FAQ

What is an Orthodontist?

All orthodontists are dentists, but only about 6% of dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists must first attend college, complete a 4-year dental graduate program at a university dental school, and then successfully complete an additional 3-year residency program of advanced education in orthodontics. In the residency program, the orthodontist learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics). Only dentists who have successfully completed this advanced specialty education may call themselves orthodontists.

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What is a Board Certified Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed an American Dental Association accredited graduate program in the specialty of orthodontics. A dentist who graduates from a specialty program becomes an orthodontic specialist who is eligible to become board certified through the voluntary examination process of The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). Involvement in the certification process is a demonstration of the orthodontist's pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence. Dr. Longo has gone a step beyond in this comprehensive written and clinical examination which included providing for review his own actual patient cases, diagnoses, treatment planning, and results which were reviewed by Board examiners.

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At what age is my child supposed to see an Orthodontist?

It is generally recommended that a child see an orthodontist at the age of seven in case early treatment is needed. A visit at this age helps us learn about your child’s tooth development and determine the best age to start the treatment. For most kids, they won’t need any treatment until the age of 11 or 12, when all permanent teeth, except the third molars, have erupted.

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What is the next step?

In order to make your first visit more efficient, we would like you to take the time to fill out the Patient Information Sheet and Health History in the “Forms” Section in this website prior to your first appointment. Just click on the “Forms” link and follow the instructions. Then call our office to make an appointment so that we can schedule a time designated just for you. You may also want to give us your insurance information so that we can check your benefits before you arrive.

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What is Phase I, Phase II, and Full Treatment?

In most cases, the best age to start braces is around 11 or 12 for a “full treatment”. However, some children with severe problems may need so called “Phase I” early treatment. Phase I is usually partial treatment since not all permanent teeth are present. Early treatment very often turns a severe case that requires jaw surgery into a moderate non-surgical case.  Some malocclusions caused by poor habits are other good indications for Phase I treatment. Also, we would like to correct any malocclusion that may cause later irreversible damages. Sometimes orthodontists may use Phase I treatment to prevent certain types of malocclusion from happening.

Most children would need a Phase II treatment at 11 or 12 after all the permanent teeth (except the wisdom teeth) have erupted. If Phase I treatment is successful, the treatment time for Phase II will be reduced significantly. Usually the time and cost of a two-phase treatment will be more than a single full treatment. However, the benefit of Phase I treatment should outweigh the additional time and cost involved.

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What are the different types of braces?

The most comment type of braces are the stainless steel metal braces. They have been used for over 100 years by orthodontists, with the addition of new features every now and then. Current braces are designed based on good understanding of the anatomy and physiology of teeth and the surrounding structures.

Another type of braces used in our office are the clear braces. They are made of ceramic that is almost transparent. They look better and therefore have gained popularity in recent years.

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Will I need retainers?

The last, but definitely not the least, step is the retention of your straightened teeth after braces. Without retainers, it does not take long for your teeth to get crooked again. Depending on the stability of your teeth, you will be asked to wear retainers full-time for 6-12 months. We will continue to see you every 3 months to check your retainers for a full year after braces. You can reduce the retainer wear to night-time or every other night after the first year and continue to wear them minimally for a very long time.

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What to do in case of an emergency?

As a general rule, an emergency appointment should be scheduled when there is severe pain, a loose band, a broken wire or something sticking out that you can’t take care of at home. It will help, when you call the office, to be able to identify what part of your braces is broken or out of place.

What if my wire, retainer, or brackets come loose or break?

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument such as a pencil eraser and carefully push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to your appointment.

What if my cheeks are sore or have something poking them?

Use wax to protect your cheeks from the braces. If there is a tie wire sticking you, try to tuck it in with a pencil eraser. If it is still uncomfortable, please call our office.

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Insurance

We accept most dental insurance plans and will file claims on your behalf, saving you the time and hassle. We will tell you upfront what your insurance plan will pay for and offer options for taking care of any remaining balance.

Insurance Carriers

We accept and honor most dental insurance plans. The following are JUST A FEW of the dental insurance carriers we're providers for:

  • Aetna
  • Ameritas
  • Blue Cross & Blue Shield
  • Delta
  • Guardian
  • Metdental
  • Principal
  • United Concordia

Please call our office for more details at: (402) 496-9733.

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Adults Treatment

Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ/TMD) pain.

We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. Your new smile can begin today. The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time and may allow you to choose from several options. Your options may include metal braces, translucent braces or transparent aligners that can be worn at night to improve mild cases of misaligned teeth.

During the initial examination, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your individual needs. During this initial examination, we can outline the treatment plan, time of treatment expected and the approximate cost.

It’s never too late to improve their greatest asset - their smile.

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Dr. Alfred Longo is an orthodontist providing dental procedures such as braces and Invisalign treatment in Omaha.
Dr. Alfred Longo is licensed as an orthodontist in the state of Nebraska.

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