Helpful Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

Here you'll find the answers to the most commonly asked questions about orthodontics.

Got a question that isn't covered here? Just drop us a line. We can't get into specifics about your particular needs without an in-person consultation, of course. But we can answer general questions on orthodontic procedures, or arrange a time to meet you.

Why get braces?

Who should get braces?

My child has crooked teeth. Will they straighten out as they grow?

Can my dentist do orthodontics?

Do I need to be referred by my family dentist to see an orthodontist?


How do I schedule an initial examination?

How much is an initial examination?

Do we still need to see our family dentist if we're already seeing you?

What about invisible aligners?

What foods do I have to avoid?


How long will treatment last?


Are retainers needed after braces?

What about costs?

Why Get Braces?
Because a smile is a priceless, precious asset-one that can last for a lifetime. And investing in orthodontic treatment today means you can enjoy the benefits of a super smile for years to come.

It's not just about appearance, either. "Malocclusions" or "bad bite", can affect the way you chew or talk, and can even lead to more serious (and expensive) oral health problems. Here are some of the common conditions that can be corrected with orthodontic treatment:
  • Crowded teeth: teeth are crooked, turned, or "overlapping"
  • Overbite: the upper jaw or teeth are too far in front, or the lower too far back
  • Underbite: the lower jaw or teeth are too far in front, or the upper too far back
  • Overjet (Protrusion): the upper teeth stick out and do not fit with the lower front teeth
  • Spacing: teeth that have gaps or spaces between them

Ask yourself-or have your have your child ask this question: "Do I like my smile?" If the answer is no, then orthodontic treatment can be one of the best investments you'll ever make.

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Who Should Get Braces?

In short, anyone who needs treatment.

It's a common misconception that braces are just for teenagers. The fact is that anyone, at any age, can benefit from orthodontic treatment— whether it's correcting a long-time bite problem that wasn't addressed in younger years, or catching developmental problems early.

  • To ensure the best overall dental and facial development, all children should have an orthodontic consultation sometime between the ages of seven and ten (the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by age seven). Usually, nothing more than observation is needed (and we will continue to monitor progress at no charge) but if a problem is evident, taking action early can spare a lot of treatment and expense down the road.

  • You're never too old for a beautiful smile. If you've been living with a bite problem for a long time, or have been hiding your smile, it's time you found out how adult orthodontics can transform your smile—and your life.
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My child has crooked teeth. Will they straighten out as they grow?

The space available for teeth in the mouth does not increase with age so, unfortunately, there won't be any opportunity for your child's teeth to straighten. The fact is, after the molars erupt (usually in the sixth year) the space in the mouth actually gets smaller as the child grows older. So, if your child has crooked or crowded teeth, it's best to get an orthodontic evaluation sooner than later.

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Can my dentist do orthodontics?

Orthodontists are dentists that complete two to three additional years of comprehensive, full-time specialized university training. So even though orthodontists are dentists, they are very specialized in their training. Some dentists take weekend courses in orthodontic treatments, but for specialized care you should see an orthodontist.

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Do I need to be referred by my family dentist to see an orthodontist?

No. Although many of our patients are referred to us by family dentists, if you have concerns about the health or appearance of your child's (or your) smile and would like a free evaluation, just book an appointment.

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How do I schedule an initial examination?

It's easy—just give us a call or email us. Our number is 352.394.0100. Our email address is drwortham@cfl.rr.com.

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How much is an initial examination?

Your initial exam is free because we consider it to be an important first step in your orthodontic health and a great opportunity to welcome you into our family.

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Do we still need to see our family dentist if we're already seeing you?

Yes, you still need to see your regular dentist for check-ups and cleanings. Patients with braces or other orthodontic appliance can find it difficult to keep their teeth clean. Your family dentist will advise you as to how often to come in for check-ups.

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What about invisible aligners?

Orthodontics has come a long way in recent years. Lighter, more effective materials. Mini-braces. "Behind-the-teeth" braces.

And yes, in many cases we can now correct bite disorders with invisible aligners—clear plastic appliances that fit around your teeth and gently and gradually align them. Not only that, our office is a certified Invisalign orthodontic office. Invisalign uses the latest in computer imaging technology to create custom aligners.

Want to know if any of these treatments is right for you? Just book a consultation—we'd be happy to meet you and discuss your treatment options.

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What foods do I have to avoid?

Unfortunately, there are a few foods that should be avoided while in braces—primarily hard foods and sticky foods. For example, foods such as peanut brittle and candied apples can not only be very difficult to clean from braces but can even damage and break them. For a detailed list on the foods and candies that must be avoided while in braces, ask one of our friendly staff.

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How long will treatment last?

There are a number of factors that determine how long you will wear braces, but in most cases you'll be ready to show off your new smile in about 18-24 months. And with today's modern orthodontic appliances, treatment is getting faster—and easier—all the time.

Braces are used to straighten your teeth gradually, not overnight, so a little patience is needed. Just remember, any discomfort you may feel will be brief.

Your beautiful, healthy smile, however, will last a lifetime.

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Are retainers needed after braces?

Wearing a retainer after braces is an important step in treatment because they keep the teeth stable while the bones and gums adapt to the change. Without them, there is a possibility that the teeth may start moving back into their old positions—not good.

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What about costs?

As mentioned earlier in this section, your initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to get an assessment. The total cost will vary by case and complexity, but because our modern techniques often require fewer visits, you might be surprised at how affordable orthodontic treatment can be.

A beautiful, healthy smile is one of the best investments you can make in your or your child's future. And to help you fit this investment into your budget, we offer a variety of payment methods:
  • In-house financing with no interest, an appropriate down payment and the remaining balance paid over your treatment time
  • Outside financing that offers no down payment and low monthly fees paid over your treatment time with Care Credit.
  • Payment in full with a courtesy bookkeeping discount
  • Automatic Credit Card payments (all major credit cards accepted)
  • Most major insurance plans (we will fill out the necessary paperwork for you).
During your first visit and evaluation, we will be happy to explain all of the financial options to you and work with you on customizing a payment plan that fits your needs.

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