Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long is treatment expected to take?

    Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem.  In general, treatment time lasts from 8 months to 30 months.  The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 months.

  • Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

    Yes.  Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid.  Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy).  You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

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

    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.

  • Can I drop my child off for their appointment?

    Yes.  We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time.  On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with their patient manager before dropping off their child.

  • Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

    We do the best we can to schedule appointments at times that are convenient for you, the patient. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours.  However, because most appointments are scheduled 8 to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments.

  • Can I still play sports?

    Yes.  We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.  Mouth guards are available at our office.

  • Can I wear braces even if I have crowns or 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.

  • Can my child return to school the day that they receive their braces?

    Yes.  There is no reason you cannot return to school the same day.

  • Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

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

  • 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, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

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

    Yes!  Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces.  We recommend dental cleanings every 3-4 months while in braces.

  • How much will braces cost? Are financing option available? And what about my insurance?

    It is not possible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you.  We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination.  We have several financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you.  We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

  • How often should I brush my teeth while I have braces?

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

  • How often will I have appointments?

    Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs.  Most patients in braces will be seen every 8 to 10 weeks.  If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

  • Is it required that my family dentist schedule my new patient visit at the Rapid City Orthodontics?

    No, it is not.  Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, but many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

  • Is it too late to have braces if I am an adult?

    A surprising percentage of our patients are adults.  In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults.  Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults.  No patient is "too old" to wear braces!

  • What is a comfort visit? What happens if I break my wire or bracket?

    During your orthodontic treatment, if a bracket falls off, a wire is poking, or there are other changes that cause discomfort please call our office to schedule a comfort appointment during regular business hours.  If you have an emergency due to injury resulting in severe pain or bleeding, please call our office immediately.  If the emergency is after hours, the office recording will provide you with an on-call number.

  • Why should I see 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, personalized treatments.

  • Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

    Removing teeth is very rarely required to achieve the best orthodontic result.  Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics.  However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not usually necessary for orthodontic treatment.

  • Will my child need an expander?

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

  • Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase I 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.

  • 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.