Braces and orthodontic treatments are easy and cost effective

Orthodontic treatment is performed to give the patient a good bite – meaning straight teeth that properly meet the teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier to chew and speak. It can also enhance your appearance and contribute to your overall health. That’s because a good bite makes it possible to enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods.

In addition to the oral health benefits, many patients appreciate the improvement in the appearance of their teeth brought about by orthodontic treatment. Self-esteem even improves for many patients.

Orthodontic treatment is a smart investment in your dental, physical and emotional health.


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  • consult an orthodontic specialist
  • discuss treatment options
  • understand the cost
  • your part

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  • think treatment will hurt
  • forget to eat the right foods
  • forget to maintain your smile
  • forget to discuss payment options

[publishpress_authors_data]'s recommendation to ExpertBeacon readers: Do

Do consult an orthodontic specialist

Orthodontists are the specialists in dentistry who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. In other words, they are the experts in orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those who successfully complete this formal education may call themselves orthodontic specialists or orthodontists.

Do discuss treatment options

There are many “appliances” (the formal name for braces, aligners, retainers, etc.) used in contemporary orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists will recommend what they believe will be the appliance best suited to correct an individual’s orthodontic problem, based on considerations such as the individual’s lifestyle needs and the orthodontist’s clinical experience.

Thanks to ongoing research and development, today’s orthodontic patients have many options available to them to straighten their teeth. It is important that patients discuss their lifestyle needs with their orthodontist as they come to a decision about the type of appliance that will help them get the healthy, beautiful smile they want.

Do understand the cost

Orthodontic care is not only affordable, it’s truly one of the best values in healthcare today. There was a time when the fee for treatment was equivalent to the cost of a new car. Today’s orthodontic treatment fee might cover the cost of the front bumper. Orthodontists have done a great job in holding down the cost of care.

According to an American Dental Association survey of dental fees for 2011, the fee for comprehensive adult orthodontic treatment ranged from $4,725 to $6,940, and the fee for comprehensive treatment of adolescents ranged from $4,500 to $6,360. Each orthodontist sets his/her fees, and fees likely vary from doctor to doctor and region to region. In addition, fees are also dependent upon the type of problem to be corrected, how complex the correction is, how long the treatment is expected to take, and the type of appliance used.

Do your part

A healthy and beautiful smile is the ultimate goal of orthodontic treatment. It takes effort on the part of the orthodontist and the patient to reach that goal.

The average length of “active” orthodontic treatment (when teeth are being moved) is 22 months, but can range from 12 to 36 months, depending on an individual’s problem. Patients will see their orthodontist about every six to eight weeks during active treatment.

Orthodontic treatment is not a passive process. Patients need to do their part to ensure its success. This includes avoiding some foods that might damage the appliance.

Teeth tend to move faster through healthy tissue, so patients need to keep their teeth, gums and appliances clean. Patients should brush as often as their orthodontist recommends, probably three or four times a day, and floss at least once a day. In addition, patients must see their family dentist for a professional cleaning and checkup at least every six months during active treatment, or more often, if recommended. Good oral health habits developed during orthodontic treatment often stay with people long after active treatment ends. Your dentist and hygienist will love you for it – your teeth and gums will, too.

[publishpress_authors_data]'s professional advice to ExpertBeacon readers: Don't

Do not think treatment will hurt

Modern orthodontic treatment is a relatively comfortable process. Certainly there can be some discomfort when braces are placed or adjusted, or when a patient starts a new aligner. But most tenderness is short-lived, and easily managed with over-the-counter analgesics.

Patients can opt for softer foods like soups, stews, omelets, etc. when they are new to treatment, following an adjustment, or when they are using a new aligner.

Minor discomfort is generally a good thing – it’s a sign the teeth are moving. However, if discomfort does not respond to over-the-counter analgesics or if it interferes with daily activities, patients should notify their orthodontist.

Do not forget to eat the right foods

Orthodontic patients can and should enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods during active orthodontic treatment.

Patients with fixed appliances such as braces will be advised to avoid foods that are hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy. Eating such foods could pop off a bracket or bend a wire. A damaged appliance cannot do its job properly, and could prolong treatment. If a patient notices something wrong with their braces, they should report it to the orthodontist. Those with braces should also be careful biting into hoagies or thick pizza crust. Instead, cut or pull off bite-sized portions. Do the same with apples, carrots or other hard fruits and vegetables. It’s a good idea to avoid biting fingernails, ice or pencils, too, to keep from harming a fixed appliance.

Red sauces, red wine, tea and coffee generally do not stain ceramic braces, but they can stain ligatures that hold wires to brackets. If patients are wearing this type of appliance, they can discuss with their orthodontist what ligature color options may resist staining.

Patients with removable appliances generally will be advised to remove them before eating. Always place the removable appliance in the case provided by your orthodontist. Never place the appliance on a napkin on a tray – it’s much too easy to forget the appliance is there and throw it away.

It is important that patients with both fixed and removable appliances brush after eating. Those with braces will want to remove food particles that may be caught in the appliance or between teeth. Those with removable appliances need to make sure their teeth and gums are clean before putting their appliance back in.

Orthodontic patients should limit the intake of soda, or avoid it altogether. Many sodas, even diet sodas, contain phosphoric acid, which can eat away at tooth enamel. Those with braces who opt to drink soda should drink it through a straw. Patients with removable appliances should remove their appliance before drinking soda, and brush before putting their appliance back in.

Do not forget to maintain your smile

Some people think that just because they had orthodontic treatment their teeth will stay in the new positions forever. That is not the case. Teeth can move after orthodontic treatment in response to forces generated when we bite, chew, speak and especially when clenching or grinding. The bone that holds teeth is living tissue that continually breaks down and rebuilds. Changes in tooth position are not a failure of orthodontic treatment, but are a natural process. We expect changes in our bodies as we grow older, and teeth are no exception. To help control and limit these changes, retainers are prescribed for most patients at the end of active treatment. Retainers give the body time to harden bone tissue around newly-positioned teeth, and stabilize the results of orthodontic treatment. It’s a critical part of orthodontic treatment, and just as important as the active phase of treatment.

Commonly, patients will be instructed to wear removable retainers full-time for a day, a week or up to six months. Most patients then go to a period of nightly wear for a year or more. Many patients wear retainers regularly for the rest of their lives.

There are both removable and fixed retainers. Removable retainers can be clear or the traditional plastic-and-wire version. Permanent retainers are an option for some patients. Generally these are bonded in on the back (lingual) side of top teeth or bottom teeth.

Patients should discuss with their orthodontist what type of retainer will best work for them.

Do not forget to discuss payment options

Most orthodontists offer a variety of payment plans. The plans offered likely vary from doctor to doctor. Each doctor sets his/her own policies on payment plans. Orthodontists’ common goal is to make treatment as affordable as possible to help fit orthodontic care into any family budget.

Some orthodontists may offer plans that require a down payment. Others may have plans that do not require one. Many orthodontists provide interest-free in-office financing for as long as 24 months. Still, other orthodontists may help patients spread their payments over a longer period of time by putting them in touch with a third-party finance company. The advantage is that monthly payments over a longer period of time can be smaller than payments over 24 months. However, a third-party finance company will charge interest. Some people also have dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health saving accounts (HSAs) also help by using pre-tax dollars to help cover the cost of orthodontic treatment.


Orthodontic treatment is an option for today’s adults, who can look forward to a lifetime with a healthy and beautiful smile as a result of orthodontic care.

Adults in orthodontic treatment can do almost anything they normally do – dine out, sing, play a musical instrument, kiss, or even have their picture taken. People who opt for orthodontic treatment are perceived as taking an interest in improving themselves, much like people who join a gym.

As people live longer lives, it becomes more important for them to maintain their teeth for the years to come. Natural teeth function better than dentures, and these days it’s easier to keep them. Unlike previous generations, today’s adults can keep their natural teeth with good professional and home dental care, and for some, orthodontic treatment.

To have a healthy and beautiful smile that’s good for life, consult your local orthodontist.

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