For Parents

Parents' Corner: Myths dispelled, questions answered.

What foods should my child avoid after getting braces?

We will provide you with instructions and a list of foods to avoid when you get your braces. These foods include:
  • ice
  • hard candy
  • raw vegetables and corn on the cob
  • sticky foods like gum, caramel and taffy
Avoid emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions. Get a full list of foods--good and bad, listed by the American Dental Association.

How many orthodontic visits are needed for braces?

The frequency of visits depends on the specific needs of each patient and how quickly the corrections progress. Most of our patients with braces will be seen every 6 to 8 weeks. However, if a particular situation justifies closer monitoring, visits will be scheduled accordingly. Younger patients kept under observation (without corrective appliances in their mouth) are seen every 9 to 18 months depending on their dental development.


How long will my braces stay on? -T, 13

Hey T. It all depends on how old you are, what’s going on with your teeth, and the type of treatment Dr. Connell and your family chose. Treatment time can be as short as six months, but it’s usually between 18 and 24 months

What happens during the initial consultation? Is it covered by my insurance?

The initial consultation is free. We evaluate the teeth and gums, as well as the bite alignment. Then we decide if and when we should start a plan. There are lots of factors that indicate whether a treatment plan should be started immediately, or if we should wait a year or two as a child’s bite develops. Details like procedures and their relative cost and duration, as well as insurance and financing options, are all discussed at the initial consultation.

What does Phase 1 mean?

Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment (Early Interceptive Treatment) typically begins while the child has most of his or her baby teeth, and a few permanent teeth (usually between ages 7 and 10). The goal of Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment is to intercept moderate or severe orthodontic problems early so they can be reduced or eliminated. These orthodontic problems include:

  • jaw bone problems
  • cross bites
  • developing crowding

Dr. Connell typically uses expanders, removable appliances, headgear and retainers during this phase. This approach takes advantage of the growth stage your child is in, changing the jaw structure to either make extra room or address discrepancies.

Top 5 Orthodontic Myths

Braces are expensive. It's hard to put a price on a beautiful smile that you’ll keep for the rest of your life. However, we will work hard to create a plan for you that maximizes your insurance benefit and makes treatment as affordable as possible. Braces are painful. There may be some minor discomfort and sensitivity directly after an adjustment, but the majority of the time you won't even notice the braces are there. And if you choose Invisalign, you won't even see them! Braces are ugly. Modern advances have brought braces a long way. From customizable bands to the Invisalign system, braces can now be colorful or even invisible! Braces needed only to straighten teeth. Orthodontics isn't just about pretty teeth. Improper bites aren't always obvious, but can negatively affect the way you chew and more. Getting your teeth and jawbone in the correct position will create harmony and better function. Braces are for kids. There is no age limit for orthodontics. The nature of how your teeth move and shift  is the same in adults as it is in children. Most importantly, it's never too late to use a great smile.    

Why is my dentist referring my 7-year-old to an orthodontist? Isn't that way too young for braces?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child have a consultation by the age of 7. If applicable, early interceptive treatment (Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment) is capable of reducing the amount of major work later on. For most 7-year-olds, no orthodontic treatment is necessary. During the free consultation, we evaluate a child’s condition, and if necessary, we keep an eye on it as he or she grows.

My child has really crooked teeth. Do I need a dentist to refer my child to see you?

Nope! No dental referral is needed to see Dr. Connell for your free initial consultation.

For Kids

No need to freak out. Missy answers your most ridiculous questions.

How long will my braces stay on? -T, 13

Hey T. It all depends on how old you are, what’s going on with your teeth, and the type of treatment Dr. Connell and your family chose. Treatment time can be as short as six months, but it’s usually between 18 and 24 months

My dad said I had to hang out with the pet sitter for this year's family trip because my braces will set off the airport metal detectors. :( -JJ, 12

Dear JJ, Wow. Family needs to play nice! Seriously, your dad's messing with you. The lines in security would be even longer than they are now if every person with braces set off the alarm. Myth busted.

My Gramps told me he wants to take me marlin fishing in the Bahamas after I get my braces on ’cause fish can spot ’em a mile away and come for a nibble. Now I don't even want to go swimming! -J, 12

Dear J, your grandpa is pullin' your leg. Fish aren't attracted to braces—or kids for that matter. I'd totally try to swing that trip, though!

It occurred to me as I was called "metal mouth" that I should be careful during thunderstorms. Am I more likely to be hit by lightning now?!? -B, 14

OMG. Being struck by lightning has to do with luck (or complete lack thereof), not braces. Nat Geo says only 1 in 700,000 people get hit in the U.S. each year. Whew! Good advice: Avoid golfing in a lightning storm.

I just started playing the trumpet. Do I have to quit now that I'm getting braces? -JP, 12

Dear JP, You can play trumpet, or anything else you'd like—the flute, sax, trombone...definitely the cowbell. Just tell Dr. Connell and he'll make sure you get a lip protector. Look me up when you’re famous!

My boyfriend has braces and I just found out I am getting them. I'm afraid we'll get stuck when we kiss! -T, 16

Hi T, You'd really have to be doing some fancy stuff to lock braces while kissing these days. Braces are smaller and sleeker. Go ahead and give him a smooch.

My besties told me I won't be able to eat some of my favorite foods anymore—caramel apples or even regular ones! Or corn on the cob at the fair! What the…? -C, 13

Sorry to say, they’re right. You’re on the way to adulthood and you're about to learn life is full of tradeoffs. Here is a fun way to make life with braces more enjoyable: For everything you take away, reward yourself with a positive replacement. For example, caramel apples and braces are a bad combo, so flip out a skinny caramel frappe or some fro-yo. (It will feel good on your mouth anyway.) You can also celebrate your future perfect smile by planning an All About Me Week right before you get your braces on. Every day leading up to your appointment, request your favorite off-limit foods and chew that gum! Find our food do's and don'ts here.

Dear M, I'm dying to look hot, and braces are just NOT. I don't want to be teased any more than I already am. -F, 13

Dear F, Everyone thinks they look weird during their teen years. When you get older, you'll realize people wear insecurity much the same way they wear accessories. Some display insecurity as shyness, some are class clowns, and sadly, some are bullies. I suggest you take this time to find what makes you awesome on the inside. By the time your skin, body and teeth catch up with your mind, personality and soul, you’ll be a rock star.

Sports are my life. Everyone is telling me I’m benched till my braces come off!?! -The Beast, 15

Dear The Beast, First, let me congratulate you on your killer name. Your parents must have known you were going to be a force to be reckoned with at birth. Secondly, you are about to learn an important lesson in life. Do not listen to your friends when it comes to big decisions, because they are often wrong. You can play sports! We recommend getting an orthodontic mouth guard. Please note that with or without a mouthguard boxing (or any sports where a blow to the face are possible) can cause some painful injuries. 

My big brother said when I get braces, I'll be able to hear the radio in my mouth. -Z, 12

Dear Z, Here's my advice: When you get your braces, start bustin' a move in a completely silent room. When he asks what you're doing, ask him if he's heard the latest Mac Brackey tune…it’s super hot in the U.K. right now. "WHAAAAT??" he will say incredulously. Then you say, “Oh, that's right. You can only get it on Braces Radio." HAHAHAHA! That'll teach him.