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All About Orthodontics

Here are the answers to the questions we commonly receive at our Cary, Durham and Raleigh orthodontics practice. If you have additional questions or want more information, call us at (919) 403-0790 (Raleigh Office), (919) 518-2644 (Durham Office) or (919) 852-0009 (Cary Office) and we’ll be happy to help!

Q: What is orthodontics?

A: Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

Q: What is an orthodontist?

A: An orthodontist is a dental specialist who completed two to three years of training beyond dental school in straightening teeth, correcting misaligned jaw structures and improving the function of your smile.

Q: What is the best age to visit an orthodontist?

A: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens. About one in four orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for your child, any time is a good time to visit VanderWall Orthodontics.

Q: Is it okay to start orthodontic treatment if a child still has primary teeth?

A: While most of the time patients can wait until they’re teenagers to begin orthodontic treatment, in certain cases, intervening early while a patient still has baby teeth is ideal. When interceptive orthodontic treatment, also called early orthodontic treatment or phase 1 orthodontic treatment, is necessary, we can guide the growth and development of a child’s jaw and permanent teeth. This can prevent more serious issues from occurring that would require extractions, corrective jaw surgery or lengthy treatment.

Q: What can I do to take care of my teeth during orthodontic treatment?


  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask Dr. VanderWall or your family dentist if you require a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • When you take out your clear aligners or retainer to eat, keep them safe in their case so that they don’t get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer and clear aligners clean by brushing them gently with a toothbrush and rinsing them in lukewarm water.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar.
  • Sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
  • When you have braces, avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
  • Be sure to schedule routine checkups with your family dentist.It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

Q: How do I schedule my next appointment?

A: Simply call us at (919) 403-0790 (Raleigh Office), (919) 518-2644 (Durham Office) or (919) 852-0009 (Cary Office). Our front desk staff will be happy to help you schedule your next appointment at a time that’s convenient for you. If you’re a new patient, let us know when you call and we’ll provide you with all of the information you need.

Q: Do I need a referral from my dentist to make an appointment?

A: While we always welcome and appreciate referrals from dentists, you don’t need one to book an appointment. You can schedule your complimentary consultation by requesting an appointment online or calling us at (919) 403-0790 (Raleigh Office), (919) 518-2644 (Durham Office) or (919) 852-0009 (Cary Office).

Q: What happens at my first visit?

A: When you visit VanderWall Orthodontics for a consultation, we’ll give you a tour of the office and then a team member will take complimentary digital x-rays. Dr. VanderWall will perform a thorough oral examination. He’ll use his findings and your x-rays to develop a diagnosis and provide you with personalized treatment recommendations. He’ll chat with you about your goals, go over the pros and cons of the different treatment options, and answer any questions you have. To wrap things up, we’ll discuss the cost of orthodontic treatment, your insurance and our flexible financing options. If you’re ready to get started, we can take your diagnostic records immediately after your consultation.

Q: What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?

A: Straightening your teeth will improve your appearance, your oral health, your confidence and your self-esteem. Orthodontic treatment can also help prevent excessive wear of the teeth, bone loss and undue stress on your jaw joints, while improving your ability to chew and speak properly as well.

Q: Is orthodontic treatment covered by insurance?

A: If your dental insurance has orthodontic coverage, it can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs. There are many dental insurances that cover braces, clear aligners and other appliances and treatments. At VanderWall Orthodontics, we accept and file with most insurance plans. Our expert team members will help determine your coverage and maximize your benefits. Our insurance coordinator can also help you with insurance claims and paperwork. We do everything we can to make the orthodontic insurance process as easy and stress-free as possible.

Your Smile Transformation Starts Here!

Find out how we can give you a healthy, confident smile with braces or clear aligners in Durham, Raleigh or Cary, NC.

Book A free consultation

Your Smile Transformation Starts Here!

Find out how we can give you a healthy, confident smile with braces or clear aligners in Durham, Raleigh or Cary, NC.

Book A free consultation