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Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

Dr. Reichard and the team at Rachel E Reichard Orthodontics want you to be comfortable with and know what to expect from your orthodontic treatment experience. Please check out our FAQ section below for answers to some of the most commonly asked orthodontic questions. If you have further questions, please contact our Bloomsburg office directly.

General Orthodontics Questions

We’ve all seen the advertisements for the “straighten your teeth at home” products. We admit that their pitch can sound quite appealing, however, any sort of straightening treatment can permanently change your smile and facial structure – it’s a complex process that should be guided by an expert. A Board-Certified Orthodontics Specialist, like Dr. Reichard, has the education and expertise to prevent, diagnose and treat an improper bite. She determines the underlying cause of your orthodontic issues and creates a customized treatment plan for the most effective and lasting results. Dr. Reichard is specially trained in straightening the teeth with Invisalign, braces and other appliances as well as guiding jaw growth with dentofacial orthopedics.

Malocclusion is clinical speak for a misaligned, improper bite due to irregularities in the teeth and/or jaws. Crossbites, overbites, underbites, crowding and spacing are some of the common types of malocclusions.

Straightening your teeth is good for your overall health. Beyond an awesome looking smile and more confidence, there are more reasons to seek orthodontic treatment:

  • Decrease risk of gum disease and tooth decay as straight teeth are more easily and effectively brushed and flossed
  • Save tooth enamel and uneven tooth wear
  • Improve overall health as misaligned teeth or jaws affect chewing and may cause nutritional deficiencies
  • Evenly distributes bite forces and minimizes pressure on the bones and gums, which can cause tooth loss, headaches, migraines and jaw pain
  • Make teeth less likely to get accidentally knocked out or damaged
  • Avoid permanent, unwanted changes in facial structure and jaw growth caused by attempting to self-compensate for bite issues

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.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition. However, Dr. Reichard treats patients of all ages, so while earlier may be better, there are still many viable treatment options for tweens, teens, adults and even seniors.

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

General Treatment Questions

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 24 months.

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We cover the exact cost and financial options for your orthodontic treatment options during your consultation. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we review these with you. We also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

Yes, but wear a protective mouth guard during any sort of impact activity, whether it’s an organized sport or just a neighborhood game. We provide you with a protective mouth guard. If you are fitted for headgear, remove your headgear before participating in any sport or activity where the headgear could be grabbed and/or pulled.

Playing wind or brass instruments will clearly require some adaptation to braces. With practice and a short period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of musical instruments. And, our Invisalign or clear aligner patients can simply remove their aligner tray when playing an instrument and replace it once finished.

Absolutely! Regular check-ups with your family dentist are important while in braces/orthodontic treatment. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in treatment.

Early treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10, before all of the adult teeth have come in. It typically lasts about 12 months. Phase one orthodontic treatment addresses significant problems early to prevent them from becoming more severe in the future and to improve self-esteem and confidence.

Phase II treatment, or comprehensive treatment, occurs when all or nearly all the permanent teeth have erupted and involves full braces. This usually occurs between the ages of 11 and 13.

We determine whether a patient will need a palatal expander at the completion of our initial exam.

It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after early/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.

Questions About Braces

Generally, braces do not “hurt”, but most patients have some discomfort after their braces are first put on or when adjusted during treatment. After the braces are on, teeth may become sore and may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. In these situations, over-the-counter pain medications and our self-care suggestions can help ease the discomfort of braces. Overall, orthodontic discomfort is short-lived and easily managed. Once patients have become accustomed to their braces, they may even forget they have them on.

Removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment, but is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Extraction may be necessary if your mouth is too small to accommodate all the teeth (crowding) or if teeth cannot erupt because they are blocked by primary teeth (impacted teeth). We have found that early orthodontic treatment in younger patients can eliminate the need for extraction later on.

Yes, you can return to school the same day you get your braces put on!

No. We believe each patient should be provided their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

Ceramic (clear) braces are a popular option for patients looking for less noticeable braces. Invisalign or clear aligner trays are alternatives to traditional metal braces and are nearly invisible; however, the clear aligner option is not feasible in all patients.

Questions About Appointments

No. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule a risk-free orthodontic consultation examination with Dr. Reichard themselves.

The Rachel E Reichard Orthodontics team is excited to meet you! Our staff takes x-rays and pictures to help Dr. Reichard make a proper diagnosis. Dr. Reichard completes a brief, but thorough, exam. Then, she discusses your diagnosis and the best treatment options for you. Read more about what to expect at your first orthodontic appointment as a new patient.

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces are seen every 6-8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we schedule appointments accordingly.

We make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs. However, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. As most appointments are scheduled 6-8 weeks apart, most patients miss minimal school time.

Yes. We understand your busy schedule and are happy to help you make the most of your time. Additionally, with our current COVID operating procedures, we are only allowing the patient and one guardian into the office. Depending on the appointment, we may need a parent/legal guardian to review and sign consent forms/contracts or need to speak with a parent at pick-up to convey any important information.