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My dream of becoming a dentist began at the age of 16. After graduating as valedictorian of the Class of 1984 from Calhoun High School, I continued to work hard to make those dreams become a reality. I attended Mercer University in Atlanta before being accepted to the dental program at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. It was in my junior year of dental school, that I realized my passion was in orthodontics. I earned my Doctorate of Medical Dentistry in 1990, graduating at the top of my class. I continued my studies at MCG and completed my Orthodontic Specialty training in 1992. It was then time to put all that I had learned into action. I couldn’t wait to come back to Calhoun to give back to the community that had given me so much! I have been providing excellent orthodontic care while creating smiles, boosting self-confidence and self-esteem in patients of all ages since 1992.
I welcome any questions you may have about orthodontics, and I invite you to come in for a free comprehensive exam. I am very passionate about my profession and seek to generate enthusiasm about the benefits of orthodontics and proper dental care. So for all those in pursuit of the happiness and self esteem that accompany the perfect smile, my practice is where your dreams can come true. I invite you to schedule a visit to my office.
Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.
What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam.
How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an e-mail or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.
What will I learn at the inital examination?
There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:
Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.
How much will braces cost?
It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination.
How does my insurance work?
We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.
Are financing options available?
We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you.
Do Braces Hurt?
Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Motrin will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”
Do I need to see my Family Dentist while in Braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
Can I return to school/work the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school/work because of an orthodontic appointment..
Are there foods I cannot eat while I have Braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.
How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.
Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.
At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.
How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.
Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient’s growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.
What is Phase 1 (Early) treatment?
Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-21 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.
Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!
How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every four to eight weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
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 five to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, 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 make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with their patient manager before dropping off their child.
What is an emergancy appointment? How are those handled?
If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.
Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.
Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.
Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.
Will my child need an expander (RPE)?
At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.
Do you give shots?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.
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 erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
Dr. Baker understands the importance of a smile you can share with confidence. Additionally, he wants you to feel confident with your decision for your journey to your best smile ever. Here are a few ways to get started: