There are no cookie-cutter approaches to orthodontia. There are no short-cuts, either. The type of care you receive must be tailored to your specific needs. Since treatment requires a serious commitment of time, effort and money, we want you to feel as informed as possible about the process. We also want you to know we’re dedicated to providing the fastest path to great results.
OUR FIRST VISIT
This no-cost evaluation is our opportunity to assess your needs and discuss potential treatment options. It’s also your opportunity to meet our staff and familiarize yourself with the orthodontic specialty. We hope you’ll find the session pleasant and informative.
If you’re an adult seeking advice about how to correct a lifelong bite problem, we’ll help you begin to envision what’s possible for your age and the severity of your condition.
If you’re a parent seeking an opinion about your child, we strongly recommend an evaluation no later than age 7. (This target age is consistent with guidelines from the American Association of Orthodontists.) With an early assessment, we can intervene, if needed, before all permanent teeth are present. Early intervention can significantly reduce the cost and complexity of later-stage treatment.
DIAGNOSTICS & TREATMENT PLANNING
If your initial exam indicates that you’d benefit from treatment, we’ll prepare diagnostic records – tools such as orthodontic x-rays, facial photographs and three-dimensional study models. Once these items are available, Dr. Quinn analyzes them and determines a specific treatment plan for your needs. We’ll talk with you about every aspect of the plan, including recommended orthodontic appliances, a schedule for installation and maintenance, and a complete cost estimate.
Because patient involvement is essential to success, we encourage you to discuss the plan thoroughly with us and ask any questions you may have. By learning about your treatment early in the process, you’ll be ready to play an active role in helping Dr. Quinn get great results.
BEFORE TREATMENT BEGINS
For Adults: Treatment usually begins as soon as you approve our recommendations and all general dental requirements are satisfied. For example, your family dentist should verify that all cavities have been treated, and your gums and underlying bone are free of periodontal disease.
Also, if Dr. Quinn prescribes the removal of any teeth to correct your bite, your dentist or oral surgeon should complete the work at this point. And last but not least, your family dentist should develop a schedule for regular visits throughout your orthodontic treatment, so your teeth remain clean and free of cavities. Remember that orthodontic treatment doesn’t replace general dentistry – instead, the two disciplines work together to improve and maintain your oral health.
For Children: If you’ve sought an early evaluation for your child (at the recommended age of 7), Dr. Quinn may recommend that treatment begin in adolescence. However, many progressive options are now available for patients age 7-11, especially for those with jaw irregularities. Early intervention has numerous benefits. Often it prevents existing conditions from worsening, simplifies future treatment, and yields results than wouldn’t be possible to achieve after facial and jaw bones fully develop.
For Everyone: It’s very important to begin treatment in the timeframe Dr. Quinn prescribes. If, for any reason, you or your child are hesitant about the recommended timing, please contact us to discuss your concerns. A consultation may quickly resolve these issues.
THE “ACTIVE” PHASE
After braces are installed, the “active” treatment phase begins. For most people, this phase lasts from 6 to 30 months, depending on several factors:
- Your age
- The nature and severity of your orthodontic problem
- The degree of movement possible in your jaws and facial bones
- Your vigilance in following care instructions.
Maintenance visits are an integral part of active orthodontic treatment, so we can check your progress and adjust your braces on a consistent schedule. Monthly appointments are common, but depending on your needs, the interval can range from 2-8 weeks.
Throughout the active phase, it’s essential to keep appointments, follow all care instructions for your appliances, maintain proper nutrition and practice good oral hygiene – including periodic check-ups with your general dentist.
THE “RETENTION” PHASE
Once your braces are removed, retainers are prescribed to hold your teeth in their new position until your bone, gums, and muscles adapt. This retention period may last for several years. However, in some circumstances, patients must wear a retainer for several hours every day, to maintain proper alignment. Regardless, retention is a vital part of your overall treatment. It shouldn’t be neglected if you want to ensure a smile that’s great for life.
APPOINTMENTS & YOUR TREATMENTS
Periodic maintenance appointments are a critical aspect of orthodontic treatment. Skipping scheduled appointments can delay your progress and put your treatment plan at risk. Therefore, we hope you’ll make these visits a priority.
Nevertheless, from time-to-time, you may be unable to join us for appointment. If so, we’ll rely on you to contact us as far in advance as possible to reschedule. Advance notice makes it possible for another patient to see Dr. Quinn during your timeslot. If our office isn’t open when you call, please leave your name, number and a brief message on our answering machine and we’ll follow-up as soon as possible.
If you feel extraordinary pain, or if another orthodontic emergency occurs, please call the emergency phone number listed on our Contact page immediately. We’ll make every attempt to see you the same day.