on the complexity of your case, how long you’ll need to wear them and the type of braces you choose. Once we have the chance to come up with a diagnosis and help you choose a treatment option, we’ll give you the exact cost with a full breakdown of the fees before treatment starts. We work really hard to provide our patients with affordable, high-quality care. We accept most insurance and offer flexible in-house financing with low monthly payment options that work for your budget.

Q: How long will I need to wear braces?

A: The duration of your braces treatment will depend on how severe your case is, the type of appliances you choose, how quickly your teeth move and how well you follow our treatment instructions. In most cases, patients are in braces for 12 to 30 months. However, we also offer AcceleDent, which can cut treatment time by up to 50%. We’ll be able to give you an idea of the length of your treatment at your consultation.

Q: How often do I need to come in for appointments when I have braces?

A: The frequency of your appointments will depend on your individual needs. Most of the time, you’ll come in for adjustments every five to 10 weeks. If you require monitoring more frequently, we’ll schedule you accordingly.

Q: Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

A: We make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs. Unfortunately, we probably can’t schedule every single appointment for students during after-school hours. However, since you only see us every five to 10 weeks, you’ll miss minimal school during your treatment.

Q: Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

A: Yes. We know you’re busy and we’re happy to help you make the most of your time. We want treatment to work for your lifestyle! On some occasions, we may need to speak to a parent or guardian at the end of the appointment, so just be sure to check in with your child’s patient manager before dropping them off.

Q: Can I still play sports with braces?

A: Of course! We recommend wearing a mouthguard when playing any sport to protect your braces and mouth.

Q: Do braces hurt?

A: You won’t experience real pain when wearing braces and if you do, call us right away. For about a week after you first get your braces put on and for a few days after adjustments, your teeth might feel a little sensitive. This mild discomfort can be managed with acetaminophen or other over-the-counter non-aspirin pain relievers. If you have any irritation, try swishing salt water in your mouth. Simply dissolve a tablespoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water and go to town.

Q: Can I wear braces even though I have missing teeth and crowns?

A: Yes. A tooth with a crown will move the same way a tooth with a filling will. If you have missing teeth, braces can help align the remaining teeth.

Q: Do I still need to visit my dentist while wearing braces?

A: It’s actually more important than ever to visit your dentist for regular checkups when you have braces. This will help you keep your teeth clean and healthy and avoid cavities and gum disease. Your dentist will let you know how often you need to come in for cleaning appointments.

Q: How often should I brush my teeth while wearing braces?

A: You should brush your teeth at least four times a day while wearing braces including after every meal and snack and before bed. We’ll show you how to floss correctly with your new hardware since you’ll need to floss once a day at night. If you’re prone to cavities, we may prescribe fluoride treatments too.

Q: What is an emergency appointment and how are those handled?

A: If your braces are causing you pain or something breaks, call our office right away. Many times, we can help you fix the issue over the phone. If you need an emergency appointment, we’ll set aside time for you.

Q: Can my child receive orthodontic treatment while they still have baby teeth?

A: Yes. Some orthodontic problems are severe enough that they require early intervention. If your little one isn’t ready for treatment, we’ll follow their growth and development and let you know when the time is right to begin.

Q: What is Phase I (early) treatment?

A: Phase I treatment, if necessary, usually starts when a child is between the ages of seven and 10. It typically lasts 12 to 21 months. The primary objective of Phase I treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and requiring surgery, lengthy, complicated treatments or extractions later in life. Additionally, early intervention can improve your child’s self-esteem.

Q: Will my child still need braces if he/she has Phase I treatment?

A: In most cases, your kiddo will still need full braces or Invisalign as a teen in what is known as Phase II treatment. We usually conduct Phase I treatment, followed by a resting period where we monitor development and tooth eruption, before finishing up with braces or Invisalign. We keep parents in the loop and apprised of future treatment recommendations.

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