Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on a question below to bring up the answer.

  1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
  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. Do you give shots?
  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? 

1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients schedule an examination appointment with us directly.

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

The American Association of Orthodontists and the Canadian Association of Orthodontists both recommend an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, we can evaluate jaw bone growth and how the permanent teeth are growing in. We can plan interceptive treatment that can simplify or prevent braces in the future.

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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. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

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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, send us an e-mail or fill out our appointment request form available on this website. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.

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5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Upon arriving, each patient and parent will meet our treatment coordinator Jane who will gather some initial information from you and then either Dr. Barnard or Dr. Erickson will meet you or your child for a comprehensive orthodontics exam. You can request either doctor at the time that you book your initial visit over the phone. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. We will explain how the teeth and the jaw bones come together and what treatment we suggest – be it interceptive orthodontics treatment or comprehensive orthodontics. We will make sure to discuss all information with you thoroughly.

To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit Page.

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6. What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any baby teeth or permanent teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

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

Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, removing teeth is rarely necessary for orthodontic treatment due to orthodontic technology advances in recent years.

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8. How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 6 to 36 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces or Invisalign treatment is approximately 24 months.  If that period of time sounds long then ask us about Acceledent that can reduce your treatment time in braces or Invisalign approximately 30-50%! Growth modification therapies take approximately 12-18 months.

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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. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial visit with us. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also help you to maximize your orthodontic insurance benefits and we will help you with any associated paperwork.

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10. How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces or Invisalign treatment will be seen every 4 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring or adjustments then we will schedule appointments accordingly. Patients that are on recall visits, where we are monitoring growth and development of teeth and jaw bones, are seen every 6-18 months depending on their stage of development.

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11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule every appointment for students during after-school hours. However, most patients miss very little school time due to their orthodontic treatments because most appointments are scheduled 4 to 10 weeks apart. Also we will always make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs. If it is important to you that your child does not miss school time, then please discuss this with us and we will do our best to accommodate you.

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12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes, absolutely!  We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. We are located in the Sunnyside mall and there are several nice stores, coffee shops, a juice bar and Pete’s Frootique to occupy your time while your child is with us! Alternatively get comfortable in our waiting area and grab a nice magazine, take advantage of our free WiFi and grab a complimentary coffee, tea or hot chocolate that we provide! On some occasions, we may need to speak with you to update you on oral hygiene, treatment progress, or to discuss any new findings but we can do that when you return to pick up your child towards the end of their appointment.

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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, “Braces do not have to hurt to work!”

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

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment. You can go to school right after any appointment with us!

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15. Do you give shots?

Not at all! In fact we do not have freezing at the office because our patients never need it. Having braces put on, or Invisalign aligners placed or adjusted does not hurt. You may feel a little pressure on your teeth and that is it!

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16. Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely not! Each patient gets their own braces and components and these are thrown out when no longer used. Infection control is hospital grade in our office and one of our top priorities!

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17. Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all contact sports.

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

Yes! Regular checkups and cleanings with your family dentist are very important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

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19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will provide you with complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, and sticky foods (such as granola bars, caramels and chewy candies). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our diet instructions.

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20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

You should brush your teeth at least four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. You should floss at least once a day. We show each of our patients how to brush and floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.

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21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If your braces are causing 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 be happy to see you. We are open 5 days a week and there is always a doctor on emergency call after hours.

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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 child is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that child's growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

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23. What is Phase One (early) treatment?

Phase One treatment, if necessary, usually commences when a child is between 7 and 10 years of age. Phase One treatment lasts approximately 12-18 months. The primary objective of Phase One treatment is to address problems that would otherwise become more severe with more growth and development, and to improve the child’s self-esteem and confidence.

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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 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.

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25. Will my child need an expander?

At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.

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

A high percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, more than 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. No patient is "too old" to wear braces!

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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 will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth. Orthodontics can upright teeth to allow enough space to replace a tooth or teeth, or align teeth for bridgework. Orthodontics can even close space where a tooth or teeth are missing.

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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. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional and personalized treatments. An orthodontist is a dental specialist who completed an additional  2-3 years of full time, graduate school training in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics beyond the four years of dental school.

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