Orthodontics FAQs

What type of Orthodontic
treatments are available?

Dental Depot DFW is proud to offer the latest innovations in orthodontic treatment. Traditional metal braces, clear braces, and self-ligating Damon braces are also available. Our orthodontists are also specially train in the Invisalign line of clear aligners. For children specifically, orthodontic treatment may also require additional appliances, such as spacers or palatal expanders to help their jaws develop properly. 

Regardless of the treatment, the results and future health of your smile depend on the professional supervising your treatment. Orthodontic treatment requires extensive knowledge of the appliances and the physiological requirements necessary for proper alignment. Your orthodontist should be certified by the American Association of Orthodontists. This ensures that they have received additional training in alignment problems and treatment, ensuring a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime.

A woman is shown an Invisiline model at dental depot

What is the difference between traditional metal braces and Invisalign aligners?

Traditional metal braces consist of metal brackets, thin metal archwires, and o-rings. The archwires are threaded through the brackets—which are bonded to the teeth—and secured with the o-rings. At regularly scheduled treatment visits, the archwires are gradually tightened to apply constant, gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws, helping to guide them into the proper alignment.

Invisalign is a brand of clear aligners. A clear aligner treatment plan uses a series of thin plastic trays that are molded to fit your teeth to gradually shift the teeth into place. You will receive a new set of aligners are each visit, as well as directions on when to change them out. While the aligners are removable, they must be worn between 20-22 hours a day to be effective.

How long will I have to wear my braces or Invisalign aligners?

Orthodontic treatment times vary by individual and depend on several factors, including the current position of the teeth and gums, the extent of the treatment needed, the age of the patient, patient oral hygiene, and adherence to your orthodontist’s guidance.

Your treatment will be monitored closely and regularly by your orthodontist at routine treatment visits. These appointments are important because they allow your doctor to evaluate progress, adjust your appliances, and determine the next steps toward achieving your smile goals.

Invisalign and braces are comparable in treatment time, with average treatment lengths anywhere between 12 to 18 months. However, your individual treatment may take less time, or up to 24 months or longer. Your orthodontist will discuss your projected treatment time with you during your first visit and keep you updated at your subsequent appointments.

To find out more about treatment times and options, schedule a consultation with our on-site orthodontist at any of our DFW area locations.

What are Damon brackets?

Damon brackets are a type of self-ligating braces. While traditional metal or clear braces use archwires, o-rings (or elastics), and brackets that are gradually tightened to apply pressure and shift teeth, Damon braces use a passive “self-ligating” bracket to adjust pressure. Instead of being secured to the teeth with elastics, Damon brackets are and archwires are secured with a small metal door that allows the bracket to slide easily along the archwire, allowing for more flexible tooth movement and minimizing friction.

Damon brackets can offer more precision in alignment, more comfort during treatment, and shorter treatment times than traditional braces.

To find out if Damon brackets are right for you, schedule a complimentary consultation at any one of our four DFW area Dental Depot locations. To find the one closest to you, visit our locations page

How much will my orthodontic treatment cost?

Orthodontic treatment costs are unique to every patient and vary by treatment time and extent, as well as your insurance plan, the type of treatment, and your age. Traditional braces and clear aligners, like Invisalign, typically average between $3,000 and $7,000. Clear ceramic braces or lingual braces, such as Damon brackets, can range from $4,000 to $10,000

There are a variety of options to pay for braces. Many dental or health insurance plans will partially cover orthodontic treatment for patients under the age of 18. If not, you may also be able to purchase supplemental orthodontic insurance or see if you qualify for coverage under Medicaid.

You can also use pre-tax dollars from your health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), health reimbursement account (HRA), or medical savings account (MSA) to cover the costs.

If you are still concerned about how you will pay for orthodontic treatment, speak with your orthodontist about creating a payment plan. Many offices will work with their patients to offer flexible, affordable payment options that ensure you or your child receives the orthodontic care necessary without causing a financial burden.

To find out more about your orthodontic treatment options and potential costs, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of Dental Depot DFW’s dedicated orthodontists. We offer flexible scheduling and Saturday appointments at each of our four area locations, making it easy for you to receive the care you deserve. Request an appointment today.

Will my orthodontic treatment be covered by dental insurance?

While most dental or health insurance plans do not cover orthodontic treatment for adults over the age of 18, they will partially cover children under the age of 18, sometimes up to 50%.

If your insurance does not cover braces, or you do not have insurance, you have an option to purchase supplemental orthodontic insurance, but verify the lifetime maximum and percentage covered. You can also discuss flexible payment plans with your orthodontist or use pretax dollars from your medical savings account (MSA), health reimbursement account (HRA), health savings account (HSA), or flexible spending account (FSA).

Medicaid may cover braces if they are determined medically necessary, but, again, make sure you know the lifetime maximum and percentage covered.

Orthodontic care is an investment in the healthy development and function of your or your child’s mouth, teeth, and jaws. Receiving the proper treatment and maintaining good oral hygiene following treatment can help ensure this investment lasts a lifetime.

For more on orthodontic treatment options and costs in the DFW area, schedule a consultation at one of our 4 Dental Depot DFW offices. With Saturday appointments, flexible scheduling, and full orthodontic care and treatment capabilities, Dental Depot DFW makes receiving the orthodontic care you deserve fast and easy.

Am I too old for braces?

Orthodontic treatment involves the shifting of teeth and jawbones into proper alignment. Because the physiological process is the same for every patient, orthodontics can benefit anyone at any age.

According to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), nearly 25% of all orthodontic patients today are adults and for a variety of reasons. A healthy, properly aligned smile is more than just beautiful—it’s essential to your health. Teeth that are too crowded, overlapping, or crooked can be difficult to clean, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Improper alignment, or malocclusion, can impact chewing, swallowing, biting, speech, and breathing. It can also put excessive strain and stress on the jaw muscles, leading to facial pain and teeth grinding, and on certain teeth, causing cracked, fractured, or broken teeth.

Because adult teeth and facial bones have stopped growing and have greater bone density, orthodontic treatment may take slightly longer to complete. (The average adult treatment time is approximately two years.) Treatment may also be determined by extenuating conditions of the teeth, such as missing teeth, fillings, gum disease, and misshapen or worn teeth.

While your dentist is trained to recognize irregularities and can be a good resource for recommending or referring orthodontic treatment, treatment is best left to AAO-certified orthodontists. They have the requisite training and experience to safely and effectively apply orthodontic treatment, ensuring you have a healthy, beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime.

Dental Depot DFW provides comprehensive dental care—including orthodontics—for children and adults. Because our experienced staff includes oral surgeons, prosthodontists, and AAO-certified orthodontists, we can meet all of your dental needs at one convenient location, from routine cleanings and checkups to orthodontic consultations and treatment. With Saturday appointments and flexible scheduling, we make it easy for you to get the care you deserve. To make an appointment at any one of our 4 DFW area locations, or to find the office nearest you, visit the Dental Depot DFW locations page.

When can my child get braces?

Orthodontic treatment helps to guide the teeth and jaws into proper alignment. Proper alignment is necessary not just for a beautiful smile, but for healthy oral function in tasks like breathing, chewing, and speech.

Orthodontic treatment typically begins between the ages of 8 and 14, when most children have lost the majority of their baby teeth, their adult teeth have grown in, but their jaws and facial bones are still developing. However, a certified orthodontist is the best person to determine when your child should start treatment, depending on the cause and severity of the misalignment.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children receive an initial orthodontic evaluation by age 7. While treatment may not begin this early, it allows both the parent and the orthodontist to identify any potential problems and create a plan for any future treatment that may be required. This prevents irregularities in development or jaw formation from becoming bigger problems later on.

Depending on your orthodontist and your child’s teeth, your doctor may recommend interceptive treatment, such as spacers or palatal expanders to help prepare the child’s mouth for braces in the future. This is common in situations such as overcrowding when there is not enough room in the mouth for teeth to erupt properly or teeth are spaced too closely together.

Who you rely on for your child’s orthodontic treatment matters. While dentists are trained to identify alignment problems, they do not have the specialized training necessary to treat them. In addition to dental training, orthodontists certified by the AAO have also completed specific training in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. This gives them extensive experience and training in the structure of your child’s teeth and jaws, as well as the physiological requirements for guiding them back into alignment. Investing in your child’s smile is an investment in their future health; don’t trust your investment to just anyone.

Dental Depot DFW’s fully staffed team of professionals includes AAO-certified orthodontists who are committed to delivering the quality and continuity of care your child deserves. With four area locations, Saturday appointments, and flexible scheduling, Dental Depot DFW makes orthodontic care easy and convenient for every member of your family. To find out more about our orthodontic treatment options, as well as treatment lengths and costs, schedule an initial consultation.

How do I know if my child needs braces?

Braces and other orthodontic treatments work to move the teeth, mouth, and jaws into proper alignment, or occlusion. Proper alignment ensures your child eats, speaks, and breathes correctly; improper alignment or alignment that is not corrected cannot only impede these functions, but it can also lead to more serious problems as an adult. Orthodontics in children is primarily preventative, helping guide facial and jawbones as they develop.

Signs your child may need braces or other orthodontic treatment include:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
  • Teeth and/or jaws that are disproportionate to the rest of the face
  • Misplaced, crowded, or blocked teeth
  • Teeth that do not meet properly or at all
  • Jaws that shift, protrude, make sounds, or are recessed
  • Thumb or finger sucking

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have an initial orthodontic exam by age 7, whether or not they exhibit any of these symptoms. While treatment may not start at this time, the consultation allows the orthodontist to identify any potential problems and determine if your child will even need orthodontic treatment in the near future.

While your dentist is an excellent resource for routine care and is trained to notice irregularities in your child’s teeth, jaws, or gums, any orthodontic treatment should be conducted by an AAO-certified orthodontist. These experts have the additional medical training necessary to safely and efficiently implement the physiological changes that need to happen in your child’s mouth.

Dental Depot DFW believes in comprehensive dental care for the entire family, at every stage of life. That’s why at all of our four area locations, you’ll find more than experienced dentists and dental hygienists. Our staff of professionals also includes oral and maxillofacial surgeons, prosthodontists, and AAO-certified orthodontists, all committed to delivering the best in quality and continuity of care. With Saturday appointments, flexible scheduling, and the ability to schedule everyone in your family at the same time, Dental Depot DFW makes it easy for your family to receive the care they deserve, no matter the need, at one convenient location. 

How should I choose an orthodontist?

Orthodontic treatment should only be performed by a trained, certified orthodontist. Orthodontists are professionals who specialize in dentofacial orthopedics and orthodontic treatment, which are focused on guiding facial development and jaw alignment. Orthodontists who are board-certified by the American Board of Orthodontics and/or are members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have both completed a dental program and advanced study in orthodontics from an accredited two- or three-year orthodontic residency program. They are also specifically trained in the proper approach to correcting misalignment or structural issues and are required to renew their certifications every 10 years. 

You’ll be seeing your orthodontist often during your treatment, so be sure to choose one you are comfortable with and enjoy visiting. This will increase the likelihood that you adhere to your treatment plan for its duration. Friends and family can be a great source for referrals or recommendations, or you can browse reviews of orthodontists in your area for good practices to call. 

Finally, orthodontic treatment can be expensive. To save costs, you will want to call several offices to compare average treatment prices and find out if they accept your dental insurance. 

How do orthodontists plan a treatment?

Orthodontic treatment consists of repositioning the facial bones—including the jaws and teeth—and guiding them into proper alignment. Safe and effective treatment requires precise planning, application, and monitoring by a trained orthodontic specialist. 

Orthodontic treatment is unique to each patient. The length of treatment will depend on factors like the severity of the problems needing correction and the patient age. The type of appliance used as well as patient participation and adherence to guidance will also affect treatment duration time.  

However, most orthodontic treatment plans will follow the same process of a planning phase, active phase, and retention phase. 

During the planning phase, the orthodontist evaluates your dental and medical health and takes several images of your mouth and jaws—digital, x-ray, or computer-generated, or a combination of all three—to determine the exact issues that need to be addressed and the best way forward for treatment. This is also when the orthodontist will decide on the best appliance for your situation as well as if you will need teeth extractions or additional corrections for spacing.

The majority of orthodontic treatment—anywhere between six and 30 months—takes place during the active phase. This phase includes the actual application of the orthodontic devices and the subsequent routine appointments during which the orthodontist will make necessary adjustments and evaluate your progress. 

The retention phase begins once the teeth have been correctly aligned. Permanent devices like braces are removed and replaced with a custom retainer that will help support the teeth as they reform around the newly-realigned bone. These retainers must be worn for specified periods during the next few months or years to ensure the teeth do not shift back into their previous positions.

When is the right time to see an orthodontist?

Your bite function, jaw alignment, and smile all play important roles in your dental health and in basic functions like breathing, speaking, and chewing, but even slight misalignment can be an indication of more serious problems with your facial structure that can cause complications down the road. As such, any time you notice any irregularities in your or your child’s smile or alignment is a good time to see an orthodontist.

You may want to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist if you or your child are experiencing:

  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Crossbites, underbites, or overbites
  • Mouth breathing
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Teeth that don’t meet normally or at all
  • Inability to close lips comfortably
  • Persistent jaw pain
  • Crowded, overlapping, crooked, or protruding teeth
  • Large gaps between teeth

Although the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children visit an orthodontic specialist by age 7, and most orthodontic patients will begin treatment between ages 8 and 14, anyone of any age can seek and receive orthodontic treatment.  

Can I get orthodontic treatment at any age?

Anyone of any age can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The American Academy of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends children visit the orthodontist by age 7 for at least an initial consultation and to identify early any potential development problems. Most pediatric patients, however, will not start treatment until they are between 8 and 14 years old, when the jaw and other facial bones are still forming and are more easily guided into proper alignment.

Although the majority of orthodontic patients are children or teens, adults now make up almost a quarter of the millions of orthodontic patients in the U.S., and adults with severely misaligned bites, shifting teeth, or cosmetic imperfections can benefit greatly from braces and other orthodontic treatment. The fully adult jaw structure is denser and less malleable than a child’s or teen’s, so treatment may take slightly longer, but adult braces are very successful and produce a healthy smile you can enjoy for the rest of your life. 

And, with virtually invisible options like lingual or clear braces and clear aligners, adults can now have that perfect smile without the embarrassment of bulky, old-fashioned metal appliances.

How effective is orthodontic treatment in adults?

No matter at what age orthodontic patients experience improper alignment of the teeth and jaws, the desired outcome is generally the same—a straight, healthy smile with the proper occlusion, or bite. And, when safely performed and monitored by a certified orthodontist, orthodontic treatment can be just as effective in adults as in children, with the same range of dental and medical benefits.

Adult orthodontic treatment will be approached much the same way as a child or teen, with the same evaluations, the same overarching plan of an appropriate appliance with routine checkups and adjustments, and a follow-up retention period. Adult treatment will differ slightly in the time and strategy the orthodontist deems necessary to make the corrections; fully developed adult facial structures are denser and less malleable, making them more difficult to move and requiring slightly longer treatment times. 

Can I stop an orthodontic treatment midway?

Most orthodontists will highly discourage pausing or discontinuing orthodontic treatment that is already in progress. Orthodontic treatment plans take time and gradual pressure to meet your unique needs safely and effectively, and stopping your individual plan early can cause your teeth to shift back to their original position. It may also result in permanent damage to your teeth, gums, or bone because new bone tissue has not yet formed to support the recently-shifted teeth, nor has your bone structure had the time to reshape.

However, an orthodontist may decide to end your treatment due to extenuating circumstances, such as poor dental hygiene during the treatment—which can compromise the strength and integrity of your teeth—or an inability to continue paying for treatment. Regardless of the reason, prematurely discontinuing your treatment will most likely incur an early termination fee from the orthodontist.

Orthodontic treatment can seem to take forever, but ending it early is never recommended. However, but there are good habits you can practice to help make sure your treatment doesn’t take longer than it should, such as:

  • Following your orthodontist’s instructions and keeping all scheduled cleaning and adjustment appointments
  • Avoiding foods that can break or damage your appliance
  • Maintaining good oral health

Is orthodontic treatment harmful to my teeth?

When conducted by a professional orthodontist, orthodontic treatment itself is not harmful to your teeth. Patient behaviors during treatment, however, can cause harm or damage. Poor dental hygiene—like not brushing or flossing regularly—a diet heavy in sugary, chewy, or crunchy foods or beverages that can damage the orthodontic appliance, and avoiding dental cleanings or orthodontic treatment appointments and adjustments can cause long-term damage to your teeth. Your unique orthodontic treatment has been carefully designed to guide your jaw into its proper alignment; without proper care or timely and necessary adjustments, your mouth and teeth are at risk for developing cavities and will not function the way they should.

To further ensure your orthodontic treatment does not harm your teeth, be sure to choose an orthodontist who has been certified by the American Board of Orthodontics and/or is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Certified orthodontists have extensive experience in planning, administering, and monitoring orthodontic treatments, including the safe application and removal of devices as well as the physiological movements needed for proper alignment.

Is it necessary to remove teeth in orthodontic treatment?

Extractions are not always necessary to conduct orthodontic treatment. Extractions are more common before orthodontic treatment in children, who may have baby teeth that are late to fall out and need to be removed to allow adult teeth to erupt properly. Occasionally, teeth may also need to be pulled to correct overcrowding. Your orthodontist will do everything possible to correct your alignment without extracting teeth.

An extraction may be recommended in preparation for orthodontic treatment if teeth are:

  • Extremely sensitive
  • Sore or painful
  • Severely decayed
  • Growing in the wrong direction
  • Too large to fit in the mouth
  • Unable to be straightened without an extraction
  • A threat to future shifting and misalignment
  • Chipped, damaged, or cracked

In most cases when extractions are necessary, the teeth extracted prior to orthodontic treatment are usually your premolars, which are the fourth and/or fifth teeth from the front. 

What should I know before getting braces?

With both a price and time commitment—$3,000 to $8,000 and 12 to 36 months for most patients—orthodontic treatment can seem daunting. However, both are well worth it for a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Straight, properly-aligned teeth are more than just pretty to look at; they are essential for the continued health and function of your mouth and jaws.  

You can reduce some of the anxiety surrounding a commitment to braces or orthodontic treatment by being prepared for what to expect. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Orthodontic treatment is unique to each patient, so it is different for each patient. Your orthodontist will continually monitor progress throughout your treatment and make adjustments as necessary to make sure your treatment is completed safely and effectively.
  • Adjusting to the sensation of braces will take a few weeks. You may find that closing your mouth feels strange, or notice some slight irritation as your gums and lips get used to the appliance.
  • Brushing and flossing will require extra attention and effort. Keeping your teeth clean is always important, but it is especially so during orthodontic treatment. Food that is not properly cleaned from in between, under, or behind your appliance can lead to problems in the future such as cavities, decay, or damaged appliances. You will want to avoid foods that can get stuck in or break your appliances, like very chewy, sticky, or crunchy foods or foods you have to bite into.
  • Very few patients experience severe pain that cannot be managed with over-the-counter pain medications, but most will experience some discomfort in the first few weeks of treatment (immediately after braces have been applied) and after routine adjustments.
  • Orthodontic treatment like braces has become increasingly common for patients of all ages, so fewer people than you think will either notice or care if you have them.
  • Orthodontic treatment that is administered by anyone other than an experienced, certified orthodontic specialist can potentially cause more harm than good, including lasting damage to your teeth and jaws. Be sure you choose an orthodontist who has the proper certifications, credentials, and experience.

How can braces affect your facial structure?

Orthodontic irregularities such as overcrowding, malocclusion (i.e., overbites or underbites), and misalignment, can affect the shape of your face, making your lips protrude unnaturally, preventing your lips from touching, or causing your chin and cheeks to look weak and sunken. 

Improving the alignment of your teeth and jaws restores facial symmetry, better defines your facial features, and creates a more flattering, more natural-looking profile. Braces and other orthodontic treatments do this by applying constant, gentle pressure to bones in your facial structure. 

How much your facial structure will change as a result of braces depends a lot on the severity of your orthodontic problems and your age. The facial bones in older patients are denser and harder to move, making for more subtle changes, while younger patients with more malleable jaws will experience more noticeable changes.

How much do braces cost?

The highly personalized nature of orthodontic treatment means the cost of braces can vary greatly as a result of several factors, such as the length and extent of treatment necessary, your age, your insurance plan, and the type of appliance used. For example, lingual braces—which are applied to the back of the teeth—can cost nearly twice as much as metal, ceramic, invisible, or self-ligating braces. 

Typical orthodontic treatment costs range from $3,000 to $10,000, but many orthodontists offer some kind of installment plan so you do not have to pay for all of it upfront. You may also be able to finance orthodontic treatment using a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HAS) with your health insurance plan.

How long will it take for braces to straighten my teeth?

Orthodontic treatment, including braces, is individualized care that is unique to each patient. Factors such as your age, your specific condition, how well you care for your teeth, and how closely you follow your orthodontist’s instructions can all affect the length of your specific treatment plan. 

Relying on constant, gradual, and strategically-placed pressure, orthodontic treatment plans take time—anywhere from six to 30 months—to implement safely. While many patients begin to see improvements in their teeth within the first month of treatment, seeing your plan through to the end is critical. Pausing or ending a treatment plan too soon can cause your teeth to shift back into their previous, misaligned position or cause even more problems than you had before you began treatment.

How do I care for and clean my braces?

The extra time and effort it takes to clean and care for your braces is worth it to make sure your teeth stay healthy during and after your treatment. More importantly, the length and effectiveness of your treatment can be impacted by how well you care for your braces and your teeth. 

Braces and other orthodontic appliances can trap food and other debris that, if not removed, can lead to appliance damage, cavities, or plaque buildup.

To protect your braces—and your teeth—there are three simple actions you can take: 

  1. Visit your dentist. You can still have routine dental cleanings and checkups even with braces. Dentists and dental hygienists are trained to work around orthodontic appliances to remove plaque and tartar buildup. They can also apply fluoride treatments and monitor your teeth for signs of cavities or decay.
  2. Brush often. To prevent food and plaque build-up in, under, and around the components of your braces, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and rinse your mouth after every meal and every snack. Your orthodontist will also provide you with special tools to help you floss and brush in between brackets and wires, such as floss picks or threaders and interdental toothbrushes. While any soft bristle toothbrush will work, electric toothbrushes designed specifically for braces can help remove more particles from more places.
  3. Watch what you eat. Avoid very crunchy, chewy, sticky, or sugary foods that can break or pull at the appliance, get stuck in hard-to-reach places, or cause other damage to your teeth or the braces. Try to limit snacking or sugar beverages to reduce the opportunities for food to get stuck in the first place.
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