Answers to common questions
Get answers to the most common orthodontic questions we get from our patients in Leawood. If you don’t see your question here, feel free to reach out to our office and our friendly team members will be happy to help!
An orthodontist is a dentist who goes through further training beyond dental school in order to diagnose and treat concerns with the position, alignment or spacing of the teeth, and other issues in the face and the jaw. Orthodontists can use many different treatment options, including braces and clear aligners, such as Invisalign®, to correct these issues.
Orthodontic treatment has two important facets: aesthetics and function. At Jeff Thompson Orthodontics, we not only want our patients to gain confidence in the way their smile looks but also ensure their teeth function properly for a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit a family orthodontist for a first visit around seven years old. However, you’re never too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment! While a growing child’s teeth may be easier and faster to treat, we treat kids, teens and adults at any age.
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Breathing through the mouth
- 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 don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
- An unbalanced facial appearance
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
Generally, getting your braces put on is painless, but minor soreness is normal in the first few days after placement or adjustment appointments. To alleviate discomfort, you may use over-the-counter pain relievers if needed.
Orthodontic treatment times vary depending on the severity of your case and the chosen treatment method and can last anywhere between 1 to 3 years. Once your initial treatment is complete, you must wear a retainer to ensure your new smile lasts!
Teeth extraction prior to orthodontic treatment is typically only necessary in cases where the patient’s teeth are severely crowded due to the mouth being too small to accommodate them all, or if the patient has impacted teeth, which are teeth that are trapped under your gum line by other teeth. Early orthodontic treatment in young patients may remove the need for extraction later in life, which is why bringing your child in for an initial orthodontic evaluation by age 7 is critical.
Yes. You may continue playing sports with braces or clear aligners, but be sure to use an orthodontic-friendly mouth guard and remove your aligners during practice or games. In case of an accident, check for appliance damage or loose teeth and schedule an appointment.
While adapting to playing an instrument with braces may pose challenges, such as some difficulty with lip positioning, it is still possible. You can manage any sores with wax and salt-water rinses for quicker adaptation.
Absolutely! It’s actually more important than ever. Maintaining clean and healthy teeth while wearing braces can be challenging. Your dentist can assist you in preventing plaque buildup and potential decay through regular cleanings and examinations.
Proper and consistent wear of your retainer after your initial orthodontic treatment is complete is important as without it, your teeth can very quickly begin to shift out of their new positions, eliminating the progress put into your orthodontic treatment. Retainers allow you to maintain your new, healthy and beautiful smile for a lifetime.
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