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    General Orthodontic FAQs

    Patients in Treatment FAQs

    Why choose an orthodontist?

    Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent, and treat dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontics is also known as dentofacial orthopedics. An orthodontist is a dentist who received 2-3 years of additional specialized education beyond dental school in straightening teeth, correcting misaligned jaws, and improving the appearance, as well as function, of your smile. Only those that have received this formal education can call themselves an “orthodontist” and may become members of the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO).  Both Dr. Bridgham and Dr. Barr are active members of the AAO.

    Are all orthodontists board certified?

    ABO pyramidNo, in fact only 1 in 3 orthodontists are board certified. An orthodontist who has graduated from a specialty program is eligible to become  board certified through the examination process of The American Board of Orthodontics. This is a voluntary effort that requires an arduous clinical examination, applying traditional academic knowledge as well as patient care,  presenting treatment results for critical review by a panel of expert examiners. Both Dr. Bridgham and Dr. Barr have gone a step beyond to become board certified, demonstrating their commitment to excellence and highest quality of care. For more information, click here.

    Does my dentist need to schedule my appointment or give me a referral?

    No, it is not necessary that your general or pediatric dentist refer you. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, but many take the initiative to schedule an exam themselves.

    What is the best age for a child to have an orthodontic check-up?

    The AAO recommends that your child have an orthodontic examination no later than age 7. By this age, Drs. Bridgham and Barr can spot developing problems with jaw growth and erupting teeth while some baby teeth are still present. That’s important, because some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they’re found early. Most orthodontic patients begin orthodontic treatment between ages 9 and 14.

    Can adults benefit from orthodontic treatment?

    Orthodontic treatment can be successful at almost any age. In fact, about one in every four orthodontic patients today is over the age of 21. Thanks to today’s less visible and more comfortable orthodontic appliances, such as ceramic (clear) braces with matching wires or Invisalign, adults are finding treatment more appealing.

    I had braces as a teen and now as an adult my teeth have shifted. What can I do?

    If you notice an unwanted change in your smile or bite, an orthodontic “tune up” may be necessary to regain proper alignment. Contact Bridgham Barr Orthodontics at (914) 277-1111 for information.

    How long does treatment take?

    Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from one to three years. Your treatment time can be determined at your initial consultation at Bridgham Barr Orthodontics.

    Do braces hurt?

    No, braces do not hurt. They don’t hurt to be put on and you don’t need to get numb. What happens is your teeth may feel a bit sore a day or two after you have had your appointment. The discomfort is due to your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth getting used to the braces. Some people feel a lot of pressure and other people do not. Often times people may choose to eat softer foods for a few days. The important part is the discomfort is temporary and it’s not painful, it’s simply soreness or tenderness.

    How often will I have appointments during treatment?

    Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s specific needs. Generally appointments are every 6-8 weeks. If there are situations that require more frequent monitoring, we schedule the visits accordingly.

    How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

    The cost of orthodontic treatment will depend on many factors, including the severity of the problem, it’s complexity and length of treatment. We will be glad to discuss the cost of treatment and your financing options after the examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your budget and we review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit as well as file your claims. Patients are finding that braces are more affordable today than ever.

    Why is orthodontic treatment so important?

    Crowded and overlapped teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A bad bite can also cause difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, abnormal wear of teeth, and excess stress on the supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment, many problems get worse and require additional costly dental care later in life.

    What is my role in treatment?

    Orthodontic treatment requires a partnership of the doctor and patient. Drs. Bridgham and Barr provide custom-made appliances (braces or Invisalign) that use gentle pressures to move teeth into their proper position. For the patient, it is necessary to follow the doctor’s instructions, keep scheduled adjustment appointments and maintain excellent oral hygiene to achieve the best results. It is also necessary to continue seeing your dentist as recommended.

    If I have braces, do I still need to visit my dentist every six months?

    Yes! It is actually more important that patients in orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. Braces can make it easier for food to get caught in places your toothbrush can’t easily reach. This can cause bacteria to buildup, which can lead to bad breath, cavities, and gingivitis. Dr. Bridgham and Dr. Barr will work closely with your dentist to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy during your orthodontic treatment.

    Can I still play sports when I have braces?

    Yes, you may continue to play sports in orthodontic treatment. It may be necessary to wear a mouth guard designed for braces. Please let us know what sports you are playing and we can provide you with the guidance you need to protect your teeth.

    What foods do I avoid while in braces?

    Once treatment begins, we explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: chewing on ice and sticky foods/candy (taffy, caramel, etc.). Also, when eating raw fruits and vegetables, it is best to cut them into small pieces and chew them with your back teeth.

    What is an emergency appointment?

    If something breaks or a wire is poking, you can call our office (914) 277-1111 and check out our emergency care information. The majority of orthodontic emergencies can be handled at home with guidance over the phone and a follow up appointment at the office. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

    How long do I have to wear a retainer after treatment?

    Wearing your retainers as prescribed is the best way to keep your teeth from moving after your orthodontic treatment. Our doctors will recommend how long you should wear your retainers, whether they are removable (the kind you put in and take out) or fixed (bonded behind your teeth). There are many reasons teeth may move following orthodontic treatment. Teeth are set in bone, not in concrete. Because the bone around your teeth is continually remodeling (breaking down and rebuilding), your teeth may shift after your braces are removed. By wearing your retainers, your teeth are more likely to remain where they were placed during treatment.

    Can you wear a retainer too long?

    No, retainers stabilize and preserve the alignment of teeth and jaws that orthodontic treatment achieved. Many people wear removable retainers nightly for the rest of their lives, not only to preserve their orthodontic alignment but also to protect from tooth grinding. Our doctors will give you guidance about your long-term retainer wear.

    Will wisdom teeth cause teeth to shift?

    Research suggests that wisdom teeth do not necessarily cause teeth to shift. Often, removal of wisdom teeth is done for general dental health reasons rather than for orthodontic reasons. Dr. Bridgham and Dr. Barr, as well as your family dentist, can give you guidance regarding the necessity and timing for removal of wisdom teeth.