Do I need a referral from my family dentist to schedule an orthodontic consultation?

No, a referral is not needed to schedule a consultation. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule a consultation themselves.

Do I need to see my pediatric or family dentist while in braces?

Yes! Regular cleanings and dental care with your family dentist and dental hygienist are very important to do every 6 months or less while you are in braces. Your family dentist will help determine how often you should be seen for cleaning appointments. Often, adults benefit from cleanings every 3-4 months while in orthodontic treatment.

When should my child see an orthodontist for an initial screening?

The American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Helm recommend that children have their first orthodontic evaluation at age 7. Several permanent teeth should be erupted by this age, allowing Dr. Helm to detect any developing orthodontic problems early and recommend the most advantageous timing of any needed interceptive orthodontic treatment to correct these problems.

Can I afford braces?

Like most of our patients, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn how affordable braces really can be. Orthodontic insurance, flex spending, health savings accounts, and flexible no-interest payment plans in our office all contribute to making today’s orthodontic treatment surprisingly affordable.

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

The cost of braces or Invisalign® is based on the severity of your treatment needs and subsequently your estimated treatment time. Your estimated treatment fee and insurance benefits will be discussed at your new patient consultation. We offer several flexible financing options, and our New Patient Coordinator will work with you to find an arrangement that best fits your budget..

What type of payment plan do you offer?

The cost of your treatment can be conveniently divided up into monthly payments (always interest free and we never check your credit) that are automatically drafted from your bank account or credit/debit card. Many of our patients enjoy the tax benefits of using their flex spending dollars or outside financing such as CareCredit®.

Does your practice accept my insurance plan?

Yes, we are in-network with most major insurances. For your convenience, we will file your insurance claim with your insurance company and accept their payments directly to our office. Our team is experienced in helping you get the most out of your insurance benefits.

Many of my child’s friends have braces at a young age. Does my child need them too?

Dr. Helm recognizes the profound benefits that early interceptive orthodontic treatment (or “Phase I treatment) can have for some children, but he takes a conservative approach, only recommending it when early correction of developing orthodontic problems is needed.

Why do some children have braces more than once?

Early interceptive orthodontic treatment (or “Phase I treatment”) is problem-focused treatment that occurs while a mixture of baby teeth and adult teeth remain in your child’s mouth. Orthodontic treatment at this stage of development is intended to intercept (or correct early) a problem with the developing adult teeth and bite that, if left untreated, would result in permanent damage to the teeth or gum tissue, create more difficult problems to correct in the future, or lead to compromised future treatment results. Final adult tooth alignment and bite correction are ideally done during a second phase of orthodontic treatment (“comprehensive” or “Phase II treatment”) during the teen or pre-teen years.

What if my child does not need any orthodontic treatment right now?

Dr. Helm will monitor your child’s jaw growth and tooth development at regular growth and development check-ups. These check-ups are offered at no charge, and they are designed to provide peace of mind to our parents as well as Dr. Helm. Regular monitoring allows Dr. Helm to advise if future treatment will be needed and the best window of opportunity to get involved with that treatment to minimize treatment time and cost and maximize treatment results.

Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?

Not at all! About 25-30% of Dr. Helm’s patients are adults. Orthodontic treatment can be done successfully at any age if the gums and bone supporting the teeth are healthy. Many adults wish to correct problems that were never corrected when they were a child. Best of all, we offer state-of-the-art treatment options such as Invisalign and clear esthetic braces so that your treatment is as easy and unnoticeable as ever. It’s never too late to improve your smile.

Are metal braces my only option?

We offer a variety of state-of-the-art treatment options for our patients, including: traditional metal braces; clear “esthetic” braces; Wild Smiles braces in the shape of flowers, hearts, footballs, and stars; as well as Invisalign treatment.

Am I a candidate for Invisalign?

Dr. Helm is Invisalign-certified and completes hours of continuing education each year to stay up on the latest advances and treatment techniques using Invisalign. However, Invisalign is not appropriate for everybody, and Dr. Helm’s training and experience using Invisalign allows him to determine if Invisalign would be an effective treatment option for YOU. Your first step is to visit our office for a free evaluation and consultation with Dr. Helm.

How long will my orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment time can vary depending on your individual orthodontic needs. On average, full treatment takes about 2 years. Patients who maintain proper oral hygiene, attend their scheduled appointments, and wear their rubber bands as directed most often experience on-time and excellent treatment results. We are committed to making your treatment as efficient as possible.

How often will I have appointments?

Your appointments will typically be scheduled every 4-8 weeks. Some procedures, especially those at the beginning and end of your treatment, may require more frequent visits.

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school or work?

We understand that missing school or work is a concern for many of our patients. That’s why we offer early-morning, lunch hour, after-school, and evening appointment times. We will make every effort to address your scheduling needs, however, before and after school appointments are very popular and must be shared among all of our patients equally. Longer appointments are scheduled during morning and mid-day hours to give Dr. Helm adequate time to complete the planned procedures.

Do braces hurt?

Most patients experience some tenderness of their teeth for 3-5 days after placement of braces or adjustment of their wires. We recommend taking Tylenol or Advil (whatever is normally taken for headaches) for the first 2-3 days after these procedures are completed to help manage this tenderness. Local anesthetic injections (”shots”) are not required for orthodontic treatment.

Can my child return to school the day they get their braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school after initial placement of your braces or routine orthodontic appointments.

Can I still play sports?

Yes. Please let us know if you plan to play sports during your treatment so that we can provide you with an orthodontic mouth guard to protect your teeth, lips, and cheeks from injury.

Can I still eat my favorite foods?

You can still enjoy most of the foods that you ate before braces, but it’s best to limit sugary foods and drinks that can damage your teeth as well as hard and crunchy foods that can break your braces.

Are retainers needed after treatment?

After your braces are removed, retainers will be worn to hold your teeth in their corrected positions until the supporting bone and gums adapt to the new position of your teeth. We will discuss with you the different kinds of retainers that are available in our office and which would be best for you. Your first set of retainers is included in your treatment fee. Retainers should be worn long-term to ensure that your teeth don’t move with age and that your treatment results will last a lifetime.