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American Association of Orthodontists


At CFSS Braces, what we see as creating the best orthodontic treatment experience for our patients is more than just providing superior treatment and care, but also ensuring that our patients are comfortable whenever they come into any of our local offices in Fayetteville, Fulton, or Syracuse, NY. To foster that feeling of comfort, a key component to our treatment approach is maintaining a friendly relationship between our team and our patients and encouraging open communication. When you tell us exactly what you want and expect from your orthodontic care, we can craft the perfect, personalized treatment plan for you, and when you feel comfortable enough to ask us any questions that you have about your care, we can ensure that you always have a clear understanding of why we do what we do.

For all of our new patients, existing patients, or potential future patients, we’ve put together this list of answers for some of the most frequently asked questions that we get here at CFSS Braces, so you can get the information you need to know about your orthodontic care. Browse the list of questions below and click on any of them to be taken right to the answer!

1. What's An Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a professional dentist that has gone through additional schooling and training after completing dental school in order to specialize in the diagnosis and correction of misaligned teeth and jaws. Through all of that extra education and hands-on experience, an orthodontist is equipped with a more advanced set of tools, skills, and techniques compared to your typical dentist, helping them create the perfect smile with treatments like braces and Invisalign more effectively and reliably.

2. How Is An Orthodontist Different From A General Dentist?

While it takes a professional dentist a total of eight years to complete both their undergraduate degree and complete medical school, an orthodontist adds another three years of schooling and training on top of that for a total of eleven years. With this additional training and education, orthodontists become specialists in the process of straightening teeth and correcting misaligned jaws. While some dentists may offer orthodontic treatment, orthodontists are much more effective and reliable thanks to all of those extra years of practice.

3. What's A Board Certified Diplomate?

A board certified diplomate is an orthodontist who has been recognized by the American Board of Orthodontics as a professional who continuously pursues proficiency and excellence in their craft. Only a small percentage of practicing orthodontists in the United States are board certified, and we are proud to say that CFSS Braces own Dr. Flanagan and Dr. Stock have both achieved this honor. They earned this designation as a result of a voluntary process that lets the ABO extensively review an orthodontist's education and provide an intensive assessment of their clinical expertise.

4. Do I Need A Referral To Make An Orthodontic Appointment?

No! You can make an appointment at any of our three local offices in Fayetteville, Fulton, or Syracuse, NY without a referral from your dentist. That means you don’t need to wait to your next dentist appointment to ask for a referral, and you can take the task of getting that new smile you want into your own hands.

5. When Should My Child Have Their First Visit?

It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that parents take their kids in for an initial check up with an orthodontist around age seven. At this age, your child’s oral development will just be starting to enter the critical phase where their adult teeth begin to come in. Often times, orthodontic treatment will not start right away, and instead our doctors will simply examine and carefully monitor your child’s oral development to identify any potential issues and create a treatment plan for the future.

6. Won't My Teeth Get Better Naturally Over Time?

No. While your teeth may have naturally developed to be crooked or misaligned, they will not eventually fix themselves. Instead, smiles that are severely misaligned have a tendency to get even worse over time, which will negatively impact your overall oral health and put you at greater risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and much more.

7. How Do I Schedule A First Examination?

All it takes to make your first visit with us at CFSS Braces is contacting us at any of our three office locations. Once you’re connected with a member of our staff, let them know that you’re interested in scheduling a new patient appointment and we’ll take it from there. We do request that you have your dental insurance information on hand for the call, since it will let us file a pre-approval plan and provide you with a more accurate, estimated cost for your treatment.

8. What Will Happen During My First Visit?

Think of your first visit as the discovery phase of your orthodontic treatment. After we show you around the office and introduce you to our team, we’ll start out by taking various scans and pictures of your smile, followed by a thorough orthodontic examination. With the images and results from the exam, your doctor will be able to get a clear understanding of the current state of your smile, and start to formulate the ideal treatment plan for you. The doctor will then sit down with you and discuss your recommended treatment options, taking the time to answer any questions that you may have. From there, it’s up to you whether you want to proceed with treatment, and if you do, we’ll schedule your next visit with us!

9. What Will I Learn At My First Visit?

The main questions that we aim to answer for you at your first visit are:

  • Is there a problem? What is it?
  • How can we fix the problem?
  • Do we need to extract any teeth?
  • How long will my treatment last?
  • How much will all of it cost?

10. How Long Does Treatment Take?

Since every smile is different, orthodontic treatment times will vary on a patient-to-patient basis, however the typical time frame can range from 12 to 30 months, or 22 months on average. While it may seem like a long time, we promise that having a new, perfect, radiant smile is worth the wait!

11. How Much Will Everything Cost? Are There Financing Options? What About Insurance?

While we will do our best to provide you with an estimated cost before your first visit if you request one, we don’t know the actual cost until we complete a full examination. Once we have the true cost of your treatment, we will go over all of your financing options, insurance coverage, and all other financial information with you before you get started with your treatment.

12. How Often Do I Need Appointments?

While appointment frequency will vary for every patient depending on the type of treatment that they are going through, most patients will come in for a check up with their orthodontist every six to ten weeks.

13. Can All My Appointments Take Place Outside School Hours?

We will always do our best to accommodate any scheduling need that you have, however, we do have many patients that are also working with limited time for their own appointments. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that all of your appointment can be outside of school hours, but since visits are so infrequent, most patients will miss only a few days of school at most. Also, most schools will also recognize orthodontic visits as excused absences, so missing a day won’t cause too much of an impact.

14. What If I Need To Cancel An Appointment?

We understand that unforeseen circumstances can arise, so if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, just call us as soon as possible to let us know. Giving us at least 24 hours notice is ideal, since it will allow us to adjust our own schedule to both accommodate other patients, and find the perfect time for your rescheduled visit.

15. Are Braces Painful?

Most patients going through orthodontic treatment with braces don’t feel anything more than some minor discomfort during the first few days after getting their braces. This discomfort is caused by the small amount of pressure that the braces are applying to the teeth, but you will quickly adjust to it and that discomfort will fade away. During those few days, you can also take over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol and you won’t feel a thing.

16. Can I Go Back To School The Same Day I Get Braces?

Absolutely! Getting your braces put on is a simple process, so returning to school after your appointment is not a problem. The same goes for any follow up appointment and checks ins with the orthodontist.

17. Will I Need Shots?

No. There are no shots of any kind that are needed when getting an orthodontic appliance.

18. Can I Still Participate In Sports?

Yes you can! However, since contact in sports that is both incidental or on purpose poses a risk to your braces, we highly recommend wearing a special orthodontic mouth guard that will protect your braces and the rest of your mouth.

19. Do I Still Need Dental Appointments During Treatment?

Visiting your dentist regularly is extremely important when you’re going through orthodontic treatment. Your dentist will help you maintain good oral health to ensure that the smile you see when you finish with braces or Invisalign is perfect instead of riddled with tooth decay and cavities.

20. Are There Foods I Should Avoid?

Foods that are sticky or hard can cause damage to your braces, from bending a wire to snapping a bracket right off of your tooth! For a complete guide on what foods you should avoid, just ask your orthodontist or any of our team members here at CFSS Braces.

21. How Frequently Do I Need To Brush My Teeth With Braces?

With braces, it's easier for food particles and bacteria to become trapped between the brackets and your teeth, so to ensure that your smile is perfectly clean, you should be brushing your teeth at least four times every day. We recommend brushing after each meal and once more before bed, which should be enough to clear away any food particles that may have become stuck. Your orthodontist will provide you with detailed instructions on brushing and flossing with braces.

22. What If I Have An Emergency?

Orthodontic emergencies are rare, but if you think you have an emergency, don’t hesitate to contact us immediately. Our team will be able to guide you through the situation and schedule an appointment as soon as possible if necessary.

23. Can You Treat Children With Baby Teeth?

While treatments like braces or Invisalign are typically started later during a child’s teenage years, there are some orthodontic problems that develop very early on during a child’s oral development that can be treated with what is called “phase one” treatment. If you bring your kids in for an appointment around age seven, we can determine if they will possibly need early orthodontic treatment.

24. How Does Phase One (Early) Treatment Work?

Certain orthodontic issues like misalignment of the jaw or a lack of adequate jaw space for healthy tooth development can be fixed with early orthodontic treatment. This treatment will typically occur between the ages seven and ten, lasting around 12-21 months.

25. Do Children Need Braces Again After Phase One Treatment?

Braces are typically categorized as phase two treatment, which naturally follows phase one treatment. One positive is that treatment time in braces may be shorter for kids who went through phase one treatment.

26. Are Palatal Expanders Necessary?

Palatal expanders are a form of phase one early orthodontic treatment, and are only necessary to treat orthodontic problems in the initial stages of oral development. We will determine if a palatal expander is necessary during the first appointment for your child.

27. Can I Still Get Braces As An Adult?

Absolutely! It’s never too late to get a perfect smile. Across all three of our local CFSS braces offices, more than 25% of our patients are adults. Our adult patients also have a variety of treatment options to choose from, so they can find the perfect appliance that meets the needs of their adult life.

28. What If I Have Crowns Or Missing Teeth?

Tooth restorations like crowns or implants are not a problem, since they will move with the braces just like your natural teeth do. If you have missing teeth, your orthodontist will typically use something called a spacer to fill that gap so that your teeth can still move into their new positions without drifting into that open area of your gums.

29. Why Do I Need An Orthodontic Specialist?

When you go through orthodontic treatment, you are making permanent, irreversible changes to your teeth and your overall facial structure, and trust us when we say that you want to get it perfect on the first try. To ensure that you get your perfect smile, you need to go to a professional that can reliably provide the best results, and the only person you’re going to get that from is a trained, board certified orthodontist like our doctors here at CFSS braces.

Contact Your Fayetteville, Ny Orthodontic Specialists

If you didn’t find the answers to your questions on this list, just contact us to connect with a member of our staff who will be more than happy to provide you with the information you’re looking for. CFSS Braces has helped countless patients from all over Fayetteville, Fulton, or Syracuse, NY achieve perfect smiles that will last a lifetime, so if you’re ready to get your new smile, schedule your appointment with us today at any of our three local office locations! You can even fill out our simple online appointment request form right here on our website to schedule your visit! We look forward meeting you, and show you why our practice is known for providing only the best in orthodontic care!

CFS Braces

Hear What Our Patients Are Saying

Love my braces. I was really surprised how quickly my teeth moved. I also like the color selection, it makes the entire time much more fun. I could tell Dr. Callahan cared about my future and that means a lot. you guys are great Thank you. : )

Great child friendly environment. The staff is wonderful and very helpful. State of the art equipment and knowledgeable. The office strives to make our child comfortable and the experience Is excellent.

My brother and I have both gone to CFSS and we both have had only great experiences, I actually like going to the orthodontist! They treat their patients so well.

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