Helpful facts about Orthodontic Treatment with Doctor Ray Kieffer

Why Is Oral Hygene important?
Brushing and flossing are an important part of being an orthodontic patient. Dedication to good oral hygiene aids in healthy gums and teeth move their best in a healthy environment. Braces can trap food and contribute to plaque formation if not properly cared for. When plaque is not removed from teeth and around the braces, the health of teeth and gums is compromised and can increase the risk of gum disease and dental decay.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a mixture of bacteria, debris and remnants of food consumed throughout the day. The bacteria feed on the sugars in the debris and produce acids which can irritate your gums and erode the enamel (decalcification).

The thorough removal of plaque is very important as to ensure that the surfaces of your teeth around the braces will be healthy and look good upon brace removal. The following suggestions will aid in healthy teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment.

Brushing Info

Important factors to consider when purchasing a toothbrush are that it is soft and approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Soft bristle toothbrushes work better at getting into the nooks and crannies around your appliances and are gentler on your gums. The size of the brush, the shape of the handle and other variations are dependent on personal preference.

It is not necessary to use an electric toothbrush but they are safe to use on your appliances. A moderate setting is best to prevent injury to your gums and prevent breaking brackets.

Brush three times a day for a minimum of three to five minutes each time. Brushing after each meal is ideal to assure that food is not trapped on or around the braces. If you are not able to brush, rinse your mouth with water thoroughly until you are able to brush.
Brushing should be done slowly and carefully in a circular motion. Brush above and below the brackets to remove the debris from the brackets, paying special attention to the areas between the brackets. Angling the toothbrush above and below the brackets will massage the gums, stimulating them to minimize swelling.

Flossing Info

Floss at least once a day. Flossing may seem impossible with braces but it is a critical part of maintaining good oral hygiene. Special flossing products are available to aid getting into the space between the wires and gumline. Floss threaders and waxed floss will help make flossing manageable.

Tie a piece of floss to the floss threader and place it under the wire between the teeth to be flossed, pull the threader up and floss as usual, then pull the floss completely through the teeth and proceed to the next tooth.

Upon the placement of brackets at your first appointment, a team member of Kieffer Orthodontics will review the brushing and flossing techniques with you. If you have any questions or concerns regarding brushing or flossing at any time during your treatment, please contact our office.

Our mission at Kieffer Orthodontics is to provide top quality services that bring outstanding results and beautiful smiles. Our highly experienced, professional team is dedicated to creating a great experience for our patients in a relaxed and friendly environment. We understand that every individual’s orthodontic treatment needs are unique and Dr. Kieffer feels it is extremely important to provide our patients with a custom treatment plan that will best suit his or her individual needs. Dr. Kieffer continues to implement the latest technological advances in the industry to provide our patients with top-quality care that produces the best possible results. 

Here are some helpful facts about Orthodontic Treatment with Doctor Ray Kieffer;

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

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

What will happen at the initial exam?

There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic issue, and if so what is it?
  • What is the recommended treatment to correct the issue?
  • What is the estimated length of treatment?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How much will the treatment cost?
Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile is Dr Kieffer’s primary goal. New technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures and removing teeth is not always necessary for treatment. However, extractions are occasionally required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Dr. Kieffer takes a conservative approach with regards to extractions.

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic needs. In general, the length of treatment ranges from 12 to 24 months.

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

We will provide you with the cost of treatment and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs. We will also review your insurance and flex plan policies to help maximize your benefits.

How often will I have appointments?

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

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

We will make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs. Most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic appointments. It is fair to expect to miss some school for the longer appointments where the braces are being put on and removed. We recommend making your future appointments as you leave our office in order to schedule an after school time.

Are braces uncomfortable?

Generally, braces are not painful. However, the teeth may be sore for a few days after certain visits and it may take your gums time to get used to your new braces. In these situations, Ibuprofen, homeopathic medicines, or chewing a piece of sugarless gum will help ease the discomfort. Wax can be placed over brackets or wires causing irritation to the gums.

Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for most sports and have them available at our office.

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

Yes. Regular checkups with your family dentist are very important while in treatment. Your dentist will determine the recommended intervals between cleaning appointments.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will review the complete instructions with you and provide you with a comprehensive list of foods to avoid.

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If your braces are causing unusual discomfort or if something breaks, you should contact our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the phone. If you require an emergency visit, we will appoint you accordingly.

What if my wire or brace is causing an irritation?

If a bracket or wire is causing an irritation, try covering the irritation with a small amount of wax. If the wire is poking you, you can cut it with clean nail cutters. If necessary, contact our office to schedule an emergency appointment to have the wire trimmed. Warm salt water rinses a few times a day will help heal the irritation.

What if a bracket or wire becomes loose?

If the wire or bracket becomes loose, first contact our office to see if the bracket needs to be replaced. If you have a situation where you must cut the wire or slide a bracket off the wire, you may use clean nail clippers. Please contact our office to schedule a repair appointment.

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic issues are significant enough to require early intervention. Phase One treatment allows us to work with the growth and correct early problems. 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.

What is Phase One (Early) Treatment?

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually performed between the ages of seven to ten. The primary objectives for Phase One treatment are to create enough space for the permanent teeth to erupt and to address any habits that may negatively impact the development of the permanent teeth. Phase One treatment allows us to work with the growth and is usually short in duration.

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. After Phase One is completed, your child will be placed on a recall status during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, you will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

Can I have orthodontic treatment as an adult?

A large percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 40% of Dr. Kieffer’s clientele are adults. There are many different treatment options available to our adult patients to fit their individual needs, including metal, ceramic and self-ligating brackets, aligner therapy and Invisalign. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults.

Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a normal tooth. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?

Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatment. It is important that orthodontic treatment be appropriate and properly completed by an orthodontic specialist.

Do I need x-rays?

Orthodontic x-rays are a helpful diagnostic tool and are required to begin treatment. For your convenience, Kieffer Orthodontics has an in-house, state-of-the-art digital x-ray laboratory, which allows us to minimize your exposure to radiation and reduce our environmental footprint. Our x-ray unit reduces radiation exposure by 70% compared to standard x-ray units.

Does Dr. Kieffer treat TMJ symptoms?

Yes. Dr. Kieffer has several years of experience in treating TMJ, often combining TMJ therapy with braces or Invisalign. Dr. Kieffer works with a team of colleagues and believes that a team approach yields the most successful results in TMJ therapy.