Frequently Asked Questions

An Orthodontist is a dental specialist that went through 2-3 years of additional training after dental school to receive a speciality license. Orthodontists focus on diagnosing and treating problems related to the position of the teeth and the jaws and how the teeth come together (known at the occlusion or the “bite”). They focus on how these varying positions affect the overall health of the teeth, smile, and facial esthetics of each individual patient.
Invisalign is a tool, like braces, that is used to correct orthodontic problems like those described above. However, because Invisalign is a newer technology than braces and requires a slightly different approach, not everyone can achieve the same results when using this tool. Think of it as a paintbrush. A paintbrush in the hands of Picasso or da Vinci will produce a very different painting than in our hands right? Invisalign is the same. Invisalign in the hands of someone trained to use this tool to its fullest potential will result in a very different outcome than someone who does not. Dr. Ricci has treated thousands of patients with Invisalign and will treat even the hardest cases with Invisalign clear aligners.
Teeth are “alive”. They have nerves inside of them and around them and are connected to the bone via a periodontal ligament. There is gingival tissue and gingival fibers surrounding each tooth. When moving teeth, it is imperative to take into account tooth and bone biology to make sure the end result is one that is healthy and stable long-term. The same way you wouldn’t perform heart surgery at home, you don’t want to risk performing orthodontic treatment outside the care of an orthodontic specialist.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children first be seen by an orthodontist at age 7. Scientific research shows that certain tooth or bite issues should be corrected between the ages of 7-9. Therefore, for some children, a first phase of orthodontic treatment may be indicated. The objectives of this first phase of treatment are many times different than that of comprehensive treatment that occurs around the age of 11 or 12. For more information about early/interceptive treatment, visit Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment | American Association of Orthodontists (aaoinfo.org).

If a first phase of treatment is not indicated, Dr. Ricci will continue to monitor the patient’s growth and development with complimentary radiographs and clinical exams as needed.

Dr. Ricci specializes in using Invisalign to treat patients of all ages, including kids. If orthodontic treatment is indicated for a child or teenager, Dr. Ricci will discuss the pros and cons of using clear aligners verses braces. Dr. Ricci finds that adolescents are in fact some of  her BEST Invisalign patients, even better than adults. Kids and teens are constantly surprising their parents when it comes to how well they do with the aligners. And the best part, they can clean their teeth more easily, eat whatever they want, and miss less school! Wins all around!

Orthodontic treatment has long been seen as a cosmetic treatment, but it is way more than that. Though of course there are major esthetic benefits to perfecting your smile, there are also very important health benefits to getting your teeth and bite in the correct position for improved dental health and proper function. You only get one set of adult teeth– let’s make sure we protect them not only so you can smile proudly at your grandson’s graduation, but so you can chew that steak at your granddaughter’s wedding. On a more serious note, malocclusion (an improper bite) can contribute to jaw pain, attrition (or wear) of the teeth, localized bone loss, ineffective hygiene, and much more. At Ricci Orthodontic Studio, we believe a HEALTHY smile is a beautiful smile.
We strive to make the financial aspect of treatment the easiest part of receiving care at our office. Our goal is to present you with a detailed treatment plan outlining all health related indications for treatment as well as the specific objectives we plan to achieve to give you the best overall care. Once Dr. Ricci gives you her professional recommendation, we will present the cost of your individualized treatment plan and go over different payment options. We understand that where you choose to spend your money is a choice only you can make, and we only hope you will see the value in the care we can provide you. Dr. Ricci treats every single person like she would her own family, and her goal is to educate each and every patient on the benefits of comprehensive orthodontic treatment as well as the risks of no treatment. This can range from simply needing a new retainer to avoid the tooth movement that happens with age, to more complex cases requiring surgery. Regardless of your case, we are here to be completely transparent and answer any questions you may have along the way.

We work closely with many insurance companies and offer a complimentary benefits check at any time to make sure you maximize your orthodontic benefits. However, we are also happy to say that we offer in-house financing at zero interest with no credit checks. Because again, we don’t want anything standing in the way between you and the smile you deserve.

If your insurance covers orthodontic treatment, it doesn’t matter whether you choose Invisalign or braces because these are both just different tools we use to get to the same result. We work closely with many insurance companies, and offer a complimentary benefits check at any time to make sure you maximize your orthodontic benefits.

Each case will be individually evaluated to determine the best course of treatment. Dr. Ricci doesn’t take extracting teeth lightly, therefore she will only recommend extractions if they are necessary for the health and function of all of your teeth as a whole and overall bite. If your teeth are severely crowded or you have impacted teeth that are “stuck” up in bone, extractions may be indicated, but a thorough evaluation is still needed to make this decision. In the case of younger patients, extractions of certain primary teeth may be indicated in order to biologically signal adult teeth to redirect and hopefully avoid impaction or extractions of permanent teeth later on. This is why we offer a complimentary consultation for all patients and recommend we see patients by the age of 7.

This will vary depending on what stage of treatment you are in, what tool we are using, and what needs to be done. When in active treatment, this will typically range between 4 weeks and 12 weeks.
This is different for every patient, but generally active treatment (time spent in appliances) ranges from 6 months to 30 months. The average case will typically take about 18-22 months. Moving teeth is a process, and a case that looks simple may require more time and vice versa. Therefore, we recommend coming in for a complimentary consultation to let Dr. Ricci walk you through your individual orthodontic needs.
Having braces put on is generally painless. We like to say it is like putting stickers on your teeth, but in a very specific way. Some people will experience minor aches and pains during the first few days after braces are put on and at subsequent adjustment appointments when they are “tightened”. This is just because your teeth (which are alive and active) are moving into a new position. Over the counter pain relievers can be used as needed to minimize discomfort, but are usually unnecessary.
Simply put, absolutely! Regardless, we recommend you wear a mouthguard for your sport activities when indicated. Because your teeth are moving during active treatment, you may need a more generic vs moldable mouthguard. For musicians, we find that they can generally play their instruments just as they did before with a short adjustment period. In both of these cases, Dr. Ricci will typically recommend Invisalign because it allows for more flexibility and comfort. Like always, Dr. Ricci will explain her recommendation after a thorough evaluation.
If you choose braces, you will have to avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy. A misconception is that you just have to avoid things like candy or popcorn, but keep in mind this includes even healthy foods such as nuts or certain granola bars, for example. If you choose Invisalign, you can technically eat whatever you want because you take them out to eat. This is definitely one of the major perks of treatment with Invisalign.
Absolutely. Wearing a retainer is the only way to guarantee your teeth do not shift. Especially in the first 6 months following treatment, teeth can shift rapidly even after forgetting to wear your retainer one or two nights. This is different for every individual; therefore, the only way to guarantee we protect that beautiful smile we all (especially you!) worked so hard to achieve is to wear a retainer every night.

Our short answer would be, “nighttime for a lifetime”, or for as long as you want to guarantee your teeth don’t move. However, there is more to it. What Dr. Ricci likes for her patients to understand is that people’s teeth move with age regardless of whether that person had treatment or not. And they move regardless of wisdom teeth. It is a phenomenon that hasn’t been fully explained, but the mandibular (lower jaw) arch width decreases with age, which is what leads to lower crowding in so many adults. Therefore, though you can start to wean yourself from wearing your retainers every night after the first year of treatment (when the root cause of movement is relapse), you need to technically wear them enough to make sure your arch width is maintained throughout your life.This looks different for everyone and Dr. Ricci is happy to discuss further details because this is something she is passionate about. She wants to make sure you secure the investment you made in your smile for the rest of your life!

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