Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

Dentists are general oral healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat various oral health issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, and performing routine dental cleanings.


Orthodontists are specialized dentists who focus specifically on the alignment of teeth and jaws, as well as correcting bite issues. Orthodontists like Dr. Cho go through additional training for 3 additional years to specialize in the field of orthodontics.

What are the common orthodontic problems that can be treated?

  • Crooked or misaligned teeth
  • Overcrowding of teeth
  • Malocclusions (bite problems), such as overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Protruding or prominent front teeth

What is the ideal age for orthodontic treatment?

The ideal age for orthodontic treatment varies depending on individual circumstances. Orthodontic interventions can begin as early as 7 years old, during the mixed dentition phase when both primary and permanent teeth are present. However, orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, and adults can also benefit from it.

How long does orthodontic treatment usually take?

The duration of orthodontic treatment depends on the complexity of the case, the specific treatment plan, and individual factors. On average, orthodontic treatments can last between 1 to 3 years. However, some cases may require shorter or longer treatment times.

What types of braces are available?

  • Traditional metal braces: These are made of stainless steel brackets and wires.
  • Ceramic braces: These are similar to traditional braces but use tooth-colored or clear brackets that are less noticeable.
  • Lingual braces: These braces are attached to the back of the teeth, making them virtually invisible from the front.
  • Invisalign: This is a series of clear, removable aligners that gradually move the teeth into their proper position.

What are the alternatives to traditional braces?

  • Clear aligner systems (e.g., Invisalign)
  • Retainers
  • Palatal expanders
  • Headgear
  • Orthognathic surgery (for severe jaw misalignments)

How often do I need to visit the orthodontist during treatment?

The frequency of visits to the orthodontist during treatment varies depending on the treatment plan and progress. Typically, visits are scheduled every 4 to 8 weeks to monitor progress, make adjustments, and ensure the treatment is on track.

Can adults get orthodontic treatment?

Yes, adults can receive orthodontic treatment. Age is not a barrier to orthodontic correction, and many adults choose to improve their smiles and correct bite issues through orthodontic interventions.

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

The cost of orthodontic treatments varies based on factors such as the complexity of the case, the type of treatment, the location, and the orthodontist’s expertise. It is best to consult with an orthodontist for an accurate cost estimate.

Will the orthodontic treatment be covered by my insurance?

Whether orthodontic treatment is covered by insurance depends on your specific insurance plan. Some insurance plans offer coverage for orthodontic treatment, while others may have limitations or exclusions. It is recommended to review your insurance policy or consult with your insurance provider to understand the coverage details. At glow, we offer direct insurance billing – which means we take care of all your insurance coverages and payments for your orthodontic treatment.

How long can I go without wearing my Invisalign?

The duration you can go without wearing your Invisalign aligners depends on your specific orthodontic treatment plan and the recommendation of your orthodontist. In general, it is essential to wear Invisalign aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day to ensure optimal progress and results. However, your orthodontist may provide specific instructions regarding any temporary breaks from wearing them.

What are the different types of braces or orthodontic appliances available and which one is best for me?

Traditional metal braces

Ceramic braces

Lingual braces

Invisalign (clear aligners)


Palatal expanders


The best option for you depends on various factors such as your specific orthodontic needs, your personal preferences, and your orthodontist’s recommendation. Each type of braces or orthodontic appliance has its advantages and considerations.

  • Traditional metal braces are effective and commonly used. They are durable, cost-effective, and suitable for treating various orthodontic issues.
  • Ceramic braces are less noticeable than metal braces as they blend with the color of your teeth. They are a popular choice for individuals concerned about the aesthetic aspect of braces.
  • Lingual braces are placed on the back surface of the teeth, making them virtually invisible from the front. They are an excellent option for those who desire discreet orthodontic treatment.
  •  Invisalign clear aligners are removable and nearly invisible. They offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to remove them for eating, brushing, and special occasions.
  •  Retainers are typically used after orthodontic treatment to maintain the position of the teeth and prevent them from shifting.
  •  Palatal expanders are used to widen the upper jaw in cases of narrow dental arches or crowding.
  •  Headgear may be recommended for specific cases to correct bite discrepancies by exerting force on the teeth and jaws.

Your orthodontist will evaluate your specific needs and guide you on the best type of braces or orthodontic appliance that will suit your situation.

How much does orthodontic treatment cost and what are the payment options?

The cost of orthodontic treatment can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of your case, the type of treatment, your location, and the orthodontist’s expertise. It is advisable to consult with your orthodontist to get an accurate cost estimate. Regarding payment options, many orthodontists offer flexible financing plans or installment options to make the treatment more affordable. Additionally, you can inquire about dental insurance coverage or potential discounts.

Is orthodontic treatment painful?

Orthodontic treatment may cause some discomfort or soreness, especially after adjustments. However, it is typically not considered painful. Over-the-counter pain relievers and orthodontic wax can help alleviate any temporary discomfort. Your orthodontist will provide guidance on managing any discomfort during the treatment process.

How often do I need to visit the orthodontist for adjustments?

The frequency of visits to the orthodontist for adjustments depends on your treatment plan and progress. Generally, visits are scheduled every 4 to 8 weeks. During these visits, your orthodontist will make any necessary adjustments to your braces or orthodontic appliances to ensure proper tooth movement and progress.

Can I still play sports, musical instruments, or other activities while wearing braces or orthodontic appliances?

Most sports and musical instruments can still be played while wearing braces or orthodontic appliances. However, it is recommended to wear a mouthguard during contact sports to protect both the teeth and the braces. Your orthodontist can provide specific guidelines and recommendations based on your activities and the type of braces or appliances you have.

What foods and drinks should I avoid during orthodontic treatment?

During orthodontic treatment, there are certain foods and drinks you should avoid to prevent damage to your braces or appliances. Sticky or hard foods, such as gum, hard candies, popcorn, and ice, should be avoided. Additionally, minimize the consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages, as they can contribute to tooth decay and enamel erosion. Your orthodontist will provide a detailed list of foods and drinks to avoid during your treatment.

How do I properly clean my teeth and braces to maintain good oral hygiene?

Proper oral hygiene is crucial during orthodontic treatment to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Brush your teeth after every meal and floss daily. Your orthodontist may provide special tools, such as interdental brushes or floss threaders, to help you clean around your braces or orthodontic appliances effectively. Regular dental cleanings are also important to remove any plaque or tartar buildup.

Will I need to wear retainers after my orthodontic treatment is completed?

Yes, wearing retainers after completing orthodontic treatment is typically necessary. Retainers help maintain the new position of your teeth and prevent them from shifting back. Your orthodontist will provide specific instructions on how often to wear your retainers. Initially, retainers may need to be worn full-time and then gradually transitioned to nighttime-only wear. It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s guidance to ensure the long-term stability of your orthodontic results.

What are the potential risks or complications associated with orthodontic treatment?

Potential risks or complications associated with orthodontic treatment are relatively rare, but they can occur. These may include:


  • Discomfort or soreness after adjustments, which is temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.


  • Soft tissue irritation or ulcers caused by braces or orthodontic appliances.  Orthodontic wax can be used to alleviate any discomfort.


  • Allergic reactions to certain materials used in braces or appliances, although this is uncommon.


  • Tooth or gum damage if proper oral hygiene practices are not followed.


  • Root resorption, a rare condition where the roots of the teeth shorten slightly. Regular monitoring by your orthodontist can help detect and manage this issue if it arises.


  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues in rare cases, which may cause jaw pain or dysfunction. Proper diagnosis and treatment planning by an experienced orthodontist can help minimize the risk of TMJ problems.


Regular communication with your orthodontist and following their instructions will help ensure a successful and safe treatment outcome.

Reach out to us anytime

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