Frequently Asked Questions

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


The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an initial orthodontic screening by age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition. Many severe problems can be prevented from fully developing by initiating early orthodontic treatment (age 7 to 9 years old).




Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?


When the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.




What will happen at the initial examination appointment?


Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam




What will I learn from the initial examination?


There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

  • 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?
  • How much will the treatment cost?




Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?


Removing 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




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.




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


Costs for orthodontic treatment vary according to the severity of the problem and length and complexity of treatment. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many 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. Many patients have orthodontic benefits as part of their dental plan. Orthodontic insurance coverage generally differs from regular dental insurance in that each insured individual usually has a lifetime maximum benefit for orthodontic services. This benefit is paid as a percentage of the orthodontic fee until the benefit maximum has been reached. Our office is glad to help you with your insurance needs.




Do braces hurt?


Generally, braces do not "hurt." And we often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work. Dr. Choi uses the latest technological advances to make treatment more comfortable our patients. Orthodontic braces are smaller, plus gentle wires provide continuous light forces over a longer period of time. Typically the patient is not uncomfortable while in the office but will experience some discomfort for two to three days after certain adjustments. ” In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort.




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.




Will braces affect playing sports or playing musical instruments?


You should be able to play just about any sport and musical instrument. We highly recommend wearing a mouth guard during contact sports or any sports where there is a chance that you could be hit in the face. As a patient at our office we will provide you a mouth guard as part of your treatment.




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


No patient is "too old" to wear braces! A surprising percentage of our patients are adults and the number is growing. Many patients think that teeth cannot be moved with adult patients. This is definitely not true. In fact, in many cases they move even better, because adult tend to be more cooperative than some of our younger patients.




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.




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 have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments. If the orthodontist is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists you can assume they have received the appropriate training.




Is Orthodontic treatment only to improve your smile?


Orthodontics will not only provide you with an esthetic smile but will improve the alignment and the fit of the teeth. Crooked teeth can lead to cavities or gum disease and a bad bite can lead to chewing problems and possible muscle soreness and jaw joint discomfort.