Dr. Michael C. Hollen
Family Orthodontics

319-236-1777

Frequently Asked Questions


How much will it cost to find out if I even need braces?
Your evaluation and accurate treatment plan estimate are free and our above-board policy assures you that there will be no "hidden costs" or unpleasant surprises.  It just takes a few minutes of your time to see if our office is the right fit for you and your family.
How will I know if my child needs to see an orthodontist?

As a parent, you want the best for your child.  That includes healthy teeth and a pleasing smile.  Start with regular dental care.  The American Dental Association recommends that a child visit the family dentist by his or her first birthday, while baby (primary) teeth are emerging.  Your dentist can alert you to any concerns about how the teeth and jaws are developing.  All Kids Should Get an Orthodontic Check-Up No Later Than Age 7 to have a smile thatʼs good for life, your child needs teeth and jaws that are properly aligned — in other words, a healthy bite. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. By then, your childʼs teeth have developed enough to where subtle problems can be spotted with jaw growth and emerging teeth.

Can orthodontics help my chronic headaches?
Sometimes chronic headaches are caused by Transmandibular Joint problems (TMJ).  Dr. Hollen is one of the few Orthodontists in the country that assesses for proper joint alignment.  His additional years of training in Transmandibular Joint Alignment beyond his Mayo Orthodontic Fellowship makes him one of the nation's leading experts in complete Orthodonticts, a beautiful smile and a healthy bite.
Why did my dentist tell me to take my child to an orthodontist?  She is too young for braces.

While orthodontic treatment most often begins between the ages of 9 and 14, some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if theyʼre treated early. If it appears that treatment will be needed, your orthodontist can advise you as to the ideal time to begin. This gives your orthodontist the best chance to:
+ Guide jaw growth
+ Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
+ Correct harmful oral habits
+ Improve appearance and self-esteem
+ Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
+ Improve the way lips meet

Are there foods I should avoid while wearing braces?
There are a few foods that are best to avoid during treatment. It is best to avoid foods that can damage brackets and wires, and it is also important to limit foods that make it difficult to keep your teeth clean and healthy.
Don't Eat: popcorn, nuts, peanut brittle, ice, lemons, corn-on-the-cob, corn chips and crisp tacos.
Avoid Sticky Foods: like caramels or taffy should not be eaten because they can damage appliances by bending wires and pulling cement loose.
Maybe Eat: carrot sticks in thin curls, apples cut into small wedges, torn french bread.
What are the signs the bite’s not right?
Itʼs not always easy to tell when your child has an orthodontic problem. Even teeth that look straight may be hiding a problem bite. Here are some clues that may indicate the need for orthodontic attention:
+ Early or late loss of baby teeth
+ Difficulty in chewing or biting
+ Breathing through the mouth
+ Thumb-sucking
+ Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
+ Jaws that are too far forward or back
+ Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
+ Protruding teeth
+ Upper and lower teeth that donʼt meet, or meet in an abnormal way
+ An unbalanced facial appearance
+ Grinding or clenching of the teeth
How am I supposed to wear my elastics?
At your appointment we gave you a map of your individual elastics wear.  If you lost your map or didn't receive one, please call our office and we will mail you a new map right away.

You may also wonder if it is ok to leave your elastics off while at school or work, this is not ok as it slows down the process of correcting your bite and you may end up wearing your braces longer because of it.
I think my teeth have moved out of alignment!  What do I do?
Occasionally this can happen, especially if you are not diligent with wearing the retainers provided for you.  If you think your teeth have moved since your braces were removed, please call our office for an appointment.  We are happy to see you free of charge to discuss whether your teeth have moved and if so we will discuss your options and explain why they have moved.
How long do I have to wear retainers?
Most people wear retainers every night for the rest of their lives.  Teeth move at any age when constant pressure is applied to them.  That is why adults and children can all have successful orthodontic outcomes.  Our teeth are held in place by three factors naturally: the relationship with each other, the pressure exerted by our cheeks and the pressure exerted by our tongues.  Anyone who has sought orthodontic treatment already knows that these three things are at an imbalance.  Therefore to keep that perfect smile your teeth have to be held in place at night by a retainer. 
Most people wear retainers every night for the rest of their lives.  Teeth move at any age when constant pressure is applied to them.  That is why adults and children can all have successful orthodontic outcomes.  Our teeth are held in place by three factors naturally the relationship with each other, the pressure exerted by our cheeks and the pressure exerted by our tongues.  Anyone who has sought orthodontic treatment already knows that these three things are at an imbalance.  Therefore the to keep that perfect smile your teeth have to be held in place at night by a retainer.
Most people wear retainers every night for the rest of their lives.  Teeth move at any age when constant pressure is applied to them.  That is why adults and children can all have successful orthodontic outcomes.  Our teeth are held in place by three factors naturally the relationship with each other, the pressure exerted by our cheeks and the pressure exerted by our tongues.  Anyone who has sought orthodontic treatment already knows that these three things are at an imbalance.  Therefore the to keep that perfect smile your teeth have to be held in place at night by a retainer.
Why is treatment so important?
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment, many problems become worse and can require additional dental care later in life.