Questions People Frequently Ask

Info for the First Visit

Foods to Avoid

Care for Appliances

Frequent Questions

Emergency | For more information or help, call us at (310) 271-7287 or Contact Us

Your First Visit To The Orthospaceship

We love having visitors in our orthodontic office in Los Angeles, California. During your initial appointment Dr. Hakim will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and jaws, answer your viagra to buy in ireland virginia resume writing services write me physics article cover letter for electrician position where to order viagra online essay on firefighters personal identity essay enter site viagra ve levitra why did islam spread so quickly essay cheap finasteride 5mg viagra psuedo public health assignment example essays for high school students source link do my women and gender studies dissertation conclusion follow site source url is it safe to take 150 mg viagra viagra headache caffeine do my custom custom essay on hillary help with writing essays for college applications write my english paper top 10 genuine viagra sites help science homework ks3 essay paper writing services click writing a conclusion to an academic essay questions and discuss potential treatment options.

Dr. Hakim is always excited about meeting new patients during their first visit. He will do the very best to answer all questions and concerns, and recommend the level of treatment that he would recommend to his own families.

This important visit will give us insight into your orthodontic needs. Please allow at least an hour for this appointment. We know your time is valuable, so to expedite treatment, we reserve time following the exam for diagnostic records. The records include X-rays, bite registration and impressions for articulated, mounted study models and are necessary for developing the appropriate treatment plan.

During the initial examination we encourage you to ask questions as well!

first visit
  • Is there a condition that orthodontics can address?

  • What treatment procedures will be used to correct the problem?

  • Is treatment needed now, or should treatment be delayed until appropriate growth, tooth eruption, or other factors have occurred?

  • How long will treatment take?

  • Do any permanent teeth need to be removed?

  • How much will it cost and what are my payment options?

While we can often answer most general questions about treatment during the initial examination, we will address specific areas after careful analysis of the diagnostic records. Dr. Hakim feels it is important to analyze each patient's specific needs, because in-depth planning leads to superior results and higher patient satisfaction.

We will then schedule a consultation visit to discuss treatment options, time frames and financial arrangements. We insist that our patients leave the office with a clear understanding of their specific needs, what the treatment will consist of and how long it will take. Also, we will answer any additional questions.

• Any X-rays taken within the past six months? • When was your last dental exam and cleaning? • Bring any mouth guard or any other oral appliance you are currently wearing.• Any X-rays taken within the past six months? • When was your last dental exam and cleaning? • Bring any mouth guard or any other oral appliance you are currently wearing.

  • Any X-rays taken within the past six months?
  • When was your last dental exam and cleaning?
  • Bring any mouth guard or any other oral appliance you are currently wearing.

Foods to Avoid

For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.

It's important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.

Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:
  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst
Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:
  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • French bread crust/rolls
  • Corn on the cob
  • Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
  • Bagels
  • Chips
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Pizza crust
  • Uncooked carrots (unless cut)
Minimize Sugary Foods like:
  • Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy
Only Once a Day:
  • Soda
  • Sweetened tea
  • Gatorade
  • Kool-Aid
  • Drinks with sugar

Care of Orthodontic Appliances

Caring For Braces

Brushing With Braces

Brush the outer surfaces of your teeth and braces with a circular motion. Tilt your toothbrush 45 degrees to clean the top and bottom of the braces and between the braces and gums. Us a proxy brush or Rotadent for cleaning in between your brackets.

Flossing With Braces

The best way to floss your teeth when you have braces is to use an orthodontic floss threader to thread the floss underneath the wire. Superfloss, which is floss with a stiff end, can also be used.

Regular Exams and Cleanings with your General Dentist

Patients in orthodontic treatment should still be seen for regular dental exams and cleanings as prescribed by their general dentist.

Cleaning Retainers, Splints, or Aligner Trays

Removable appliances, such as retainers, splints, or aligner trays, should be cleaned with a toothbrush and toothpaste every time they are removed from the patient's mouth. Appliances may also be soaked in denture cleaner once or twice a week to disinfect. To remove build-up, soak the appliance in an even mixture of white vinegar and water for several hours. After soaking, scrub the appliance with a toothbrush and then rinse thoroughly with water.


Los Angeles orthodontist Dr. Isaac Hakim is a leading orthodontist in the West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and surrounding areas. Offering premiere TMJ, Invisalign, Early and Adult Treatment, Dr. Hakim and his staff believe that every patient deserves quality innovative care and embody this concept from the ground up starting with their office. Read through the frequently asked questions below to get a better idea of how things work. Contact us today to set up an appointment and get started with a consultation. 

1. Is it required that my family dentist refer me for an appointment with the orthodontist?

Answer. No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

2. At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

Answer. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

3. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

Answer. No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

4. How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

Answer. If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office or send us an e-mail. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will ask you some questions to get basic information from you.

5. What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Answer. Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the Treatment Coordinator and Dr. Hakim who will acclimate you to our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam.

6. What will I learn from the initial examination?

Answer. There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

  • 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 treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?
7. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

Dr. Hakim has a very conservative approach; however, removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. Thankfully, because of the new advanced technology that we use, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.

8. How long will it take to complete treatment?

Answer. Treatment time obviously depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The "average" time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months.

9. How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

Answer. It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

10. How often will I have appointments?

Answer. Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every five to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

11. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Answer. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. Longer appointments to place, repair or remove braces will be scheduled during the quieter morning hours.

However, because most appointments are scheduled six to ten weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, always, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.

12. Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Answer. Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with their clinician before dropping off their child.

13. Do braces hurt?

Answer. Generally, braces do not "hurt." After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil, Motrin or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, "It does not have to hurt to work!"

14. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Answer. Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

15. Do you give shots?

Answer. No. We do not have any needles in the Orthospaceship. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

16. Do you use recycled braces?


Absolutely not! It is our mission is to treat our patients with respect, love and utmost care, while providing them with the most advanced techniques available in diagnosis and treatment in a professional, fun, pleasant and friendly environment.

17. Can I still play sports?

Answer. Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

18. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

Answer. Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

19. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Answer. Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

20. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Answer. Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day - after each meal and, very importantly, before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.

21. What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

Answer. If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you.

22. Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

Answer. Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient's growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.

23. What is Phase One (early) treatment?

Answer. Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. The Orthopedic or Phase One treatment lasts about 12-21 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.

24. Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?

Answer. It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One treatment is called the "resting period," during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

25. Will my child need an expander?

Answer. At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.

26. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

Answer. About half of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is "too old" to wear braces!

27. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

Answer. Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

28. Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?

Answer. Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.