Common Questions

Is a referral from my family dentist required to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic consultation?

No, a dental referral is not required. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, but most are referred by family and friends.

How do I schedule an appointment for an Initial Consultation?

Simply call our office, or send us an E-Mail. We will be happy to schedule your appointment! Our Scheduling Coordinator will request some basic information from you and will explain the steps to you.

What will I learn during the Initial Consultation?

There are 4 essential questions that Dr. Held will answer during your Initial Consultation:
  • Is there an orthodontic concern? If so, what is it?
  • What will Dr. Held do to correct the problem?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

At what age should I schedule an appointment for an Initial Consultation for my child?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening by the age of seven, or earlier if a problem is detected by the parents, family dentist, or pediatrician. Typically by this age, several permanent teeth have erupted (i.e. grown in), allowing Dr. Held to effectively evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs.

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 grow in, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

Will I need to have permanent teeth extracted for braces?

Dr. Held uses both a Two-Phase Treatment approach (when applicable), and The Physiodynamic® System. Both of these treatment modalities greatly reduce the need for extraction of permanent teeth.

What is Phase I (Early) Treatment?

Phase I Treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated between the ages of 7 and 10, and lasts about 6 to 12 months. The primary objective for Phase I Treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe. These problems include, but are not limited to: providing more room for permanent teeth to come in, improving a narrow airway, correcting a crossbite, correcting an overbite or underbite, correcting an open bite, improving facial profile and lip posture, and boosting self-esteem and self-image. When jaw discrepancies are present, taking advantage of growth early is the key to achieving an ideal result overall. Leaving such a condition untreated until all permanent teeth come in could result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to achieve an ideal result with braces alone.

Will my child need Phase II Treatment (full braces), if he/she had Phase I Treatment?”:

Even with ideal cooperation and favorable growth response in Phase I, most patients will benefit from Phase II Treatment with full braces. However, Phase II is generally less involved, typically requiring a shorter treatment time than a full braces case on a patient having never undergone Phase I. And, overall results are significantly better on patients who underwent Phase I first, when it was indicated.

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

More and more adults today are seeking the benefits of a beautiful, healthy smile. In our practice, a significant number of our orthodontic patients are over the age of 21. The oldest patient that Dr. Held has treated was 61 years young. Health, happiness, and self-esteem are vitally important at any age. It's never too late!

How long will my treatment take to complete?

Treatment time depends upon each patient's specific orthodontic needs. A minor correction could take 6 months, whereas a standard full case could take 18 to 24 months. More involved cases, such as surgical cases, may take longer.

Do braces hurt?

Generally, braces do not “hurt,” but they do feel foreign at first. Typically, it takes from 1 day to 1 week to become acclimated to braces. Dr. Held utilizes the latest orthodontic technology: The Physiodynamic® System, which straightens teeth with less discomfort. With this newer technology, we do not “tighten” braces anymore, as these braces gently self-activate daily. After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days, and an over-the-counter pain reliever (such as Ibuprofen) will provide relief.

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

Orthodontic fees depend upon the complexity of the correction and the length of treatment. We will explain the exact cost and financial options during the Initial Consultation. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these options with you. We will also review your insurance information, help to maximize your benefit, and file your claims for you.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Dr. Held uses the latest orthodontic technology, including comfortable, self-activating expanders and the Physiodynamic® System, both of which require less frequent visits. Most patients are seen every 6 to 12 weeks.

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 6 to 12 weeks apart, patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatment. And, we will make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you to make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when he or she returns, so we ask that parents check in with our Scheduling Coordinator upon their return to our office.

Can I still play sports?

Yes, but we do recommend wearing a mouthguard for all contact sports. We have special mouthguards for our patients to protect your teeth, braces, and jaw joints. Just ask, and we will be happy to fit you with a mouthguard.

Do I continue to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes! We recommend that you see your family dentist at least every 6 months for a thorough cleaning and examination while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Are there foods that I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes, once your treatment begins, we will provide you with complete diet instructions and a list of foods to avoid. These foods include hard, sticky, chewy, and crunchy items, such as ice, hard candy, nuts, gum, caramel, taffy, granola bars, etc. These items can distort or break your braces. You can avoid extra repair appointments and reduce your time in braces by carefully following these instructions.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Excellent oral hygiene is a must with braces. Patients should thoroughly brush at least 3 to 4 times each day: after each meal and before going to bed. Once your treatment begins, we will provide special toothbrushes, toothpaste, flossing aids, and mouth rinses to help you to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile.

Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. All orthodontists are dentists, but only about six percent of dentists are orthodontists. Admission to an orthodontic postgraduate program is extremely competitive and selective.

It takes many years to become an orthodontist, and the educational requirements are demanding. An orthodontist must complete college requirements before starting a four year graduate program at a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). After dental school, at least two or three academic years of advanced specialty education in an ADA-accredited orthodontic program are required to become an orthodontist. The program includes advanced education in biomedical, behavioral, and basic sciences. The orthodontic student learns the complex skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and to guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).

Only dentists who have successfully completed these advanced specialty education programs may call themselves orthodontists.

Meet Dr. Held

Originally from Northern California, Dr. Cheryl L. Held began her orthodontic residency at the Saint Louis University Department of Orthodontics.
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  • 9979 WingHaven Blvd., Suite 200
  • O'Fallon, MO 63368
  • ph. 636.561.5550