• (No referral is necessary!)

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office.

Actual Signature Smiles

Questions About Braces Invisalign Orthodontic Treatment in Kennewick Richland Pasco

Meet the Signature Smile Team

Orthodontics can boost a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned — but an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important. Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing and digestive difficulties. A “bad bite” can contribute to speech impairments, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries.
No one can deny the importance of a winning smile. It makes a pleasing appearance, promotes self-esteem and is valuable to social and career success.
 Creating beautiful smiles is what orthodontics is all about. And today, orthodontic treatment is so convenient and affordable that individuals from childhood through retirement can reap the important benefits. Orthodontic treatment is important not only for a great smile and improved self-confidence, but for better dental health. Braces fit easily into today’s active lifestyles. They’re comfortable, easy to keep clean and less visible than in the past. New techniques and materials can extend the period between appointments, saving time and expense.
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have undergone an additional 2-3 years of extensive and specialized training after dental school that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments. All orthodontists are dentists, but only 6% of dentists are orthodontists. In addition, Dr. Kiersten Week is a Board Certified Orthodontist, which means she has completed a voluntary examination process of The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) to demonstrate her pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence in the field of orthodontics.
Cost will vary, of course, depending on the nature of the treatment plan. However, you may be surprised to discover that orthodontics is less expensive than you thought. Dr. Kiersten Week offers customized in-office financial plans to help meet each individual's treatment needs. We will also review your insurance policy and help maximize your benefit as well as file any claims on your behalf. Of course, it is important to keep in mind the lifetime value that orthodontic treatment provides.
Absolutely not! Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.
A high number of our patients are adults. In fact, 20 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults, and today's technologies such as Invisalign (clear aligners) and clear or tooth colored bracket options are some of the recent innovations to ensure less time is spent in orthodontic treatment. No person is "too old" to receive a Signature Smile!
The right age can be any age. Early examination allows us to determine when your child should be treated for maximum improvement – in the least amount of time and at the lowest cost. Certain treatment techniques provide significant benefits for patients between 6 to 11 years old. Treatment during these growth stages can achieve results not possible once face and jawbones have finished growing. Full orthodontic treatment with braces generally starts after all the permanent teeth are in place, usually at ages 12 or 13.
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. In partnership with Dr. Kiersten Week, your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be greeted by our front office team and our new patient coordinator. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam followed by a discussion of potential treatment options.
There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:
  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goals of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person is in orthodontic treatment is approximately 22 months.
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in treatment will be seen every six to ten weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. Appointments that require more time than a typical adjustment will need to be scheduled during school hours in order to maximize the number of after school appointments available to you for the remainder of treatment. Additionally, since most appointments are scheduled six-10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.
Absolutely. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with the clinical team member who saw their child prior to leaving.
In these situations, pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil/Ibuprofen will ease the discomfort. If Propel is being utilized as part of your treatment plan you will be reminded to use only Tylenol for pain relief as any NSAID like Aleve or Advil will negate the benefit of the Propel treatment. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions. Please remember that frequently broken or damaged braces will negatively affect treatment progress and will increase the length of time in treatment significantly.

If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If the emergency occurs after our office is closed from Friday-Sunday, a team member is available by cell phone (509) 551-5883 during the hours of 8am - 5 pm. If the emergency occurs during the evening or early morning hours, or on a holiday, and is a true dental emergency (i.e. laceration, trauma, extreme pain), Dr. Week can be reached by her cell phone (509) 438-1211. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use your Waterpik, dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food.

Sometimes a wire can cause irritation. To resolve the discomfort, push the wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a cotton swab. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax or a cotton ball. If the wire is sticking you and wax does not help, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter or nail clipper close to the back of the last brace. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, please call our office for an appointment.

If a brace comes loose from a tooth, it usually remains connected to the main wire and is not cause for an emergency visit. Tweezers can be used to reposition the braces if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office at your earliest convenience, as it may be necessary to schedule a separate visit to repair the loose brace(s), since repairs of this nature usually take additional time.

If you have a Loose Expander / Appliance or Trauma to the Mouth, please contact us immediately.

If your Invisalign tray is irritating your gums or causing discomfort, simply use a new and clean nail file to smooth any rough edges. If you still find soreness, please contact our office.