Mack Orthodontics is a leading orthodontics practice in the Bettendorf, Maquoketa, and Eldridge, IA area. We are always very transparent with our patients when it comes to what to expect from your orthodontic treatment process. If you have questions, you're more than welcome to contact one of our offices directly. We also encourage current and potential patients to check out our FAQ section below for answers to some commonly asked questions regarding orthodontics!

1. Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist and, as a courtesy, those dentists may schedule your first appointment with our Bettendorf, Maquoketa, or Eldridge office. However, many patients schedule an examination themselves.

2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, most children have several permanent teeth, allowing us to effectively evaluate their orthodontic condition. Learn more about early orthodontic treatment and why our orthodontists recommend it by clicking here.

3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

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, hence the need for orthodontics.

4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply contact our Bettendorf, Maquoketa, or Eldridge office directly to schedule an appointment. You may also fill out our online request form. Note that when you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.

5. What will happen at the initial orthodontics appointment?

Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor, who will familiarize you with the office and prepare the patient for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. Your orthodontist will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam. To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit page.

What will I learn from the initial orthodontics exam?

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 likely take to complete?
  • How much approximate cost will be incurred?

7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

Sometimes removing teeth is required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Extraction may be necessary if your mouth is too small to accommodate all the teeth (crowding) or if teeth cannot erupt because they are blocked by primary teeth (impacted teeth). We have found that early orthodontic treatment in younger patients can eliminate the need for extraction.

8. How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time depends on each patient's specific orthodontic needs. In general, treatment times range from 6 to 30 months. The "average" time frame that a patient wears braces is approximately 18 months. Then a retainer is worn for approximately 3 months full time to keep the teeth straight. After that, the retainer is only worn at nighttime. This is known as the retention phase of orthodontic treatment.

9. Will I wear a retainer when my braces are removed?

Yes! Once your braces are removed, it is necessary to wear a retainer so your teeth do not shift back into the wrong position. Your retainer is key to helping you maintain your new, beautiful smile. Visit our retention page to learn more.

10. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the cost and your financial options during the initial examination. We have various finance options and insurance options to consider, and we will review these with you at that time.

11. How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4 to 8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule orthodontic appointments accordingly.

12. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 4 to 8 weeks apart, younger patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatment. We will, however, always make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

13. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes. We understand parents' busy schedules, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with the parent or guardian of a patient when he or she returns for pick up, so we ask that parents or guardians check in with our office manager before dropping off their child.

14. Do braces hurt?

When your braces are placed, it is generally painless. However, some patients do experience a little discomfort the first few days as they adjust to having braces. You may also experience some discomfort when your braces are adjusted. Our orthodontists recommend using Advil or Tylenol to help alleviate any discomfort.

15. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school following the placement of your appliances. In fact, most of our adolescent patients can't wait to go back to school to show them off, as orthodontic treatment is a big step to be proud of!

The magic of orthodontics video



16. Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with his or her own braces to achieve the best orthodontic treatment result possible.

17. Can I still play sports/play my musical instrument?

Yes! To help protect you and your braces, we recommend wearing a mouthguard when playing sports. If you play a musical instrument, you will still be able to play like you did before you got braces. You may just have a period of adjustment.

18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

It is very important that you still regularly see your family dentist while wearing braces. During orthodontic treatment, seeing your dentist and having frequent cleanings can help keep your teeth free of plaque. Your family dentist will determine the necessary intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will provide complete instructions and a comprehensive list of foods to avoid that may cause harm to your braces. In general, you should try to avoid foods that could damage, break, or become trapped in your braces. Some of these foods include raw vegetables that aren't cut into small pieces, hard candy, taffy, ice cubes, and nuts. To see a full list of foods to avoid, visit our Foods to Avoid page.

20. How often should I brush my teeth while wearing braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. We show every patient how to floss his or her teeth with braces and we may also provide a prescription for special fluoride toothpaste. For more on practicing good oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment, click here.

21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call us right away. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you. We encourage you to visit our Emergency Info page first for more details.

22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough that they require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for orthodontic treatment, we will follow that patient's growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

23. Will my child need a palatal expander?

At the completion of the initial orthodontics examination, we will determine whether a patient will need a palatal expander or another orthodontic appliance like headgear.

24. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

Approximately 25% of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness, and self-esteem are vitally important no matter what age you are, so no patient is "too old" to wear braces! Learn more about our adult orthodontic treatment options now!

25. Can I wear braces even though I have dental crowns and missing teeth?

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

26. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist vs. a dentist that offers some teeth straightening options?

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently enhanced by orthodontic treatment when performed by the right kind of doctor. Orthodontists have an additional 2 to 3 years of specialized training at an accredited university. Only orthodontic specialists have the full certification and experience to properly diagnose and treat orthodontic problems originating from teeth that need to be straightened and bites that need to be aligned.

27. Why should I (or someone in my family) get orthodontic treatment?

Today, orthodontic treatment is simple, convenient, and affordable for patients of all ages. An attractive smile is just one of the many benefits. Orthodontic treatment also results in correctly aligned teeth that provide ideal jaw function and dental/oral health! Additionally, your teeth are easier to clean and more resistant to gum disease once they have been straightened. Perhaps most importantly, orthodontic treatment almost always improves self-confidence!

28. When should orthodontic treatment begin?

Orthodontic treatment can be started at most ages - no one is ever too old or too young to care about improving his or her smile! When treatment is started at an earlier age, some orthodontic issues may be easier to treat. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or around age 7.

29. How can I recognize a potential bite problem that needs orthodontic treatment?

There are some obvious signs of bite problems, for example if teeth are crowded, crooked, or protruding. Other less noticeable indications of a bite problem include mouth breathing, difficulty speaking, the mouth not closing properly, and thumb-sucking habits that go beyond ages 3 to 4. Orthodontic treatment may also be needed if the jaw shifts or makes a sound when it moves.

30. Where are our offices?

We have three state-of-the-art offices to cater to our patients' needs:

The Bettendorf Office
1906 Middle Rd.
Bettendorf, IA 52722

The Maquoketa Office
119 S. Main St.
Maquoketa, IA 52060

The Eldridge Office
210 South 9th Avenue
Eldridge, IA 52748

Get Started with Orthodontic Treatment

To begin your journey to a straighter, healthier, and more confident smile please contact Mack Orthodontics today. Dr. Mack is an experienced orthodontist and you'll love working with him! We can't wait to hear from you!

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