FAQs

Parents, look no further – we’ve got you covered.

How do I know if my child needs orthodontic treatment?

Your dentist may recommend that your child seeks orthodontic care. You do not need to wait for a referral, however. If you notice anything unusual about your child’s bite or teeth, you can contact an orthodontist directly. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children be evaluated by an orthodontist around age seven. The rationale behind this recommendation is that there are conditions that can be treated quicker at an earlier stage of dentition. Many orthodontists, including Dr. Dixon, do not charge for consultation appointments, so there is no harm in getting an opinion.

How should I choose an orthodontist?

The first step is to make sure you will be treated by an actual orthodontist. There are providers who offer orthodontic care, but who have not received the additional years of training required to become an orthodontist. The cost for orthodontic treatment does not vary widely between general dentists and orthodontists, so it just make sense to see a specialist. Once you have located the orthodontists in your area, it is perfectly reasonable to schedule consultations at several offices. Orthodontic treatment is a moderate investment in time and money, so you want to make sure you feel comfortable with the office and the treatment plan. You will want to consider the convenience of the office location, whether or not they participate in your insurance network, and what hours they are open. Ultimately, you want to make sure you feel comfortable with the overall look and feel of the office, and that you relate well to the doctor and staff. Then, you can choose the office that is right for you.

What types of braces are there?

We offer three types of braces: traditional metal brackets, clear ceramic brackets, and Invisalign. Each type has pros and cons. Metal braces are durable, cost-­efficient and effective. Patients enjoy choosing different colored bands at each appointment to match their style, the season or their favorite team colors. Metal brackets do require you to avoid hard or chewy foods, however, and they take some extra care to ensure optimum hygiene. Ceramic brackets are similar to metal brackets in that they require the same dietary restrictions and attention to hygiene. But, because they are semi-­translucent, they are barely noticeable on your teeth. Unlike bracket systems, Invisalign works through a series of progressively aligned plastic trays which snap on to clear plastic buttons cemented to your teeth. The trays are completely removable, so you can continue to eat the same foods you would otherwise. And, you can choose to take them out for important meetings or social events. But, they require some extra willpower. If you don’t wear them most of the time, they won’t work.

How long does treatment take?

Treatment times vary according to individual needs, but generally range from six months to two years. An additional year of retention check-­ups may be recommended.

Do braces hurt?

It takes a while for your mouth to get used to braces. When they are first put on, the insides of your mouth may develop sores. Before long, however, the skin will toughen up and the sores will heal. Orabase gel will help with healing.

At each adjustment, your teeth may experience additional soreness, as the forces increase. We recommend taking Tylenol, and sticking to a soft diet for up to 72 hours after your appointment. You should not experience prolonged soreness (more than a week after an appointment) and your wires should not poke or cut the insides of your mouth. If either of these conditions occur, call our office to schedule a comfort appointment.

How do braces work?

Braces and Invisalign work by putting small constant forces on your teeth. These small forces cause the bone of your jaws to change, allowing the tooth to move into a new position. After your active treatment phase is complete, you will be given a set of retainers to maintain your smile.

What kinds of conditions can orthodontists fix?

The great thing about orthodontics is that you can achieve a beautiful smile using your natural teeth. Orthodontists can treat crooked teeth, bite misalignment, impacted teeth, cross­bites and many other tooth related conditions. If you have a condition beyond the scope of orthodontics, we will point you in the right direction.

How much do braces cost?

The cost of orthodontic treatment varies according to the length of time required and the type of braces or appliances used. Regardless of your specific needs, we are committed to making your treatment plan affordable. We are in­network providers for most major insurance carriers and we are experienced at determining orthodontic benefits and filing claims. We offer discounts for balances paid in full and for multiple family members in treatment. We also offer in-­house, zero-­interest financing for qualified patients, and we will work with you to determine a payment plan that fits your budget. A complete breakdown of costs will be presented to you at your complimentary consultation.

How do I clean my teeth with braces?

While you are wearing braces, you will want to be extra vigilant about oral hygiene. Food can and does get trapped in brackets and wires. Brush your teeth two to three times a day, and rinse your mouth with mouthwash or water after every time you eat. A special kind of floss, called superfloss, threads underneath your wires, allowing you to clean in between your teeth. Inter-proximal brushes (like little pipe cleaners), help get in between teeth too.

Be sure to maintain a regular schedule of dental cleanings with your general dentist throughout your orthodontic treatment. We can take out your wires prior to your cleanings for maximum effectiveness. Good oral hygiene will lessen the risk of periodontal disease and cavities, and will keep your orthodontic treatment on track.

What kind of food should I avoid with braces?

Luckily, braces are designed to come off your teeth. But, you don’t want them to come off until you’re done. In order to prevent broken or loose brackets, you should avoid anything sticky or hard and crunchy. That means stay away from many types of candies, hard chips, apples, carrots and popcorn. Don’t worry though; you will find plenty of alternatives. Most foods are okay with braces.

What about retainers?

A set of clear plastic retainers is included in the cost of treatment. Additional retainers, or different types of retainers, are available at an additional cost. Sometimes all a patient needs is a retainer, and we can do that too.

Can I get braces as an adult?

Of course! There is no age limit when it comes to braces. If you are self conscious about your teeth or are experiencing any problems due to orthodontic issues, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Dixon today!

Should I see my dentist while I have braces?

YES! Be sure to maintain a regular schedule of dental cleanings with your general dentist throughout your orthodontic treatment. We can take out your wires prior to your cleanings for maximum effectiveness. Good oral hygiene will lessen the risk of periodontal disease and cavities, and will keep your orthodontic treatment on track.

How often should I brush my teeth with braces?

Brush your teeth two to three times a day, and rinse your mouth with mouthwash or water after every time you eat. A special kind of floss, called superfloss, threads underneath your wires, allowing you to clean in between your teeth. Inter-proximal brushes (like little pipe cleaners), help get in between teeth too.

Why do some people have headgear and rubber bands and others don't?

Everyone’s teeth are different. There are many different appliances that can be added onto the tradition braces to address particular problems with bite, habits, and other issues.

What do I do if I have a loose bracket, wire, or band?

Since we see patients on a frequent basis, it is usually okay to wait until your next adjustment to fix a loose or broken bracket. Schedule sooner if you are in pain, or if you are not due for your next appointment for several weeks.

Can I customize my braces or my retainer?

Yes! You can choose different color bands on your brackets every time you come in, and retainers are customizable as well! Ask Dr. Dixon or the staff about customization at your next appointment!

Will my braces interfere with playing sports or playing an instrument?

It may take some adjustments, but eventually you will get used to playing sports or playing an instrument with braces. We do recommend that you wear a mouthguard when playing any sports that include contact.

What happens when my braces are taken off?

Yay! You’ve been flossing, brushing, wearing your rubber bands and coming to all your appointments and the day is finally here! Your smile is beautiful and your braces are coming off!

What now?

On the day you get your braces off, you will receive a little goodie bag filled with the sugary, sticky treats you’ve been avoiding. We will also want to take some pictures, and you may want to share images of your new smile with friends.

You will receive a clear, plastic retainer to wear at all times for the first three months. It is extremely important to follow recommendations for wearing your retainer in order to prevent your teeth from shifting.

Throughout the next year, you will have a series of “retention” appointments spaced every three months apart. These are quick visits used for checking in and making sure things are going well. At each visit, the recommended use of your retainer will decrease slightly, until you are only wearing your retainer at night. At the end of your retention visits, you are officially graduated and do not need to schedule any more appointments. You must continue wearing your retainer indefinitely at nights, however. If you lose or break your retainer, you can purchase a new one.

How much school will I miss?

The most common statement we hear at the front desk is, “My child can’t miss school…” As parents, we understand the pressures students face to be present everyday, especially in middle school and high school. We have worked with a professional scheduling consultant in order to build a schedule template that maximizes efficiency, minimizes wait times, and decreases time spent out of school for most appointment types. For example, we schedule our longer, less frequent appointment types in the middle of the day, and our shorter, more frequent appointment types in the mornings and afternoons. Some strategies patients have employed include taking advantage of late start and early dismissal times, and scheduling appointments during lunch periods or extra-curricular periods. The best way to secure popular after-school appointment times is to schedule in advance and to keep your appointment!

Because the majority of our patients are school-age, we cannot promise that your child will never miss school due to an orthodontic appointment, however we will do everything we can to accommodate your needs.

Request an Appointment

In Westminster or Superior

Make the most of your smile with Dixon Orthodontics, located conveniently in both Westminster and Superior! Looking for info? We offer free consultations to all potential clients in order to help you make the most informed decisions for your family!

Schedule an AppointmentCall us at (303) 430-4200