440 E. WATER STREET
ELMIRA, NY 14901
p: (607) 733-7163

Common Questions


What is an orthodontist?

Orthodontists are qualified dentists, who after graduating from dental school, go on to additional full-time university-based education in an accredited orthodontic residency program supervised by orthodontists. That training lasts at least two to three academic years—sometimes more.

Orthodontists diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists limit their practices to orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. That means that orthodontic treatment is what they do, and that is all they do. Orthodontists treat a wide variety of malocclusions (misaligned aligned teeth and/or jaws). They regularly treat young children, teens and adults.

How are teeth moved?

Teeth respond to the gentle forces that are applied to them. “Braces” are a combination of “brackets” and “wires”. Brackets are the part of the braces that attach to the teeth. Brackets are the “handles” that help control movement of the teeth. Braces require a wire called an “archwire” that connects the brackets and provides the forces to steer the teeth in the proper direction. It’s actually the wires that move teeth. The interaction of brackets and archwires enables the orthodontist to have three-dimensional control over the movement of the teeth. In many cases, additional forces are needed to help balance the underlying jaw structure and to help the upper and lower teeth fit properly together to make the bite right. Examples of these extra forces include: elastics (rubber bands) hooked to teeth (see photo below); headgear (see photo at right); functional appliances; and palatal expanders (see photo below).

What age is the right age to consider orthodontics?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive an initial orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. Early intervention, treatment at a young age prior to the eruption of the adult teeth…oftentimes reduces the treatment times required and minimizes the severity of treatment after the permanent teeth erupt.

How long does treatment take?

The length of treatment varies depending on the complexity of the orthodontic problem that requires correction, growth and tissue response to treatment as well as the level of patient cooperation during their treatment. Orthodontic care requires a team approach in which the family dentist, the orthodontist and the patient play key roles that can impact the length of treatment and the quality of the end result. Generally, the length of comprehensive orthodontic treatment can range from approximately 18 months to 30 months, depending on treatment options and individual characteristics.

Is it common to have braces twice, at two different times?

This is known as two-phase treatment. As discussed above under the “right age” question, early treatment allows us to create the space necessary to allow permanent teeth to erupt without interference and without more complex treatment techniques later in life as the jaws develop. Once the proper space has been created it is common to remove the braces and or other orthodontic appliances and wait for the eruption of permanent teeth and then to reapply braces to straighten the teeth into exacting position.

Are there options in the colors of braces available?

Braces are available in traditional metal, in ceramic and even in gold. Ceramic brackets are a lot less noticeable and popular amongst our adult patients.

Is Invisalign an option for treatment?

Yes Invisalign is a very popular and growing treatment option. However Invisalign is not a treatment option for all orthodontic problems . We can discuss with you this treatment option once we have evaluated your smile and bite.

How often do I need to schedule an appointment?

Technology has greatly extended the intervals between appointments. Active wire and self contained brackets can greatly reduce friction and move teeth with less force faster with fewer appointments. We will discuss with you the length of time required between appointments.

How long does each appointment take?

Appointment times vary form procedure to procedure. We typically like to allocate one hour for your initial examination, one hour for the consultation appointment, 1 hour for the placement of braces and approximately 15 to 30 minutes for adjustment appointments.