Do you charge for an initial visit?

Our initial visit is complimentary, so there is no charge.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a family (general) dentist?

The main difference is the advanced specialty training. To become an orthodontist, a general dentist must undergo at least two additional years of rigorous full-time training. It’s similar to an internship a family physician undergoes to become a heart or plastic surgeon.

What is an Orthodontist?

An Orthodontist, or specialist in Orthodontics, is a dentist who has completed an additional two or three  year residency program to specialize in the study, prevention and correction of irregularities in tooth and jaw relationships, and deformities of the face produced by these conditions.  

An orthodontist only provides orthodontic services (braces, Invisalign, functional growth appliances, TMJ therapy) – no fillings or other family dental care are performed in the office.

Only Orthodontic specialists can be members of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Orthodontic specialists have traditionally been concerned with the correction of improper tooth alignment and occlusion (bite) primarily by movement of teeth. In recent years, new techniques and a better understanding of growth and development have given us the ability to not only move teeth, but to modify poor skeletal and neuromuscular growth patterns. This results in a better bite, a nicer looking smile, and a more pleasing facial structure.

What if your own family dentist or periodontist offers to straighten your or your child’s teeth?

Any dentist can do as much orthodontics as he or she feels qualified to do. Although some minor orthodontic problems can be treated by non-orthodontists, the great majority of people would benefit from the services of an orthodontic specialist.

The goal of orthodontic treatment is to achieve balance and harmony between the teeth and face for a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles. The residency training of the Orthodontist and the experience gained from full time attention to the specialty produce a professional who is well qualified to attain that goal. As a point of interest, Dr. Virgulti has successfully completed treatment on well over 10,000 patients.

Routine Dental Care is Important

Many orthodontic patients wonder if they should continue to see their pediatric or family dentist while undergoing orthodontic treatment. For several reasons, the answer is absolutely yes.

Orthodontic treatment often begins while one or more primary (baby) teeth are present. To avoid damage to the permanent teeth and to help maintain enough space for the permanent teeth, it is important to maintain optimum health of these primary teeth.

Protective sealants are a helpful advance that reduces the incidence and severity of cavities. To be sure that no breakage or leakage occurs, these sealants must be evaluated by your dentist on a regular basis.

Another valuable preventive procedure for many patients is the professional application of topical fluoride in the dental office. To maximize the strength and health of your teeth, your dentist will help you to decide how often this procedure should be done.

The incidence and severity of cavities has decreased significantly over the years. Even so, cavities still occur, and once they begin, may advance rapidly. With orthodontic treatment phases often lasting one to two years, regularly scheduled dental visits will help avoid the possibility of painful and problematic cavity problems. Patients with special orthodontic problems often require additional treatment consideration that must be discussed thoroughly among the patient, dentist, and orthodontist before and during orthodontic therapy.

Be sure to continue your regularly scheduled dental visits during orthodontic treatment. We’ll team with your dentist to achieve the healthiest, most beautiful smile possible.

When is the Best Time for Treatment?

An orthodontic specialist can improve a person’s smile at any age, but there is usually a best age to begin treatment. Thus the old adage “Timing is everything” applies to orthodontics.

Beginning a corrective program too soon among children can create “tired” patients who lose the necessary motivation to cooperate. Yet starting too late can create its own set of troubles, including the need for permanent tooth extractions that might have been avoided with earlier intervention.

How can you be sure that it is the “best” time to begin a corrective program? The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children should visit an orthodontist for the first time at age 7. This early intervention allows us to determine how and when a child’s individual problem should be treated to achieve an ideal improvement in the shortest period of time, and with the least expense.

Naturally, the majority of children require no treatment at age 7, but for some, limited interceptive treatment can help prevent future problems. Uncorrected orthodontic problems can affect young people in many ways, including their self-esteem, speech and even general health. Thus, if your family dentist notices a problem, or if you have a concern regarding your child’s teeth, contact us right away for an appointment. The benefits of an early evaluation could make orthodontic treatment much easier for the patient.

How much will treatment cost?

Each patient presents with unique concerns and conditions, so the fee is based on the patient’s treatment needs. Thus it’s best to contact us for a complimentary initial exam. At this initial visit, we will be able to present treatment plan alternatives and fees.

What creates orthodontic problems?

The vast majority of orthodontic problems are inherited. Orthodontic problems related to the teeth include crowding or spacing, extra teeth, missing teeth, impacted teeth and cleft palate. Bite problems related to the jaws come in many varieties, and include overbites and underbites, and other irregularities as well.

Orthodontic problems can also be acquired by unfavorable patterns or habits that adversely reshape the mouth or the position of teeth. Acquired problems can include thumb or finger sucking, tongue thrusting, mouth breathing caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids, as well as accidents related to the face and teeth, dental disease (such as cavities) and premature loss of primary or permanent teeth.

Whether inherited or acquired, many of these problems can affect facial appearance. Of course, this can influence the way we feel about our smiles and ourselves. Orthodontic specialists, by working together with family dentists, patients and their families, can correct these problems to create beautiful, long-lasting smiles.

Do you offer Invisalign Treatment?

We sure do. As you probably already know, Invisalign Orthodontic treatment is a technique that can straighten and improve your smile without the use of braces. Invisalign is a more esthetic way to perform Orthodontic treatment.  Because each patient has unique treatment needs, the best way to learn if you might be a candidate is to contact us for an appointment.

How long will the first visit take?

Your first visit typically lasts between 40 and 60 minutes. For your convenience, we set aside extra time in case there are further questions, or if you’d like to start treatment right away.

Do you treat adult patients?

We enjoy treating adult patients very much. In fact, Dr. Virgulti’s experience with adult patients is quite extensive.

Does wearing braces hurt?

Braces, Invisalign and other orthodontic therapies work by delivering energy to certain teeth at certain times – it is this selective energy that creates the tooth movement you need for correction. Because your teeth are moving, some pressure is normal. It usually lasts about 2-3 days and is tolerable. To minimize soreness, taking Tylenol or Advil is helpful.

How do you handle fees for transfer patients?

If treatment is progressing on schedule, we try to keep the fees the same or very similar. If your treatment is ahead of or behind schedule, we would adjust the fee accordingly.

Can I eat with my retainer and bite plate in?

With retainers, we typically recommend against eating with them in, as they could break or become distorted.

Why Are So Many Younger People in Orthodontic Treatment Now?

Many parents bringing their first child in for orthodontic treatment today wonder why so many children around them are wearing braces or retainers at such a “young” age. They often say, “I didn’t get my braces until I was in high school.” 

This is a valid question and the answer is growth. Boys and girls have an adolescent “growth spurt” well before high school. This time of rapid growth is usually the best time for full orthodontic treatment because it keeps treatment time shorter and fees lower. Treating during this time can also improve treatment stability. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that a child’s first visit to the orthodontist be at age seven.

Waiting until someone is 14 or 15 years old to begin treatment is often after the growth spurt is complete. For some at this age, jaw growth may even be finished – particularly in girls. While orthodontic treatment can certainly help at any age, it is possible that the time to achieve the best result with the least effort may already have passed by.

Another reason that continues to emerge from the literature is patient cooperation. Good patients get good treatment results. Without a high level of patient help, many orthodontic treatments will fall short of an ideal result. Pre-adolescents are more easily motivated to cooperate with an orthodontic treatment plan than older adolescents. Earlier treatment, in select cases, is more likely to produce the best possible result.

Orthodontists have different philosophies about early treatment. We believe that treatment should be tuned specifically to each person’s individual needs, rather than trying treat every person in exactly the same way.

Patients who receive limited, earlier treatment often require braces or aligner therapy as well at a later age. Therefore, it is important to be sure that treatment is truly necessary for early intervention. Here’s a “Top Ten” list of conditions that could require earlier treatment:

  • Protruding upper teeth
  • Underbite (lower teeth in front of upper teeth)
  • Crossbites of any kind in the front or back (usually, top tooth trapped behind a lower tooth)
  • Moderate to severe crowding (minor crowding is often a normal condition when primary and permanent teeth are together)
  • Extended thumb or finger sucking habits (it’s best to help a child end this habit at 5-6 years old)
  • Missing teeth
  • Extra Teeth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Ankylosed teeth (teeth fused to the jaw bone)
  • Tooth wear, especially in the permanent teeth

Other conditions may benefit from earlier treatment as well, so feel free to contact us for an appointment. We are experts at locating and intercepting problems with early treatment before they cause permanent damage or other serious issues. Many children need only to be supervised, and not treated until most or all of the permanent teeth are in place. We’re here to help you with this important family decision.