Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions, we have answers. For additional support, please contact our Portland orthodontic office directly at (361) 643-2255.

Initial Consultation, Treatment Timeline & Appointments

Is it required that my family dentisty schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

It’s not required, but oftentimes our patients are referred by their family dentist. However, patients also are referred by family members and friends and take the initiative to schedule an appointment themselves.

Will my teeth straighten as they grow?

Unfortunately, no. Orthodontic issues, such as spacing and malocclusions, tend to worsen with age. It’s essential to be examined as early as possible to ensure these problems are corrected sooner rather than later.

Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

Orthodontic specialists have the education, training, and experience to effectively alter teeth, jaw, and facial structures to help patients achieve optimal oral health. It’s critical that treatment is personalized to each individual and adequately completed, and choosing a specialist, like the board-certified orthodontists at Dolphin Braces, ensures that everything is done correctly.

At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends you should schedule your child’s first appointment by age 7. Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth can complement each other. By timing orthodontic treatment to predictable stages of dental development, the orthodontist may be able to take advantage of your child’s growth and development. Some problems that can be treated quite well in a growing child may require corrective surgery or permanent teeth to be extracted if treated after growth has occurred.

How do I schedule an appointment for the initial exam?

You can schedule an appointment by calling one of our convenient locations, or you can complete an appointment request online. One of our staff members will take down some of your basic information, and let you know what you need to bring to our office for your appointment.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Before you leave, be sure to have all the necessary information needed to complete our new patient forms, including your insurance information. Then, one of our orthodontists will complete the examination, which can include X-rays and photographs, to properly diagnose you or your child’s condition.

What will I learn from the initial examination?

We will thoroughly explain your options to you after completing the exam, and will recommend the best course of treatment. You’ll learn the answers to five important questions during your consultation appointment, including:

  • Is there an orthodontic issue, and if so, what is it?
  • What treatment is needed to correct the problem?
  • Can braces and/or Invisalign correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will treatment take?
  • How much will treatment cost?

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time varies from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the orthodontic issues. The average patient wears appliances anywhere from 18-24 months, and total treatment time ranges from about 12-30 months.

How often will I have appointments?

The frequency of appointments varies from patient to patient, just like the length of treatment. We’ll assess whether or not you or your child requires appliances that need more frequent monitoring, and therefore more appointments.

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

We do our best to schedule you for the most convenient times based on your busy schedule, but cannot make any guarantees. However, most appointments are scheduled 4-10 weeks apart, so you or your child will miss minimal work/school time.

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If your braces are hurting you or your child severely, or if one of your appliances breaks, you should call our office. We can solve most orthodontic emergencies over the phone but will make time for you if your issue requires an office visit.

Phase One Treatment

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

If an orthodontic issue is severe enough, then early intervention can occur while the child still has baby teeth. If your child isn’t ready yet, we’ll simply monitor their growth and development, and begin treatment when they’re ready.

What is Phase One (Early) Treatment?

Between the ages 7 and 10, some patients require phase one (early) treatment, which usually lasts about 6-18 months. The goal of early treatment is to address more significant orthodontic issues to make later treatment processes smoother. It also drastically improves the child’s confidence and self-esteem levels.

Will my child need an expander?

Each patient varies, and without an initial examination, it would be difficult to predict. You’ll find out if your child will need an expander after your initial consultation.

Will my child need braces if he/she has Phase One Treatment?

It’s best to assume that braces will be needed after phase one treatment, but we’ll monitor your child’s growth and development to ensure the best treatment methods occur next.

All About Braces

How much will orthodontic treatment cost?

We can only determine treatment costs after your initial consultation is completed, as each patient’s case is unique. You can learn more about our Financing & Insurance policies on our website, or speak to one of our staff members at the office. We’ll review your financing options with you, and will work with you to maximize your insurance benefits.

Will I need to have teeth extracted for orthodontic treatment?

It depends on your unique situation, but sometimes in order to achieve optimal results, teeth may need to be removed. However, advanced technology and methods have made this less common.

Can I have orthodontic treatment even though I have crowns or missing teeth?

Yes, absolutely! A tooth will a crown will move just like a regular tooth, and treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

Is it too late to have orthodontic treatment if I am already an adult?

Adult orthodontics is becoming more common, as the orthodontic treatment helps increase overall happiness level, health, and self-esteem. It’s never too late for a beautiful smile!

Does orthodontic treatment hurt?

Braces or Invisalign don’t “hurt,” but for the first couple days, you may feel some slight discomfort. When there is a soreness, Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen) can help ease the discomfort.

Can I return to work/school the day I start treatment?

Absolutely. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to return to your normal daily life.

Do I need to see my family dentist while in orthodontic treatment?

It’s essential to continue visiting the dentist during treatment, as failing to do so can lengthen treatment time.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Once you get your braces, we’ll review which foods you should avoid during treatment. A good rule of thumb is to avoid foods such as ice, hard candy, raw veggies, and all sticky foods. You can reference our list of Foods to Avoid page for more information.

How often should I brush my teeth while in orthodontic treatment?

Once you get your braces, we’ll review which foods you should avoid during treatment. A good rule of thumb is to avoid foods such as ice, hard candy, raw veggies, and all sticky foods. You can reference our list of Foods to Avoid page for more information.

Additional Common Questions

Do you give shots?

No, as shots are not necessary for orthodontic treatment.

Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely not! Each patient requires personalized treatment to achieve the best results possible.

Can I still play sports?

Of course! We do recommend that you use a mouthguard to protect your mouth during treatment.