Answers to Your Orthodontics Questions

We’re sharing answers to some of the questions we hear frequently at our Richmond orthodontics practice. If you’d like even more detail, please, don’t hesitate to reach out by calling us (804) 282-0505 or texting us at (804) 577-1171. We’re always here to help!

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

A: No. While we always welcome and appreciate referrals from dentists, you don’t need one to schedule a visit. You can book your complimentary consultation by calling us at (804) 282-0505 or texting us at (804) 577-1171.

Why should I visit an orthodontist?

A: An orthodontist is a dental specialist who completes two to three years of additional specialty training after dental school. They’re experts in diagnosing, preventing and treating malocclusions, or problems with the positioning, spacing or alignment or the teeth or jaws. Orthodontic treatment creates permanent changes in your dental and facial structure, so it’s important to visit a certified specialist in orthodontics for your care. Dr. Gardner, Dr. Tang and Dr. La Rochelle can give you the most functional, healthy and beautiful results.

Q: How do I determine what type of orthodontic treatment I need?

A: Call our office at (804) 282-0505 and schedule a complimentary consultation. At this one-hour appointment, we’ll take digital photos and x-rays to assess the different angles of your face and teeth. One of our Richmond orthodontists will also perform an examination. They’ll use this information to determine if you could benefit from treatment and, if so, which type will bring out the best in your smile.

Q: Which types of orthodontic procedures do you provide?

A: At Gardner & La Rochelle Orthodontics, we offer a full range of orthodontic treatments, including Invisalign, clear braces and metal braces for kids, teens and adults, as well as retainers, nightguards and other appliances.

Q: Do you offer appointments before or after school or work?

A: We offer appointments before and after work and school. If you do have to come in during the day, we can also provide a doctor’s note if you need one.

Q: Does every child need orthodontic treatment at age 7?

A: Great news! Treatment is rarely needed at age seven. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends kids see an orthodontist at this age but treatment isn’t usually warranted. There are two reasons orthodontists like to see kids at seven. The first is because it’s a great time to start monitoring the growth and development of patients, as well as the eruption of permanent teeth. The second reason is because sometimes there are problems that can be treated early for better results and to prevent more serious issues down the road.

Q: Does every child need expansion?

A: Expansion is a wonderful way to fix a posterior crossbite, which is when the upper jaw is narrow causing the bite to be off in the back of the mouth. Extraction of permanent teeth is less common with modern techniques, and expansion to create space is rarely needed. There is evidence that expansion can help minimize sinus concerns and can help in the eruption of teeth, but these are rare and usually extreme cases. Our recommendation is that if your child does not have a crossbite and your orthodontist recommends an expander, consider a second opinion.

Q: What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?

A: The benefits of orthodontic treatment, include:

  • A reduced risk of tooth decay and gum disease since straight teeth are easier to clean
  • Preventing uneven wear and erosion of the enamel
  • Helping prevent injury to protruding teeth
  • Aligning the jaws, which may help with teeth grinding, TMJ pain, headaches and migraines
  • Creating proper spacing to reduce jaw bone loss and, in turn, the potential for tooth loss and pain
  • Improving your ability to chew, speak and breathe
  • Boosting confidence and self-esteem
  • Making you look younger and acting like a non-surgical facelift
  • Improving your appearance and creating facial symmetry

Q: How are emergency appointments handled?

Orthodontic emergencies are extremely rare. If you’re in pain or have any issues, such as a broken bracket or poking wire, give our office a call at (804) 282-0505 and we’ll get you in for a repair appointment as soon as possible.

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