Q: When should my child see an orthodontist?
A: Every person is a little different. However, it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that about age 7 is an appropriate time for a child’s first evaluation by an orthodontic specialist. If you or your general dentist suspect an orthodontic problem before age 7, an orthodontic specialist should be contacted for an earlier evaluation.
Q: Isn’t 7 years of age too early?
A: Not really. Early diagnosis and treatment by the orthodontist can help tooth eruption, guide facial growth and therefore prevent more serious problems from occurring. Also, by lessening the problems, later orthodontic treatment can be reduced and made easier and more economical.
Q: Does my child need to see an orthodontist?
A: The following are indications that an orthodontic problem may be present:
- Unusual facial profile
- Thumb and finger sucking
- Overlapped and crowded teeth
- Missing teeth
- Protrusion of upper front teeth
- Mouth breathing
These are just a few of the early indications that orthodontic problems may exist.
Q: How will my child benefit from straight teeth?
A: Properly positioned teeth are much easier to care for and clean. Correction of the bite helps not only with improved chewing and speech, but plays an important role in reduction of wear of the teeth and stress on the supporting bone and jaw joints. Orthodontic care can also improve the self-image of the patient.
Q: How does orthodontic care improve self-image?
A: Scientific research has repeatedly shown the mouth and face to be focal points of communication and social interaction. Appearance has been related to interpersonal popularity, social behaviors, self-expectation, personality style and self-image. There can be little doubt that an attractive facial appearance and smile can improve the quality of life in many dimensions. All factors of facial and dental appearance are considered by the orthodontist in planning individual treatment strategies.
Q: Am I too old to have braces?
A: For those who can benefit from orthodontics, age is not a factor. You are never too old. In fact, many people in their mature or senior years have orthodontics as part of a comprehensive strategy to replace missing teeth or to increase the longevity of their natural teeth.
Q: Why do people choose to have braces during adulthood?
A: Many of our adult patients are being treated for orthodontic problems that were not corrected when they were children. These individuals realize that improving the health of their mouth and the attractiveness of their smile and facial appearance often results in changes for the better in their personal, social and professional lives.
Q: I see quite a few adults with braces. Is this a growing trend?
A: About 25 percent of our patients are adults. Age is not a factor in orthodontic care. This trend is expected to continue as adults become increasingly aware of the benefits of modern orthodontic therapy. Technical advances have also accelerated the trend.
Q: What are some of those advances?
A: Advanced technology has produced small tooth-colored brackets that are barely noticeable. Specially alloyed wires are more comfortable, can speed up treatment and may decrease the number of necessary appointments. New retainers can be placed where they do not show. Also, advanced surgical techniques now allow treatment of many skeletal problems after growth is completed.
Q: Can general dentists provide orthodontic care?
Q: Why is that?
A: Many orthodontic problems are quite complex, involving the growth patterns of facial bones and soft tissue facial profiles as well as malaligned teeth. Treatment of such problems requires the care of an orthodontist with lengthy specialty training.
Q: Is it necessary that I have a referral to Dr. Purvis?
A: While many patients are referred by their family dentist, a steadily increasing segment of our practice family is referred by others who have benefited from orthodontics. Of course, we appreciate and welcome recommendations from our friends and patients. In all cases, however, we are careful to communicate and coordinate care with your family dentist to ensure that you receive the very best comprehensive treatment.
Q: What specialty training has Dr. Purvis completed?
A: Dr. Purvis is a graduate of Temple University School of Dentistry. He has also completed two full years of specialty training in orthodontics from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.
Q: What else?
A: Dr. Purvis is active in a variety of international, national and regional orthodontic associations and is a member of the prestigious Western Pennsylvania Orthodontic Study Group.
Q: What will happen on my first visit to your office?
A: At your first appointment, a thorough and complete orthodontic examination will be performed. This will include an analysis of facial and skeletal type, assessment of facial growth, examination of the bite, alignment of the teeth, health of the soft tissues, function of the temporomandibular joints and adjacent supporting structures. If treatment is necessary, a complete set of orthodontic records will be taken.
Q: What are orthodontic records?
A: Orthodontic records usually include X-rays, photographs of the teeth and face and models of the teeth. The diagnostic records enable us to develop the appropriate treatment plan to correct your individual orthodontic problem. After orthodontic records, you will be scheduled for a consultation appointment.
Q: What is a consultation?
A: After careful study and analysis of your orthodontic records, a complete and detailed course of treatment, anticipated length of treatment, cost and financial arrangements will be discussed with you at the consultation appointment.
Q: Is orthodontic care expensive?
A: Orthodontic care often eliminates the need for other dental and medical treatment, thus reducing future health care costs. Considering that the benefits of orthodontic care can last a lifetime, the cost is quite modest.
Q: Do I have to pay for orthodontic care all at once?
A: As a service to our patients, we provide a flexible payment plan for your orthodontic care. However, some people choose to pay the full amount in advance to take advantage of the significant savings to them that results when billing and bookkeeping costs are eliminated.
Q: Do you accept my orthodontic insurance?
A: We participate in nearly all bonafide dental insurance plans and are eager to help you receive the maximum benefit from your plan. Please remember that most plans pay only a portion of your fee. You are, of course, responsible for any amount not covered by your plan.
Q: Should I continue to see my general dentist while in braces?
A: Definitely. It is very important to continue your regular dental checkups to prevent or detect dental decay and to monitor the health of the supporting structures. Periodic professional dental cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist will maintain overall dental health and prevent dental disease.
Q: When will my appointments be scheduled?
A: We schedule patients from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. so that missed school or work is kept within reasonable limits. Accordingly, each patient is offered a fair proportion of early or late appointments. Your time and convenience are important to us.
Q: What happens if I have a problem with my braces after hours or on a weekend?
A: Orthodontic emergencies do not happen often, but if you have a problem, we respond quickly. Emergency care is provided at all times. We are available when you need us.
Q: What can we expect from your practice?
A: Our practice is not volume oriented. We focus on individualized attention and meticulous, state-of-the-art specialty care in orthodontics. We continue to grow through recommendations from enthusiastic patients and parents. We are grateful for that support and plan to treat you so well technically and personally that you will become part of it. We are responsive to your needs and recognize that the patient is the most important part of our practice.