Braces Care Instructions

What to Expect on the First Visit

We would like to welcome you to ZL Dentistry & Orthodontics. We cannot wait to meet you.

Our initial braces consultation is always complimentary. At your first visit, Dr. Zhang will personally perform a thorough examination and explain findings in detail with you. Diagnostic records including panoramic & cephalometric X-rays and clinical photos may be taken to facilitate diagnosis and treatment planning.

The following questions will be answered during this visit:

  • What can braces fix in my situation?
  • Am I at the right age and stage of development to start?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much will braces cost?

We take all PPO insurances and accept assignment of benefits from insurance companies which will substantially lower your cost for braces. We will work with you to create a payment plan to suit your financial situation.

We are here to answer any questions you may have. At the end of your visit, you will receive a written plan for the orthodontic treatment including financial options.

What happens next?

After your consultation, you will be scheduled to get your braces on with Dr. Zhang. This appointment generally takes an hour including the time to go over all the braces care instructions with you.

Can I get braces the same day?

Yes! We will try our best to fit you in the schedule so you can save a trip. We recommend a dental cleaning and check up within six month prior to start your orthodontic treatment. You may schedule your cleaning appointment the same time as your braces consultation.

Treatment Considerations by Age

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an evaluation by an orthodontist by the age of seven. By this age, most children will have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth. Early orthodontic diagnosis and correction may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing. When needed, early treatment results in shorter and more ideal results with treatment at a later age. Early treatment allows us to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Early treatment gives the orthodontist the chance to:

  • Guide jaw growth in positive manner
  • Reduce the need to extract permanent teeth
  • Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
  • Reduce or eliminate need for jaw surgery
  • Preserve or gain space for erupting teeth
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve appearance
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips and teeth.

A few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that are too far forward or back
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Underbite
  • Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
  • An unbalanced facial appearance

Phase I (early treatment) usually lasts 6-12 months focusing on the specific needs of your child. After this phase of treatment, most patients will be braces free for about 1-2 years while we continue to monitor the growth and development of the rest of the teeth on a 6 month basis.

Phase II (full braces treatment) is recommended to ensure all teeth are in alignment, establishing a harmonious bite and facial balance.

Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you will be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile.

Once your child lost all their baby teeth, it is time for comprehensive treatment. Many teens will have all their adult teeth between the ages of 11-15. If you notice the adult teeth are still not in the mouth two months after the corresponding baby teeth have fallen out please let us know as soon as possible.

We offer classic metal braces where you have the option to choose your favorite colors and update them every 4-6 weeks. If you prefer a less visible option, we also offer ceramic (tooth colored) brackets and Invisalign Teen®. Dr. Zhang will discuss with you and your child which treatment option will best suit your needs. We know it is hard to be a teen and a parent nowadays. Our convenient location and flexible hours will make your trip to the orthodontist quick and easy. Dr. Zhang and the team will make every effort to finish your child on time so they can have a beautiful smile at their quinceañera, sweet sixteen or senior prom.

Do braces hurt?
It does not hurt to put on braces! Most patients experience soreness for about three days after braces are initially put on. After the “break in” period, most people do not feel any soreness at all! We use shape memory NiTi wires, same technology utilized by NASA, to exert a continuous, light force so your teeth continue to straighten with little discomfort for you.

How long do I have to wear braces?
Comprehensive treatment usually takes around 2 years. If your child had prior phase I treatment, it will greatly shorten the treatment time. The severity of the malocclusion (bite issues) will also affect the treatment time. Most importantly the patient’s willingness to take care the braces and use rubber bands as directed will greatly alter the estimated treatment time.

Do I need retainers after braces?
Yes. Retainers need be worn full time for 2-6 months and followed by nightly wear.

Thinking about braces? You are not alone! About a quarter of our patients in braces are adults and the number is growing! It is never too late to get braces. In fact the oldest patient Dr. Zhang treated was 75 years old! Straighter teeth and a more comfortable bite can improve your self-image, boost your confidence, and also improve your overall oral health.
The treatment options we offer include Invisalign, clear braces and mini metal braces. Dr. Zhang has extensive experience in Invisalign. Bracket-based braces remain to be the fastest and most predictable treatment option. Our Clarity advanced ceramic braces are translucent in color and designed to blend in with your natural tooth color. They also do not stain with wine, coffee or tea so you can be confident that your braces remain obscure throughout your treatment.
We understand adult patients have different needs from children. We will work with you to ensure your satisfaction throughout the treatment and achieve fantastic results at the end.