Q & A

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a highly trained specialist who has completed two to three years of advanced training in his specialty in an accredited, full time orthodontic program after graduating from dental school. This training enables the orthodontist to be expert not only in straightening teeth but also in bite alignment, growth guidance, facial development and management of joint disorders.

What makes an orthodontist different from a dentist?

Orthodontists are dentists first but they have undergone at least two years of post doctoral advanced specialty training in orthodontics in an accredited program. An orthodontist is a specialist, uniquely qualified to move teeth safely, help jaws develop properly, manage changing facial growth patterns, and correct bad bites. He does this all day, every day.

Why is orthodontics important?

Orthodontics can boost a person’s self image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned. An attractive smile may have a significant influence on future success. However, alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important.
Orthodontic problems left untreated, may lead to tooth decay, dental bone loss, and chewing and digestive disorders. In addition, a bad bite can contribute to speech problems, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries.

When should my child first see an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child should see an orthodontist no later than 7 years of age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early rather than waiting until jaw growth has slowed or is over. Early treatment may mean a patient can avoid extractions of permanent teeth or jaw surgery later in life. This type of treatment is called “Interceptive Orthodontics” because the orthodontist intercepts problems before they get worse.

Is it ever too late for a person to get braces?

No. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age so an orthodontist can improve the smile of practically anyone. Orthodontists routinely treat patients in their 50’s and 60’s. The cooperation that comes with maturity often reduces treatment time.

What does it cost?

This will vary depending on the nature of the individual problem. Many orthodontic problems require only limited treatment. You may be surprised to learn that orthodontic treatment is less expensive than you thought. We will be happy to discuss our fees and payment options at your complimentary exam. It is not accurate or fair to quote you a fee without first seeing what type of treatment you will require. At the first visit, we will tell you the total fee for your case so that you can make a fully informed decision. We also encourage you to “shop around”. After shopping around you will appreciate the amazing value we offer! You will also smile about our no down payment AND no-interest financing.

How do I know if my child is in need of orthodontic treatment?

It is usually difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Also, there are some problems that look intimidating and complex which will resolve on their own. Asking your general dentist is a good reference, but we are your best resource since orthodontics is a specialty and it is all that we do. At Wyatt Orthodontics, your child’s initial exam is complimentary and we would be more than happy to see your child and make any necessary recommendations.

What are the early signs of orthodontic problems?

Although determining if treatment is necessary is difficult for you to assess, the following symptoms may help in prompting you to seek our orthodontic advice. Ask your child to open their mouth, and let you look at their teeth. If you see any signs of crooked teeth, gaps between your child’s teeth or overlapping teeth, your child may need orthodontic treatment. Ask your child to bite all the way down, but keeping their lips open so you can see their teeth. Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? All these are indicators for potential orthodontic treatment. Look at the alignment of your child’s jaw. Does the jaw shift off center when your child bites down? If you see any misalignment, shifting or asymmetry of the jaw, your child may have a skeletal problem that requires early orthodontic intervention.

These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.

Is it required that I be referred by my family dentist to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wyatt and Dr. Flint?

No. Many patients who have concerns about their health and appearance and want to be evaluated as to the need for orthodontic care take the initiative themselves to schedule an initial examination.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam with Dr. Wyatt and Dr. Flint?

If you think you or your child would benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office at (918) 496-1155 and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.

During the call to schedule your appointment, our administrative staff will gather some very basic information regarding you or your child.

Is there a cost for the initial examination?

No. There is no cost for the initial examination.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Dr. Wyatt or Dr. Flint will conduct a thorough examination of the patient’s mouth to determine if there is a need for orthodontic treatment. He will be looking to determine if there is enough room to accommodate all of the teeth, if the top teeth are lined up correctly with the bottom teeth, if any teeth are crooked or not growing in the right position and if there are missing or extra teeth? He will also be asking the patient if they are experiencing any breathing problems, have they had any finger or tongue habits and have they experienced any jaw joint problems?

What orthodontic records are essential to properly diagnose and treat each patient’s individual orthodontic problem and construct a treatment plan?

    Orthodontic records include a panoramic x-ray, a cephalometric x-ray, models of the teeth, 3 facial photographs and 6 intra-oral photographs. Pre-treatment orthodontic records are essential for Dr. Wyatt to properly diagnose and treatment plan each patient’s individual orthodontic problem and treatment needs. Some orthodontic records may be taken again during the course of treatment or after the completion of treatment.

Panoramic X-rays
Cephalometric X-rays
Facial Photographs
Intra-Oral Photograph

    A panoramic x-ray enables Dr. Wyatt to see the roots of the teeth and the position of any unerupted teeth. Any missing or extra teeth will be identified on this x-ray. Panoramic x-rays are an excellent way to determine the best time to begin your orthodontic treatment.
    Cephalometric x-rays are used by Dr. Wyatt to make angular and linear measurements of a patient’s hard and soft tissue utilizing various landmarks. Examples include the positions of the teeth in relation to the skull and jaw structures and the assessment of the facial profile. Each patient’s measurements are compared to normal values.
    Impressions are molds of your teeth that are used to make plaster study models. Dr. Wyatt uses the models to help in your treatment planning. Impressions are almost always made before and after orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic appliances such as expanders and retainers are made on models of your teeth.
    Facial photographs enable Dr. Wyatt to identify and analyze various features of your face and smile. Facial asymmetries, “gummy” smiles and profile imbalances are identified using photographs of your face. These pre-treatment facial photographs provide a way to assess the progress of treatment.
    Photographs of you or your child’s teeth are used, along with study models, to help Dr. Wyatt accurately evaluate the malocclusion. These photographs are extremely valuable to assess the progress of treatment.

What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are five important questions that will be answered during the initial examination:

Is there an orthodontic problem and if so, what is it?
What must be done to correct the problem?
Will any permanent teeth need to be removed?
How long will the treatment take to complete?
How much will the treatment cost?

In addition to these, our doctors will take the time to answer any other questions a patient or parent may have.

Will I have to have any teeth removed for braces?

Removing teeth is sometimes needed to get the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are always the goal. However, because today’s technology has resulted in advanced orthodontic procedures, the need for removing teeth has been greatly reduced.

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment may take between 12 months to 24 months, or longer, depending on the age of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patient’s cooperation, and the degree of movement possible. Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem.

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

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until Dr. Wyatt or Dr. Flint has actually examined you or your child.

The exact cost and financial options will be discussed at the initial examination.

We have many financing options available to meet most needs and will be happy to review them with you.

    • We do file insurance on your behalf.
    • We also offer a courtesy (discount) for fees paid in full at the beginning of treatment.

Proper orthodontic treatment to correct a problem is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop in later years.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each individual patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every four to eight (6-8) weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, appointments may be scheduled more often.

Can I have all of my appointments after school?

This is a very common question. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for all student patients for after school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart, most patients miss very little school because of orthodontic appointments. We reference all of the area school calendars at the front desk and try very hard to help in all possible ways to assist patient scheduling.

Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

We are very understanding of busy schedules and working parent’s desires to run errands while their child is at our office. If you have a cell phone and provide us with the number, we can reach you by page or phone when it is time to return. On some occasions Dr. Wyatt may want to speak with parents when you return, so please, we request that parents check in with the front desk staff as they schedule their next appointment.

Do braces hurt?

As a general rule, braces do not “hurt.” After some visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) can be used to ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, it does not have to hurt to work!

Can my child return to school the day they receive their braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

Do you give shots?

No. No shots are necessary in orthodontic treatment.

Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the very best orthodontic result possible. We would never use worn, used or recycled braces!

Can I still play sports and/or musical instruments while in braces?

Yes! We will provide you with a mouth guard for all sports. If you play an instrument such as a trumpet, we will provide you with a “lip protector” that works very well to cushion your lip from your braces. Please inform us when you need a mouth guard or lip protector.

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

Yes. Regular check-ups with your family dentist are very important while in braces. Your family dentist will assist in determining how often you should be seen for cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, very complete instructions and a comprehensive list will be provided regarding foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods, i.e. “Snickers”, caramel and taffy. Sugar free gum is allowed at certain times during treatment. Many emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces can be avoided by carefully following instructions regarding foods.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day: after breakfast, lunch (or as soon as they get home from school), supper and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces on and will also provide a prescription for a special fluoride gel to help protect the teeth.

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If something happens and your braces are causing pain or if something is broken, you should call our office (918) 496-1155. In most cases we can address most issues over the telephone.

What if the emergency occurs after normal office hours?

Our office is available after normal working hours. Simply call the office and wait for the answering machine to answer. The recorded message will give you the number where we can be reached.

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has some baby teeth?

Yes. However, we do not require braces for every patient who visits our office. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. 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 is usually initiated for children between the ages of 7 and 10 and usually takes about 12-16 months. Objectives of Phase One treatment include the development of space to accommodate all of the permanent teeth, correcting the skeletal relationship (“overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite,” etc.) between the upper and lower jaws, and to improve a child’s psychological self-image and self-esteem, both very important during their formative years.

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. The period of time following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed as to any future treatment recommendations.

Will my child need an expander?

At the completion of the initial examination, Dr. Wyatt will determine whether a patient will require an expander or not.

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

About 20 percent of Dr. Wyatt’s patients are adults. In fact, orthodontic treatment for adults is one of the most gratifying areas of Dr. Wyatt’s practice for both patients and staff members. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!

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

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth so that the space where teeth are missing can be properly restored.

Will I have to wear retainers?

Orthodontics is a process of moving teeth through the bone into their new positions. Once the teeth have been moved into their desired positions, retainers will be placed to maintain the correction. Once stabilization occurs, we encourage our patients to continue to wear their retainers on a nightly basis to maintain their beautiful smile.

Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?

Teeth and sometimes entire facial structures are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is very important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Dr. Wyatt graduated from dental school and elected to complete two additional years of specialty training following dental school to become an orthodontist. He is certified by the American Association of Orthodontists, the only certifying organization recognized by The American Dental Association.