Lauren Windhorst, DDS, MS
formerly Lauren Gossett
803 N. 36th Street, Suite A
St. Joseph, MO 64506
307 South Main Street, Suite B
Gallatin, MO 64640

FAQ

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  1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my complimentary appointment with the orthodontist?

    No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist and, as a courtesy, they will schedule your first appointment. However, many other patients schedule an examination themselves.

  2. At what age should I schedule a complimentary appointment for an orthodontic screening?

    The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

  3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

    No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

  4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

    If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an e-mail or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.

  5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

    Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will familiarize 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.

    To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit Page.

  6. 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 approximate cost be?
  7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

    Sometimes removing teeth is required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Extraction may be necessary if your mouth is too small to accommodate all the teeth (crowding) or if teeth cannot erupt because they are blocked by primary teeth (impacted teeth). We have found that early treatment in younger patients can eliminate the need for extraction.

  8. 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 9 to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18 months. Then a retainer is worn for 3 months full time to keep the teeth straight. After that, the retainer is only worn at night time.

  9. Will I wear a retainer when my braces are removed

    Yes! Once your braces are removed, it is necessary to wear a retainer so your teeth do not shift back into the wrong position. Your retainer is key to helping you maintain your new, beautiful smile.

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

    It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. 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. Orthodontic treatment is a long-term investment in your health, well-being and self-esteem.

  11. How often will I have appointments?

    Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4 to 8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

  12. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

    Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 4 to 8 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

  13. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

    Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with their patient manager before dropping off their child.

  14. Do braces hurt?

    When your braces are placed, it is generally painless. However, some patients do experience a little discomfort the first few days as they adjust to having braces. You may also experience some discomfort when your braces are adjusted. We recommend using Advil or Tylenol to help alleviate any discomfort.

  15. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

    Yes. There is no reason to miss school following the placement of your appliances. In fact, most of our patients can't wait to go back to school to show them off.

  16. Do you give shots?

    No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

  17. Do you use recycled braces?

    Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

  18. Can I still play sports/play my musical instrument?

    Yes! To help protect you and your braces, we recommend wearing a mouthguard when playing sports. If you play a musical instrument, you will still be able to play as you did before you got braces. You may have a period of adjustment.

  19. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

    It is very important that you still see your family dentist while wearing braces. During orthodontic treatment, seeing your dentist and having frequent cleanings can help keep your teeth free of plaque. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

  20. 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. You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions. In general, you should try to avoid the types of foods that could damage or become trapped in your braces. Some of these include raw vegetables that aren't cut into small pieces, hard candy, taffy, ice cubes and nuts. To see a list of foods to avoid, visit our page Foods to Avoid.

  21. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

    Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride toothpaste.

  22. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

    If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

  23. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

    Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient's growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

  24. What is Phase One (early) Treatment?

    Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment usually lasts about 9-18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.

  25. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?

    It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. During Phase One, only a few permanent teeth have erupted and only one specific problem is addressed. The period following Phase One treatment, during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations and when Phase Two will be started.

  26. Will my child need an expander?

    At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.

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

    Approximately 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is "too old" to wear braces!

  28. 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.

  29. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

    Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists have an additional 2 to 3 years of specialized training at an accredited university. It is important that the treatment is properly diagnosed and treated by a specialist in straightening teeth and aligning the bite.

  30. Why should I (or someone in my family) get orthodontic treatment

    Today, orthodontic treatment is simple, convenient and affordable for patients of all ages. And an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Orthodontic treatment results in correctly aligned teeth that provide ideal jaw function and a great smile! Additionally, your teeth are easier to clean and more resistant to gum disease. Perhaps most importantly, orthodontic treatment almost always provides improved self-confidence.

  31. When should orthodontic treatment be started?

    Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age – no one is ever too old! When started at an earlier age, some of the orthodontic issues may be easier to treat. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems around age 7.

  32. How can I recognize a potential bite problem?

    There are obvious signs that there may be a bite problem if teeth are crowded, crooked or protruding. Other indications that are less obvious include breathing from the mouth, difficulty speaking, the mouth not closing properly and extended thumb sucking (past age 3-4). You may also need orthodontic treatment if your jaw shifts or makes a sound when it moves.

 

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