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What is an Orthodontist?

All orthodontists are dentists first. Out of 100 dental school graduates, only six go on to become orthodontists.

These are the steps in an orthodontist’s education: college, dental school and orthodontic residency program. It can take 10 or more years of education after high school to become an orthodontist. After completing college requirements, the prospective orthodontist attends dental school. Upon graduation, the future orthodontist must be accepted as a student in an accredited orthodontic residency program [on average, there are about 15 applicants for every opening], then successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of study. The orthodontic student learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).

Copyright American Association of Orthodontists 2012

Clear Aligner Therapy

Removable Clear Aligners

Clear Aligners (such as InvisalignTM , SparkTM or ClarityTM) are a series of removable polymer trays custom made to the shape of your teeth, with each tray gradually moving your teeth closer to their final positions. They are a nice treatment alternative to traditional braces for some patients, because they may be removed to eat and clean your teeth. It’s important to remember to put them right back in after brushing, as they should be worn at least 22 hours a day in order to be effective and to complete treatment on time.

Just like with traditional braces, aligners work with different attachments and appliances, so that we can treat more than simple alignment problems.

We can show you more about how this works in your complimentary consultation, since everyone’s case is different.

Removable Clear Aligners

Our Treatment Coordinators can help explain pros and cons of all different treatment alternatives for your particular case!

Danielle – Smile Est. 2005
As one of our superb Treatment Coordinators, Danielle can help you understand the benefits of different braces options, so you can choose the best option for your lifestyle!

Invisible Lingual Braces

Lingual Braces fit on the inside (the “tongue side”) of your teeth, so they are truly invisible when you smile and talk. The individual brackets are custom made, based on a digital scan of your teeth. Lingual Braces are an outstanding aesthetic option for adult patients.

Invisible Lingual Braces

Lingual Braces make busy adult life more carefree during orthodontic treatment because they are always in place and keeping your treatment moving forward, even as they stay your secret. You have the confidence of knowing that the only change to your appearance while wearing Lingual Braces is that your teeth are looking better every day.

Dr. Peterson shows how Lingual Braces are our stealthiest braces!
Samantha, one of our helpful Scheduling Coordinators, can perfectly illustrate how invisible Lingual Braces are.
Even though Sam is wearing a full set in this photo, you’ll have to take our word for it because the only thing you can see is her beautiful smile!

Ceramic Braces

Clear Ceramic Braces can be worn with or without colored ties
Ceramic brackets on Wil

Ceramic braces work exactly like metal braces, except that they are invisible from just a few feet away. The brackets are made of a ceramic material is translucent, which means they let light and the natural color of your teeth to show through. From nearby, it looks like your teeth are in “soft focus”, and the only orthodontic appliance visible is the wire connecting the brackets, making them an excellent aesthetic option for both adults and kids.

Ceramic brackets can be worn with clear or colored ties, and you can change your choice among clear or different colors each time you come to our office!

Clear Ceramic Braces

There is no extra charge in our office for ceramic brackets versus metal brackets. They work and cost the same, so the choice is yours!

Dr. Peterson wants you to know that coffee won’t stain ceramic brackets! The only thing that might take any stain are the clear or colored ties, which we replace with brand new ones at every appointment.
Beth, one of our talented dental assistants,
showing how her Clear Ceramic Braces do not get in the way of her great smile or effortlessly cool style!

Insurance and Orthodontics

As an orthodontic practice, we are a provider of dental services. Consequently when we bill to insurance, we bill to dental rather than health insurance. We will bill to any private dental insurance company (however, we do not participate with or bill to any of the public programs).

Torie – Smile Est. 2017
As our In-House Insurance Specialist, Torie will hold your insurance company upside down and shake them til the pennies roll out.

Prior to your initial consultation, we will call your dental insurance company for you to find out any applicable orthodontic benefits, including the anticipated level of coverage. Please provide us with your dental insurance information prior to your appointment so that we can prepare this information for you in time for your visit. We will let you know what we find out at the initial consultation. It is important to stress that the numbers quoted initially by insurance companies are their estimate of benefits and not a guarantee of payments that they will ultimately make. We have an extremely committed team that works diligently to help you recover the highest possible dental benefit.

Another important thing to know is that insurance billing and payments for orthodontic care work a little differently than with other types of healthcare. Orthodontic care is billed and paid over the course of active treatment, rather than on a per-visit or per-service basis. Payment frequency is determined by each individual insurance plan, and may be monthly, quarterly, biannually, annually, or all at once. Payments may be made directly to our office or to you as the subscriber, depending on your individual insurance plan’s rules. If you have any additional questions about your plan’s benefits, please call your insurance company directly or ask the Human Resources staff at your employer.

Our staff understands that insurance can be intimidating and work hard to make this part of your orthodontic treatment as simple as possible for you!


We’ve got some pretty nifty tech behind the scenes! We use state-of-the-art technology and evidence-proven methods to create our patients’ amazing results. Whether it is the therapies we use, our convenient online patient portal, or our work with digital 3-D treatment planning, we incorporate innovative technology to enhance our patients’ experience.

Cone Beam CT (“CBCT”) images allow our doctors to get a sophisticated three-dimensional view of facial and dental structures for more precise diagnosis and treatment planning. These radiographic studies are beneficial for patients with impacted teeth, facial asymmetry, and jaw surgery needs, to name just a few.

A side of Dr. Ames you thought you’d never see

3D photos are used for diagnosis and treatment planning as they allow for three-dimensional assessment of facial structures and smile aesthetics. The software allows us to simulate different treatments and outcomes.

Our intraoral digital scanners allow us to take scans of the teeth to make extremely accurate digital models, as an alternative to the traditional impression trays. Sometimes only a digital model is needed for our records and treatment planning, but we can also print a physical model from this scan using our 3D printer, to help make some of our retainers and other appliances in-house.

The technology we use inside your mouth, from the brackets to the memory archwires, is state-of-the-art too! For more information about specific bracket types, please select the type of therapy you are interested in below.

Evan, – Smile Est. 2005
Evan is our resident tech genius and server whisperer.

Overall Discomfort from Shifting Teeth

In the course of your treatment, you will have some days with more discomfort than others. There are a few things that you can do to get some relief.

Remember what Dr. Ames would say: “The juice is worth the squeeze!”

For starters, try an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen prior to your first two appointments, prior to getting separators (spacers) placed, or as needed after an appointment. Please be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle carefully.

Secondly, try chewing sugarless gum or the bite wafer (sometimes called a “chew toy”) that we included in the bag we sent home with you the day you got your braces on. This helps relieve discomfort by reducing inflammation around the teeth. Next, you may use a topical anesthetic such as benzocaine (OrabaseTM). Follow instructions on the box or tube.

Above all, at the times when pressure on your moving teeth is the most intense, please be gentle with your teeth and with yourself. Eat soft foods cut into small pieces.

Know that you will be more comfortable soon, as your teeth find their new positions!

Loose Bonded Retainer

If your bonded retainer begins to loosen, please call us immediately so we can schedule an appointment to rebond it, as your teeth will begin to shift if the retainer is not securely in place.

Please do not clip or bend the wire if you can help it. An office visit charge for rebonding is far lower than the charge for replacing the retainer.

You can reduce discomfort prior to your appointment by using wet cotton or sugar-free gum to protect soft tissue and temporarily hold the loose portion of the wire in place.

If your bonded retainer has come completely loose from all of your teeth, please do not throw it away. Please bring it in with you to your appointment.

Broken Brackets

If you have a bracket that has come loose from your teeth, there are a few things that you can do right away at home. Please call us for next steps. Individual broken brackets are not emergencies, and our scheduling coordinators will review the situation with you on the phone and let you know whether it is necessary to come in right away, or whether you can wait until your next regular appointment to address the problem.

Some broken brackets are more urgent than others; call us for more details!

Sarina, one of our wonderful dental assistants, will have your broken bracket back in shape in no time!

Loose or Poking Wires

The most common orthodontic problems are loose or poking wires. You can often correct a bothersome wire at home, either by clipping it with a nail or wire clipper or pushing it in place with a pencil eraser or spoon. Please watch these techniques in the following video.

Even if you are not able to completely correct the problem yourself, you can still get relief from a poking wire by applying wax or a product like Gishy GooTM. If you no longer have the wax that we sent home with you when you first got your braces, you can find some in the oral care section of most drug stores. Please watch the video below to learn how to apply wax.

If you are not able to fix the problem with these techniques, please call our office on the next business day, and we will schedule the next available appointment to take further action.

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