Choice Orthodontics is a leading orthodontics practice in the St. Joseph, Gallatin, Atchison, and Hiawatha areas. We are always very transparent with our patients when it comes to what to expect from your orthodontic treatment process. If you have questions, you’re more than welcome to contact one of our four offices directly. We also encourage current and potential patients to check out our FAQ section below for answers to some commonly asked questions regarding orthodontics!

  • 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, those dentists will schedule your first appointment with our office. However, many 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. Learn more about early orthodontic treatment and why our orthodontist recommends it here.

  • 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, hence the need for orthodontics.

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

    If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply contact our St. Joseph, Gallatin, Atchison, or Hiawatha office to schedule an appointment. You may also fill out our online request form. Note that 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 orthodontics appointment?

    Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor, who will familiarize you with our office and prepare the patient for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The orthodontist 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 orthodontics exam?

    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 will be incurred?
  • 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 orthodontic treatment in younger patients can eliminate the need for extraction.

  • 8 . How long will it take to complete treatment?

    Treatment time depends on each patient's specific orthodontic needs. In general, treatment times range from 9 to 30 months. The "average" time frame a patient wears 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 nighttime. This is known as the retention phase of treatment.

  • 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. Visit our retention page to learn more.

  • 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 for your orthodontic treatment during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you at that time. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefits and file your claims.

  • 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 orthodontics 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 treatment. We will, however, always 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 the parent or guardian of a patient when he or she returns for pick up, so we ask that parents or guardians 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. Our orthodontist recommends 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, as orthodontics are a big step to be proud of!

  • 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 his or her own braces to achieve the best orthodontic treatment 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 just 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 necessary 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 provide complete instructions and a comprehensive list of foods to avoid that may cause harm to your braces. In general, you should try to avoid foods that could damage, break, or become trapped in your braces. Some of these foods include raw vegetables that aren't cut into small pieces, hard candy, taffy, ice cubes, and nuts. To see a full list of foods to avoid , visit our Foods to Avoid page.

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

    Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We show every patient how to floss his or her teeth with braces and we may also provide a prescription for special fluoride toothpaste. For more on protecting your oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment, click here.

  • 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 St. Joseph, Gallatin, Atchison, or Hiawatha 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 that they require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for orthodontic 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?

    The primary objectives of Phase One treatment are to address significant orthodontic problems early in order to prevent them from becoming more severe, and to improve the self-esteem and self-image of the patient with said problems. Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated for children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment usually lasts about 9 to 18 months.

  • 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. In the period following Phase One treatment, during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations. We will let you know when Phase Two treatment should be started.

  • 26 . Will my child need an expander?

    At the completion of the initial orthodontics 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% of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness, and self-esteem are vitally important no matter what age you are, so no patient is "too old" to wear braces! Learn more about our adult orthodontic treatment options now!

  • 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 enhanced by orthodontic treatment when performed by the right kind of doctor. Orthodontists have an additional 2 to 3 years of specialized training at an accredited university. Only orthodontic specialists have the full certification and experience to properly diagnose and treat orthodontic problems from teeth that need to be straightened to bites that need to be aligned.

  • 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. An attractive smile is just one of the many benefits. Orthodontic treatment also results in correctly aligned teeth that provide ideal jaw function and dental/oral health! Additionally, your teeth are easier to clean and more resistant to gum disease once they have been straightened. Perhaps most importantly, orthodontic treatment almost always improves self-confidence!

  • 31 . When should orthodontic treatment begin?

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

  • 32 . How can I recognize a potential bite problem?

    There are some obvious signs of bite problems, for example if teeth are crowded, crooked, or protruding. Other less noticeable indications of a bite problem include mouth breathing, difficulty speaking, the mouth not closing properly, thumb sucking habits that go beyond ages 3 to 4. Orthodontic treatment may also be needed if the jaw shifts or makes a sound when it moves.