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Why does the cost of braces often vary from office to office?

July 3rd, 2017

If you don’t know already since more and more folks “shop around” for their orthodontic treatment like buying a car, the fees for braces and Invisalign can and do vary locally, regionally and nationally. What affects orthodontic treatment fees and how are they determined?

Unlike a product like a car or a bag of chips where shopping around often can pay off with getting the best deal, a service like orthodontic treatment does vary.  Often times, the experience and training of the orthodontist, board certification, the quality of the treatment outcome, the amenities and customer service of the office do affect the treatment fees.  Other factors that affect any business’s charges/prices/fees like an orthodontic practice are labor, materials, supplies, maintenance and repair of the office, governmental regulations and taxes.   Examples of the supplies are the braces themselves (technically referred to as brackets), the archwires, retainers, rubber bands, impression material, the cement (glue) used for the braces, etc.  Other items used behind the scenes and not always seen are the instruments needed for each patient, the equipment used to sterilize the instruments after each patient,  lab equipment like a model trimmer, and diagnostic equipment like x-ray machines, cameras and the large amount of computer equipment needed to run a modern, high-tech orthodontic practice in the year 2017.

The cliché’ of you get what you pay for cannot be overlooked in the case of orthodontic treatment, especially when delivered by a specialist and expert in orthodontics like Dr. Altherr,  who received nearly 3 years of additional, full-time training specifically in orthodontics (braces, Invisalign, etc).  We hope this information helps answer the above question.

Is there an age limit with Braces?

May 9th, 2017

Quick answer- NO.  Our oldest adult patient during their treatment a few years ago was in their mid 70’s.

As we continue to thankfully live longer, more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment (braces and Invisalign) for the first time or being retreated because of infrequent/lost/damage/etc of their past retainer(s).  Furthermore, with better access to dental care, education and income, more adults have all of their teeth and understand the important relationship between their teeth and their overall health; they want to invest the necessary time and money into their health.  In the past for a lot of adults due to missing teeth and finances, straight teeth and a good, functional bite were often achieved with dentures/fake teeth only.  Now, adults have their teeth and have options.

Past obstacles to orthodontic treatment that we hear from our past adult patients at their complimentary initial exams are the following:

1)      Length of treatment- Will it take a long time?

2)      Will I be the only adult among a bunch of kids?

3)      Will I have a mouth full of metal like the old days?

4)      Cost and financing.

Depending on the extent of an adult’s problems and their expectations, some patients’ treatment times can be as short as 6 months or less!  Really, we are not joking.  Dr. Altherr does joke that his patients’ treatment times are shorter because of him being naturally impatient; but more seriously, it’s because we are experts at orthodontics, we use up to date technology and Dr. Altherr’s board-certified experience and being UNC trained further adds to the efficiency in treatment and the corresponding brief treatment times.

Adults are about 20% or our practice, and growing.  There are some mornings where we only see adults.  There are many more aesthetic options than the metal braces of the past.  We offer clear braces and Invisalign, which a lot of our adults really like.  And finally, with all of our patients (not just adults) and the various treatment options offered, we have many flexible financing options that make affording orthodontic treatment simple and easy.

Note: Dr. Edward Altherr is a board-certified orthodontist in private practice serving Apex, NC, and the surrounding towns/cities of Cary, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Raleigh and Fuquay-Varina.  Dr. Altherr’s training in orthodontics was at the prestigious University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s program where we studied under many great orthodontic icons like Dr. William Proffitt and Dr. Camilla Tulloch.  During his orthodontic training, Dr. Altherr’s research and further focus was on the orthodontic treatment of the mixed-dentition (mix of baby and adult teeth in kids between 6 and 14 yo).  With his research and over 15 years of clinical orthodontic experience as of 2017, Dr. Altherr is considered an expert in mixed-dentition orthodontics and other areas of orthodontics like temporary skeletal anchors.  This web blog is for educational purposes only.  Dr. Altherr is licensed only in the state of North Carolina, and cannot diagnose and recommend orthodontic treatment over the phone or internet.

Inflation hitting the Tooth Fairy harder than ever

May 1st, 2017

Visa had randomly polled over 3,000 households and was able to obtain about 1,000 responses regarding what the Tooth Fairy is paying for a child's lost tooth/teeth.  The going rate was about $2.60 in 2011, and increased to $3.70 in 2013.  Today, it's approaching close to $4 a tooth.  We hope the Tooth Fairy can conjure up enough money to continue her endeavors since each child has 20 baby teeth totalling $80 per child!

Should I use a water pick during my treatment?

April 26th, 2017

Dr. Altherr and our team at Altherr Orthodontics know that for some of our patients wearing braces, it can be difficult to weave through those wires and brackets as you brush and floss during your treatment.

Some of our patients use a water pick to flush out food and other particles and bacteria stuck between their teeth as the water can reach behind the metal wires and hit spots where your floss simply cannot reach. People suffering from gum disease also find water picks quite effective because of their ability to flush out bacteria from inside the deep pockets.

Water picks are friendly to braces and are also gentle on the gums. They are less likely to cause bleeding for people with sensitive teeth or gums. But as many benefits as they may have, Dr. Altherr and our team want you to know that water picks should never be used as a substitute for flossing. Though they are great tools for helping improve oral health while you are in treatment, they are just not a good enough tool on their own to keep your mouth and gums gingivitis- and decay-free. Water picks are also incapable of removing plaque from teeth as effectively as floss can. While water picks rinse the sticky bacteria off your teeth, flossing is actually more effective as it actually scrapes the bacteria off of your pearly whites.

If you have any questions about water picks or any general questions or concerns about your orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to please ask us below or give us a call!

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(919) 363-2221 1011 W. Williams St, Suite 101, Apex, NC 27502

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