office@PulitzerOrtho.com

423.246.3001

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is malocclusion, which means bad bite.

The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances (braces) to bring teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment and achieves facial balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a referral from my family dentist required to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic consultation?

No it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, but most are referred by family and friends.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial consultation?

Simply call our office or send us an email! We will be happy to schedule your appointment, our scheduling coordinator will request some basic information from you. We will then mail to you a welcome packet including all of the information needed for your initial appointment.

At what age should I schedule an appointment for an initial consultation for my child?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening by the age of seven or earlier if a problem is detected by the parents, family dentist, or pediatrician.  By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic needs.

What will I learn form the initial consultation?

There are four essential questions that Dr. Pultizer will answer during the consultation:

  • Is there an orthodontic concern, and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow.   In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

Will I need to have permanent teeth extracted for braces?

Dr. Pulitzer uses the latest orthodontic technology: The Damon System, which greatly reduces the need for extraction of permanent teeth.

What is Phase One (early) treatment?

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated between the ages of 7 and 10.  Phase One treatment lasts about 12-18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe, such as providing more room for permanent tooth eruption, correcting an under bite or overbite, improving facial profile and lip posture and boosting self-esteem and self-image.

Will my child need Phase Two (full braces) if he/she had Phase One treatment?

Even with ideal cooperation and favorable growth response in Phase I, most patients will benefit from Phase II treatment with full braces. Phase II, however, is generally less involved and may require a shorter treatment time. 

How long will my treatment take to complete?

Treatment time depends on each patient's specific orthodontic needs.  A minor correction could take 4-6 months, whereas a more involved correction could take 20-26 months.

Do braces hurt?

Generally braces do not "hurt" but they do feel foreign at first and take about a week to get used to.  The doctor utilizes the latest orthodontic technology: The Damon System, which straightens teeth with less discomfort.  After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days and an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol will provide relief.

How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

Orthodontic fees depend on the complexity of the correction.  We will explain the exact cost and financial options during the initial consultation.  We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review each of these with you.  We will also review your insurance information, help to maximize your benefit and we will file your claims for you.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. The doctor utilizes the latest orthodontic technology: The Damon System, which requires less frequent visits.  Most patients are seen every 6 to 10 weeks.

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after school hours.  However, because most appointments are scheduled 6 to 10 weeks apart, patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatment. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes. We understand your busy schedule and we are happy to help you make the most of your time.  On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return so we ask that parents check in with the receptionist upon their return to the office.

Can I still play sports?

Yes, but we do recommend the wearing of a mouth guard for all contact sports.  We have special mouth guards for our patients to protect your teeth, braces and jaw joints.  Just ask and we will be happy to fit you with a mouth guard.

Do I continue to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes! We recommend seeing your family dentist at least every 6 months for a thorough cleaning and examination while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes, once your treatment begins we will provide you with complete diet instructions and a list of foods to avoid.  These include the chewy, crunchy, and sticky items such as ice, hard candy, caramel, nuts, taffy, etc. that can distort of break your braces.  You can avoid extra repair appointments and reduce your time in braces by carefully following these instructions.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Excellent oral hygiene is a must with braces.  Patients should thoroughly brush at least 3-4 times each day; after each meal and before going to bed.  Once your treatment begins, we will provide special toothbrushes, flossing aids, toothpaste and mouth rinses to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile.

Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.  All orthodontists are dentists, but only about six percent of dentists are orthodontists.  Admission to an orthodontic postgraduate program is extremely competitive and selective.

It takes many years to become an orthodontist and the educational requirements are demanding.

An orthodontist must complete college requirements before starting a four year graduate program at a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA).  After dental school, at least two or three academic years of advanced specialty education in an ADA-accredited orthodontic program are required to be an orthodontist.  The program includes advanced education in biomedical, behavioral and basic sciences.  The orthodontic student learns the complex skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).

Only dentists who have successfully completed these advanced specialty education programs may call themselves orthodontists.