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Orthodontics FAQ's

Grand Rapids Orthodontist

Are you considering orthodontic treatment for either you or your child? If so, you’ve come to the right place. For your convenience, our Grand Rapids orthodontists have compiled a list of questions most commonly asked by our patients during their first visit. At Armbrecht & Wierenga Orthodontics we make sure that all our patients feel comfortable by knowing what to expect before sitting in the orthodontist’s chair.

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting misaligned teeth and jaws to create beautiful smiles. Orthodontic treatment usually involves wearing braces, aligners, or some other kind of oral appliance meant to shift your teeth over time.

When should I start taking my child to an orthodontist?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children are recommended to receive their first orthodontic consultation around age seven. At this time, we can analyze the way your child’s back molars fit together as well as their adult incisors. This helps us plan for the teeth that still need to grow into their mouths or align their jaws for an improvement in facial balance.

I'm an adult, can I still benefit from orthodontic treatment?

While many dental issues are more easily corrected during childhood, it’s very possible to have a beautiful smile if you are past the age of 18. Certain treatments may have limitations due to the fact that your jaw has stopped growing; however, many improvements can still be made! During your free consultation, one of our orthodontists will discuss your options so that you can make the best decision for your smile.

How much does orthodontics cost?

Costs are variable depending on the severity of your case and how much your insurance company is willing to cover. Many plans have certain orthodontic coverage that pays for a portion of your treatment. During your initial consultation, we will discuss the costs of your orthodontic treatment and offer you interest-free financing.

How long will my orthodontic treatment take?

The length of your treatment plan depends on the severity of your case. On average, orthodontic treatment usually lasts between 1 to 2 years. After your free consultation with us, we are usually able to establish a timeline of treatment so that you can determine if you want to make the commitment.

What are my options, besides braces?

When most people think of orthodontic treatment, they automatically assume that it has to include braces. At Armbrecht & Wierenga Orthodontics we also offer Invisalign for patients who prefer a less invasive orthodontic treatment for when they go out in public. We also offer ceramic (tooth-colored) braces for our patients and limited treatment options that don’t require anything to be glued to your teeth!

Besides aesthetic reasons, is orthodontics really worth it?

Certain dental issues can lead to an increased risk for cavities. For example, crowded teeth can make it difficult for you to brush and floss your teeth properly. As a result, bacteria and food particles can collect in hard-to-reach places to cause cavities and other oral issues. Increased dental alignment can also prevent periodontal (gum) disease and minimize the risk of jaw joint issues.

Is orthodontics painful?

After a visit with your orthodontist, you may feel some slight pressure on your teeth. This pressure is proof that your teeth are moving to create a more aligned smile. Some of our patients seek relief by taking over-the-counter pain medication. After the first one to two days, the pain will go away.

What restrictions will braces put on my diet?

When wearing braces, you should avoid certain foods that are sticky and/or hard to chew because they could cause damage to your brackets and wires. Below, we have compiled a list of foods you shouldn’t eat if you have braces.

  • Caramel
  • Gum
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Ice Cubes
  • Nuts
  • Apples
  • Carrots

This list is not inclusive of all the food items you should avoid. However, they do serve as excellent examples of the types of food you shouldn’t be eating while wearing braces. If you aren’t sure if a certain food is safe, feel free to ask one of our orthodontists for advice.

If you think orthodontic treatment is the right choice for you, feel free to contact our greater Grand Rapids offices in Kentwood or Grandville. Our orthodontists are always happy to answer any of your questions.