Questions and Answers about Orthodontics for Your Children - Summit DentalSummit Dental

Questions and Answers about Orthodontics for Your Children

John Delplanche, DMD, MS

Orthodontics is one type of dental treatment that can dramatically change the appearance of your smile.  We offer cosmetic adult orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign and Six Month Smiles at Summit Dental. However, our office likes to have children under the age of 18 be treated comprehensively by an orthodontist.   We get a lot of questions from parents of children and teenagers who wonder what is in store for their children in relationship to braces in the future.

Here are some common questions and answers from a local orthodontist, Dr. John Delplanche, of Raleigh Hills Orthodontics.

What age is it best to start orthodontics?  

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an initial examination for all patients at age 7, as this is the perfect age to evaluate for any major developmental problems.  Major problems may be related to jaw development, tooth eruption, or severe bite issues.  While the minority of patients will actually need treatment at this age, this early treatment can be extremely beneficial for these patients.  The remaining majority of patients are not ready for treatment until they have lost almost all of their primary (baby) teeth. Keep in mind that adults are usually still excellent candidates for orthodontic treatment, as I have treated patients in their 70’s!

How long will I have to wear my braces?

Every case is different, so therefore every treatment time is different.  Some patients may want only limited treatment which can usually be completed in less than a year, whereas some very complex cases can sometimes require more than 24 months to attain a perfect result. That being said, the average comprehensive case usually takes between 18 and 24 months.

How much does it cost?  Will I be able to afford it?

The cost of treatment is directly related the difficulty and length of treatment.  At my practice we strive to not let finances stand in the way of any patient attaining that perfect smile that they want.  We offer free initial exams and 0% in-office financing options with convenient monthly payments.  We also offer family discounts for additional family members who start treatment.

Are there advantages of traditional metal braces over Invisalign?

Invisalign is an excellent product, utilizing clear removable aligners that are removable and esthetic.  That being said, they are not perfect for every case and sometimes traditional braces will achieve a better result.  We do offer ceramic (clear) upper braces as a more esthetic option for cases which will require braces.

How often will I have to come in for an appointment?

Generally, patients with braces have short appointments every 6 weeks and patients with Invisalign have short appointments every 8 weeks.  These appointments are necessary to monitor and continue the ongoing process of tooth movement.

Will I have to wear a retainer when I am finished with braces?

Yes.  In order to keep your teeth in their ideal position after they have been moved with braces, a retainer should be worn.  Retainers are provided for every patient at the completion orthodontic treatment.  These retainers are usually clear in appearance, and are eventually worn only while sleeping.

How do I take care of my teeth with braces on?

Patients are instructed to brush more frequently (preferably after every meal), for a longer period of time (at least 2 minutes), and to change the angulation of their toothbrush to reach underneath their appliances.  They are also given instructions about how to correctly floss with their appliances.  Maintaining perfect oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment is definitely possible, but it involves more determination on the part of the patient during their treatment.  Our patients are “graded” on their hygiene at every appointment, and in the uncommon case of poor hygiene, parents are notified to provide further encouragement at home.

Will there be foods I can’t eat? 

While life doesn’t really change during orthodontic treatment, there are certainly adjustments that patients need to make to their eating habits.  Patients should not eat foods that are very hard or sticky, as they may cause loose braces or poking wires.  Candy, carrots, or almonds are all examples of foods which should be avoided during orthodontic treatment.

John Delplanche, DMD, MS is a board certified orthodontist, serving the Beaverton and Portland communities.  He graduated with honors from OHSU School of Dentistry and immediately afterwords completed their orthodontics residency where he received a Master’s of Science in Orthodontics degree and an advanced specialty certificate.

His office, Raleigh Hills Orthodontics, is located on Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. in Beaverton, Oregon.  Read more about Dr. Delplanche and Raleigh Hills Orthodontics at