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How much does orthodontic treatment cost?
The American Association of Orthodontists does not track fees for orthodontic treatment. The fee for an individual’s treatment is determined by a variety of factors, including the severity of the problem to be corrected, as well as the anticipated length of treatment. Fees may be different from orthodontist to orthodontist and from one region to another. The type of “appliance” (the formal name for braces, aligners, retainers, etc.) may also be a consideration.
Will the orthodontist take my insurance? How much does insurance cover?
If you have dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits, check with the insurance company or your employer’s HR department to learn details of the coverage available to you – whether coverage is for a percentage of the fee or is capped at a specific dollar amount (“lifetime cap”); who your policy covers (you, or you and your spouse, or you and your spouse and your children, etc., and whether insurance coverage has an age limit); and whether you are required to choose from the insurance company’s providers.
Which treatment is the fastest?
Thanks to advances in technology, just about every type of treatment is relatively fast. These important steps will make your treatment go as quickly as possible: 1) Follow your orthodontist’s instructions on brushing, flossing, professional cleanings, and diet. 2) Keep your scheduled appointments with your orthodontist. 3) Make sure your orthodontist is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). AAO members have the training, experience and treatment options to make sure you get your best smile.
Which treatment is the best?
The best treatment is the kind performed by an orthodontist. Orthodontists have the training, experience and treatment options to make sure you get your best smile. Choose a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) for orthodontic treatment to be assured that the doctor is an orthodontist – someone who first graduated from dental school and then went on for 2-3 more years of studying orthodontics at an accredited orthodontic residency program. Only these people can call themselves “orthodontists,” and only they can be admitted as members of the AAO. Use Find an Orthodontist to locate nearby members of the American Association of Orthodontists.
Do I have to have insurance to have orthodontic treatment?
No. Insurance is not required to have orthodontic treatment.
How do I find an orthodontist who takes Medicaid?
Contact the department within your state’s government that administers the Medicaid program and request a list of providers who are orthodontists.
Is free orthodontic care available for patients in need? Does the American Association of Orthodontists offer scholarships for braces?
The American Association of Orthodontists does not provide funding for orthodontic treatment.
Are there orthodontic schools that treat patients?
Yes. Accredited orthodontic programs accept patients for treatment. The work is done by students, who have already graduated from dental school, and who are studying to become orthodontists. Students are closely supervised by their professors and instructors, who are orthodontists.
What brands of treatment are approved by the American Association of Orthodontists?
The American Association of Orthodontists does not provide product reviews or recommendations. Please talk with your orthodontist about the types or brands of treatment that you are interested in so that together you can decide what is appropriate for you.
How long does treatment last?
The average length of orthodontic treatment is 22 months, according to a 2012 survey among members of the American Association of Orthodontists.
Can I get braces if I’m missing some teeth?
It may be possible for you to have successful orthodontic treatment if some teeth are missing, depending on your circumstances and your treatment goals. Orthodontic treatment may be able to close the space of a missing tooth, or may be able to create or save sufficient space for a replacement tooth/teeth. Consult an orthodontist to discuss what is right for you. Your orthodontist may need to work with your primary care dentist and/or other dental specialists to help you achieve optimal dental health.
Can I get braces if my teeth have crowns or root canals?
It may be possible for you to have successful orthodontic treatment if your teeth have crowns or root canals. Consult an orthodontist for answers that are specific to you and your circumstances.
What’s the ideal age for orthodontic treatment – is there one?
Chronological age is not a factor when deciding whether a patient is a candidate for orthodontic treatment; there is not one ideal age for treatment to begin. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Regardless of age, patients can look forward to teeth that not only look better, but work better, too.
I had braces before, but my teeth are crooked again. I don’t want old-fashioned braces. What are my options?
Thanks to advances in technology, your next-to-invisible treatment options may include ceramic (tooth-colored) braces, lingual braces, which are placed behind the teeth, or clear aligner trays.
I lost my retainer. What can I do to keep my teeth from shifting?
Put in a call to your orthodontist right away to make arrangements for replacement retainers. Without retainers, there can be unwanted movement of teeth.
If I wear extra rubber bands, will that speed up my treatment?
No. You could potentially prolong your treatment by wearing extra rubber bands because the extra force could move your teeth in an undesirable way.
I met with an orthodontist. Should I get a second opinion?
Whether to seek a second opinion is up to you. Ultimately, you should feel confidence in the orthodontist you select for your orthodontic treatment, and trust the ability of the orthodontist and his/her staff to provide you with the best possible care.
I have seen three orthodontists. They each offer a different treatment plan. Which one is right?
There is not a single “right way” to perform orthodontic treatment. As long as all of the doctors you have consulted are orthodontists, all are correct.
I have been considering braces. My teeth on the top aren't that crooked. Is it possible just to get braces on the bottom?
Whether orthodontic treatment on just your bottom teeth will properly align those teeth with your upper teeth is something that can only be answered by visiting an orthodontist for an exam and consultation.
What do the initials mean after an orthodontist’s name?
Orthodontists educated in the U.S. will have the initials “DDS” or “DMD” after their names. These initials mean the individual graduated from dental school. “DDS” stands for “Doctor of Dental Surgery.” “DMD” stands for “Doctor of Dental Medicine.” Some dental schools confer the DDS, while other schools confer the DMD. The American Dental Association considers DDS and DMD to be equivalent degrees.
I am 76 years old and considering orthodontic treatment. Is there an orthodontist in my area who specializes in senior citizens?
Members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) regularly treat adult patients. About one patient in five is an adult. Many patients are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.
My child has a wire poking his cheek. What do I do?
The quickest route to relief is to take a piece of orthodontic wax and place it over the wire. See other suggestions at https://www.aaoinfo.org/practice/patient-management/patient-education/handling-orthodontic-emergencies. Look for the heading “Protruding Wire.”
I'm a student and was wondering if I could ask a few questions for a class. We are required to have an "interview" with someone who works in the career we are aspire to. I am hoping one day that I will become an orthodontist.
Please contact an orthodontist in your area to conduct an interview. But here is some information that may be helpful.
Is it OK to drink soda pop when you have braces on?
Whether in braces or using another type of orthodontic appliance, patients should limit their intake of soda pop (even diet soda pop), some juices and some sports drinks. Soda pop contains acid that can weaken tooth enamel. Some juices and sports drinks contain a lot of sugar.
I was wondering if you could tell me some information about tongue piercing. I am considering getting it done, but before I can, I have to prove to my mom that it is not dangerous.
There are numerous potential problems from oral piercings, which can include the tongue, cheeks, lips or uvula (the tissue at the back of the throat).
I have a special event coming up soon and I would really like my braces off.
It is quite common for patients who have been in treatment for a time to want to conclude treatment. They see major changes in the appearance of the positions of their teeth and think that they have achieved treatment goals. Patients cannot see what the orthodontist sees, however.
I have one turned tooth. Will a rubber band help align it?
Self-treatment is not advisable. Dental and orthodontic treatment should always be conducted under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional.
Are there board-certified orthodontists?
Yes, some orthodontists are board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. Board-certified orthodontists are known as Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics. The American Board of Orthodontics is the only boarding organization for the orthodontic specialty that is recognized by the American Dental Association.
Can you tell me whether orthodontic expenses are tax deductible as a medical expense?
Please check with your tax advisor for a response specific to your circumstances.
What are the pros and cons of the orthodontic technique of “shaving” and “stripping” teeth?
Please review the AAO’s brochure Interproximal Reduction: Reducing Tooth Width for Form, Function and Stability and discuss your questions with your orthodontist.
Will my braces set off the metal detectors in the airport?
You are cleared for takeoff – the lightweight materials used in braces will not affect metal detectors.