Expert Advice

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a "SPECIALIST" in dentistry. After graduating from Dental School and becoming a dentist, they must apply, be accepted and graduate from a university accredited by the American Dental Association. This is two or more years of specialized post-doctoral training in the art and science of moving teeth. Only orthodontists are uniquely qualified to perform orthodontic services. Membership in the American Association of Orthodontists guarantees they are certified in the specialty of orthodontics.

How many years of school does it take to be an orthodontist?

It takes a minimum of 22 years of school to become an orthodontist!

Can my family dentist do orthodontics?

Would you have your family doctor perform open heart surgery on you? General dentists are not trained in orthodontics but are not limited by law from placing braces on teeth. Some attend weekend courses and provide orthodontic services in their office. Your assurance in receiving the best care possible for yourself or your child is to see a university trained, certified orthodontic specialist.

Do I need a referral from my dentist before seeing the orthodontist?

No, you do not need a referral from your dentist in order to see the orthodontist. However, 75 percent of our patients are referred to us by their dentist. You may call and schedule an appointment with our doctors yourself.

What are the benefits of orthodontics?

Back to Top

Should I wait until all the permanent teeth are in before seeing the orthodontist?

No, many tooth alignment or jaw growth problems can be detected by age 6. Some of these problems are best treated early, avoiding a more serious problem later or eliminating braces as a teenager all together.

How old should my child be before seeing the orthodontist?

It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that a child first see an orthodontist by age 7.

Will my child's teeth straighten out on their own?

No. The available space for front teeth does not increase as a child grows. In most people with the emergence of the permanent 6-year molars, the space available for the front teeth actually decreases with age.

When are you too old for braces?

Many adults are benefiting from orthodontics to improve and have a healthy, beautiful smile. Adults who have teeth and healthy supporting structures are never too old for braces.

Will there be a charge for my examination?

No, the initial orthodontic exam and consultation at our office is complimentary.

Back to Top

What will happen at the initial consultation?

At Your First Visit, you will be greeted by our Treatment Coordinator who will give you an office tour. She will introduce you to Dr. Azar-Mehr. We will conduct a brief, but thorough, examination of your teeth and gums.

What will I learn from the initial consultation?

Five questions will be answered at the initial consultation: 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 orthodontic treatment take? How much will it cost? Dr. Azar-Mehr will also answer any additional questions you might have.

Will I have to have any teeth removed for braces?

Removing teeth is sometimes needed to achieve the desired orthodontic result. However, because of the state-of-the-art orthodontic treatments and technologies at Dr. Azar-Mehr's orthodontic office, the need to remove teeth has been greatly reduced.

Will they need to take an X-ray?

Yes, the orthodontist must see the teeth, bone and the relationship of the top and bottom jaws to properly diagnose and treat the patient.

Do I still need to see my regular dentist during the time I have braces?

Yes, we recommend that you continue to see your dentist for cleanings and other primary dental care at least every six months during and after the completion of your orthodontic treatment.

Back to Top

How long will I be in braces?

Most people in our practice are finished in 18-24 months or less, due to the advances in orthodontic technology. Minor tooth movement cases can be done in as little as two or three visits.

Is it painful to have braces?

It is painless to have your braces placed! It usually takes a few days to get used to having braces on your teeth. Some patients experience minor tooth discomfort for a few days as the teeth begin to move.

Can I return to school the same day I receive my braces?

Yes, there is usually no reason why you would need to miss school or work.

Do you give shots?

No. Shots are not necessary for orthodontic treatment.

Does it hurt to have the braces removed?

No, most people do not experience any discomfort when removing the braces. Some people's teeth are sensitive to cold air during the removal procedures.

Back to Top

Can I play a musical instrument with braces?

Yes, you can play the instrument of your choice with braces on your teeth. It may take a few days getting used to playing with the braces on.

Can I participate in sports with braces on?

Yes, you can play sports with the braces on. You may need to wear a special mouthguard to protect your lips and teeth just as you would without braces. Ask us and we will be happy to provide you with an athletic mouth piece when your braces are placed.

Are there certain things you can't eat?

Most good nutritious foods in all the food groups can be eaten. Good nutrition is important for the teeth to move. Certain hard, crunchy foods like apples and carrots need to be cut up into smaller bites or they can be cooked. This prevents wires from being bent or braces being broken off the teeth. Food and beverages like soda pop that contain high amounts of sugar should be limited. It's more important to brush and clean your teeth thoroughly afterwards. High acid foods like lemons should also be avoided. Chewing on ice or hard candies should be avoided, as it will break the braces off the teeth. Sticky, chewy candies like taffy, caramel, Gummy Bears, Jolly Ranchers and others will damage the appliances and can cause damage to the teeth while in braces. It will also delay being finished on time with your braces if things are constantly broken and in need of repair.

What is an emergency appointment and how is one handled?

Although unlikely, should a situation arise where your braces break or become damaged resulting in pain, please visit or call our office at (818) 886-6666. In most cases, we can address the issue remotely.

Do you have invisible braces?

Yes, we do have braces that are barely visible. Ceramic braces are tooth colored and are difficult to see. There usually is a small additional charge for ceramic braces.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a system by which special molds of your teeth are taken to manufacture a series of custom aligners. Each aligner is worn approximately two weeks to move your teeth gradually.

Back to Top

Do you have colored braces and rubber bands?

Yes, we do have colored braces and rubber bands at no additional charge, if you want them. Colored braces can make having braces more fun.

Will braces damage my teeth or gums?

No, braces will not damage your teeth and gums if you care for them properly and stay on schedule with your appointments. Lack of proper brushing and extended treatment can damage the teeth.

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if your child is not yet ready, we can follow their development to determine the proper time to begin orthodontic treatment.

Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and/or missing teeth?

Yes and yes. A tooth with a crown moves just like a tooth with a filling. Also, an orthodontic treatment can aid in the alignment of remaining teeth, filling in the gaps left by missing ones.

How long does it take to put the braces on?

It takes about one and a half to two hours to put braces on.

How often will I have appointments?

Again, it depends on the individual. Most patients with braces will need to seen every 6 to 10 weeks.

Can all of my child's appointments be scheduled after school?

Unfortunately, no. However, because appointments are typically scheduled 6 to 10 weeks apart, most patients miss very little school. Our office references school calendars in Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Northridge, Mission Hills, Woodland Hills, and Santa Clarita, and makes every attempt to meet the scheduling needs of our patients.

Back to Top

Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes, although on occasion, Dr. Azar-Mehr may need to speak with you before or after treatment. Therefore, we request that you check in with our front desk when dropping off your child. We may ask you for a cell phone number before you leave.

What about infection control?

Our office utilizes the most modern sterilization equipment available to the profession. We sterilize all instruments and handpieces. For your safety, we also subscribe to a monitoring service that tests our equipment every month to be sure it is operating properly. Additionally, we practice utilizing barrier techniques and surface disinfection sterilization.

Do you use recycled braces?

Our office has never used recycled braces.

Why are retainers needed after braces?

Retainers are designed to hold the teeth in their corrected positions after braces until the bone & ligaments remodel to the new tooth position. This takes a couple of years to occur.

Will my teeth shift after my braces are removed?

No. With proper retainer wear, your teeth should stay straight for a lifetime. Some harmful habits like biting on pens and pencils or muscle imbalances will cause the teeth to shift after braces or later in life if the retainers are not worn consistently.

Back to Top