About Braces

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, supervision, guidance and correction of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontic treatment uses braces, aligners and other appliances to correct such irregularities. Regular dental checkups and orthodontic treatment are proven to be effective tools in helping establish and maintain good oral health for people of all ages. Braces can be beneficial to both children and adults.

Who is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist who diagnoses, prevents and treats dental and facial irregularities. An orthodontist is a specially trained dentist who has successfully completed a two to three year full-time accredited orthodontic residency program. Only residency-certified orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists.

When should I visit the orthodontist?

It's never too late to have a beautiful smile! Adults should visit an orthodontist to improve the appearance of their smile and their overall dental health at any time. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Children should visit an orthodontist at the time permanent teeth begin to erupt in order to detect any irregularities or problems with their bite. This is usually between seven and ten years of age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist no later than age seven. An early visit may not result in orthodontic treatment; however, Dr. Mullasseril can monitor the growth and alignment of teeth and address any orthodontic problems as they arise.

If you recognize any of these signs in your child or yourself, please schedule a consultation with Shawnee Orthodontics:

• Early or late loss of baby teeth

• Difficulty chewing or biting

• Mouth breathing

• Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits

• Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth

• Jaws that shift, protrude or are recessed

• Speech difficulty

• Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth

• Protruding teeth

• Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all

• Facial imbalance or asymmetry (features out of proportion to the rest of the face)

• Grinding or clenching of teeth

• Inability to comfortably close lips

 

What can I expect on my first orthodontic visit?

Your initial visit to the orthodontist will give you an opportunity to meet the doctor and our knowledgeable staff, who will answer any questions you may have. You will receive a complimentary clinical examination and panoramic x-ray to determine whether orthodontic treatment is necessary. If treatment is required, Dr. Mullasseril will go over a treatment plan as well as an estimate of the treatment duration. Your treatment coordinator will answer any questions you may have concerning insurance, and will go over our flexible payment options.

Who should wear braces?

Braces may be worn by both children and adults, not only to improve their smile and bite, but also because braces correct improper alignment of teeth that can lead to gum disease and early tooth loss. Left untreated, crooked teeth with irregular spacing make cleaning harder and allow cavities to develop more easily. Properly aligned teeth also make it easier to chew all types of food.

What will my braces look like?

Braces are more comfortable and technologically advanced today than ever before. They can be made of metal or ceramic (clear braces). Ask the office staff about what options are available.

How will braces straighten my teeth?

Braces exert a gentle pressure on teeth over time to straighten them. The two main components include the braces placed on the teeth and the arch wire that connects them. The bracket is a specially-shaped metal or ceramic affixed to each tooth and the arch wire is bent to reflect the bite that the patient should have after treatment.

Are braces uncomfortable?

There have been some great advances in modern orthodontics to make treatment more comfortable and quicker for patients. There are now smaller, smoother braces and gentler wires which provide a continuous small force over a long period of time rather than a strong force for only a short period. Typically there is some discomfort after the braces are first put on. Over the counter pain relievers and a soft food diet will help alleviate this temporary discomfort.

Will braces affect playing sports?

You should be able to play just about any sport. However, it is strongly recommended that you wear a mouth guard while participating in certain sports.

Why are retainers so important?

Retainers help keep your teeth aligned at the completion of treatment. If they are not worn as instructed, your teeth will move.

How long will my orthodontic treatment last?

Treatment may last from 18 to 30 months, though this will vary depending on your individual case. Your cooperation in keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments, maintaining proper oral hygiene and taking care of your braces may allow you to finish your orthodontic treatment early.

When should I visit the dentist?

You should continue to see your dentist every six months or as directed by your dentist during orthodontic treatment for routine dental checkups and cleanings.

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

Orthodontic fees depend on the complexity of the orthodontic problem, the age of the patient and the estimated length of treatment. Since each patient is different, a visit to the office for a complimentary examination will allow you to get a better idea of the fee. We offer a variety of affordable payment plans.

How does insurance work?

Please provide us with your insurance information at your first appointment. We accept and file most insurances.