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Getting your braces tightened can be a little uncomfortable, especially the first couple of times you have it done. The discomfort means that your teeth are moving and the treatment is working!

But we know it can be kind of hard to focus on the long-term when your mouth is sore right now, so here are some tips to relieve some of the discomfort:

Over-the-counter pain relief medicine

Common over-the-counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol can help with some of the mild pain that comes from getting your braces tightened. To get a jump on things, take a dose as recommended on the packaging an hour before your appointment, then as needed afterwards. Always stick to the directions!

Use an oral anesthetic

Special medications are available over-the-counter which can be applied directly to gums. These are nice because you can put the medication exactly where the discomfort is, but they may also not taste the greatest. Try it to see if this solution works for you.

Eat soft foods

Eating soft or liquid foods can really help in keeping discomfort down while your mouth is sore. Being smart about the foods you eat is important when you have braces. See this post for foods to avoid when you have braces.

Use an ice pack

Applying an ice pack to your cheek over the area that hurts can reduce pain and inflammation. This works in the same way as when you get a sprain or a bruise on another part of your body.

Drink cold water

Like an ice pack, drinking cold water is a cheap and effective way to numb your mouth and reduce any inflammation in the gums. Plus, it’s always a good idea to drink more water!

If you have any more questions about having braces, contact Dr. Frost’s office!


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Before you get braces or consider Invisalign, there are a lot of questions that you want—and need—to ask yourself. How the treatment will be paid for is often the first question to come up, and it’s important to know your options before you get started. Here are some common questions patients ask:

Does insurance cover braces?

It depends. Every patient’s insurance is just as different as every patient’s treatment plan. Some insurance plans have separate orthodontic coverage, some will only cover certain types of treatment under certain circumstances, and some plans may cover little to no part of the cost of orthodontia.

However, insurance companies are generally more sympathetic to issues that cause pain or discomfort which could be corrected with braces or another orthodontic treatment. It all depends on your insurance and your treatment needs. When you call our office or come in for your first visit, we will review your case and your insurance to see how much of the treatment will be covered.

Can I finance my orthodontic treatment?

Absolutely. We offer financing along with several other payment options. Just like your treatment plan, we will work out a payment solution that works best for you.

How much do braces cost?

It’s difficult to say. Every patient has different wants and needs, the details of which will determine the final cost of treatment. When you contact us, we will be able to give you a more detailed estimate once we have some more information about you, your needs, and your insurance.

Does Invisalign cost more than braces?

The cost of Invisalign compared to braces is pretty even. On average, Invisalign tends to cost a little more, but not by very much. Again, it will all depend on your unique situation, so schedule a free consultation to get a more solid and detailed estimate.

>>Click here to schedule an appointment!



It is interesting how often unusual orthodontic situations can be discovered with a simple exam and X-ray. Just this week I have diagnosed young children (8 to 10 years of age) with multiple missing permanent teeth and/or supernumerary (extra) teeth.

Both missing permanent teeth and supernumerary teeth are common conditions, and they can only be first seen with an X-ray. This is because permanent teeth form underneath baby teeth long before they ‘push up’ to the surface of the gums. By seeing where and how teeth are forming (as well as how many), an orthodontist can adjust a patient’s treatment plan accordingly.

In the X-ray image below, you can see how clear it is that this patient has several extra teeth coming in below the permanent teeth:

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(Image credit: http://www.cda-adc.ca/)

Supernumerary teeth can mean crowding for existing or future permanent teeth, or these teeth could possibly come in at other places in the mouth. A lack of permanent teeth, on the other hand, results in gaps and spaces.

Fortunately, there are many treatment options available whether a patient will have too many–or not enough–permanent teeth. A combination of timely extractions, oral surgery, orthodontic treatment, or cosmetic treatments will make sure a child will have a great looking smile as an adult.

In both cases I saw this week, these diagnoses made a significant impact on the patients’ treatment plans. Although their treatment (braces) will not happen for a year or two, we were able to make sure the treatment works best at that time through the use of X-rays.

Treating a patient whose permanent teeth are still coming in and changing makes this process more difficult. So if your child has not seen an orthodontist by 8 or 9 years of age, please schedule a consultation soon. The earlier your child’s orthodontist knows how his or her teeth will come in, the easier the treatment process will be. It can really make a difference.



December 14, 2012

How often do patients with braces need to be seen in the office?

At Dr. Frost’s office adolescent patients are usually seen every five weeks. Adult patients are usually seen every three to four weeks.  Patients with special circumstances might need to be seen more often. Examples of these type of patients may include those with impacted teeth, patients that need a lot of space closed or patients near the end of their treatment.



December 6, 2012

Do kids really need braces twice?  It is seemingly more common for orthodontists to perform two phase treatment—or the placement and removal of braces twice. Does this produce a better result?  Orthodontic research has shown that having braces twice  does not produce a better result than one comprehensive phase in the majority of patients. So who does need early orthodontic treatment?  Examples include children with functional problems such as an inability to eat properly, severe crowding or excessive overbites.  The problem and the reason for treatment should be obvious to the parents and the orthodontist should be able to explain the need for and benefit of the treatment. If you believe that your child has a special problem or need a second opinion please call our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Frost, a St. Louis orthodontist.


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