is an orthodontist?
Orthodontists are qualified dentists, who after graduating
from dental school, go on to additional full-time
university-based education in an accredited orthodontic
residency program supervised by orthodontists. That
training lasts at least two to three academic years.
By learning about tooth movement (orthodontics) and
guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopedics),
orthodontists are the uniquely educated experts in
dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws.
What happens at my first visit?
Dr. Westfallen will listen to your concerns and provide
an orthodontic examination of your jaws and teeth.
Dr. Westfallen will indicate whether or not treatment
is needed and what the treatment will involve. Dr.
Westfallen and her staff will also be able to discuss
fees for orthodontic care and payment options.
Typical steps prior to beginning treatment include
gathering orthodontic records to provide specific
information to tailor a treatment plan for that patient.
Orthodontic records include x-rays, photographs, and
impressions or “molds” made of the teeth.
These “molds” are used to develop models
for closer examination of the teeth and how the upper
and lower teeth relate to each other. X-rays are used
to measure your teeth and jaws. Photographs help diagnose
When should I begin treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends
that children get a check-up with an orthodontist
no later than age seven. Although only a few orthodontic
problems need to be corrected at that age, an early
exam allows Dr. Westfallen to offer advice and guidance
as to when the appropriate age to start treatment
How long will my treatment take?
Generally, the length of orthodontic treatment can
range from 18 months to 30 months. The length of treatment
varies depending on the complexity of the orthodontic
problem that requires correction, growth and tissue
response to treatment as well as the level of patient
cooperation during treatment. New techniques such
as the self-ligating In-Ovation system and digital
imaging make treatment faster and more comfortable
What will orthodontic treatment
Fees for orthodontic care vary with the complexity
of the treatment based upon each individual’s
needs. At your first visit, Dr. Westfallen will discuss
the anticipated treatment fees and payment options.
What is expected of me during
Like other types of health care, patient cooperation
with the directions of Dr. Westfallen is key in determining
the length of treatment and the quality of the outcome.
In many instances, patient cooperation is needed to
help make sure the bite is right. Your first few appointments
will most likely be about a week or two apart. Once
your appliances are placed, you’ll see Dr. Westfallen
every 4-8 weeks. See “What
To Expect” for more details regarding the
sequence of treatment and appointment descriptions.
In addition, you must continue to see your dentist
at least every six months, or more often if recommended,
for check-ups and professional cleanings.