FAQ

Initial Visit

Do you charge for an initial visit?

No. As a courtesy to you and your family dentist, we will not charge a fee for discussing the feasibility of performing orthodontic treatment.

At what age do you start seeing patients?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening by the time a child turns 7. There is an advantage for Dr. Kevin Wilke to see patients shortly after the six-year molars have erupted. We even welcome earlier screenings if the family is concerned about potential problems.

Why do you evaluate patients so young?

At this early age the eventual needs may be identified and discussed. A small percentage of this young group may need some form of intervention. Crowding, spacing, habits, facial asymmetries, biting relationships, skeletal patterns, esthetic concerns, and irregular tooth positions are documented. If early treatment is not recommended, Dr. Wilke will continue to monitor growth and development of your child every 6 – 12 months.

How long will the first visit take?

The first visit is scheduled for one hour. At this initial appointment, Dr. Wilke will be evaluating your orthodontic needs as well as addressing any questions or concerns you may have about treatment. We will also take an x-ray and photographs to help us better diagnose your individual case. If you had recent x-rays taken, we will obtain copies from your dentist.

Do you take patients transferring from out of town?

Yes we do. The American Association of Orthodontics has allowed this transition to be seamless. We will retrieve all the orthodontic records from your previous orthodontist. Your initial visit will give us the opportunity to discuss your current status and propose a treatment plan to complete your orthodontic care.

Do you have any adult patients?

Absolutely. A large percentage of our patients are adults. New cosmetic appliances are making adult treatment much more comfortable and convenient.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

An orthodontist is a general dentist that has completed a 2-year orthodontic residency program after dental school, resulting in a specialty certificate. Dr. Wilke limits his practice to straightening teeth and correcting dentofacial problems.

Can I make all my appointments in the afternoon after school and late in the day?

In order to have early and late appointments available for the majority of patients, some procedures need to be accomplished during the hours of 9 and 3. We will do our best to work with your schedules and accommodate your family needs.

Do you see patients for emergencies?

Yes, our contact information for an emergency is posted on the website as well as the phone answering machine.

Financial

Can we make payments?

Yes. Whether or not you have insurance or a dental plan, in most cases we can structure a convenient payment plan that will allow you to pay for necessary services over a period of time.

How do you handle insurance?

After verification of coverage, we will agree to bill and collect from an insurance carrier. However, we ask patients to understand that if coverage ceases or changes, the patient is still responsible for the agreed-upon fee.

Do you take American Express, Discover, Master Card, and/or Visa?

Yes, we accept all major credit cards.

Do you work with flex plans?

Yes, many of our patients utilize flex plans to take advantage of pre-tax dollars.

Do you have direct debit?

Yes, we have arrangements for direct debit, charge card posting, as well as payments over the internet.

Do you charge interest?

No, we do not.

Do you give family courtesies?

Depending on the type of treatment indicated we have special programs and fees for multiple patients from the same family.

Types of Treatment

What is Phase I Treatment?

Phase I treatment is delivered early and before all permanent teeth have erupted. The purpose of this early care is to start correcting harmful malocclusions that may be more difficult or impossible to correct later. Phase I treatment does not necessarily eliminate the need for conventional orthodontics done during adolescence, but can in some instances. Examples of Phase I treatment include correcting individual tooth or jaw crossbites, severe underbites, overbites, etc. where functional, esthetic, or psychological concerns are identified.

What is Phase II Treatment?

Phase II treatment is comprehensive (full upper and lower) orthodontic care. It may start while the last baby teeth are falling out and continue until the 12 year molars have been evaluated or straightened.

How do I know if Phase I, Phase II, or both types of treatment are necessary?

Dr. Wilke will be able to determine the proper treatment recommendations with an early initial examination and continued monitoring of growth and development.

Does early treatment ensure a better result?

Experience and research show that early treatment achieves meaningful goals. Unfortunately, not until all the permanent teeth are present will the final alignment of the teeth and function of the bite be determined. For this reason, we do not encourage early treatment unless significant benefits can be achieved.

Moving of Teeth (Mechanics)

I need to be pre-medicated for the dentist. Do I need to take my medicine for the orthodontist?

Yes, but not for all appointments. We will inform you which procedures will be necessary for pre-medication.

How long will treatment take?

Everyone’s teeth move at a different rate. Dr. Wilke will inform you of an estimated time in treatment before you begin orthodontic care. Depending on the case, our average treatment time ranges from 12 – 20 months.

How do braces work?

Teeth move with a constant steady pressure. The archwires placed in the slot of the braces allow your teeth to move. Rubber bands and other appliances are sometimes addedto apply additional necessary pressure.

Do you use recycled braces?

No. Each patient receives a new set of braces.

Retainers

Do retainers need to be worn after braces?

Yes, retainers are worn full-time for about 3 months, followed by nighttime wear. We encourage all patients to protect their investment through a lifetime of retainer wear.

Why do teeth get crooked after wearing braces or aligners?

Teeth move throughout life whether you have worn braces or not. It is part of the natural aging process. This is why retainer wear is recommended indefinitely to maintain your orthodontic results over a lifetime. Although some minor movement is biologically necessary even with retainers that are worn forever, you can minimize the effects through diligent retainer wear.

How about retainers glued to the backs of teeth?

For some patients, permanent retainers are attached to the back side of the upper and/or lower teeth to keep them in place. Dr. Wilke will determine the best style of retainers for you.

Wisdom Teeth (Third Molars)

Do wisdom teeth cause teeth to get crooked?

Research has shown this not to be true as long as retainers are worn well.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

If there is sufficient room in the bone and gum tissue to support the wisdom teeth in a straight manner, they do not have to be removed. However, lack of room can cause swelling, soreness, and a hygiene hazard. Partially erupted wisdom teeth can be difficult to keep clean and can lead to infections.

When is a good time to have wisdom teeth removed?

The best time according to oral surgeons is when approximately 2/3 or so of the root is formed. Some time after age 16 or 18 seems to be the average.

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMJ)

Can braces or orthodontic treatment treat TMJ problems?

Yes, in some cases. However, problems with the joins can be present or absent in the presence of all types of good and bad bites.

Health Impact

What are the health benefits of wearing braces?

There are many reasons for braces ranging from aesthetics to function. Our goal for you is a healthy, beautiful smile. Certain bites can result in excess wear on the enamel, stress fractures, and periodontal (gum) tissue disease.

Orthodontics helps to improve the comfort of the bite, makes it easier to brush and floss your teeth for good dental health, and many times helps to balance the facial musculature. The positive self-esteem benefits are immeasurable.

How do enlarged adenoids and allergies affect braces?

Enlarged tonsils and adenoids, or having allergies, can cause mouth breathing. This can result in compromised development of the facial and jaw bones. Narrowing of the arches, crowding, and/or elongated facial patterns can occur.

How does a tongue thrust or forward tongue posture affect your teeth?

The tongue is a strong muscle which can put pressure on the teeth. This constant pressure can move teeth and cause an open bite (lack of overlap between the upper and lower front teeth), protrusion and/or spacing of the teeth.