Your top questions answered

Have questions? We have answers.

Browse our frequently asked questions below. If you need more help, contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about braces or orthodontics!

Some people need braces more than others, depending on the malocclusion (poor positioning of the teeth or bad bite). There are dental problems and skeletal problems. Skeletal problems (a problem in the growth of one or both jaws), alone or in combination with dental problems, can be more complicated to treat.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

Braces are elective, but people seldom grow out of orthodontic problems. In fact, most orthodontic problems get worse with age! Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you!

Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic evaluation at the first sign of an orthodontic problem or no later than age 7. Many people are under the mistaken impression that you should wait until all the permanent teeth are in – this is not so! Many problems can be addressed at this age in order to avoid more serious problems at a later age. When in doubt, just ask.

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

No! If the bone and gum tissue around the teeth are healthy, age is not a factor. About 20% of orthodontic patients are adults.

Poorly arranged teeth can break easily and can trap food particles that cause tooth decay and gum disease. They can also lead to poor chewing and digestion, which can be bad for your overall health. Finally, and probably most importantly to you, poorly arranged teeth detract from your smile which is one of the more important features of your face!

Teeth and sometimes faces are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment; therefore, it is very important that the treatment be done properly. A licensed orthodontic specialist is an expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with you to help make sure the teeth stay in their new positions.

Dr. Smith graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Smith then studied at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to earn her degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery. She graduated as Valedictorian and earned numerous honors including the prestigious Kramer Award and was inducted into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dental Honor Society.Upon completion of dental school, Dr. Smith pursued further training at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston where she earned her Master of Science degree and specialty Certificate in Orthodontics. Immediately following residency, Dr. Smith gained board certification and became a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics.

Dr. Pisklak has an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M; University and her Doctorate degree from U.T. Health Science Center in San Antonio. In addition to her training in general dentistry, she graduated from the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston Graduate Orthodontic Program with a specialty degree in orthodontics. Dr. Pisklak also has a Master of Science degree in Orthodontics.

Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.

That depends a lot on you and how bad your bite is to begin with. The better you are about wearing and taking care of your braces, the sooner your teeth will improve. Cooperation is key!

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every five to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. 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! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

Usually you don’t need a referral from your family dentist unless you have an insurance company that requires it. However, we get patient referrals from local family dentists daily. In the Missouri City/Sugar Land area we are blessed with many fine and knowledgeable family dentists and pediatric specialists. If you have any questions about your orthodontic needs they will send you to us. On the other hand, word of mouth recommendations from friends and families of existing patients are often the primary way an orthodontist sees new patients. We are always proud and thankful that you allow us to treat you and your family. We treat your family the way we treat our own. So, spread the word if you like your orthodontist!