FAQ

Do you have payment plans?

Yes. We believe that everyone deserves a beautiful smile. To help make this possible, we’re pleased to offer a variety of financial options. We gladly accept all insurance plans that offer an orthodontic benefit, as well as all major credit cards. We offer in house financing up to 18 months with no interest as well as outside financing up to 60 with Chase Healthcare.

Are consultations complimentary?

Yes. At your first visit, we will take all records (photographs and x-rays) required to complete the diagnosis and treatment plan and answer questions you may have regarding your treatment. We look forward to meeting you and taking care of your orthodontic needs. Please call us at (858) 748-6200 to schedule your consultation.

What are your hours?

We’re open Mondays from 9:00am – 5:00pm,  Tuesdays from 10:00am – 6:00pm, Wednesdays from 11:00am – 7:00pm, and Thursdays from 7:30am – 1:30pm. The office is open on Friday from 9:00am – 12:00pm for emergencies and phone calls and is closed from Friday afternoon – Sunday.

**We do our best to enable as many kids as possible to come during the school year after school – as demonstrated by our after school available hours. When summer starts, our summer hours are 8:30am – 3:30 pm Monday through Wednesday and Thursday 7:30am – 1:30pm.**

Do you have digital x-rays?

Yes. Panoramic x-rays are required to determine whether or not patients are ready to begin treatment and what type of treatment is needed. For this very reason, we have a digital panoramic x-ray machine in our office. We do not refer you out to an x-ray lab but rather take everything you need right here in our office. Digital x-rays are estimated to be at least 90% less radiation exposure than the traditional machines. This is less radiation than being out in the sun on a beautiful Sunny San Diego day!

What can orthodontics do for me?

  • Increase self-esteem by improving appearance.
  • Decrease the likelihood of gum disease and premature loss of teeth by relieving stress on gums and bones which results when teeth do not meet properly.
  • Possibly eliminate speech problems caused by protruding or misaligned teeth.
  • Help reduce and help treat jaw joint difficulties (see TMJ).
  • Lower the incidence of decay in crowded, overlapping teeth which can become food trap areas.
  • Eliminate improper wear of teeth due to poor alignment.
  • Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry that is devoted to bringing the teeth, jawbones, and facial profile into proper alignment. An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed an additional two to three years of graduate education in an approved, University affiliated orthodontic specialty program.
  • They are truly specialists in Braces.

What should I expect from orthodontic care?

  • An attractive smile!!!
  • Healthy jaw joints.
  • Teeth that fit together properly. This provides improved function and long-term health of the teeth and gums. Severe wear of teeth can happen when the fit is considerably off.
  • More efficient chewing which will allow for improved digestion and over-all health.

Do I need braces?

If you have crooked, irregular or protruding teeth or an incorrect relationship between the top and bottom teeth and jaws, you should visit our office for a free consultation. Dr. Thomas will do a thorough evaluation and determine whether or not you would benefit from orthodontic treatment.

What is TMJ?

TMJTemporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and craniomandibular disorders (CMD) are some of the more modern terms currently used to identify this myriad of illness’s. TMD, as it is most often referred to, is a complex, multifaceted disorder of the jaw joint, in which there is derangement of the internal workings of the jaw joint and potential affiliated masticatory muscle pain and dysfunction. Patients may experience only the internal derangement, only the muscle pain and dysfunction, or both simultaneously.

How common is TMD, who gets it and how? In a pamphlet written by the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR), studies are cited showing a range of 10 to 77 percent of the population suffering some form of TMD. Literature yields figures of 20 to 60 million Americans having TMD. These ranges are unscientifically broad, and NIDR admits that the “Discrepancies in these test results are owing, in large measure, to dental science’s lack of a single definition to characterize the problem.”

Women account for 80 to 90 percent of TMD patients and they generally range in age from 20 to 40 years. However, fellow professionals tell Dr. Thomas that recently they are seeing an increasing number of teenage female TMD patients. The women in these study’s represent all socioeconomic levels.

The approximately 10 to 20 percent of patients who are male and who complain of having TMD symptoms, almost always experience what is called macrotrauma. This is – a blow to the joint, whiplash, intubation, etc. These events can precipitate the joint derangement and pain. TMD’s celebrity patient, Burt Reynolds, was hit in the jaw with a chair while filming a movie. This accident initiated two years of pain, vertigo, nausea and substantial weight loss.

While in women this disorder can also be triggered by macrotrauma, the majority of female patients note gradual onset resulting from microtrauma, e.g., bruxism, clenching, malocclusion, etc.. Jenny Craig herself struggled thru years of debiliating TMD pain and is well doccumented in a her book: “The Jenny Craig Story”.

A paper published in the mid 1980s reveals that TMD patients see on average 6.9 specialists before receiving a definitive diagnosis. The fortunate ones see only one professional. Others, like Burt Reynolds and Jenny Craig see more than 10!. The most obvious symptoms such as joint, face, neck, back and shoulder pain; joint clicking; popping when opening or closing the mouth, lend themselves to a fairly direct diagnosis – one that Dr. Thomas is well trained to identify and treat.

However, remote symptoms, including visual disturbances, ataxia, hearing loss, and vertigo, can lead a patient from one doctor to another to undergo expensive batteries of tests that yield negative results and leave the patient increasingly frightened and frustrated.

TMD is highly complex and involves more than one single causitive factor. In fact, more than 100 different causes may be involved ranging from hormones, stress, illness, trauma, parafunctional habits, inherited joint/ligament disease’s, occlusion/bite, ect. ect..

Determining an accurate diagnosis may be ellusive. Dr. Thomas is highly trained to recognize the causes when they are related to the jaw joint, facial muscles, and to the occlusion (bite). If the cause appears to be unrelated to the jaw joint, facial muscles, or the occlusion, Dr. Thomas will refer you in the appropriate direction – Medical Doctor, Physical Therapist, or other health related professional.

The literature is filled with statements such as the following: “Rarely in the history of dentistry have so many labored so long only to end with such extreme disagreement. “Few afflictions have spawned so much vocal controversy within the scientific community, where available treatments – some grounded in science, others of questionable value – are more numerous than symptoms.

An inherent dilemma of TMD is that it crosses the boundaries of two disciplines – dentistry and medicine. Greater interaction between the two professions is necessary in both the treatment and research of TMD if progress is to be made on all fronts.

What constitutes an emergency?

Before calling Dr. Thomas with an emergency, ask yourself, is this an emergency? True emergencies are rare. Spend a few moments learning more about your appliance and how to solve small problems. This might help you handle minor concerns on your own. If however, you do feel that have an emergency, please do not hesitate to call our office and/or page Dr. Thomas by dialing (858) 748-6200 or you can reach him on his cell phone: (858) 735-2285

Call our office during regular business hours if:
  • An appliance breaks
  • A piece of the appliance is lose
  • An appliance gets lost
  • An appliance does not fit properly
 Call Dr. Thomas Right Away If:
  • A broken appliance prevents the mouth from opening or closing.
    Pain from an appliance is still felt even after taking over-the-counter pain relievers.
Call 911 or your emergency number first, then call your Orthodontist, if:
  • A serious face or mouth injury occurs.
  • A piece of the appliance is inhaled or gets in the way of breathing. This is extremely rare.

What can I do when problems arise?

Here are some tips for handling minor problems:

Keep orthodontic wax and pencil eraser handy.

  • Poking wire or bracket: Roll a piece of wax into a ball and press it onto the part that’s poking you. Try to keep the wax dry prior to placing it. The wax will come off frequently, so keep a supply with you.
  • Broken Wire: Press the wire toward your teeth with a pencil eraser. If you are unable to push the wire out of the way, try cutting the part that is sticking out with wire cutters or a large finger nail clipper.
  • Small cut: To help the cut heal, rinse your mouth with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of warm water. Peroxyl, which you can buy over the counter, is also an excellent rinse to clean the cut and promote healing.
Know Your Appliance.

Try to learn as much about your orthodontic appliances as you can. This will help you talk to us about any problems you might have. The more accurately you describe any problem, the better we are able to help you solve it. See the above picture to help you become familiar with the different parts of your appliance.

Tips to Prevent Problems.

Always follow your orthodontist’s instructions about proper wear and care. But here are some general tips that will help prevent problems.

  • Don’t play rough while wearing headgear or any other removable appliance.
  • If you wearing braces, don’t eat foods that are hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy. Avoid candy or other sugar containing foods, gum, nuts, and corn on the cob. Cut raw carrots or apples into small pieces.
  • Don’t pick at or pull on braces even if it makes your teeth feel better.
  • Don’t flick your retainer around with your tongue, it will break!
  • Remove headgear and wear an orthodontic mouthguard when playing sports.
REMEMBER–Broken appliances will slow down your treatment!

Can I make an appointment online?

Sure! Just click here to visit Smile Reminder, our online appointment scheduling site.

Have other questions?

There are several ways to contact us:

Email

info@powaybraces.com

Call

(858) 748-6200

Visit

Come by the office!