976 3 Mile Rd NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544

Great Smile

Many people have questions about how orthodontic treatment will affect their day-to-day activities.  Dr. James Karhohs and our team have compiled this list of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.  If you have more questions, or to make your appointment with our skilled orthodontist in Grand Rapids, Michigan, please call us at 616-784-4300.

What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

Orthodontists are dental specialists and have received an additional 2-3 years of training following dental school in order to provide orthodontic care.

Why is orthodontic treatment important?

Straight teeth and properly aligned jaws make it easier for you to maintain good oral health, and they contribute to your overall physical health as well.  As your orthodontic treatment moves your teeth, lips, and jaws into their ideal positions, the resulting improvement in your appearance will also boost your self-image and confidence.

How do I know if my child needs orthodontic treatment?

The best way to know is to visit an orthodontist.  Children should receive an initial orthodontic evaluation by age 7 to determine if and when they will need orthodontic treatment.

What if my child still has baby teeth at age 7?  Should they still see an orthodontist?

Yes.  By age 7, your child will have enough permanent teeth and will have developed enough for an orthodontist to evaluate their oral function and identify any current or developing problems.

How does my child’s growth affect their treatment?

Orthodontic treatment and your child’s growth often complement one another.  Our orthodontist may take advantage of your child’s growth to help guide the jaw and teeth into their proper positions.

How often should I visit the orthodontist during treatment?

You will typically see an orthodontist every 4-12 weeks during your treatment, depending on the type of treatment you receive and your individual needs.

Can I play sports while wearing braces?

Absolutely!  Be sure to wear a mouth guard to protect your mouth and your appliance from damage.

Can I play musical instruments while wearing braces?

Yes.  You may need to make a few adjustments, but braces typically do not interfere with playing instruments.  If you are experiencing irritation, there are several treatments available to minimize the discomfort.

My teeth have been crooked for years.  Why do I need treatment now?

It’s never too late to straighten your teeth.  As long as your teeth and gums are healthy, you can receive orthodontic treatment to restore the function and appearance of your teeth.

How affordable is orthodontic treatment?

At our office, very affordable.  Dr. James Karhohs offers a variety of convenient payment plans and financial options.  Additionally, many dental insurances now include orthodontic benefits.  We will work with you to maximize those benefits and create a payment plan that fits your financial situation.

Can I begin orthodontic treatment while pregnant?

We recommend that you discuss this question with your medical doctor and orthodontist prior to receiving any treatment.  Pregnancy brings many bodily changes that may affect your mouth.

Do teeth with braces need special care?

Yes.  While wearing braces, avoid hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods, as they may damage your appliance.  You should also avoid chewing on hard objects such as pens, pencils, and fingernails.  You will also need to pay special attention to the cleaning of your teeth to ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy.  We will be happy to provide you with information and instructions on caring for your braces.

I see adds for perfect teeth in only one or two visits to the dentist.  Will that give me straight teeth?

Veneers are a quick fix and only cover your teeth to give the appearance of straight smile.  They will eventually need to be replaced.  Orthodontic treatment gives you straight teeth for life and does not require you to grind down any of your original tooth structure, making it a healthier overall option.  It is worth the extra time to enjoy the benefits of a straight smile.

I don’t want my braces to show.  What are my options?

There are many discreet alternatives to braces.  Your options include:

  • Ceramic (clear) braces – made of tooth-colored materials to blend with your teeth
  • Clear Aligners – these are made of plastic and are nearly invisible

Will a stud in my tongue or other piercing interfere with orthodontic treatment?

Mouth piercings can cause damage to your teeth and braces, as well as irreversible damage to your gum tissue and supporting bone.  We recommend that you remove any oral piercings prior to receiving orthodontic treatment.

We are proud to serve our neighbors in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the surrounding areas of Allendale, Belding, Comstock Park, Coopersville, Grandville, Greenville, Jenison, Kent City, Marne, Rockford, Sparta, and Standale, Michigan.  To learn more about orthodontics, please contact our office today.

All consultations are FREE until you start your treatment!
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