Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialized branch of denistry, that diagnoses, prevents and treats dental and facial irregularites. There are many orthodontic benefits to properly-aligned teeth that are related to overall functionality of the teeth, good oral hygiene, and a confident radiant smile to enchance social and work relationships.
2. Why should you choose an orthodontist?
Dr. Garrett has over 30 years experience in treating orthodontic problems and is an “Elite Provider” of Invisalign. Orthodontists are specialists, continuing their education beyond dental school for 2 – 3 additional years. Dr. Garrett is also Board Certified by the American Board of Orthodontics.
3. Is it required to be referred by a family dentist to schedule an appointment?
We welcome all patients who choose our office for their orthodontic care and work closely with their family dentist to achieve optimal results. A good number of patients have contacted our office directly for an intial exam expressing their own concerns for their health and appearance. Many of our patients are referred by family, friends, and other patients.
4. At what age should an orthodontic screening be scheduled?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age seven. By this age, the six-year molars and several permanent teeth in most children have erupted allowing the doctors to effectively evaluate most developing orthodontic conditions.
5. Will my child’s teeth straighten out on their own as they grow?
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as a child grows. In most people, after the permanent 6-year molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth actually decreases with age. Later, if problems develop without early treatment, this may lead to necessary surgery or extraction of teeth.
6. How old is too old for adult braces treatment?
Any age is a great age to make your smile as spectacular as it can be. A surprising number of our patients are adults desiring better health, more self confidence, and the highest quality of life in work and social interactions. Whether you are young in years or young at heart, orthodontics can improve your smile.
7. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has some baby teeth?
Yes. Some orthodontic concerns 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.
8. What is Phase One (early) Treatment?
Phase One treatment, when needed, is usually initiated on children between the ages of seven and ten. This usually takes about 12-21 months. Several primary objectives for Phase One treatment are: to initiate early intervention which may prevent significant corrections later; to modify crowding and jaw growth for an improved jaw relationship; and to improve self-respect and overall well being which is very important during the formative years.
9. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period of time following Phase One treatment is called the â€œresting period,â€ during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed as to any future treatment recommendations.
10. Are any teeth removed for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes needed to get the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are always the goal. However, because today’s technology has resulted in advanced orthodontic procedures, the need for removing teeth has been greatly reduced.
11. How long will it take to complete treatment?
This obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic needs. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. Approximately 22 months is the â€œaverageâ€ time a person is in braces.
12. How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s individual need and treatment plan. Patients in braces will most often be seen every 8 to 12 weeks. Invisalign aligners are monitored by Dr. Garrett every 6 to 8 weeks. If more frequent monitoring is needed, appointments will be scheduled accordingly.
13. May all appointments be scheduled after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for student patients during after school hours. Most patients miss very little school due to their orthodontic treatments because most appointments are scheduled 8 to 12 weeks apart. We reference all area school calendars, and try very hard to meet the scheduling needs of our patients.
14. May a child be dropped off at the office for an appointment?
We are very understanding of busy schedules and working parents’ desires to run errands while their child is at our office. It is important however that parents or guardians be available at each appointment because Dr. Garrett and his staff want to communicate fully regarding the treatment progress. So, we request that parents check in with the orthodontic team member before and after dropping off their child.
15. After braces for kids are first applied, is it OK to return to school?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of orthodontic treatment.
16. Do braces hurt?
Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After some visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol can be used to ease the discomfort. For most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, it does not have to hurt to work!
17. Are shots given?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.
18. Is there any medication taken for the placement of braces?
If indicated, one hour prior to the placement of braces, two pro-banthine tablets are taken to reduce the flow of saliva. Also, protein is restricted in the meal prior to this appointment as it may counteract the “drying” effect.
19. Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! Each patient is provided with their own braces to achieve the very best orthodontic result possible. We have never and will never use worn, used or recycled braces.
20. Has anyone ever locked braces by kissing someone else with braces?
No, fortunately not.
21. Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No, they will not. Braces actually help with sports-related injury to the mouth and teeth. The braces will keep your teeth in place, before they will let them fall out as a result of an injury. We always advise our patients to wear a mouthpiece or a mouth guard while engaging in sports.
22.Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
There have been a number of research studies related to orthodontics and musical instruments. Woodwind instrument players may have slightly more difficulty than brass instrument players. Every musician seems to adapt very well to playing with braces after a week or two of practice. Some of them find that placing wax on the brackets is helpful during the initial adjustment period.
23. Is it necessary to see our family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are very important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine how often you should be seen for cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
24. How often should teeth be brushed while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day: 1)after breakfast, 2)after lunch (or as soon as they get home from school), 3) after supper, and 4)before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces on, and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride gel to help protect teeth.
25. Are there foods to avoid while in braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, complete instructions and a comprehensive list will be provided regarding foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). Many emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces can be prevented by carefully following instructions regarding what foods to avoid. (Please visit our instructional media page for specific information).
26. How are emergencies handled?
If braces are causing pain or if something is broken, call our office. (540) 667-5446 In most cases, we can address an issue over the telephone. Then, if an emergency appointment is needed, a portion of our daily time is reserved to handle urgent care needs and an appointment will be made for you. (More information is given on our instructional media page).
27. Will an expander be needed?
At the completion of the initial examination, Dr. Garrett will determine whether a patient will need an expander or not.
28. Can braces be worn with missing teeth or teeth with crowns?
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 so that the space where the teeth are missing can be properly restored.
29. What is the process for finally taking the braces off?
Braces are removed very quickly. We gently squeeze the braces and they pop off the teeth. Usually, there is little discomfort. Prior glue is removed and the enamel is polished to a brillant shine. Impressions then are made to construct an upper and lower retainer. You now have a radiant smile to dazzle your friends, family, and co-workers!
30. What is there to know about retainers?
Retainers are necessary to maintain the incredible results of your new smile. Fixed wire retainers may be glued behind the front teeth to keep them straight. A removable retainer is necessary to keep the back teeth and bite in optimal and stable condition. As time goes on, there is less need in the frequency of wearing the retainer.
Visit Our Office
|Monday:||7:30 am – 4:30 pm|
|Tuesday:||7:30 am – 4:30 pm|
|Wednesday:||7:30 am – 4:30 pm|
|Thursday:||7:30 am – 4:30 pm|
1841 West Plaza Drive
Winchester, VA 22601
Stephens City Office
101-1 Hyde Court
Stephens City, VA 22655