FAQ

FAQ Old Tappan, NJInitial Visit

Do you charge for an initial visit?

No. As a courtesy to you and your family dentist, we will always discuss the feasibility of braces or tooth straightening without charging a fee. After an initial examination and discussion, if you or your child can benefit from treatment, diagnostic records will be recommended.  There is a fee for these records, which include x-rays, models and photographs, as well as a diagnosis and treatment plan discussion.

At what age do you start seeing patients?

As a rule of thumb, we like to evaluate young patients after the first permanent molars erupt and the front permanent teeth just start to appear. This is usually between the ages of 6 and 8.

Why do you evaluate patients so young?

The purpose of early evaluation is to inform and observe, more than to start treatment. At this early age, the eventual needs may be identified and discussed. A small percentage of this young group may need some form of intervention. Habits are evaluated, medical issues are discussed and an observation schedule is arranged.

How long will the first visit take?

The first visit may take 15 minutes.  Initial diagnostic records can also be taken at this time if you so chose (usually 30 to 45 minutes).

Do you take patients transferring from out of town?

Yes we do. We handle a patient transferring into our office from another city just like a new patient. We gather complete diagnostic records to show the current status and propose treatment to complete the work that has been started.

Do you have any adult patients?

Absolutely.  More cosmetic appliances are making adult treatment much more comfortable and convenient than in the past.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

An orthodontist is a general dentist that has had at least 2 more years of full-time training in orthodontics resulting in a nationally accepted specialty certificate. The orthodontist then limits his practice to straightening teeth and dentofacial orthopedics.

Can I make all my appointments in the afternoon after school and late in the day?

Some procedures need to be accomplished during school or working hours. We will do our best to work with your schedules and accommodate your family needs.

Do you see patients for emergencies?

Yes.  When you call the office, up to date contact information for an emergency is clearly stated. Dr. Jenkins is usually on call.

Financial

Can we make payments?

Yes.  Whether or not you have insurance or a dental plan, we will structure a convenient payment plan that will allow you to pay for necessary services over a period of time that usually coincides with your treatment plan.

How do you handle insurance?

After verification of coverage, we will agree to bill and collect from an insurance carrier. We ask patients to understand, however, that if coverage ceases or changes, the parent or patient is still responsible for the agreed upon fee.

Do you take Master Card, Visa, and American Express?

Yes. You can even make a payment online at any time.

Do you have direct debit?

Yes, we can make arrangements for direct debit each month on your credit card.

Do you charge interest?

No.

Types of Treatment

What is Phase 1 Treatment?

Phase 1 treatment is provided early and before all permanent teeth have erupted. The purpose of this early care is to start correcting harmful malocclusions that may be more difficult or impossible to correct later. Phase 1 treatment does not eliminate the need for conventional orthodontics during adolescence. Examples of phase 1 treatment include correcting individual tooth or jaw crossbites and severe underbites and overbites where function, esthetic or psychological concerns are identified.

What is phase 2 Treatment?

Phase 2 treatment is conventional orthodontic treatment. It may start while the last baby teeth are falling out and continue until the 12 year molars have been evaluated or straightened. This treatment usually lasts sbout 2 years.

How do I know if Phase 1, 2 or both type of treatments are necessary?

An early visit is suggested. About 10 to 20 percent of young patients may benefit from phase 1 treatment. Most other patients are observed until the appropriate time to initiate care.

Does early treatment ensure a better result?

Not always. Experience and research shows that early treatment achieves meaningful goals but the quality of the result is determined at the end of care. For this reason, we do not encourage early treatment unless significant benefits can be achieved.

Moving teeth (Mechanics)

How long do braces take?

Complete treatment can usually be accomplished in 2 years of active tooth movement. Sometimes, this active movement is divided into two or more periods of time with a rest of 6 to 18 months in between. (See phase 1 and 2 treatment above).

How do braces work?

Quite simply, crooked teeth are gradually moved into desired positions by taking shaped wires and attaching them to brackets on the teeth.

Do you use recycled braces?

No.

Retainers

Do retainers need to be worn after braces?

Yes, retainers are worn full-time for about 4 months followed by nighttime wear indefinitely.

Why do teeth get crooked after wearing braces or aligners?

Teeth move throughout life whether you have worn braces or not.  It is part of the natural aging process. This is why retainer wear is recommended indefinitely to maintain your orthodontic results.

How about retainers glued to the backs of teeth?

For some patients, permanent lingual retainers are attached to the back of lower teeth to keep them in place. This requires special hygiene procedures and regular recalls to the family dentist.

Wisdom teeth (Third Molars)

Do wisdom teeth cause teeth to get crooked?

Maybe. Research has shown many factors to be involved.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Wisdom teeth may not cause crooked teeth but they can cause gum problems, swelling if impacted, and trap food below the gum tissue causing infection. It is much nicer to plan for their removal rather than have them removed under emergency conditions.

When is a good time to have wisdom teeth removed?

The best time, according to oral surgeons, is when approximately 2/3 or so of the root is formed. Wisdom teeth should be evaluated by an oral surgeon after age 15.

Health Impact

What are the health benefits of wearing braces?

Orthodontics helps to improve the comfort of the bite, make it easier to brush and floss your teeth for good dental health.  The positive self-esteem benefits are immeasurable.

How do enlarged adenoids and allergies affect braces?

Mouth breathing, as a result of enlarged adenoids or tonsils or allergies, may cause your upper and lower jaws to grow apart and elongate facial form during growth.  This growth may result in crowded, narrow arches.

How does a tongue thrust or low tongue posture affect braces?

The effects are similar to enlarged adenoids. The pressure on front teeth from tongue thrusting can aggravate protrusion and spacing.

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