The Blog of Kennell Orthodontics

10 Frequently Asked Questions!

April 16th, 2015

Check out these 10 Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any questions, that are not answered below just ask us!

1. What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

2. What is an orthodontist?

All orthodontists are dentists, but only about 6 percent of dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Only dentists who have successfully completed an advanced specialty education may call themselves orthodontists.

3. At what age can people have orthodontic treatment?

Children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics, because healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7. Some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if treated early. An orthodontic evaluation at any age is advisable if a parent, family dentist or the patient's physician has noted a problem.

4. Why is orthodontic treatment important?

Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This may contribute to conditions that cause not only tooth decay but also eventual gum disease and tooth loss. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints, which can result in chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck.

5. How long will orthodontic treatment take?

In general, active treatment time with orthodontic appliances (braces) ranges from one to three years. Mild problems usually require less time, and some individuals respond faster to treatment than others. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take only a few months.

6. What are orthodontic study records?

Diagnostic records are made to document the patient's orthodontic problem and to help determine the best course of treatment. Complete diagnostic records typically include a medical/dental history; plaster study models of the teeth, photos of the patient's face and teeth, and appropriate radiographic films. This information is used to plan the best course of treatment, help explain the problem, and propose treatment to the patient and/or parents.

7. How have new "high tech" wires changed orthodontics?

In recent years, many advances in orthodontic materials have taken place. Braces are smaller and more efficient. The wires now being used are no longer just stainless steel. Some of the new wires are heat-activated. These new kinds of wires cause the teeth to continue to move during certain phases of treatment, which may reduce the number of appointments needed to make adjustments to the wires.

8. How do braces feel?

Most people have some discomfort after their braces are first put on or when adjusted during treatment. After the braces are on, teeth may become sore and may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Patients can usually manage this discomfort well with whatever pain medication they might commonly take for a headache. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Overall, orthodontic discomfort is short-lived and easily managed.

9. Do teeth with braces need special care?

Patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard and sticky foods. They must not chew on pens, pencils or fingernails because chewing on hard things can damage the braces. Damaged braces will almost always cause treatment to take longer, and will require extra trips to the orthodontist's office.

Keeping the teeth and braces clean requires more precision and time, and must be done every day if the teeth and gums are to be healthy during and after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning.

The orthodontist and staff will teach patients how to best care for their teeth, gums and braces during treatment. The orthodontist will tell patients (and/or their parents) how often to brush, how often to floss, and, if necessary, suggest other cleaning aids that might help the patient maintain good dental health.

10. How important is patient cooperation during orthodontic treatment?

Successful orthodontic treatment is a "two-way street" that requires a consistent, cooperative effort by both the orthodontist and patient. To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must carefully clean his or her teeth, wear rubber bands or appliances as prescribed by the orthodontist, and keep appointments as scheduled. Damaged appliances can lengthen the treatment time and may undesirably affect the outcome of treatment.

Smile Down the Aisle

April 9th, 2015

You're engaged, you're planning your wedding, and you couldn't be happier-except for one thing… Your smile!  Maybe your teeth are a little crooked, or you have a gap-but you're an adult now and you don't want braces!  Rest easy- Dr. Kennell has several esthetic, or invisible treatment options for you to choose from.

If your teeth are only moderately crooked and you have three or four months till the big day, you can see drastic improvements using clear aligners, such as Invisalign.  Believe it or not, if your case is mild enough, your treatment time may be as little as 10 weeks!

If you're not familiar with the Invisalign technology, Dr. Alan Kennell can (in appropriate cases) use clear aligners to move your teeth, rather than the traditional wires and brackets.  Invisalign trays are almost invisible-unless someone is very close to you, they won't even notice you are wearing them! You take the trays out to eat and brush your teeth, and while your teeth will feel sore and may even throb periodically for the first few days, after that you'll hardly notice when the trays are in. (While wearing the trays you won't be able to drink anything but water, which will also help with that wedding day diet!)

If you are not a candidate for Invisalign, Dr. Kennell has another “invisible” option for you – lingual braces.  These are actually braces that go behind your teeth!  The Harmony system is a custom set of behind the teeth braces that will get your teeth straight without having to show metal braces and wires.  Dr. Kennell is proud to be the only Harmony provider in the entire state of New Hampshire!

Call Dr. Kennell today to make your appointment for beautiful, straight teeth for your upcoming wedding and get ready to Smile Down the Aisle!

Avoiding Plaque

April 2nd, 2015

At Kennell Orthodontics, we know nobody likes getting plaque on their teeth. Here are five other ways you can avoid that dreaded enemy of the teeth during orthodontic treatment, courtesy of WebMD.

Let’s start with brushing regularly. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste is vital to a healthy mouth. Make sure you softly brush all the surfaces of your teeth.

Next on the list is flossing daily: a simple daily flossing between teeth clears away plaque before it can cause damage and can also clean plaque at the gum line. Plaque is known to reach the spaces between teeth.

Also, evading a trip to the dentist is probably not a great idea. Let’s say you brush and floss daily. You’re still at risk for plaque. With time, the plaque hardens and turns into tartar. Consider visiting your general dentist at least twice a year or as recommended by your dentist, and you have a lower chance of getting cavities or losing your teeth while wearing braces.

You’ll also want to stop avoiding those fruits and veggies. Believe it or not, there are foods out there that play a key role in keeping plaque off our teeth. They include apples, carrots, cucumbers and other raw fruits and vegetables. You can still eat these types of fruits and veggies if you have braces, but be sure to cut them up into bite sized pieces to avoid breaking off brackets.

Finally, before you pick up that candy bar, remember to not give in to your sweet tooth. Consuming sugary drinks or eating candy or other junk food allows sugar to stick to our teeth. The bacteria, then, becomes plaque, which turns into acid and damages our teeth. Avoiding these five bad habits keeps your plaque in check and your mouth as healthy as can be during your orthodontic treatment with Dr. Alan Kennell. If you have any questions, give us a call or ask us on Facebook!

Start Orthodontic Health Early

March 26th, 2015

Many parents assume they must wait until their child has all of his or her permanent teeth to see Dr. Kennell for a consultation, only to discover treatment would have been much easier if started earlier. Did you know the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic check-up no later than age seven?

That’s right—seven.

Ok, so what’s so great about age seven, you ask? Enough permanent teeth have arrived for Dr. Kennell to make a determination about whether any problems are present. The first molars have come in, providing an opportunity to check for malocclusion, or “bad bite.” Also, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites and open bites can be detected.

Orthodontic evaluation at an early age provides one of two positive outcomes: For some, early identification or problems will lead to easier or shorter orthodontic treatment in the future. For others, a healthy prognosis will provide immediate peace of mind.

Early evaluation, of course, may signal a need for early treatment. For some children, early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring on years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and are detrimental to good oral hygiene. So, if your child is nearing his or her seventh birthday, give us a call at Kennell Orthodontics to schedule an appointment.