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Braces & Invisalign

A smile increases your face value.

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Straighter Smiles Ahead

We all want a beautiful, straight smile. Orthodontics is the treatment of irregularities of the teeth, more commonly called “braces”. Problems can vary from teeth that are too crowded or close together, to smiles that have wide open spaces between the teeth. There can be alignment problems that cause the teeth to improperly bite together, or have teeth that are mis-aligned behind one another. There are a few different approaches to straightening teeth, some of which we will discuss here on this page. The Smile Anchorage can be reached at (502)243-9200

There are several options for treating teeth that are misaligned or crooked, from traditional metal braces to Invisalign®. There are some shorter term options like Six Month Smiles®. In general there are three types of treatments that might be the right choice for your smile.

Metal Braces

little girl loves her braces

Traditional metal braces are the tried-and-true workhorse of straightening teeth. Metal braces have some advantages and disadvantages. While the primary disadvantage is the metal-mouth appearance, they offer The Smile Anchorage the ability to control the movement of the teeth in small, deliberate increments. You can never lose your metal braces, a real possibility with the removable braces options. Removable braces rely on the patient to wear them almost 24 hours per day. If the patient does not, they may not work as intended. That’s not a problem with metal braces since they can only be removed by the dentist.


Invisalign clear braces

Many patients want the options that are provided by clear braces. They are virtually invisible, they can be removed to clean them easily, and they are a much more lifestyle friendly form of braces. Today, Invisalign® braces are better than ever, with the ability to treat more difficult cases than they were able to treat in the past. Straight, well aligned teeth are much healthier and easier to care for than crooked, out-of-position teeth. If you think that treatment with Invisalign® is the right choice for you, give The Smile Anchorage a call and come in for a free consultation so that we can determine if you are a good candidate for the clear alternative to braces.

Appliance Therapy

schwarz appliance

Sometimes a full orthodontic treatment isn’t necessary, and there are occasions when the full orthodontic treatment requires two stages. Appliances are the answer to those two situations. An appliance is a device that is worn like a retainer. They may have screws, springs or attachments that allow the development of your teeth and jaws. This development can sometimes eliminate the need for complete orthodontics. In a different scenario, the appliance may need to be worn for a period of time before beginning your orthodontic treatment. Call The Smile Anchorage and get a free orthodontic consultation to learn what your needs may be.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Smile Anchorage understands that you will have questions about treatment with braces.  Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding orthodontic treatment.

Broken Wire

A broken wire on your braces can be extremely annoying. Likewise, it can possibly cause some trauma to the surrounding soft tissue of the cheek or gums. The best action to take immediately is to place a small amount of orthodontic wax on the end of the broken wire. If you do not have any ortho wax, There are alternatives. For example, place a cotton ball, gauze or other barrier material to prevent the wire from poking the cheeks or gums.

DO NOT CUT THE WIRE. Cutting the wire could potentially be dangerous. Most importantly, the primary danger is being swallowed or aspiration (breathing into the lungs) of the cut piece of wire. The wire cutters used in a dental setting are a special type of cutters. They are designed to hold the cut end of the wire so that it cannot be swallowed or get into the lungs.

Loose Brackets & Bands

A small amount of ortho wax can be used to keep a loose bracket from moving around. If the bracket has completely come off, keep it if you still have it. Brackets can be re-cemented.

If one of the bands that surround your back teeth have come loose, keep the band. First, put it somewhere safe until you can schedule an appointment. Next, bring it with you to the dental office. We can re-cement the bracket or band when you come into the office.

Sometimes Braces Hurt

Over the years, great improvements have been made to increase the comfort level and decrease the soreness associated with wearing braces. For metal braces, you should expect to experience some discomfort when the brackets and wires are first placed on your teeth. At each visit when wires are changed, you may again experience some minor discomfort. This is due to the new forces placed on the teeth

A Different Kind Of Hurt

Loose or shifting wires can poke your cheeks or gums. These pokes and sticks are aggravating. If a wire gets loose or moves out of place, call our office so that we can address the problem. As a temporary measure, place ortho wax over the loose end of the wire. Another aggravation is the rough metal on the inside of the lips and cheeks. Metal scratches skin. This leads to sore lips and gums. If a sharp edge is present, place a small amount of ortho wax over the metal brackets or wires to eliminate soreness on the lips or cheeks. This typically decreases over the first couple of weeks of wearing the braces.

Regarding Clear Aligners

Clear braces like Invisalign® have less of these issues since there are no sharp metal edges or wires. However, that doesn’t mean you are in the clear with regard to discomfort. If you are wearing Invisalign® aligners you may also experience minor discomfort at the initial delivery and each time you change aligners. Again, this is due to the new forces placed on your teeth. Discomfort fades in a few days.

Manage The Discomfort

When your braces hurt, take action. For either metal or Invisalign® braces, the discomfort can usually be managed with over the counted pain relievers like Tylenol and Motrin or aspirin. Additional steps can be taken to reduce the pain. Eat a soft diet during those few days. Apply ice packs to reduce the discomfort. Cold drinks help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. Likewise, cold foods do the same.

Most of all, be patient. While there can be some minor discomfort, remember that everyone in braces has had to deal with the same feeling.  In the end the minor discomfort is well worth the result.

dental braces icon

What Will Braces Cost In Louisville, Kentucky

Orthodontic treatment requires a fair investment. But, the return is life changing. Because of individual needs and variations in treatment it is difficult to say how much your personal cost will be. However, we will address some generalities about how much braces cost in the Louisville area. Additionally we will discuss what makes those costs vary. These generalities will apply if you live outside of this area, but the price information varies wildly from one area of the country to another. Braces Nationally range from $4,000 to $8,000, and as much as $10,000 or more for lingual braces.

**DISCLAIMER: The numbers discussed here reflect prices at the time of this writing, June 2017. It is difficult to say with any accuracy how much your treatment will cost without first having an orthodontic consultation at The Smile Anchorage.

Braces cost an average of $4,450 in the Louisville area. However, this information is a bit misleading. Because it includes treatments of different types and durations, the figure is skewed a bit. For example, the number includes Invisalign® Express and Invisalign® Lite cases, which have lower cost than full orthodontic cases.

Full, Light Or Express

First it is important to make a distinction between “full” orthodontic treatment and cases that are less involved. Full cases require a substantial treatment time. Conversely, less involved cases take considerably less time. For example, Invisalign® has several treatment options Invisalign® Full, Invisalign® Lite and Invisalign® Express. The Invisalign® Express is further broken down into Invisalign® Express 5 and Invisalign® Express 10. Each of these treatment require different amounts of time to complete. As such, they have varying costs associated with that treatment. The Invisalign® Full option is comparable to a normal, full metal orthodontic treatment. The time for treatment is typically more than a year to complete. Here in our office, comprehensive orthodontic treatment with traditional metal braces costs $5300, including initial orthodontic records, and retainers after finishing. This is comparable to an Invisalign® Full treatment. Braces cost less when the treatment is less involved. For example, the Invisalign Lite treatment fee is $4100 in our Louisville office. This includes the initial orthodontic records,
but does not include retainers.

Know What The Fee Covers

The fees associated with orthodontics at The Smile Anchorage include the initial records required for starting your case. The fee also includes the materials (brackets, wires, trays) that you use during treatment. Additionally, the fee includes the periodic visits that will be required throughout your treatment. Some of the fees include retainers that you will need after the braces are finished. Some fees do not include retainers. Make sure to consider this when comparing treatments.

Save $500 Now

An orthodontic consultation is always free at The Smile Anchorage. So, if you want to learn if braces are right for you, give us a call. If you are ready to get started with treatment right now, you can download this form and bring it to our office to receive $500 off orthodontic treatment**, excluding the Invisalign® Express options. Other Invisalign® options are eligible for the discount, including Invisalign® Lite, Invisalign® Teen, and Invisalign® Full.

** Excludes orthodontic appliances, retainers or certain short term orthodontics such as Invisalign® Express 5 or Invisalig® Express 10

Follow the button below to print your $500 savings.


Treatment Phase & Other Factors

Everything discussed here assumes that you are in need of phase one treatment only. Two phase treatment has additional fees due to the increased complexity and time requirements. Other treatment is not considered that may be needed before treatment can begin. For example, extractions to create space. Or, repairing existing active cavities.

The Biggest Hidden Cost

Regarding braces, the greatest hidden cost may be not getting them at the right time. Your age matters. Ask Dr. Ranney. A consequence of not having orthodontics as a teen caused his adult treatment to have an astonishing additional cost. Without insurance, he would have never been able to be treated. The entire cost to straighten his teeth was over $59,000.00! Treatment required surgery, as well as braces. Conversely, getting braces too young can be cause for a second round (two phase) treatment. Sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes waiting is the best option, saving you the extra expense.

Lesser Known Benefits Of Braces

Regarding braces, appearance is certainly one aspect of orthodontic treatment. But there is much more to be gained by having a straight and healthy smile. Actually there are many more advantages gained through orthodontics. Notably, improved overall health of the mouth and body is achieved. Misaligned or crooked teeth can be detrimental to your mouth.  Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and healthy.  Misalignment leads to tooth decay, bone loss, gum disease, problems with the ability to chew food, difficulties with speaking as well as other problems.

Chew Better

Teeth chew with greater ease when they are properly aligned. That is to say, teeth and jaws that are not in the correct position have a more difficult time biting and chewing. Teeth with poor alignment wear more often than well aligned teeth. Teeth need repair more often when they are not aligned and have damage from improper bite and poor chewing.

Nutrition & Digestion

Nutrition is important. Chewing is the first step in digestion and nutrition. Food is better prepared for the body when it is chewed well. Teeth grind food. If food isn’t ground enough, nutrients are not delivered as well during the digestive process. Food particles are better used when the teeth have properly prepared them for digestion.

Improved Speech

Poorly aligned teeth cause speech problems. For example, misaligned teeth can cause difficulty with sounds starting with the letter “f”. The tongue interferes with “s”, “t” and “d” sounds when teeth are out of place. One of the lesser known benefits of braces is that they can often correct this problem. So, call The Smile Anchorage and schedule a consultation.

Improved Health Of The Mouth

Teeth stay clean better when they are straight. That is, the natural shape of teeth when aligned helps keep them cleaner. Food is swept away better during brushing. Overlapped teeth trap food. Crooked teeth decrease brushing effectiveness. Both conditions lead to increased plaque build-up. Increased plaque causes more cavities. Plaque causes more gingivitis and gum disease in higher amounts. Hygiene is easier when teeth are straight.

Protect Teeth From Trauma

Protruding teeth are damaged more often. The protrusion of the teeth increases the risk of damage during sports or normal daily activities. Straight teeth are better protected during sports. Especially when they are also protected by a professionally made mouth guard.

Improved Self Confidence

Self esteem and self confidence are greater when you have a straight, white smile. According to a study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), 99.7% of all Americans believe that it is an important social asset to have a great smile. &4% believe that a bad smile can hurt your career. 96% believe that a great smile makes you more attractive. Whether or not these feelings are accurate, having a straight smile can certainly boost your self image.

Food With Braces – To Eat Or Not To Eat

One of the great benefits of Invisalign® clear aligners is that they allow you to remove them while eating. Your diet can remain virtually the same as it was before starting the treatment. Sticky foods should generally be avoided, but with great home hygiene care you can eat virtually anything you like. Most everything you read here does not apply to those who are wearing Invisalign® Clear Aligners.

In contrast, with traditional metal braces you will need to avoid foods that are hard or sticky as well as foods that are crunchy. Really sticky foods like taffy or caramels can stick to the brackets and help cause cavities. Crunchy and hard foods like carrots, nuts or candies can cause the brackets to come loose from the teeth or they can bend the arch wires, in turn causing the teeth to move in a direction that you don’t want.

Download this food list and put it on the ‘fridge until you get used to the things you can and cannot have.


Foods fall into one of several categories.

Hard Or Crunchy Foods

Eating hard or crunchy food with braces has the risk of bending wires or knocking a bracket loose from the tooth. Avoid these foods at all cost.
The risk is just too great that damage will occur to the braces.

  • Pizza Crust

  • Crunchy Taco Shells, Tortilla Chips

  • Pretzels

  • Sunflower, Pumpkin or Other Seeds

  • Nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, corn-nuts, etc)

  • Peanut M&Ms

  • Sweet Tarts

  • Cough Drops, Hard Candies, Butterscotch

  • Jawbreakers

  • Tootsie Pops, Suckers

  • Ice. Crunching ice is a no-no

  • Bagels or Other Hard Breads

  • Popcorn

  • Whole Carrots, Apples or Pears

  • Skittles, Runts or Nerds

  • Butterfinger Candy Bars

  • Snickers, Payday or Other Nut Containing Candy Bars

  • Candy Canes

  • Chocolate Candies With Nuts

  • Any Other Food With NUTS!

Apples and pears can be eaten if you first cut them into small pieces.

Sticky Or Chewy Foods

Sticky and chewy food with braces also carry a risk of bending or breaking wires or loosening brackets. Additionally, these foods carry an added risk of higher rates of cavities. Due to their stickiness they can remain on the teeth longer. As a result, cavities can occur.

  • Chewing Gum or Bubble Gum

  • Taffy, Starburst, Now-N-Later or other taffy-like candies

  • Gummy bears, worms, frogs, anything. Just say no to gummies!

  • Jelly Beans, Jelly Bellies

  • Sugar Daddies, Sugar Babies

  • Airheads (which are sort-of taffy)

  • Bit-O-Honey

  • Candy Apples or Caramel Apples

  • Caramels

  • Tootsie Roll, Frootsie Roll

  • Milk Duds

  • Licorice or Twizzlers

  • Rolo Candy

  • Chewy or tough cuts of meat

  • Meat on the bone

  • Beef Jerky

Foods That Stain

Avoid foods that stain teeth. Coffee stains teeth. Additionally, Tea stains teeth. Similarly, red wine stains teeth. Likewise, some berries and fruit juices stain teeth. These are to be avoided or used in moderation to avoid stains on the teeth.

Things You Just Shouldn’t Eat

The following items are not foods. Likewise you shouldn’t be chewing on them.

  • Fingernails

  • Toenails. Yes, we said toenails!

  • Pens, pencils, erasers, forks, toys

In conclusion, if it isn’t food, it isn’t for chewing.

Some Treats You Can Eat

We understand that on occasion you might want a treat. The following is a list that contains some candies
and other treats that can be consumed while wearing braces. Keep in mind, they should be consumed in moderation, as many if not most are still sugary and can cause dental decay.

  • Plain M&Ms (no nuts)

  • Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups (no nuts or candies)

  • Kit Kat Candy Bars

  • Plain Hershey’s Kisses (no nuts)

  • Plain Hershey’s Chocolate Bars (no nuts)

  • Peppermint Patties

  • Cream Filled Chocolates / Truffles

  • Cake

  • Fudge (no nuts)

  • Donuts (no nuts or sprinkles)

  • Pudding

  • Jello

  • Ice Cream or Milkshakes

  • Cheesecake

Just Had An Adjustment? Try These Soft Foods

After you have new wires or other adjustments made to your braces, you may have some discomfort or tenderness in your teeth for a day or two. During this time you may want to choose a soft diet while your teeth get used to the changes. Foods to consider are:

  • Mashed Potatoes

  • Scrambled Eggs

  • Soup

  • Oatmeal

  • Cottage Cheese

  • Yogurt

  • Meatloaf or Meatballs

  • Pasta or Mac-N-Cheese

  • Ramen Noodles

  • Bananas

  • Fruit or Vegetable Juice

  • Well Cooked or Steamed Vegetables

  • Apple Sauce

  • Pudding

  • Ice Cream or Milkshakes

  • Smoothies

  • Cheesecake

  • Jello

Print The Food With Braces List

Download this food list and put it on the ‘fridge until you get used to the things you can and cannot have.


Time For Braces To Work

Sooner or later everyone wants to know how long their orthodontic treatment is going to take. In order to determine how long treatment will last, we must look at several factors. First, your age matters. Younger patients generally have shorter treatment times than older patients. Secondly, the difficulty of your case matters. Teeth that need more correction require more time to finish. Additionally, treatment times can be longer or shorter depending on the type of braces you select. Difficult cases might require more traditional treatment (metal braces) and longer treatment times. Lastly, your body influences the treatment time. Your hormones, bone density, metabolism and other factors can change how long it takes to complete your treatment. You are different than your friend, so don’t assume you will have similar experiences just because you have similar problems.

Average Time For Treatment With Braces

While a definitive answer to treatment time for braces can’t be given here, there are typical averages. In general, braces take about one and a half to two years. If the problems are more difficult, it isn’t uncommon to see treatment last three years. Very simple cases might only require six months to one year. Again, the answer is specific to each case. For this reason, an orthodontic consult in our office is a good idea.

It Goes By Faster Than You Would Think

In conclusion, the treatment time for braces for any individual is going to vary quite a bit.  While some people may only be in braces for just a few months, some will require treatment that lasts three years or more.  Much of this depends on the starting condition of the teeth, and if there is a need for two-stage treatment.  With an Invisalign®treatment plan you will have an estimate of the number of aligners needed to complete your treatment. However, there can often be changes needed during the course of treatment that can change the overall time frame. An average treatment time for orthodontics, in general, is about 24 months. But don’t assume your case will be average.

Retainer, Braces Or Appliances: Which Is Right For Me?

People ask why they need braces instead of a retainer. In the first place, it is important to understand that a retainer and braces are not the same thing. Braces move teeth. A retainer holds teeth in place after they have been moved. They hold or “retain” the teeth from moving back to their original position after braces have been removed. Retainers can be used to close a small gap or slightly move a single tooth. But, unless the problem with your teeth is very minor a retainer just isn’t enough. Braces are needed if any significant movement is needed.

An appliance looks like a retainer. People confuse the two because they look so similar. Appliances differ from retainers in that they have moving parts. Appliances may have screws, springs or other extras that you don’t find in a retainer. These are used to correct problems such as a narrow arch, a crossbite, inadequate space for teeth and other issues. Retainers do not do this, they simply hold things in place.

Appliances differ from braces in that they do not straighten teeth in the same way that orthodontic braces do. Some straightening may occur from wearing one, but it is incidental to the movement they are performing. Teeth appear straighter because they have adequate room, for example.

Confusion comes from Invisalign® clear aligners and clear and essix type retainers. The reason for this is due to the similar appearance. Both look like a clear tray that fits over the teeth. Differences in the plastic material and the lack of attachments or other tools for moving teeth are the simple differences. But, it is easy to see how the two can be confused.

Orthodontic Visits

While each person’s case is individualized, some generalizations can be made. Once your braces have been attached to your teeth, you will typically return for an office visit every four to six weeks.  These orthodontic visits will typically be relatively short in duration. Patients who are in Invisalign® treatment are given trays that are changed once every two weeks.  Initially the doctor may wish to see you more frequently in the early part of the treatment. But after that you can probably assume that you will need to be seen about every six weeks.

Time Commitment

Regarding appointments, the time involved is usually limited. Initially your visit will take extra time for placing brackets or attachment. As a result of these added steps, your first visit might last 1 1/2 to 2 hours. But after the first visit, most appointments are short, and under 30 minutes. Granted there can be appointments mid treatment that have added steps and the appointment can take longer, in general most orthodontic visits are short.

Regular Dental Visits

While you are in braces, it is still important to have your regular dental visits. First of all you are more likely to have plaque and tarter build up on your teeth while wearing braces. Due to this, regular cleanings are very important. Secondly, your teeth are not the only thing being observed during routine dental exams. Dentists are checking your gums, cheeks, lips and other tissue to be sure your overall health is good. Additionally, extra care for your teeth is beneficial, such as fluoride treatments to protect your enamel while in braces.

The Right Age For Braces

The proper age for braces is a difficult question to answer. Due to differences in any individual case, the answer can be vastly different. As a result of these differences, the only good answer is to have an orthodontic evaluation. The American Association of Orthodontists makes the recommendation that children should get an orthodontic check at or before age seven. Depending on the problem that needs correction, early interceptive orthodontics might be appropriate. Conversely, some conditions might be cause to wait until much later. Either way, a consult would be in order to determine the individual needs and the right age for braces.

There are a number of problems that are better treated while children are still growing. Above all this is because the bones of the head and face will begin to fuse together, inhibiting certain treatments.  Due to that fact, getting an early check could mean the prevention of more serious and costly treatment if done at a later age.  Just ask Doctor Ranney.  He did not receive orthodontic treatment until his late thirties. Because of this his treatment required a surgical process that took several months and had an extreme financial cost.  In contrast, these expenses and difficult procedures could have been prevented if he had orthodontic treatment while he was a child. Overbites, underbites, crossbites and other problems are often repairable in a much better way when young.  This could involve just braces, or it could involve two-stage treatment of appliance therapy followed by braces.

One Phase Or Two Phase Treatment

When early orthodontic treatment is indicated, it is often a two phase treatment. What is two phase treatment? This means that some orthodontic work will be done early, and usually there will be a second stage where more orthodontic treatment is done later. Often this phase one treatment is to prepare the teeth or arches for the future work of straightening teeth. For example, the upper arch of teeth may be too narrow. For this reason an expanding appliance might be needed to make the arch wider, the first phase. Once the arch is widened, then braces can be placed to straighten the teeth, the second phase. One phase treatment alone can often be enough to treat the problems observed. Most patients do not need two phase treatment. When this is the case, treatment times are usually not as lengthy. In conclusion, the goal of phase one treatment is to make room for the adult teeth, improve the fit of the upper and lower jaws. While the goal of phase one is preparation, the goal of phase two is proper positioning of the teeth for good function and appearance.

Adult Braces

Increasing numbers of adults are improving their smile through orthodontics. As many as 25% or more of new orthodontic cases today are adult patients.  With options like Invisalign® patients are able to get the benefits of orthodontic treatment without the brackets and wires of traditional braces. Adults are getting the straight smiles that they always wanted as a child, but were not able to have at the time.

Adult vs. Childhood Braces

Concerning braces, it is typically best to have orthodontic work done as a child. Even though that is true, adult braces are still highly effective treatments in many cases. There are some differences between orthodontics as a child compared to an adult. First of all, the speed at which teeth move in children is much faster than in adults. This is because the bones that surround the teeth are still “active” in children. Adult bones are no longer in that growing state. As a result, the movement of adult teeth can take longer. Secondly, adult braces can be affected by other conditions of the gums and underlying bone. Active periodonatal disease can be problematic. Adults sometimes have insufficient bone between the tooth roots. Thirdly, adults may have had teeth removed in the past. Spaces left by extracted teeth can be a troublesome place to move teeth. It may be necessary to maintain a space and restore the area with something after the braces are finished. Under those circumstances, a dental implant or bridge might be advantageous. As a result of these factors, adults can have a bigger challenge than children typically have.

Options For Adult Braces

Most adult orthodontic patients are interested in non-traditional braces. In particular they seek out technologies like Invisalign® clear Aligners. These hold many advantages that adults appreciate. Traditional metal braces are also an option for adults.  If the appearance of metal braces doesn’t bother you, then traditional braces can be a great treatment option for you.  Call The Smile Anchorage and schedule an orthodontic consult now. Other options include lingual braces or ceramic (tooth colored) braces.

Age Is Just A Number

In conclusion, you are likely not “too old” to have adult braces. Provided that you have a healthy mouth, or we can reach a healthy state, adult braces are likely a reality for most people. That being the case, perhaps an orthodontic consult is in order. Let our office examine your current condition, and make suggestions about your possible options for correcting your smile.

Spaces Can Be Closed Or Maintained While In Braces

A missing tooth or number of teeth in your smile can be managed while in braces. Small spaces may be closed, releasing the need for further treatment after braces. Larger spaces can be maintained during treatment. Leaving the space allows for further treatment when the orthodontics are done. this could mean the placement of an implant, or a dental bridge.

The closing or maintaining of space can also be done while using clear aligners. Invisalign® clear aligners are offered at The Smile Anchorage.
When treatment planning for your clear aligners, we tell the manufacturer to either close or maintain those spaces. Over the course of treatment the aligners are designed to do one of those things. It’s quite simple to program into your treatment.

Orthodontic Spacer Or Bands

Spacers or bands (or also called separators) are small rubber or metal rings that are placed between your teeth. Typically, this is done a few days before you get orthodontic bands placed on your teeth. These small bands are placed in order to make a small amount of room that will allow the bands to fit between your back teeth.

The spacers are usually made from elastic rubber. Sometimes they are made from metal. They are placed between the teeth usually with a piece of floss to pull them between the adjacent teeth. If the teeth are very close together, the elastic is stretched to make them thinner. Then they are more easily placed between the teeth.

A few days before your orthodontic bands are to be placed on your teeth, you will come in for a visit and the separators will be put between your teeth. While they are being placed, it might feel like a little pressure between your teeth. Once in place, it may feel like food is stuck between your teeth. After about four or six hours, some mild discomfort may begin. This dull ache will last for a couple of days, getting a bit less intense each day.

The pain is usually easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication.

If a spacer is lost, call our office so that it can be replaced.

Wearing Your Retainer Is Crucial

“You only have to wear your retainer for as long as you want your teeth to be straight”. That was the advice given to Dr. Ranney by his own orthodontist after his braces came off. That’s also what was taught during his orthodontic courses.

Your teeth would likely not return to their original position right away after getting your braces off. In fact, it could take many years before they returned to a state of being mis-aligned. But you can be assured that they will likely shift and move if you do not wear your retainer. If this happens, you will probably be looking at another round of orthodontics. That treatment could take as long as the original treatment, or even longer!

When finished with your orthodontic treatment, you may need to wear a retainer at all times. This could be for a period following the end of treatment lasting as long as a year or more.  At all times means any time during the day or night when you are not eating or brushing your teeth.  Once you are told by the doctor, you may be able to wear your retainers only at night when you sleep.  In some cases, a retainer must be worn at all times for the remainder of your life. Again, this is if you wish for the teeth to remain straight.

The reason for wearing them at all times immediately following treatment is that the teeth will need to “settle” into their place.  It will take some time for the bones around the teeth to stop reacting to the forces that were placed on them during treatment. When orthodontics are in place, your bones are in a state of remodeling.  It can take some time for the bone to change and become “solid” again.

When To Adjust Your Appliance Screws

The number of days between adjustments can vary greatly. Depending upon your treatment needs, the time between turns could be very different than someone with a different plan. Some patients may need to turn their screws once every day. Some might not need to turn ore than once every week.

Have you lost the key that is used to make adjustments to your appliance screws? If you have, don’t try to use other objects to make changes. We can get a new key for you to use for those adjustment screws.

Making changes to your adjustment screws is quite easy, and can be done from home. For small children, we suggest that a parent be in charge of making changes. Most teenage patients are able to make the adjustments themselves. But, parents should also monitor that patients are not forgetting to make their scheduled adjustments.

Appliances can often have more than one screw. Each screw could be changed on the same day as the others. Or, the screws could be changed at different rates. If you forget which screw is to be changed on which day, get in touch with us and we can check your records for accurate schedule information.

The doctor may change the rate at which you make adjustments. DO NOT make changes to your treatment schedule unless directed to do so by the doctor.

If you have missed an adjustment, just get back on schedule. DO NOT double up the adjustments to make up for missed changes.

In conclusion, each person will have an individualized treatment plan and prescription. When it is time to make changes to your appliance will vary based on that prescription.

Have you forgotten when to make your adjustments? If you have forgotten what the doctor told you about turning your appliance screws, please call The Smile Anchorage at (502) 243-9200 and we will look up your prescription in our records.

Dental Insurance Coverage

People often ask us if their dental insurance coverage will take care of the costs associated with any given procedure. This is a question that is difficult to answer through our website.

There are a tremendous number of insurance companies. Each of those companies may have several different policy options. There are also other considerations, such as co-pays and deductibles. Those can vary from person to person depending on their insurance policy.

Sometimes it occurs that you have dental insurance coverage, but there are time-frame restrictions to consider. For example, you may have insurance that pays for a dental cleaning every six months. That would mean your insurance would not cover your cleaning if you visited the office five and a half months after your last dental cleaning. You would have to wait two weeks before your benefits would be active.

Another situation that could occur would be exceeding a yearly maximum. For example, if you had coverage that pays for a crown, but you had a $1500 yearly insurance maximum. If you had already had some treatment that the insurance paid for in the amount of $1400 your remaining insurance is just $100. You would have just that $100 remaining that the insurance would pay, unless you wait until your insurance reset for a new year. That time reset could be on a calendar basis, or a policy basis.

Another factor that could weigh on payments made by insurance is that of pre-determination. For example, let’s assume you have coverage for a crown. You have a tooth where you dislike the appearance. We determine that a crown is the best way to solve the problem. Your insurance may consider the procedure to be cosmetic in nature, and your policy may have an exclusion for cosmetic work done to your teeth. In these situations, we can submit your claim to your insurance provider before the work is done in order to determine if the proposed work would be covered bu your policy.

All of these factors are person specific.

In conclusion, the answer to the question of whether or not your insurance covers a specific treatment is “maybe”. So , if you would like to know if your insurance covers a specific treatment, call our office at (502)243-9200. Or, take a short drive to our office in East Louisville and one of our insurance specialists will help you understand your policy coverage.

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A straighter smile is within your reach. Contact The Smile Anchorage for a free orthodontic consultation.


(502) 243-9200