How much do braces cost?

No doubt about it. Braces are expensive. There are few words that can be said by an orthodontist that can cause as much anxiety as the word braces.

The cost of braces can vary significantly depending on what types of treatment is selected for yourself or your child. Many adults that are returning to get to braces opt for invisible behind the teeth braces like 3M’s incognito product or clear ones like the ones offered by Damon systems. Another popular alternative is invisalign.

There are a number of factors that go into the cost of braces, especially in a city like New York where you have orthodontists working in all different types of neighbor. When you first begin to research braces, be sure to arrange for several free consultations with your various New York Orthodontists. The first consultation is usually free and will give you an idea of the recommended treatments and the associated costs.

As no two orthodontists are the same, you may receive different opinions on what the recommend treatments are and the options available to you. If you or your child’s teeth are badly misshapen, there additional costs may come up due to the need for procedures like teeth extraction. It’s therefore in your best interest to shop around to find the right price.

On average, braces can cost anywhere from $4,500 to $10,000. If you are looking for braces at the lower end of this price range, then you will be looking at the standard metal braces. If you want to get systems like Invisalign, 3M Incognito or Damon Braces, then you will be looking to pay more.

The total cost can be paid up front (usually with discounts) or over time as you progress through your treatment. The advantages of paying up front is that you get a discount, but it is possible that you may be paying for treatments that you don’t need! That, coupled with the high price tag of braces means that most people will opt to pay in installments.

The final reminder here is that you will need to budget for the fitting and creation of a retainer after the braces treatment. Retainers can often get lost especially when people are first using them so be sure to budget for their replacement as well.

Braces seem like they are an expensive product, but many users who have had their teeth fixed by braces report having a higher quality of life and higher self esteem. We think that it’s a small price to pay for happiness.

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Three Foods You MUST avoid with Braces

If you love food, then braces are going to be one of the worst things that can happen to you. As you know, they’re attached with glue which means that it doesn’t take much to break those bonds. If that happens, well, let’s just say you’ll be spending more time than you want in your orthodontist’s office.

No hard foods: anything that may cause cracking or so forth should be avoided. This includes things like nuts, brittle, ice, etc. Chewy, crusty bread is also going to be tough to chew with braces on.

No sticky foods: Sticky foods can stick to your braces and cause them to pull out. This means no gummi bears, sticky candy, toffee, gum or anything of that sort. If you’re Asian, sorry, but Mochi balls and anything glutinous is also out.

No sugary foods: This will make life easier. We promise. Braces make it harder to keep your teeth clean and foods high in sugar will help feed the bacteria that causes cavities. If you want to eat any foods that are high in sugar, be sure to brush your teeth immediately to keep the bacteria from growing.

If you aren’t sure what fits into those categories, here’s just a short list: jerky, suckers, carrots, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, ribs, chips, pizza crust, crusty breads, corn, caramel, toffee, brittle, sugar, crème brulee.

What can I eat with braces on?

There’s still a lot of food that you can eat! Some of the things include meatloaf, eggs, slices of cheese, soup, braised meats, stews, porridge, oatmeal, cottage cheese, soft slices of bread (sandwiches may be difficult), olives, fish, pancakes, yogurt, pasta, noodles, rice.

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After your braces are installed

Braces installed by best NY OrthodontistImmediately after your braces are installed, you’ll feel relief knowing that you can finally get out of that chair! The next thing you’ll notice is the funny sensations on your teeth as your braces do their job. This is going to take some getting used to, but no worries, the weirdness will go away.

Here are some other things that you should keep in mind:

  • Eat soft foods. Especially for the first three days. Your first day you will likely only feel a little discomfort, but on your second and third days, it’s going to be painful. You’ll want to keep eating food to go with those painkillers that you’ll be eating so that you don’t get stomach discomfort. Find out what foods to avoid with braces here.
  • Be careful while chewing. Your braces are going to feel odd and may scrape up against the inside of your mouth. No matter how hungry you are, chew slowly and take small bites. Otherwise you may end up biting off a chunk of your cheeks.
  • Clean your teeth often: The braces will act like traps for the food so you’re going to want to clean your teeth often. Other people say you’ll get used to it, but no one likes having food in their teeth!
  • Loose Teeth: Your teeth may feel loose immediately after. This is normal and occurs because of the gaps that have formed when the orthodontist pushed your teeth to their locations. As your body breaks down and rebuilds the bone, the looseness will subside and your teeth will feel more solid.
  • Funny positioning. You may feel like your teeth aren’t in the right place, but never fear, your orthodontist has a plan. After your treatment is done, your teeth will be in the right place.
  • Flossing is going to be tough. Flossing is going to be tough especially during your first week. Your teeth will hurt a lot and the added pressure from the floss isn’t going to help. Try to floss if you can, but chances are the pain will be too much. Give it a week or two and you will be fine.
  • Dental wax is your friend. You may not need to use it for very long, but in your first week or two as you are getting used to your braces, make use of the dental wax to cover the little bits of metal that are causing you pain. You’ll want to carry around some dental wax with you in your dental kit.
  • Most foods are ok, but nuts aren’t your friend. Nuts will get stuck between your braces and are a pain to get out. Candy like toffee is also out. Just stick to foods that clean up nicely and you shouldn’t have a problem. Tough breads such as baguettes are also not ok!
  • Watch out for Canker sores! They hurt and are just not pleasant at all. Click here for more information on how to deal with canker sores with braces.

Photo credit:  Pink Sherbet Photography

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Don’t let your baby use a pacifier

Baby Pacifier OrthodontistDoes your baby love his pacifier? Watch out!

Prolonged pacifier use can have adverse effects on your baby’s development. Studies have shown that increased pacifier is associated with more ear infections coupled with speech and language problems.

What’s more, if you allow your baby to use her pacifier beyond the age of five, you are putting her tooth development at risk. Pacifiers delay the development of the child’s adult teeth by causing delays in the front teeth from falling out.

Other problems include the manifestation of a gap between the upper and lower teeth when the person closes their mouth. This is caused by the pacifier putting pressure on the front teeth pushing them forward. If left untreated, it could lead to premature wearing of the teeth.

If your baby enjoys sucking his pacifier a lot, then another problem could be the displacement of the front teeth backwards into the mouth. Again, this causes premature wear and tear of the teeth.

By allowing your child to use the pacifier, you could be setting yourself up for expensive orthodontic treatments down the road.

To help fix that problem now, it’s recommended that you wean your child off his pacifier habit as soon as possible. It should only be used at bedtime to help the child sleep. Once they are asleep, it should be removed so that they do not continue sucking on it.

Doctors recommend ending the habit before their second birthdays, but the sooner they give up the habit, the better it will be for their health. By removing it, they will avoid problems with:

  • Anterior open bites
  • Posterior crossbites
  • Adult teeth development
  • Ear infections
  • Learning speech and impediment problems

Photo Credit: goldberg

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Problems with your TMJ? Leave it alone!

Three in four Americans suffer from symptoms that are associated with a temporomandibular problem. These range from migraine headaches, ringing in the ears to clicking in their jaws. Severity ranges from annoying to extremely debilitating.

Yet, specialists say that only five to ten percent of people actually need treatment. All too often, patients fail to have the problem looked at in detail and chose to undergo costly, painful and time consuming treatments that may actually not do much to fix their symptoms.

This brings up parallels with back pain and the advent of MRI machines. Suddenly, doctors could diagnose more slipped disks of which the recommended treatment sometimes was expensive surgery coupled with an extensive rehab.

The thing is, many of those people didn’t need the surgery. This is also the case with the TMD problems. The body is extremely resilient and will fix the problems themselves.

Sometimes patience is the key.

Mechanical Problems

Originally, these types of problems were thought to stem from dental malocclusion or a misalignment of the teeth. Later studies however revealed that it wasn’t necessarily the case. Experts now say that symptoms may vary and that there is rarely a single cause in these problems.

Some of the mechanical problems identified include congenital abnormalities in the jaw, problems with the displacement of the disk, inflammation or arthritis and traumatic injury to the jaw. Other problems can include the growth of tumors, infections or laxness and tightness in the jaw.

The most common problem though? Myofacial pain disorder which is a neuromuscular problem characterized by a dull aching pain around the ear. This can be caused by habits like clenching of the mouth, teeth grinding, biting lips or chewing gum (which can lead to overuse injuries). Famous all your can world champion Kobayashi suffered from a jaw injury.

This isn’t just limited to psychical factors though. Psychological factors such as depressision, anxiety or stress can add to the problems.

Who is afflicted by TMD problems?

Everyone can be affected. Having said that, women represent up to 90% of cases of people who seek treatment. With the advances in technology, it’s recommended that people visit specialists that have access to machines like MRI machines and CT scanning machines with cone-beam imaging. More complicated problems can be dealt with by visiting multidisciplinary clinics that are found in many leading hospitals and dental schools.

How do I fix it my TMD problems?

In nine out of ten cases, you simply leave it alone!

Some other things you want to think about include:

  • Resting your jaw – eating soft foods coupled with antiflammatory medicine
  • Avoid putting your jaw in stenuous positions like yawning
  • Don’t sleep or lean on your jaw – avoid excessive pressure
  • Avoid playing instruments that require you to blow (ie. Trombone, tuba, flute, clarinet, etc)
  • Consider purchasing a mouth guard to help prevent the grinding of teeth
  • Reduce your stress! Do sports and relax yourself. Identify stressful scenarios at work and do your best to remove yourself from them.

Photo credit:  Lel4nd

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Getting your braces installed

After visiting several (you did visit several right?) New York Orthodontists to find the one you liked best, it’s now time to get your braces. You’ve had the x-rays done, the molds have been cast and all that’s left now is a couple of hours in your orthodontist’s chair.

Before you leave home, be sure to clean your mouth well! This means brushing your teeth and flossing. At this time, you might want to put some Vaseline, chapstick or other lip balm on your lips as they may crack while you’re getting your braces installed.

If you haven’t already, take a before photo before you go out the door.

Arriving at the office

Once at the office, you’ll be required to fill in the paperwork (if you haven’t already) and then it’s to the chair! Once there, your teeth will be dried off and have an etchant applied to them. This is like the primer in paint and will help your braces stick to your teeth.

It also tastes awful.

Next the brackets will be placed on your teeth and the cement will be set with a plasma light. After the bracket are installed, the arch wire is placed through the brackets and attached with little rubber bands to put the pressure on your teeth. You won’t need these rubber bands if you get Damon brackets.

That’s all there is to it!

Some other things you should know are:

  • If you feel like your cheeks are being poked while your braces are being installed, let your orthodontist know. That shouldn’t happen and is indicative of an arch wire that’s too long. It should be snipped.
  • You’re going to feel some discomfort leaving the office. The FIRST thing you should do is go to the pharmacy and pick up some pain killers, extra strength. Trust us, this will come in handy later when your mouth feels like it’s been pounded by cement.
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Before your braces are installed

So you’ve asked your orthodontist all your questions and figured out how to pay for your orthodontist. It’s now time to get the braces. Now what?

Here’s what will happen.

Preliminary Diagnosis

Your New York Orthodontist will book an appointment with you to come in and get X-rays and molds of your mouth done. This comprises full panoramic x-rays of your mouth along with x-rays for all your teeth.

Depending on your orthodontist, s/he may take some photos of your teeth to act as before shots.

Finally, molds of your teeth will be taken with some tooth putty.

At this point you’ll go home while your orthodontist comes up with a treatment plan.

Your new Treatment Plan

Your New York Orthodontist will look at all the information that’s been collected to come up with the treatment plan for you! S/he’ll be watching out for things like gaps in your teeth, how your jaw aligns, your bite and any other treatments specific to you.

This will be documented in a treatment plan that will be reviewed with you. At this time, feel free to ask all the questions because once you’ve decided, there may not be any turning back.

Not so fast though! There’s prep work that needs to be done.

Prep Work

Some of the things that may need to happen before putting the braces on include:

  • Spacers installed between your teeth if the spacing is tight. These are installed for about a week and are uncomfortable and unpleasant. The good news is that they aren’t in there for long!
  • Tooth extraction may be required if certain teeth are preventing proper spacing in your mouth. This can be done before or during the treatment depending on your mouth conditions.
  • Teeth cleaning is highly recommended to be done by a professional. The braces on your teeth will make it hard for you to clean them so it’s best to get it taken care of first. Any cavities or tooth conditions should also be dealt with before you get braces. If you have wisdom teeth, they may or may not need to be removed. Your orthodontist will make that call.
  • Jaw Surgery may be required if you are an adult and have a complicated case. This can happen during the installation of your braces, but may also occur after depending on what your orthodontist feels is the best course of action. 
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Common Myths about Braces

Technology has progressed significantly in the past decade and braces have become more common than ever. With the introduction of clear, colored and behind the teeth treatments, there is no better time to visit an orthodontist. Here are some of the top questions about braces.

Myth: Braces are for kids

No! Most people think that braces are just for teenagers that are growing, but the fact is, adults are quickly becoming the largest segment of brace users. If you have healthy teeth and gums, then there is nothing stopping you from getting your teeth straightened.

On the other hand, if you have unhealthy gums, significant gum recession or bone loss, braces could lead to complications. It’s best to ask your dentist or orthodontist as to what they recommend.

Fact: Adult braces are increasing in popularity

Did you know that in some areas in New York, up to 90% of patients are adults? It’s quickly become a status symbol of people who have “made it”. People who could not afford them previously are now taking steps to improve their smile and dental healths.

For some, this is their second go around. Complicated cases involving surgery or simply not wearing one’s retainer are all causes of this.

Myth: My dentist can handle all my brace work

While it is technically true, remember that orthodontists go through several additional years of training. Family dentists simply don’t have the experience required to diagnose anything more than the simplest of cases.

Ask yourself this – if you were going to get eye surgery done, would you go to your family doctor? Of course not! You only have one set of teeth and they are with you for the rest of your life. Orthodontic treatments are uncomfortable enough as is – complications arising from going to a dentist may result in more cost and more time spent with treatments.

It’s not to say that dentists can’t do any of this. If your case is simple, then perhaps it might be worth it. Be sure to check on references though!

Myth: Braces are only for straightening my teeth

Braces do more than just straighten your teeth. They help align your bite so that your teeth meet at the right places which prevent premature wear and tear. They also help fix crowding and gaps in your teeth so that your gums can function properly.

Myth: Visiting an orthodontist for a consultant costs money

Most orthodontists do not charge for the first consultation. They know that it’s important for you to feel comfortable with them as treatments can span several months.

It’s in your best interests to get multiple recommendations so you can evaluate things like how they deal with treatments, the cost, the recommended treatments and so forth. Just like in dieting where you can lose weight multiple ways, there are multiple treatments available for your teeth.

During the consultation, the orthodontist will look at your teeth and mouth. They’ll then be able to tell you what needs to be done and what is involved with your treatment.

Myth: I should get Invisalign brace treatments no matter what

Unfortunately, Invisalign isn’t right for everyone. For many, traditional braces are still the right way to go, but this doesn’t mean you are relegated to the all metal ones of the past. New technologies have resulted in clear or tooth colored brackets that work just as well, but are way less noticeable.

Fact is, you shouldn’t get too hung up on bracket types or even your treatment. Trust in the treatments that your orthodontist is recommending to you. If you are uneasy, then seek a second opinion to see if they agree.


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Why Choose an Orthodontist in New York

There’s also no place like New York. With a population of 8 million people, it’s arguably the finance hub of the world.

Did you know that New York is also one of the best places in the world to find an Orthodontist?

New York is home to two of the best dentistry schools in the county, Columbia University and NYU. Not only do they turn out some of the best orthodontists in the country, but they are also home to prestigious organizations like CTOR. This leading edge orthodontic research consortium is currently studying things like molecular orthodontics, accelerated teeth movement and skeletogenesis.

What’s that mean in English?

It means that New York is home to some of the leading research in the field of Orthodontics. This is the research that translates into you getting the best treatment possible.

New York Orthodontists have access to the latest technologies that include:

  • Invisalign products that provide an alternative to unsightly braces
  • 3M Incognito™
  • Speed Braces™ or Accelerated Osteogenic Orthodontics
  • Digital panoramic and celphalometric x-rays
  • Joint imaging
  • .. and much more

Whether you’re looking for an orthodontist in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan or Staten Island, you can rest assured that your perfect smile is just a few steps away. What are you waiting for?

Photo Credit:  Ben Fredericson (xjrlokix)

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Top 7 Questions You Should Ask Your Orthodontist

Visiting an Orthodontist for the first time can be an intimidating experience. Knowing the right questions to ask is sometimes half the battle and can help save you time and money.

The first consultation is usually free so be sure to visit as many orthodontists in New York as it requires for you to get comfortable with who you choose.

Here’s our list of what you should be asking at the minimum:

  • What are my options? Often times there are than one type of treatment available. For example, if the amount of correction required is minimal, then alternatives to braces such as Invisalign can be explored, albeit at a higher cost. Some of the options you may want to inquire about include:
    • Metal vs ceramic
    • Invisalign
    • Lingual brackets (behind the teeth)
    • Head gear
  • Will any teeth need to be extracted? This is often not required when dealing with children, however, in adults, because tooth formation is for the most part done, extraction may be required.  If teeth need to be extracted, you should also ask about Damon brackets which may be an alternative to extractions.
  • Will I need jaw surgery? Again, not often an issue with children, but with adults, jaw surgery may be required for certain treatments. This adds additional cost to the treatment and also requires additional healing time. It may also require you to take time off work.
  • Can I speak to some previous patients? A good orthodontist will no doubt have some references that you can contact to see what their experiences were like. Be sure to follow-up with people who have had similar treatments to what the orthodontist is recommending to you.
  • How often do I need to come in for adjustments? Be sure to factor in your travel time over the course of the treatment! If you have to make the trip monthly from Lower manhattan to queens for example, it could add up quickly and frustrate you.
  • How long will this treatment take? The average treatment takes approximately 23 months, but this could vary depending on your needs.
  • Finally, how much will this cost? This is a rather loaded question. When asking prices, you should determine:
    • The total cost broken down by components
    • The ongoing costs for treatments (after the initial fitting)
    • The payment terms (and payment plan if applicable)
    • Insurance and whether it is accepted or if you’ll have to submit the receipts manually
    • Ongoing costs after the braces are removed (for example, retainers may or may not be included in your treatment price.

Bonus: More questions to ask your Orthodontist

  • Are rubber bands required to correct my bite?
  • Do I need headgear? If so, when do I have to wear it and for how long?
  • Is the treatment going to change my facial shape in any way?
  • Will this treatment improve my bite as well?
  • If I had a poking wire that I needed to get dealt with, can I just call and drop by or do I have to make an appointment?

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan

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