Your Gig Harbor Orthodontist
At Lingenbrink Orthodontics, your orthodontic health is our number one priority. Dr. Lingenbrink and our highly trained team of orthodontic specialists work hard to get to know each patient on an individual level, crafting a customized treatment plan that perfectly suits their orthodontic needs. We pride ourselves on our customer service, and we love answering questions for our patients. You can refer to this FAQ page for some of the most common questions we hear and their answers.
Frequently Asked Orthodontic Questions
1. Do I have to schedule appointments through my family dentist?
You’re always welcome to schedule appointments for yourself. While many of our patients are referrals, we also love to see patients taking initiative and scheduling their appointments themselves.
2. When should my child first come and see you?
We ask that parents bring their children in for their first examination by age 7. At this point, many of the permanent teeth have erupted and the back bite is established. This lets us see any current or future orthodontic problems, and while we may not begin treatment at that age, we can then plan for the ideal time.
3. Won't my teeth get better as I age?
Trust us – orthodontic problems only get worse as you grow. What's more, the jaw loses rigidity as it develops, making treatment more difficult down the line.
4. How can I schedule an initial exam?
If you'd like to make an appointment, you can call one of our Bremerton, Port Orchard, or Gig Harbor offices, or send us an e-mail – we'll happily schedule an appointment for you! During your call, we may request some basic information – this helps us expedite the examination process.
5. What happens during my first visit?
When you first arrive, we'll ask you to fill out a few forms and an insurance card. Dr. Lingenbrink will then give you a brief but thorough exam. We may also need to take X-rays, photographs, or other procedures to correctly diagnose any existing issues.
You can also find out more at our First Visit page.
6. What will be covered during the initial exam?
We'll cover five main areas – what orthodontic problems exist, how they can be corrected, the length and cost of treatment, and what orthodontic next steps are necessary. We'll take the time to go through each of these subjects in detail so you fully understand your situation and proposed plan.
7. How long will my treatment last?
Treatment times vary greatly depending on the patient, but a typical orthodontic course lasts eight to 30 months.
8. How much will it cost? What financial options are available to me?
We can't give you an estimate until we've examined you, but we'll be sure to go over everything in detail with you at your appointment. We'll also go over your insurance policy, helping you get the maximum benefits you're entitled to, and file your claims for you.
9. How often will I need to make appointments?
It varies between patients, but usually we'll need to see you every 4 to 8 weeks. If we need to monitor you more closely, we'll make more frequent appointments.
10. Can all of my appointments be outside school hours?
We do our best to accommodate our patients' needs, but due to the high volume of patients we can't guarantee that all of your appointments will be after school. Thankfully, because appointments are so infrequent, most patients will miss very little school.
11. Is it ok if I drop off my child for appointments?
Absolutely! We understand how busy your schedule is, and we're always happy to make things more convenient for you. Occasionally we will need to speak with you, so please check in at the front desk before leaving.
12. Are braces painful?
Usually braces don't really "hurt" – after some visits, you may find that your teeth are sore for a few days. If you do experience discomfort, over the counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol are great for relieving pain. Generally, though, our patients feel very little, if any soreness.
13. Can I go back to school after I get braces?
Absolutely! There's no reason to miss school than necessary.
14. Will I need shots?
Not at all! Shots aren't needed in orthodontic treatment.
15. Do you recycle your braces?
Never! Every patient gets their own unique, brand new set – this ensures their appliances are as effective as possible.
16. Can I still participate in sports?
Sure – we simply recommend that you use a mouth guard.
17. Do I need to see my dentist during treatment?
Definitely – regular check-ups help keep your teeth clean and healthy, which is vital for your orthodontic success.
18. Do I have to stop eating certain foods?
You may need to make some changes to your diet. We'll go over everything with you in detail, but we'll usually ask you to avoid particularly hard or sticky foods – things like ice, hard candy, caramel, and taffy. Avoiding these helps keep the risk of breaking your braces to a minimum.
19. How often do I need to brush my teeth?
We ask that you brush at least four times a day when you have braces – after each meal and before bed. We'll teach you how to floss your teeth with braces and may also write a prescription for a fluoride supplement.
20. What if I need an emergency appointment?
True emergencies are rare in orthodontics, but if something breaks, please call our office immediately. Generally, we can deal with it over the phone or at your next visit. If you do need an emergency appointment, we'll schedule one as soon as possible.
21. Can children get braces?
If orthodontic problems are severe enough, they may require early treatment. Sometimes we'll follow a child's growth and wait for the right time to begin treatment.
22. How does Phase One Treatment work?
Early intervention usually occurs between ages 7-10 and lasts six to 18 months. This is generally used to stop any severe problems from developing.
23. Will my child be done after Phase One?
Usually children will need another treatment session after their early treatment. After Phase One, we enter a "resting period" where we carefully track their orthodontic process and determine the ideal time to begin Phase Two treatment.
24. Will an expander be necessary?
It varies by patient – we'll determine if a palatal expander is necessary at your initial exam.
25. Can I get braces as an adult?
Absolutely! Upwards of 25% of our patients are adults, and they usually find improved health, happiness, and self-esteem after treatment. It's true what they say – you're never too old for braces!
26. If I have crowns or missing teeth, can I still get braces?
Easily – a crowned tooth will move just like a normal one. If you're missing teeth, braces will help align your remaining teeth.
27. Do I really need an orthodontist? Won't a dentist work?
Orthodontic treatment is highly complex and makes permanent, irrevocable changes to the tooth arch, smile, an even facial bone structures. Trained orthodontists go through years of additional schooling after dental school where they learn to safely and effectively perform these complicated procedures – although some dentists do provide orthodontic treatment, a licensed orthodontist is the only way to be sure your treatment will work as it should.
Contact Your Gig Harbor, WA Braces Experts
Have more questions? We're happy to answer them. Feel free to reach out to us at our Contact Us page or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment at our Gig Harbor, Bremerton, or Port Orchard, WA offices. We can't wait to hear from you!