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Your first visit to our orthodontic office is a chance for you to become acquainted with us, meet our doctors, and for you to learn about the treatments and services we offer. You should plan to spend at least an hour with us the first time. That’s to ensure that no one has to rush, and that you have plenty of time to ask any questions you may have. You will meet one of our treatment coordinators, who will lead you on a tour of the office. Then it’s time for some diagnostic work and an exam.
Let’s Make A Plan
A big part of our job today is to determine what treatment is necessary to correct any problems we may find — and whether we should begin now, or wait until a later time. Our procedure starts by taking a set of photographs of the teeth in their present state, the profile and the smile. Next, we’ll take a series of digital x-ray images. These enable us to see what’s going on underneath the gums: the position and growth of bones and joints, and the teeth that are still below the gum line.
After that, it’s time for the exam. You’ll meet our doctor, who will look at the x-rays and photos, and perform a quick, yet careful and thorough first examination. Besides looking in your mouth, he will ask you some questions. All information together, this information will allow us to make a proper diagnosis, at the first visit! Most of the time, no other visit is necessary prior to treatment beginning!
Discussing Your Treatment Options
Following the exam, the doctor may tell you that things are just fine — or, he may recommend treatment immediately, or at a later time, depending on the developmental stage of the teeth and jaws. Periodic growth & guidance check ups mean you are now a member of our Kid’s Club!
If treatment is recommended now, we definitely can start today. Since the doctor has given a specific treatment plan and diagnosis for you or your child, we will also explain what our fees will be, and what payment options are available.
Whether you’re starting now or later, this is the best time to ask questions about the process, including:
- Can orthodontic treatment benefit me (or my child)?
- What general procedures will be used to correct the problem?
- Should I get treatment now, or is it better to wait?
- Will tooth extraction be necessary?
- How much does treatment cost? Are payment plans available?
- How long do you expect treatment should take?
But don’t worry! If you forget a question, or need to review something, do not hesitate to call us after your exam. Our Treatment Coordinators are always here to assist you. When you leave our office, we think you’ll have a better understanding of how we can help you obtain the best possible smile. So why not take the first step now — call us for a consultation!
Are you already scheduled for your first visit with our office? Click the relevant links for your new patient paperwork. Please fill it out and bring with you to your first appointment!
Foods To Avoid
When you eat while undergoing orthodontic treatment, there are a few things you have to consider. For most situations, common sense will tell you what foods to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.
Is it an Emergency?
At first, having orthodontic treatment may take a little getting used to. While we try to minimize discomfort, it isn’t uncommon to experience a bit of soreness when appliances are first put on, or some minor aches as teeth begin moving into new positions. Yet it’s comforting to know that genuine orthodontic emergencies are rare.
If you think you may have an emergency, however, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem: Is it an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, or a minor problem that you can take care of yourself, temporarily, until you can come in to our office?
A Major Emergency
There are only a few true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies.They include:
- Trauma or injury to the teeth, face or mouth
- Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth or face
- Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas
In any of these situations, you should seek help as soon as possible — go to an emergency room, if that’s your best option. Generally, however, the place to start is with your regular dentist. Remember that he or she is trained to handle a range of dental problems, and can most likely offer the necessary diagnostic tools, anesthetics and treatments you need. If, for example, you have a fractured tooth, your dentist will treat the immediate problem and arrange for the tooth’s restoration; afterwards your orthodontic treatment plan can be adjusted as needed. Likewise, severe pain or swelling could be a sign of infection or disease, which a dentist or periodontist is best able to treat.
Some Minor Troubles
Fortunately, the vast majority of orthodontic problems are minor compared to these situations — but they may still cause discomfort or irritation. In general, it’s best to try and soothe the immediate cause of the discomfort, and then call our office to schedule an appointment; that way, we can allot sufficient time to take care of you. Here are a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on what you can do to relieve them at home:
Loose or broken brackets, bands or wires
This problem is often caused by eating hard or sticky candy or food, or playing with the braces. If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as is — but don’t connect any elastics to it! You can cover it with orthodontic wax if it’s irritating the inside of your mouth. If it has come off, save it. In either case, call our office to let us know what happened, and we will schedule a visit. Be sure to bring any loose parts with you to the appointment!
Misplaced or poking archwire, bracket or tie
As the teeth start to move, the wire that connects them (archwire) may begin poking near the back of the mouth or irritating the cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a better position with a pencil eraser or a Q-Tip. Often, you can also use tweezers to gently move a misplaced wire or a tie that’s causing problems.
General tooth pain or loosening
It’s normal for teeth to become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment — that shows they’re moving! Sometimes, this movement may be accompanied by tenderness, especially after braces are placed or adjusted. For minor soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever. A twice-a-day salt-water rinse may also help: Mix one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, and rinse for 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief.
While actual emergencies are rare, our goal is to make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible. If you need additional advice, don’t hesitate to call us!
Brushing with Braces
And Other Appliances
You know how important it is to brush and floss properly when you’re wearing braces — but what’s the best way to do that? Let’s start with the basic brushing tools: Either a soft-bristle brush or a bi-level brush (one that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges) can be effective. Used carefully, an electric toothbrush can work just as well. But be sure the electric brush is set to a moderate power level, and don’t let its vibrations cause the back of the brush to hit brackets or braces!
You should brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least three times per day (preferably after meals), for at least two minutes each time. Remember to brush all of the tooth surfaces: the outside, the inside, and the chewing surfaces as well. Be especially careful to clean the areas between wires and teeth, and between brackets and gums — that’s where food particles can easily become trapped.
Beginning at the outside surfaces, place the tips of the bristles flat against your teeth, and use small circular motions to gently polish them clean. For areas between braces and gums, tilt the brush toward the gum line (down for the bottom teeth, up for the top) while keeping up the circular motions. Next, move on to the chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth, using a firm back-and-forth motion. Finally, finish up by carefully brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth the same way you did the outside surfaces.
Special Brushing Tools
If you’re having trouble cleaning the areas near brackets and wires, there are some special tools that may help. One is the inter dental toothbrush, or proxabrush. It has a small tuft of bristles that stick up all around, like a pipe cleaner. Use it gently and carefully to clean the tiny spaces under wires and around bands and brackets.
Another special cleaning tool is the oral irrigation or “water pick.” This device shoots a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can help dislodge bits of food that become trapped in nooks and crannies. While it’s easy to use, an oral irrigation isn’t a substitute for a toothbrush or dental floss — but when used along with proper brushing and flossing techniques, it can be very effective.
To keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, you need to floss at least once per day. But how do you get floss under the arch wire of your braces? It’s not so hard with the help of a floss threader. Using this device is somewhat like threading a needle: You pull one end of floss through the threader, and then push the threader — carrying with it the free end of the floss — under the arch wire. Now grasp the floss on each end and slide it up and down the sides of both teeth, and all the way under the gums until you hear a squeaky sound. Finally, pull it out and use a new section of floss for the next area.
Financial & Insurance
Treatment fees are dependent on many factors including: the difficulty of treatment and time necessary. It is our mission to provide you with affordable, high quality treatment that fits your budget!
Patient Billing FAQ
Payment Plan Options
Our patient’s orthodontic care is of our utmost concern. We want everyone to have a confident smile! We offer many different payment options that fit into any family’s budget.
Pay in full discount: Pay your account in full, before or at the day of bonding, and you will receive a discount (for full orthodontic treatment only).
A down payment is required at or before your bonding appointment, but if the down payment written on your payment options sheet won’t work for you, we are happy to work something out. Please let our office know your payment options choice prior to your appointment, or call to have us work a different option for you.
After your down payment, you will have a monthly bill. We will work with you to keep payments comfortable within your budget. If your payment plan extends past treatment time, our office requires the payment be set up on Auto-Pay at the time of braces removal.
Our office sends emailed statements monthly to the email address on file. They are sent the 20th of the month prior to the installment that’s due. For example, on August 20th, you will receive an emailed statement for a payment that’s due on any day in September. If you would rather have a paper statement mailed to you, or never gave an email address, that is fine! Those are mailed on the 20th of each month and depending on the mail service, will arrive to you shortly after. Please pay promptly by your installment due date, taking into account bank processing time and mail time for all checks sent. You do have a 10 day grace period and after that, a $25.00 late fee will apply on all past due accounts.
We take checks, cash, money orders, and Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit cards. You may call in a payment during normal business hours with a checking account or credit card. You may mail or drop off any payments to either office during normal business hours. Our mailboxes have a “drop” in them and are locked, so you may drop them off after hours as well. When mailing a payment, please include the patient account and/or name on your check so we credit the appropriate account.
Automatic Payments Option
Don’t want to forget your payment? Want to avoid your late fee? We can automatically withdraw your payment from your checking account, Visa, MasterCard or Discover card. Call or visit the office to set it up! There is no additional charge for this service. If you need to ever cancel your automatic payment, you must cancel at least 3 business days prior to the scheduled payment.
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flex Spending Accounts
We are happy to accept your HSA and Flex Spending accounts. Please note, if paying with an HSA or Flex debit card, it must be Visa, MasterCard or Discover. If you use one of these cards for your automatic payment monthly, and your account does not process, we will call you for a new form of payment. If it does not process for 3 consecutive months, we require a new form of payment and potentially suspend active treatment until the account is brought current. Late fees still apply.
Our office charges a non-sufficient funds fee of $30 for all returned checks. This covers our fee to our bank, nothing additional. Once a check has been returned, we will only accept cash, money order or credit card payments.
Insignia Advanced Smile Design Cases
Once your case has been scanned and submitted for production, you will incur a minimum cost of $980 (included in your total treatment fee). If you choose not to go through with treatment and cancel your bonding appointment after your case has been submitted, you would still be responsible for these services. (If you’re unsure if you have an Insignia case or not, refer to your financial agreement where it would be checked at the top. If you’re unsure, chances are you aren’t an Insignia case).
Your family’s orthodontic care is important to us! We are honored you continue to bring your family members to our office. Therefore, after one family member has started their orthodontics with us, every additional member receives a 5% discount. This applies to immediate family members only.
Insurance Coverage & Billing FAQ
We are happy to provide the courtesy of billing your insurance companies for you, and accepting assignment of those insurance payments. Below there is information regarding insurance benefits for orthodontic treatment, as well as information on how our office will bill and receive benefits from insurance companies. Please read this information thoroughly. We want to make sure you get all you can from your insurance benefit! ***Delta Dental no longer allows our office to accept assignment of orthodontic payments. After we bill for services, the payment will be sent to the subscriber.***
How Orthodontic Coverage is Billed
Orthodontic treatment is billed to insurance companies in installments. We bill an initial fee upon the placement of your appliance and/or braces, then monthly claims throughout the course of your treatment. Your insurance company pays based on their adjudication of the claim until you’ve met your coverage limit. Anything beyond their coverage limit, you are responsible to pay.
Changes in Insurance
If you have changes to your insurance including termination of your policy, addition of a policy or any changes to a policy, please notify us immediately! We will verify your new benefits for you and let you know how it may change your account.
If insurance terminates in the middle of treatment:
You may or may not receive your full benefit because most companies pay monthly, not in one lump sum.
If we estimated insurance would pay a certain amount and they pay less because the policy is no longer in effect, the balance owed by the insurance company will be transferred to the patient account.
If you receive a new insurance benefit in the middle of treatment, we are always happy to check on coverage!
Some insurance companies have “work in progress” clauses that do not allow in progress treatment to be covered. Some insurance companies do take work in progress, and we will bill accordingly.
Some coverage may have a “non-duplication clause” which won’t allow you to receive anything above and beyond your old policy’s maximum (or primary insurance maximum, if you have more than one policy).
For these reasons (the work in progress and non-duplication clauses), we never know what a new insurance company will pay. Therefore:
The balance will still be owed by the patient and any payments from the new insurance company will be applied to your patient account. You can always call our office to check on payments made!
If an insurance payment is made, we are happy to adjust your monthly amount owed to the office. At the end of treatment, if there is a credit balance on the account due to insurance payments, we will refund that to you!
We are happy to file and accept assignment for secondary dental insurance policies that have orthodontic coverage. The secondary insurance company will coordinate with your primary insurance company and adjudicate the claim. Amounts unpaid by the secondary insurance company, based on that adjudication, will be transferred to the patient’s personal balance.