From your first phone call to your first visit, we make it easy! We look forward to meeting you at your first visit to our office. During this time, we will help you get acquainted with our office and educate you about your orthodontic treatment needs. We understand that each patient’s orthodontic treatment is different, and we promise to give you the personal attention you deserve.
The new patient examination takes approximately 45 minutes. Our scheduling coordinator will greet you and gather the preliminary information we need to best serve you. You will meet with our treatment coordinator and Dr. Shaw. During your initial examination a panoramic x-ray and photographs will be taken and Dr. Shaw will conduct a complete and thorough orthodontic examination. We will provide you with an orthodontic treatment recommendation, estimated length of treatment time and treatment fees and affordable, flexible, interest free payment options.
This important visit will allow the orthodontist to determine if this is the right time to begin treatment. Based on our findings, there may be recommendations to either begin orthodontic treatment or to be placed in our patient observation program as we wait for future dental growth and development. The observation program usually involves children with primarily early dentition that may need treatment in the future but not yet.
During your first visit, we will address the following questions that cover the basics of orthodontic treatment. We encourage you to ask questions as well.
- What is your primary orthodontic concern?
- Is there a condition that orthodontics can address?
- Is treatment needed now or should treatment be delayed until appropriate growth, tooth eruption or other factors have occurred?
- What treatment procedures will be used to correct the problem?
- Do any permanent teeth need to be removed?
- How long will treatment take?
- How much will it cost?
- What are my payment options?
We encourage questions from both the patient and parents, and as such, we provide ample time to answer your questions. We want our patients to be comfortable with their treatment plan and our office, thus, your first appointment is focused on providing you with all the information necessary to make a well-educated decision on what is best for you and your child.
New Patient Forms
We are open to serve you, answer questions or schedule an appointment during the following hours:
Missoula Office Hours:
Monday – Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Ronan Office Hours:
One Thursday a month: 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Surprisingly, most orthodontic problems can be remedied at home. While you await your appointment, these guidelines will help you resolve minor problems. Please know that even if you alleviate the pain caused by your broken appliance, you still need a repair appointment.
If you have an orthodontic concern when the practice is closed, call our office at (406) 327-0777 and follow the directions for after hours care.
When a person’s teeth or jaws do not fit together properly, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to correct the problem. If left untreated, these orthodontic problems, often referred to as malocclusions, can cause speech difficulty, premature wear of the teeth and protective enamel, and even increase the chance of injury to the teeth and jaw joints.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. For most children, several permanent teeth have erupted by this age, allowing the orthodontist to effectively evaluate the patient’s orthodontic condition.
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.
No patient is “too old” to wear braces! A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health and happiness are vitally important to adults, and orthodontic treatment can increase your self-esteem at any age!
Overall treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem(s). In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” timespan a patient wears braces is approximately 22 months.
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.
We understand your schedule is busy, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time, however, parent involvement is paramount. Please let us know if you are unable to attend the appointment with your child so we can all stay on the same page.
Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain appointments, your teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, over-the-counter pain medications, such as Advil 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!”
Yes! We recommend that patients wear mouthguards while playing sports. Musicians will likely experience an adjustment period until they are comfortable playing while wearing braces.
Yes! Regular check-ups with your general dentist are important while in braces. Your dentist will determine the intervals between each cleaning appointment while you have your braces.
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will also show you how to floss your teeth with braces, and we may provide a prescription for a special fluoride treatment, if necessary.
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain our complete instructions and provide you with a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include ice, hard candy, foods like corn on the cob or apples that aren’t sliced, or any foods that could break or damage braces and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most repair appointments by carefully following our instructions!
Now that your braces are in place, it is very important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your treatment. Braces, wires, bands, appliances, and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.