Initial Visit

Do you charge for an initial visit?

No. As a courtesy to you and your family dentist, we will always discuss the feasibility of braces or Invisalign without charging a fee.

At what age do you start seeing patients?

As a rule of thumb, we like to evaluate young patients between the ages of 6 and 8 if you or your dentist feel that a problem exists or there is a potential future problem.

Why do you evaluate patients so young?

The purpose of early evaluation is to inform and observe and not necessarily to start treatment. At this early age, the eventual needs may be identified and discussed. A percentage of this young group may benefit from early intervention. Habits are evaluated, medical issues are discussed and an observation schedule is arranged if appropriate.

How long will the first visit take?

The first visit will last approximately one hour depending on how ready the patient is for treatment. In the case of a very young patient we might  just do a visual exam and explain the situation.  However, for the majority of our patients we will do complete diagnostic studies including photographs, X-ray(s),  and a digital scan of the patient’s teeth.

Do you take patients transferring from out of town?

Yes, we do. We handle a patient transferring into our office from another city just like a new patient. We gather complete diagnostic records to show the current status and propose treatment to complete the work that has been started.

Do you have any adult patients?

Absolutely. A growing percentage of our patients are adults. New, more cosmetic appliances are making adult treatment much more comfortable and convenient.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

An orthodontist is a dentist that has had at least 2 additional years of full-time training in orthodontics at an accredited institution resulting in a nationally accepted specialty certificate. The orthodontist then limits his practice to straightening teeth and dentofacial orthopedics.

Dr. Dietterick and Dr. Pedersen attend many continuing education courses and seminars to further their knowledge. Dr. Dietterick has also taken the additional step of becoming board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics.  Dr. Pedersen is pursuing board certification.

Can I make all my appointments in the afternoon after school and late in the day?

In order to have early and late appointments available for the majority of patients, some procedures need to be accomplished during the hours of 9 and 3. We will do our best to work with your schedules and accommodate your family needs.

Do you see patients for emergencies?

Yes. If you have an emergency, please call the office and we will help you or give you instructions on who to call.  Some is always available to handle emergencies.


Can we make payments?

Yes. Whether or not you have insurance or a dental plan, we will structure a convenient payment plan that will allow you to pay for necessary services over a period of time that usually coincides with your treatment plan.

How do you handle insurance?

Our financial office will prepare your insurance claims in order to ensure that you obtain your maximum orthodontic benefit.

Do you take credit cards?

Yes, we accept Visa, Master Card, and Discover cards.

Do you have direct debit?

Yes, we have arrangements for direct debit from a checking or savings account.

Do you charge interest?

No, our in office plan is interest-free.

Do you give family discounts?

We have special programs and fees for multiple patients from the same family.

Types of Treatment

What is Phase 1 Treatment?

Phase 1 treatment is delivered early and before all permanent teeth have erupted. The purpose of this early care is to start correcting harmful malocclusions that may be more difficult or impossible to correct later. Phase 1 treatment does not eliminate the need for conventional orthodontics done during adolescence. Examples of phase 1 treatment include correcting individual tooth or jaw crossbites and severe underbites and overbites where function, aesthetic or psychological concerns are identified.

What is phase 2 Treatment?

Phase 2 treatment is conventional orthodontic treatment. It may start while the last baby teeth are falling out and continue until the 12-year molars have been evaluated or straightened. This treatment usually lasts between 2 and 3 years.

How do I know if Phase 1, 2 or both type of treatments are necessary?

An early visit is suggested. About 10 to 20 percent of young patients may benefit from phase 1 treatment. Most other patients are observed until the appropriate time to initiate care.

Moving of Teeth (Mechanics)

How long do braces take?

Complete treatment can usually be accomplished in 2 years of active tooth movement. Sometimes, this active movement is divided into two or more periods of time. (See phase 1 and 2 treatment above).

How do braces work?

Quite simply, crooked teeth are gradually moved into desired positions by taking shaped wires and attaching them to brackets on the teeth.

How long does Invisalign take?

Many times Invisalign treatment can be completed in less than two years.

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign uses sophisticated computer software to engineer a series of custom-manufactured clear aligners.  These aligners are used in conjunction with strategically placed tooth-colored attachments to apply forces to the teeth in order to move them into the desired positions.


Do retainers need to be worn after braces?

Yes, retainers are worn full-time for about 6 months followed by nighttime wear indefinitely.

Why do teeth get crooked after wearing braces or aligners?

Teeth move throughout life whether you have worn braces or not. It is part of the natural aging process. This is why retainer wear is recommended indefinitely to maintain your orthodontic results over your lifetime.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

Can braces or orthodontic treatment treat or cause TMJ problems?

Scientific literature has documented that there is not a direct connection between orthodontic treatment or occlusion and TMJ disorders. Problems with TMJ can be present or absent in the presence of all types of good and bad bites.

Health Impact

What are the health benefits of wearing braces?

Orthodontics helps to improve the comfort of the bite, make it easier to brush and floss your teeth for good dental health, and many times helps to balance the facial musculature. The positive self-esteem benefits are immeasurable.

How do enlarged adenoids and allergies affect braces?

Mouth breathing, as a result of enlarged adenoids or tonsils or allergies, may cause your upper and lower jaws to grow apart and elongate facial form during growth, resulting in crowding and often narrow arches. This is not true for every patient and an evaluation by an ENT physician in addition to an orthodontic evaluation may be needed to determine this.

How does a tongue thrust or low tongue posture affect braces?

The effects are similar to enlarged adenoids. Plus, the pressure on front teeth from the tongue thrusting can aggravate protrusion and spacing.