Frequently Asked Questions

At what age should I schedule an appointment for my child?

Dr. Bussick and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend children be seen by age 7 or 8.  Early detection of many orthodontic problems can help avoid more extensive treatment later.

Do I need a referral from my dentist?

It is not necessary to have a referral from your dentist; however, most dentists will make a referral at the first indication that treatment may be needed.  In addition, many of our patients are referred by friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Do braces hurt?

Braces have changed significantly over the last several years.  Thanks to technology, today’s braces are smaller and more comfortable than braces in the past.

As a patient, you may experience some discomfort after certain visits; however, pain relievers such as Advil or Tylenol can help alleviate the pain.

How much do braces cost?

Each case is different and no orthodontist can give a diagnosis over the phone.  The length of treatment and type of treatment needed will determine the cost.  When treatment is implemented at the appropriate time, it is often less costly than the dental care that may be needed to treat serious problems in the future.

How long will I be in treatment?

The length of treatment is different for each patient.  Treatment times vary depending on the age of the patient, the complexity of the problem and the patient’s cooperation.

What is Phase I (early) Treatment?

Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop.  If children are found to have a jaw discrepancy by age 8, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment.
The goal of Phase I Treatment is to develop the appropriate jaw size in order to accommodate all permanent teeth and to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other.  This can be achieved by utilizing appliances that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaws.

Will my child still need full braces if he/she has Phase I Treatment?

Dr. Bussick cannot determine if a patient will need full braces following Phase I Treatment until all of the permanent teeth have erupted.  Each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue and other teeth.  The objective of Phase I Treatment is to develop appropriate jaw size; in other words, it is orthopedic in nature whereas the objective of Phase II Treatment is to achieve an ideal bite.

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

More than ever adults are seeking orthodontic treatment.  As long as you have healthy teeth and gums you can have braces at any age.

Remember, it’s never too late to have straight teeth and a healthy smile.

Will I need to have teeth extracted?

With the recent advances in technology, extracting teeth is not the normal course of treatment.

How often will I have appointments and can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Patients are seen every six to eight weeks while in treatment. 

Since most of our patients are of school age, it isn’t always possible for us to see everyone after school hours.  In consideration of your schedule, we will make every attempt to keep these appointments to a minimum. 

What if I have an emergency?

Throughout your orthodontic treatment, emergencies are rare.  If you are experiencing pain or something breaks, please call our office.  In most cases, these issues can be resolved over the phone.

For an irritating wire, orthodontic wax can be placed over the wire, and a loose band or bracket can generally be left in place and repaired at your next visit.  If an appointment is necessary, we will do our best to schedule your visit in a timely manner.

Can I still play my musical instrument with braces?

Yes, although there may be an initial period of adjustment.

Do I still see my family dentist while I have braces?

Yes.  Dr. Bussick recommends that all patients continue with routine visits to their general dentist every four to six months.

What happens if I lose or break my retainer?

Call our office if you lose or break your retainer so that we may schedule an appointment to replace it as soon as possible.  We will advise you of any repair or replacement fee(s) at that time.

Remember, it’s important to protect the investment you’ve made in your healthy smile.

Can anyone use Invisalign?

Invisalign may not be right for certain cases of misalignment or complex bite problems.  During your initial exam, Dr. Bussick will determine the best treatment option for you.

Why should I choose an orthodontist instead of a general dentist for my orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is very time consuming and requires detailed treatment planning.  An orthodontist has the extensive, specialized training and the additional three years of education necessary to provide patients with the best result.