Q. What is the difference between an orthodontist and a general dentist?

A. Orthodontists and dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. Dentistry is a broad medical specialty that deals with the teeth, gums, nerves, and jaw. Orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on correcting bites and the alignment of teeth. A general dentist typically studies dentistry for four years. An orthodontist is a general dentist who then goes on for another two or three years to study and specialize in orthodontics.


Q. What is the goal of an orthodontist?

A. An orthodontist, like Dr. Savusalo, uses her specialized knowledge to help you get a beautiful smile and a good bite - meaning straight teeth that fit well with the teeth in the opposite jaw. Many people find that a beautiful smile adds to their self-confidence and happiness. A good bite makes it easier for you to chew and speak.


Q. What are the options for treatment?

A. There are many treatment options, from retainers to clear aligners to metal and almost invisible ceramic braces. They each have their uses. Dr. Savusalo uses her specialized knowledge to consider all possibilities, based on variables like amount of crowding, spacing, skeletal structures, occlusion, size of your teeth, and more.


Q. what if i have an orthodontic emergency?

A. If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 and/or seek immediate help at a nearby hospital emergency department. In case of an orthodontic emergency, call our office at 617-969-1416. If you call after hours, you can speak directly with our answering service that will contact the doctor to respond to you, usually with a phone call to discuss and deal with your emergency.


Q. Do you take insurance?

A. Paying for services is your responsibility, but if you have dental insurance that covers orthodontics, the office will be happy to assist you in completing insurance forms to be reimbursed for services. 


Q. How long does it take to get the results I am looking for?

A. Treatment time varies depending on the initial position of your teeth, how early you begin treatment, the frequency of your appointments, how well you do your part of the treatment, whether your orthodontic treatment is combined with surgical treatment, and other factors. Treatments typically take from 18 to 36 month, with 24 months the most common.


Q. Do braces hurt?

A. Braces may feel uncomfortable at first. You can take easy steps to be comfortable, and you should feel better within a few days. Dr. Savusalo always prefers the most gentle way to begin treatment. She is available by phone or in person to address any discomfort you may feel.


Q. Can I keep doing sports during treatment?

A. Yes, you can normally do sports during treatment. You will want to take the same precautions as you would without braces. Dr. Savusalo will advise you on this.


Q. What if I have a problem between appointments?

A. Dr. Savusalo and her team are always available to talk with you and meet with you.



A. You should brush your teeth in the morning, after each meal, and before you go to bed. We will teach you how to floss with braces.



A. Yes, you will need to avoid some foods that are hard or sticky. You will need to cut food in smaller pieces that are easier to chew. You should also avoid candy and chewing on ice. We will give you specific instructions. 

Want to know more information?

View A Parents Guide to Orthodontics by the American Association of Orthodontists. 
Learn more about patient care, treatment options and additional information.