Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long will my child be in braces?

    Most cases are completed in 18-30 months. At your consultation appointment the doctor gave you his best estimate of the time required for treatment. The patient can help shorten the amount of time spent in braces by doing their part at home. This means keeping them clean, keeping them on, wearing elastic, and making scheduled appointments.

  • How often will my child have appointments?

    Your child will be seen every 4-8 weeks, unless their treatment requires frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments appropriately to accommodate their needs.

  • Why is my child scheduled in the morning?

    Appointments scheduled in the AM require more of the doctor’s time and attention. Morning appointments allow time for repairs, removal and placement of braces, records appointments and consultations.

  • Why is my child scheduled in the afternoon?

    Appointments scheduled in the afternoon are for tightening’s (color changes) wire changes, appliance adjustments and emergency procedures. We make these appointments in the afternoon to accommodate school schedules.

  • Why wasn’t my child’s breakage repaired at their scheduled visit even though I notified the office?

    We apologize for the inconvenience but all breakage needs to be assessed by Doctor first. The patient will be made comfortable and then scheduled for any needed repairs. We will not repair in the afternoon. You can avoid emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

  • Why were my top braces put on first?

    We always start patients with top braces first, then bottoms are added 3-6 months later, depending on treatment. This doesn’t mean your top teeth will finish first; we time your treatment so everything is finished simultaneously. It is also much more comfortable for the patient because it allows them to adjust to the feeling of braces and the changes in their oral care habits.

  • Why are my braces on longer than expected?

    In order to finish treatment on time there must be total patient compliance. Missing appointments, poor oral hygiene and breakage, can slow down treatment progress, or in some cases not progress at all.  Patient compliance must be maintained throughout treatment to ensure an on time beautiful finish. 

  • How many times a day should my child be brushing?

    Patients should be brush their teeth at least four times each day, after each meal and before bed.

  • Do you give shots?

    No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

  • Why can’t I go into treatment area with my child?

    We want the patient to feel responsible for his or her treatment. Orthodontics is only successful with full patient cooperation. Experience has taught us that the patient is more receptive and less nervous without a parent present.

  • Does my child still need to visit the Dentist?

    Yes. Regular 6 month cleanings are necessary for the detection of cavities or bone and gum problems.

  • My child received a poor hygiene letter?

    We do everything we can to stress the importance of proper oral hygiene throughout treatment. Patients with poor oral hygiene will receive a letter stating that the hygiene needs improvement. This is not to embarrass the patient but to inform them that poor oral hygiene with braces can lead to longer treatment time, staining of teeth, gum disease and bone loss. Dr. O’Donnell has the right to remove braces before orthodontic treatment is completed if the patient is not maintaining proper oral hygiene.

  • My child received a breakage letter?

    We understand that breakage can happen from time to time. However repeated breakage is almost always a patient that cannot comply with the foods to avoid list that is given the day the braces are put on. Repeated breakage can significantly slow treatment time down. The braces only work when they are on the teeth. Dr. O’Donnell has the right to remove braces if patient is not progressing in his/her treatment.

  • Do braces hurt?

    After certain visits teeth may be sore for a few days.  Tylenol or Advil can be given to ease discomfort.  Some patients may not experience soreness at all but rest assure the braces are still doing their job! 

  • Can my child still play sports or play instrument while in braces?

    Yes, we encourage patients to continue the activities they enjoy. We recommend a special orthodontic mouthguard for all sports. We provide them free of charge. Musicians may experience an adjustment period until they are comfortable again playing. Wax may help to ease lip irritation.

  • What is the elastic phase of treatment?

    Elastics may be prescribed to finish treatment. Elastics align the teeth and jaws to their correct positions. This process completely depends on cooperation from patient because they are in control of their elastic wear.  Elastics MUST  be worn as prescribed. Lack of compliance can result in longer treatment time and/or undesirable finish.

  • Do I have to get teeth pulled?

    Sometimes teeth need to be extracted to create space or to correct for poor jaw position. We try as much as possible not to extract teeth. Although over retained baby teeth have to be removed before treatment can be finished. Our treatments do not involve the removal of permanent teeth in approximately 90% of our patients. However, if extractions are necessary, the doctor will extract as few as possible and explain when and why it is necessary to do so.