1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
  2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
  3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
  4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
  5. What will happen at the Complimentary Initial Appointment?
  6. What will I learn from the Complimentary Initial Appointment?
  7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
  8. How long will it take to complete treatment?
  9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?
  10. How often will I have appointments?
  11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
  12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
  13. Do braces hurt?
  14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
  15. Do you give shots?
  16. Do you use recycled braces?
  17. Can I still play sports?
  18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
  19. Do some orthodontic patients see their dentist more than twice a year for a cleaning?
  20. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
  21. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
  22. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?
  23. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
  24. What is Early Preventative Treatment, sometimes called Phase 1 Treatment?
  25. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Early Preventative or Phase 1 treatment?
  26. Will my child need an expander?
  27. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
  28. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
  29. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
  30. Why do dogs love to chew on retainers?

1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients hear about us from friends or through our community activities, and take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

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

For children, 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 dental development and orthodontic condition. For example, the position of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.

For Adults, it is never too early or too late!!!

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3. 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.

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4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

Your Initial Exam is always complimentary. We spend about 45 minutes with you at this first visit, so that all of your questions are answered.

Simply call our office (206-285-7755), send us an e-mail or fill out our appointment request form online, Please click here to request your Complementary Initial Evaluation, which is the first visit to our office. When you call to schedule your first visit, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.

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5. What will happen at the Complimentary Initial Appointment?

After verifying patient information, each patient will be seen by a team member, who will familiarize you with our office and prepare you for the initial exam. Photographs and X-rays that are necessary for a proper diagnosis will be obtained. Dr. Teja will then complete a thorough exam.

To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit Page.

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6. What will I learn from the Complimentary Initial Appointment?

Every patient presents a unique opportunity for orthodontic improvement, and every attempt will be made to address specific questions and concerns. Typical questions addressed at the initial examination include the following:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • Will it hurt?
  • How much will the treatment cost?
  • What are the next steps for starting treatment?

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7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

Removing baby and/or permanent teeth is sometimes 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 always necessary for orthodontic treatment. Evaluation of diagnostic records will need to be completed for a final decision on extractions.

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8. How long will it take to complete treatment?

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 22 months. This can be influenced by growth, and patient compliance. For example, frequent missed appointments, damage to the braces or poor compliance with wearing rubber bands as directed, can all potentially lengthen treatment time.

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9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

Since every patient presents with a different orthodontic diagnosis, treatment fees are more accurately presented after the initial complementary examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also verify your insurance benefits and help to file your claims. Flexible spending accounts are another popular choice for covering expenses for orthodontic treatment.

Click here to view our financial policies.

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10. How often will I have appointments?

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

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11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Long appointments at the beginning of treatment are typically scheduled in the morning. After treatment has begun, most appointments can be scheduled to accommodate the school/work schedule. Since appointments are scheduled 4 to 8 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school or work for their orthodontic visits. We will make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs, as long as appointments are scheduled before leaving the office. Prime time appointments are more difficult to secure at short notice, due to their popularity. Regrettably, if there is a high frequency of missed premium time appointments, only morning appointments will be offered.

Click here to view our Appointment Policy.

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12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you use your time efficiently. Convenient access to the office makes it easy to drop your child off for the appointment. However, on some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent after the appointment, so we ask that parents check in at the front desk when picking up your child.

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13. Do braces hurt?

After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications 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!” More discomfort is likely to be experienced at the beginning of treatment, immediately after the placement of appliances/braces.

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14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

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15. Do you give shots?

No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

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16. Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

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17. Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

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

Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces. Some patients even decide to have more frequent cleaning appointments with their dentist/hygienist.

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19. Do some orthodontic patients see their dentist more than twice a year for a cleaning?

Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist or hygienist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

In spite of trying hard to maintain good oral care, some patients need to schedule more frequent hygiene visits (3 or 4 monthly), to control inflammation and disease. There may also be a medical indication for more frequent hygiene visits, for example, patients with some heart conditions or those who have internal prosthetic devices, require more frequent hygiene visits, in order to control bacterial levels in the bloodstream.

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20. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Once treatment begins, we will provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid in order to minimize damage to your braces or orthodontic appliances. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables (unless if sliced or chopped) 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.

Click here for a full list of foods to avoid.

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21. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least three times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. Vigorous rinsing after meals and snacks can help dislodge large food particles from around the braces. Comprehensive instructions for oral care are given to each patient when treatment begins.

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22. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

A true orthodontic emergency occurs very rarely, and is generally associated with trauma to the face or mouth. If you experience such an incident, or if your braces are causing severe pain, or if something breaks or comes loose, you should call our office to seek appropriate advice. In most cases, these issues can be addressed over the telephone. At an emergency visit, every effort will be made to make you comfortable. A regular appointment will then be scheduled to provide the appropriate treatment.

Our after-hours contact telephone number is always available to you; please call 206-285-7755.

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23. 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.

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24. What is Early Preventative Treatment, sometimes called Phase 1 Treatment?

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10, and typically lasts about 12-18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant skeletal and/or dental problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image. Phase I treatment is more of a functional than cosmetic nature. It can help to avoid more invasive treatment, such as surgical correction later in life, and may also enhance stability of the correction.

Click here to find out more information on Early Childhood Treatment?

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25. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Early Preventative or Phase 1 treatment?

It is best to assume that your child will need further treatment even after Early Preventative Treatment. The period following Phase 1 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. Sometimes, due to a child’s dental development, Phase I may lead directly into Phase II without a resting period.

Again, each case is unique, and that is why we create an Individualized Treatment Plan for each patient. Some patients, who have had Phase 1 treatment, may become good candidates to have Invisalign for Phase II.

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26. Will my child need an expander?

Expanders are generally used to correct potential or obvious crossbites, caused by the upper jaw being narrow compared to the lower jaw. During the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander. If this recommendation is made, the rationale will be explained in detail.

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27. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Some adults require orthodontic treatment to facilitate other dental procedures such as the placement of bridges or implants. With the new technology of Invisalign®, less complex orthodontic problems can be corrected without conventional braces. There are a lot of studies linking oral health to overall health so although creating a beautiful smile can lead to improved self-esteem, it can also lead to better overall health.

Click here to learn more about adult orthodontic treatment and Invisalign.

 

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28. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and 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 and will optimize future dental treatment for better function and longevity of the dentition.

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29. Why should I choose 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 undergo extensive and specialized training after completing a General Dentistry program. This enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatment recommendations.

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30. Why do dogs love to chew on retainers?

Dogs love to chew on things, and retainers and Invisalign aligners are favorites. Both in and out of the case, your dog is attracted to the smell and taste, so never leave your retainers or Invisalign Aligners on tables, on the floor, next to your bed, night stands or anywhere that a dog can find them, especially if they are good at jumping. When you take your retainers out, put them in the case in the middle of the table or on a high counter, or in a glass of water or mouthwash, out of your dog's reach.

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Dr. Zeeny Teja, B.D.S., M.S.c., M.S.D. | 1955 6th Avenue West | Seattle, WA 98119 | Phone: 206-285-7755
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