FAQ

When should my child see an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of 7 to check for proper dental development and to correct any potentially damaging functional problems. However, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens. About 20% of orthodontic patients are adults! Whether you're considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist, and you do not need a referral from your dentist to see us.

How long has the doctor been doing this?

Dr. Kay opened this office in 1991. 

Is the doctor accepting new patients?

Dr. Kay makes room in his schedule each day for new patients, existing patients, and emergencies. He offers appointments for new patients around lunch and at the end of each day for your convenience. Regular appointments are not booked during that time, so that you have the doctor's full attention.

Does Dr. Kay do a good job?

He has been voted the top orthodontist in the area by his fellow dentists for the past 5 years.

Am I going to feel sore after my treatment?

Dr. Kay is very skilled at minimizing discomfort. Some procedures cause more soreness than others, and the doctor will recommend over-the-counter pain medications as needed, depending on what you are having done. Our office is completely needle-free! Talk to Dr. Kay at your next appointment if you have concerns about what you will experience during your treatment.

How long will I have to wear braces?

That depends. Every patient is different, and often your treatment time is related to how well you wear your elastics! On average, you can plan on anywhere from 12-24 months with braces.

Do I still need to see the dentist if I am wearing braces?

Yes! You should see your regular dentist AT LEAST every 6 months for cleanings and check-ups. We encourage our adult patients to see their dentist more frequently, as adults are at increased risk for gum disease. Even though Dr. Kay is a dentist, he does not treat your teeth for cavities or gum disease.

How long will my appointments take, and how often will I need to come to the office?

On average, brace adjustment appointments will take 20-30 minutes. When you first get your braces placed, the appointment will last between 1-2 hours. We usually see patients for brace adjustments every 5-8 weeks, depending on what we are working on at that point. At each visit, we will let you know how long until we need to see you again. Once you are in your retainers, we will see you less frequently, usually every 3-9 months.

How often should I brush my teeth if I have braces?

You should brush at least 3 times per day. A good rule of thumb is to brush after every meal and before bed. It is much harder to keep your teeth clean while you are wearing braces, and that is why we give every braces patient the OrthoEssentials Kit from Crest/OralB. This kit provides everything you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy, including:

  • Oral-B® Professional Care SmartSeries 5000 Electric Toothbrush with Oral-B® Ortho brush head, Oral-B® Power Tip® brush head, and SmartGuide®. Oral-B electric toothbrushes are lightweight and have a built-in timer and pressure sensor to help you brush properly for the recommended two minutes. The Oral-B Ortho Electric brush head is specifically designed to clean around braces and fits on all Oral-B oscillating electric brush models.
  • Oral-B® Superfloss®—with a stiff end threader that lets you easily get the floss under your wires.
  • Crest® PRO-HEALTH® Clinical Gum Protection Toothpaste
  • Crest® PRO-HEALTH® Complete Rinse

We love the Prevident 5000 Booster paste from Colgate, and we provide it at no charge to all of our braces patients to help prevent cavities and demineralization (white scars) on the teeth. We also know that flossing is harder with braces, so we have Platypus flossers and Proxabrushes in the office for our braces patients.

Do I really need to use fluoride toothpaste?

Fluoride is a mineral that helps fight tooth decay. It is found in public water supplies, toothpaste and many other dental products, and helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay can be seen. Research shows that fluoride helps prevent cavities in children and adults by making teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that cause cavities. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, you are preventing cavities and strengthening your teeth’s enamel. The American Dental Association recommends that children and adults use fluoride toothpaste displaying the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Are x-rays necessary?

We get asked this a lot--there are things that we cannot see with the naked eye, including permanent teeth that are out of position, missing teeth, and even extra teeth! Sometimes we need to find out the exact location of an impacted or extra tooth, so we have a 3-D x-ray unit in our Montgomery office that we can use to give our surgeons the most accurate information. The judicious use of x-rays is critical to get the care you deserve.

Will braces interfere with my school activities like sports or playing an instrument?

When you first get your braces, playing your instrument or sports may take some extra adjustment, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating. We can give you extra wax to place over your braces to make them more comfortable until your lips and cheeks get used to them. If you play a contact sport, we recommend that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliances, and we have mouthguards that will work for all different appliances and sports, so just ask us!

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

We cannot schedule all appointments for after school hours. However, because brace adjustments are usually four to eight weeks apart, most patients will miss a minimal amount of school, and we provide school notes for the times when patients must miss class. We are pleased to offer brace adjustment appointments starting at 7:30 a.m. and as late as 4:15 p.m. for your convenience.

Can I drop my child off for his or her appointment?

Yes. We understand you have a busy schedule and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. However, we may need to speak with parents on some occasions so we ask that you check in with our front desk staff before dropping your child off for their appointment.

Smile!