About Braces

What is orthodontics and what does an orthodontist do?

An orthodontist is a dentist that specializes in guidance and correction of dentofacial structures including treatments with braces, retainers, invisalign, and clear braces. Orthodontics is this doctor’s practice. Both regular dental and orthodontic checkups are essential in keeping a healthy, clean, and attractive smile and mouth.

In the State of Michigan, in order to be an orthodontist, a dentist must complete two or more years of specialized study in addition to the four years of graduate school in order to become a dentist. In addition to meeting these state qualifications, Dr. Souers is a diplomat of the prestigious American Board of Orthodontics.

When should I visit the orthodontist?

It is hard to determine the best age for a child to visit because some may not need treatment until permanent teeth are grown-in near the ages of 10, 11, or 12, while others may need other minor adjustments earlier on. Our recommendation is to make a first appointment where we can perform a comprehensive exam and determine if and when you child should return. Your first appointment at either our Kalamazoo or Three Rivers orthodontist offices is always complimentary. Asking your regular dentist for their opinion is another option.

What can I expect on my first visit?

During your first visit with Dr. Souers, you will receive an x-ray and comprehensive examination to determine the next steps in your unique treatment plan. The free initial visit allows us to get to know you and your teeth while you are able to ask any questions and meet both Dr. Souers and our staff. Should we recommend treatment, we will determine costs and help you come up with a payment plan that is right for you. It is our goal to never let financial situations get in the way of treatment.

Do I need braces?

Although we can only really determine if you need braces after a comprehensive exam and taking x-rays and meeting with you (initial consultation is free at our Kalamazoo and Three Rivers Orthodontist offices), some indications that you may be a good candidate for braces include improper alignment in your teeth, crooked teeth, irregular spacing between teeth, overbites, and underbites Braces improve the attractiveness of a smile in both children and adults, but they also correct improper alignment of teeth. Improper alignment may lead to gum disease and earlthy tooth loss. Crooked teeth make cleaning harder and cavities easier to develop. If you have misaligned teeth, getting braces may make it easier to eat and get rid of headaches and pain caused by uneven chewing.

What will my braces look like?

Braces are more comfortable and less noticeable than ever before. In addition to traditional braces, we also offer options for clear braces and Invisalign which are far less noticeable. Feel free to ask us any questions if you’re not sure which option is the best for you.

How will braces straighten my teeth?

Braces apply gentle pressure that over time will move your teeth in the intended direction. Brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth and attached to arch wires which connect them and act as tracks to guide the movement of the teeth. As pressure is applied, the tooth loosens slightly and the bone grows in to support the tooth’s new position.

Do braces hurt?

There is no reason to be afraid of getting braces for fear of pain. There have been many advances which make wearing braces more comfortable for patients, including smaller and smoother brackets and gentler wires. There can be some discomfort the first couple of days after adjustments, but this quickly fades. Over-the-counter pain relievers are safe to take in case you do experience pain.

Will braces affect playing sports?

Only minimally. You can still continue with any of your sports and activities, but we recommend wearing a mouth guard if there is any chance that you could get hit in the face during play.

Do I really need to wear a retainer after I get my braces off?

Only if you don’t want to keep your straight teeth! Wearing your retainers as instructed is crucial in keeping your teeth straight. Even though you’re likely very excited to finally be free from the restraint of braces, it is particularly important to wear your retainer right after your braces are removed to keep the teeth stabilized.

How long will I have to wear braces?

Treatment length is different for every person, but a typical treatment plan lasts 18 to 30 months. Should you miss appointments or not take care of your braces as instructed, it could add time to your treatment.

How much do braces costs?

The cost will vary with each patient as it is determined by the complexity of the treatment, the age of the patient, the appliances used, and the length of treatment. We offer a complimentary initial consultation in which we will perform a comprehensive exam, take x-rays, and discuss options with you regarding treatment and cost. We accept most insurance and offer a variety of payment plans, which you can read more about on our Financial page.

How does insurance work?

Please give us a call at either of our locations in Kalamazoo or Three Rivers, Michigan to determine what is covered with us under your insurance plan. We do accept most plans, but it is best to check it out first. Please bring your insurance card and information to your initial consultation to help us determine costs.