(818) 886-6666 9535 Reseda Blvd Suite 206
Northridge, CA 91324
  • FAQ’s

    If you want an easy way to improve your smile, consider orthodontic treatment. Looking better and feeling good about your smile can improve your self-esteemand promote a positive attitude. A breathtaking smile provides a valuable asset at any age.

    From braces to Invisalign, early treatment (Phase I treatment) to adult orthodontics, we are here to answer your orthodontic questions. Like many who live in Northridge, Chatsworth, Mission Hills, Reseda, Porter Ranch you may have questions about dealing with braces, fees and insurance, or appointments. This section focuses on answering our most frequently asked questions relating to orthodontic /bracestreatment. Browse through this section and then call our Reseda Blvd. office at (818) 886-6666 so that our team can address your specific questions.


    Q: I have had crooked teeth for many years. Why should I move them now?

    A: Having crooked teeth can often lead to a bad bite, which means your teeth don’t fit together properly so they are wearing unevenly. Without treatment, excessive wear can cause cracked teeth and lead to more dental work. Orthodontic treatment can improve function, creating teeth that last longer, work more efficiently, and usually look better. Because properly brushing and flossing your teeth is more difficult with crooked teeth, having a straighter smile will promote proper oral hygiene and keep teeth healthy for the rest of your life.

    Q: Why is it important to go to an orthodontic specialist like Dr. Azar?

    A: If you needed heart surgery, you would see a cardiologist, not a family doctor. The same logic applies to orthodontics. With orthodontic treatment, your teeth and sometimes your entire facial structure are permanently altered. An orthodontic specialist has had specific training for an additional two to three years after dental school that addresses the art and science of moving teeth and aligning the jaws.

    Q: I see ads for perfect teeth in just a couple visits to the dentist. Can I straighten my teeth that quickly?

    A: Not really. Usually, these ads refer to porcelain veneers, which will cover your front teeth and mask the crookedness. Orthodontic treatment will straighten your teeth without any type of covering.

    Q: How do I make an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation?

    A: Just call our Northridge, CA office at (818) 886-6666, or request a complimentary consultation on the Web site. Our team will be happy to schedule an appointment for you or your child.

    Q: What is the best age to schedule my child’s first orthodontic evaluation?

    A: According to the American Association of Orthodontists, you should schedule your child’s first orthodontic evaluation around age seven. At this time, the six-year molars, laterals, and central incisors are in place, and your child’s jaw growth pattern will be more obvious. Early detection helps with the diagnosis and prevention of many potential problems. In many cases, the doctor may not recommend early treatment, but Dr. Azar will monitor your child’s growth and development so that we can recommend the best, most efficient treatment for your child’s individual needs.

    Q: What is Phase I or early treatment?

    A: For children who have skeletal or dental orthodontic problems that need to be addressed early on, we may recommend early treatment. Issues that may warrant Phase I treatment include poor jaw relationships, traumatic bite, lack of space for permanent teeth, avoiding impactions of permanent teeth, and severe bites that can affect self esteem. Addressing these concerns as soon as possible can help avoid major orthodontic problems at a later time.

    Q: If my child has Phase I treatment, will they need braces again?

    A: Yes. Phase I treatment is designed to handle any major issues that need early intervention. Phase II treatment, or full braces, will occur after Dr. Azar carefully monitors your child’s growth and development, and decides to start the second phase of orthodontic treatment, which will align the permanent teeth.

    Q: What is an expander and why is it used?

    A: An expander helps coordinate the alignment of the upper and lower jaw to correct cross bites. The orthodontist may also suggest an expander to widen the upper jaw and This will allow more space for permanent teeth to erupt, which avoids possible impactions of teeth (view expander video). Dr. Azar will evaluate your child’s case to see if an expander will help with treatment.

    Q: How long does orthodontic treatment take?

    A: The treatment course depends on several factors, like the severity of the bite and patient cooperation. Patients can take a few months or a few years to correct their bites. During a complimentary orthodontic evaluation at Dr. Azar’s Northridge office, we can evaluate your case and determine an individualized plan for treatment.

    Q: How much does orthodontic treatment (braces/Invisalign) cost? Are financing options available?

    A: Your orthodontic treatment costs will depend on the severity of the case and the time required to correct bite issues. Call our office to schedule a complimentary orthodontic evaluation in Dr. Azar’s Northridge office. At that time, we will can review the fees, determine insurance coverage, and discuss financing options. We will also file your insurance on your behalf.

    Q: How do I keep my teeth clean while I have braces?

    A: When your braces are placed, we will review the steps for keeping teeth clean. A team member will also demonstrate how to properly floss and brush with the braces. For successful orthodontic treatment, patients need to maintain clean teeth and healthy gums. Review the You and Your Braces video.

    Q: How often do I come in for adjustments for braces/Invisalign?

    A: Usually, appointments are scheduled 6 to 10 weeks apart. The wires that we use provide gentler forces for longer periods of time, This means you don’t need orthodontic adjustments as frequently, but your teeth are moving more efficiently with modern orthodontic appliances. Invisalign patients can also set longer appointment intervals, and we will prepare your aligner sets to fit your busy schedule.

    Q: Do braces or Invisalign aligners hurt?

    A: When you receive a new appliance, whether braces or Invisalign, your mouth will have an adjustment period. Patients sometimes feel a little sore for a few days, but your teeth will soon adjust.

    Q: Do you need to give a shot (injection) for braces?

    A: No injections are given when we put on braces.

    Q: Can I play a musical instrument with braces?

    A: Yes. You may need a little time to adjust if you play wind or brass instruments, but after a short time, braces usually don’t interfere with your performance.

    Q: Can I have braces if I have nickel or metal allergies?

    A: Yes. At the initial consultation appointment, please tell Dr. Azar. Our practice offers titanium brackets and the doctor can evaluate your case to see if you are candidate for Invisalign.

    Q: What do I do in case of an orthodontic emergency?

    A: Luckily, orthodontic emergencies happen very rarely. If a situation occurs where a bracket breaks and you are in pain, access the online Emergency Info video or call us at (818) 886-6666. In most cases, you can resolve the emergency by watching the video or we can walk you through the steps over the phone.

    Q: Do I still need to go to my family dentist while I have braces?

    A: Absolutely. You will receive regular checkups and cleanings from your general dentist. Our doctors recommend that patients visit their family dentists every three to six months.

    Q: How do I distinguish an orthodontist from a general dentist?

    A: An orthodontist is a “SPECIALIST” in dentistry. After graduating from Dental School and becoming a dentist, they must apply, be accepted and graduate from a university accredited by the American Dental Association. This is two or more years of specialized post-doctoral training in the art and science of moving teeth. Only orthodontists are uniquely qualified to perform orthodontic services.Membership in the American Association of Orthodontists guarantees they specialize in orthodontics.

    Q: How many years of school does it take to be an orthodontist?

    A: It takes a minimum of 22 years of school to become an orthodontist?

    Q: Do I need a referral from my dentist before seeing the orthodontist?

    A: No, you do not need a referral from your dentist in order to see the orthodontist. However, 75 percent of our patients are referred to us by their dentist. You may call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Azar yourself.

    Q: What are the benefits of orthodontics?


    • A healthier more beautiful smile
    • Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical growth years
    • Better function and comfort with a proper bite
    • Increased self-esteem and confidence
    • Increased ability to keep teeth clean
    • Improved force distribution and wear patterns on teeth
    • Guided facial growth for a more attractive face and profile
    • Better long-term health of the teeth and gums
    • Reduce or eliminate the need for future jaw surgery
    • Guide the permanent teeth into a more favorable position
    • Reduce or eliminate the need to extract teeth
    • Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
    • Better lip closure
    • Improved speech and swallowing
    • Aid in optimizing other dental treatments
    • Less strain on the jaw joints and muscles
    • Prevent premature loss of teeth and aging appearance
    Q: Should I wait until all the permanent teeth are in before seeing the orthodontist?

    A: No, many tooth alignment or jaw growth problems can be detected by age 6. Some of these problems are best treated early, avoiding a more serious problem later or eliminating braces as a teenager all together.

    Q: Will my child’s teeth straighten out on their own?

    A: No. The available space for front teeth does not increase as a child grows. In most people with the emergence of the permanent 6-year molars, the space available for the front teeth actually decreases with age.

    Q: When are you too old for braces?

    A: Many adults are benefiting from orthodontics to improve and have a healthy, beautiful smile. Adults who have teeth and healthy supporting structures are never too old for braces.

    Q: Will there be a charge for my examination?

    A: No, the initial orthodontic exam and consultation at our office is complimentary.

    Q: What will happen at the initial consultation?

    A: At Your First Visit, you will be greeted by our Treatment Coordinator who will give you an office tour. She will introduce you to Dr. Azar. We will conduct a brief, but thorough, examination of your teeth and gums.

    Q: What will I learn from the initial consultation?

    A: Five questions will be answered at the initial consultation: Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it? What must be done to correct the problem? Will any teeth need to be removed? How long will the orthodontic treatment take? How much will it cost? Dr. Azar will also answer any additional questions you might have.

    Q: Will I have to have any teeth removed for braces?

    A: Removing teeth is sometimes needed to achieve the desired orthodontic result. However, because of the state-of-the-art orthodontic treatments and technologies at Dr. Azar’s orthodontic office, the need to remove teeth has been greatly reduced.

    Q: Will they need to take an x-ray?

    A: Yes, the orthodontist must see the teeth, bone and the relationship of the top and bottom jaws to properly diagnose and treat the patient. Here at Dr. Azar’s Orthodontic office, we take digital x-rays.

    Q: Can I return to school the same day I receive my braces?

    A: Yes, there is usually no reason why you would need to miss school or work.

    Q: Does it hurt to have the braces removed?

    A: No, most people do not experience any discomfort when removing the braces. Some people’s teeth are sensitive to cold air during the removal procedures.

    Q: Can I participate in sports with braces on?

    A: Yes, you can play sports with the braces on. You may need to wear a special mouthguard to protect your lips and teeth just as you would without braces. Ask us and we will be happy to provide you with an athletic mouth piece when your braces are placed.

    Q: Are there certain things you can’t eat?

    A: Most good nutritious foods in all the food groups can be eaten. Good nutrition is important for the teeth to move. Certain hard, crunchy foods like apples and carrots need to be cut up into smaller bites or they can be cooked. This prevents wires from being bent or braces being broken off the teeth. Food and beverages like soda pop that contain high amounts of sugar should be limited. It’s more important to brush and clean your teeth thoroughly afterwards. . High acid icfoods like lemons should also be avoided. Chewing on ice or hard candies should be avoided, as it will break the braces off the teeth. Sticky, chewy candies like Taffy, Caramel, Gummy Bears, Jolly Ranchers and others will damage the appliances and can cause damage to the teeth while in braces. It will also delay being finished on time with your braces if things are constantly broken and in need of repair.

    Q: Do you have invisible braces?

    A: Yes, we do have braces that are barely visible. Ceramic braces are tooth colored and are difficult to see. There usually is a small additional charge for ceramic braces.

    Q: What is Invisalign?

    A: Invisalign is a system by which a special 3D digital scanner is used to scan your teeth in order to manufacture a series of custom aligners. Each aligner is worn approximately two weeks to move your teeth gradually.

    Q: Can my child choose different colored rubber bands for their braces?

    A: Absolutely. We have a variety of different colored rubber bands that go over the braces at no additional charge, if you want them. Colored braces can make having braces more fun.

    Q: Will braces damage my teeth or gums?

    A: No, braces will not damage your teeth and gums if you care for them properly and stay on schedule with your appointments. Lack of proper brushing and extended treatment can damage the teeth.

    Q: Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has baby teeth?

    A: Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if your child is not yet ready, we can follow their development to determine the proper time to begin orthodontic treatment.

    Q: How long does it take to put the braces on?

    A: It takes about one and a half to two hours to put braces on.

    Q: Can all of my child’s appointments be scheduled after school?

    A: Unfortunately, no. However, because appointments are typically scheduled 6 to 10 weeks apart, most patients miss very little school. Our office references school calendars in the San Fernando Valley area, including Northridge, Chatsworth, Mission Hills, Reseda, and Porter Ranch, and makes every attempt to meet the scheduling needs of our patients.

    Q: Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

    A: Yes, although on occasion, Dr. Azar may need to speak with you before or after treatment. Therefore, we request that you check in with our front desk when dropping off your child. We may ask you for a cell phone number before you leave.

    Q: What about infection control?

    A: Our office utilizes the most modern sterilization equipment available to the profession. We sterilize all instruments and handpieces. For your safety, we also subscribe to a monitoring service that tests our equipment every month to be sure it is operating properly. Additionally, we practice utilizing barrier techniques and surface disinfection sterilization.

    Q: Do you use recycled braces?

    A: Our office has never used recycled braces. Each patient gets a new set of braces.

    Q: Why are retainers needed after braces?

    A: Retainers are designed to hold the teeth in their corrected positions, after braces, until the bone & ligaments remodel to the new tooth position.

    Q: Will my teeth shift after my braces are removed?

    A: No. With proper retainer wear, your teeth should stay straight for a lifetime. Some harmful habits like biting on pens and pencils or muscle imbalances will cause the teeth to shift after braces or later in life if the retainers are not worn consistently.

    If you want an easy way to improve your smile, consider orthodontic treatment. Looking better and feeling good about your smile can improve your self-esteemand promote a positive attitude. A breathtaking smile provides a valuable asset at any age.

    From braces to Invisalign, early treatment (Phase I treatment) to adult orthodontics, we are here to answer your orthodontic questions. Like many who live in Northridge, Chatsworth, Mission Hills, Reseda, Porter Ranch,  and the surrounding area, you may have questions about dealing with braces, fees and insurance, or appointments. This section focuses on answering our most frequently asked questions relating to orthodontic /braces treatment. Browse through this section and then call our office at (818) 886-6666 so that our team can address your specific questions.

    Q: What treatment options are available to me as an adult?

    A: Our doctor believes it’s never too late for an amazing smile. In fact, thirty five percent of our orthodontic patients are adults. People in their 50’s, 60’s, and even 70’s have become our patients. Adult treatments may include traditional metal braces, clear braces, and Invisalign.

    Q: Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and/or missing teeth?

    A: Absolutely. In some cases, orthodontic treatment will actually move the remaining teeth into the correct alignment so that the dentist can place a more ideal restoration, like a crown, bridge, or implant. Even if you have a crown on your tooth, it will move just as easily as any other tooth.

    Arleen Azar-Mehr, D.D.S., M.S.

    9535 Reseda Blvd
    Suite 206
    Northridge, CA 91324

    (818) 886-6666

    Our Hours
    Monday:8:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Tuesday:8:00 am – 5:00 pm
    Wednesday:8:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Thursday:8:00 am – 5:00 pm
    Friday:8:00 am – 5:30 pm
    Saturday:9:00 am – 11:30 am

    Directions to our office

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