Dr. Ed Shehee, Dr. Chad Callahan, and our team understand that many people have questions about their orthodontic treatment. We have compiled answers to some of the questions we hear most frequently. If you have more questions, or to make an appointment with our orthodontists in Pensacola, Milton, Pace, or Navarre, Florida, please call Shehee and Callahan Family Orthodontics today at 850-478-8844.

What is an orthodontist?

Orthodontists are dental specialists who have received several years of additional training following dental school. They focus on diagnosing and treating problems with the position, alignment, and spacing of the teeth, and other irregularities in the face and jaw.

Why should I get orthodontic treatment?

There are two reasons why people seek orthodontic treatment: aesthetics and function. Straight teeth not only look better but they also make it easier for you to clean your teeth and allow your teeth to function properly.

When should orthodontic treatment be started?

Orthodontic treatment can begin at any time. While it is easiest to treat children and teenagers because their bones have not yet completely hardened, orthodontic treatment is also available for adults. If your teeth and gums are healthy, then you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should visit the orthodontist for an initial evaluation at about age 7.

How can I recognize if I have a problem with my bite?

If your teeth are protruding, crowded, or erupting out of position, then you need orthodontic treatment. Less obvious signs that you may need treatment include teeth that do not meet properly when the mouth closes, jaws that shift or make sounds as they move, mouth breathing, speech difficulties, frequent biting of the cheek or palate, and thumb sucking that persists beyond age 3-4.

Does it hurt to get braces? Does it hurt to wear them?

Braces usually do not hurt when they are put on. However, you may experience some minor aches and discomfort for the first couple of days after the appliances are placed, and after any adjustments. If necessary, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever to minimize your discomfort.

How long will my treatment take?

Each treatment is different, and they vary depending on the person and the type of treatment. Your total treatment time may range form 6-30 months. After this time, you will need to wear a retainer until otherwise directed.

How often will I need to meet with the orthodontist?

Your schedule of appointments will depend on your type of treatment. During active treatment, you will typically visit our office once every 4-10 weeks.

Will I need to have any teeth extracted?

If your teeth are severely crowded or if you have impacted teeth (teeth that are stuck in gum line and cannot erupt properly), then we may need to perform an extraction. Early treatment may make extraction unnecessary.

Are there any foods I will need to avoid?

Yes. You should avoid foods that could damage or become trapped in your braces, such as raw vegetables, hard candy, caramel, taffy, and ice cubes. Our orthodontists will give you a list of foods to avoid when we place your braces.

Do I still need to visit the dentist if I’m receiving orthodontic treatment?

Yes! Visiting the dentist is especially important during your orthodontic treatment, as it helps keep your teeth free of plaque and tooth decay.

Will I need to wear a retainer after I’m done with braces?

Yes. Retainers help prevent your teeth from rapidly shifting out of position and ruining your newly-straightened smile.

Can crooked teeth correct themselves over time?

No. The space available for your front teeth does not increase as you grow. Any problems with crooked teeth or bad bites will probably become worse as more time goes by.

What is malocclusion?

Malocclusion is a bad bite. In order for a bite to be both functional and good-looking, there must be a precise arrangement between the teeth and a correct relationship between teeth and jaws. Any deviations are known as malocclusions. They include crooked, crowded, misaligned, or protruding teeth.

Can I wear braces if I have a dental crown?

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a natural tooth.

Can I still play sports and musical instruments while wearing braces?

Yes. We recommend that you use an athletic mouth guard while playing sports. You may need to make a few adjustments while playing a musical instrument, but you should be able to play normally throughout your treatment.

How much will my treatment cost?

Your treatment cost will vary depending on the type of treatment you require. When you visit our office, we will give you an estimate for your treatment and review your financial options with you. For more information, please visit our Financial Options page.