Orthodontist Tacoma WA | Orthodontics Tacoma WA | Braces Tacoma WA | Dr. Thomas Gessel

Thomas Gessel, DMD | 253-503-1023

1628 South Mildred · Suite 201 · Tacoma, WA 98465


How do I know if someone needs to get orthodontic treatment?

In many cases, the answer is fairly obvious. If someone’s teeth are crooked, crowded, show gaps, or otherwise don’t align properly, he or she should look into orthodontic treatment. Likewise, a person is probably a good candidate for treatment if their upper and lower jaws don’t fit together correctly when they bite down.

On the other hand, sometimes a person might have orthodontic problems even when their teeth look straight, and such problems can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and other medical issues. If you’re uncertain, ask your general dentist the next time you go in for a visit. At Gessel Orthodontics, we offer a free initial exam, so you can also call us to make an appointment, and we’ll give you our expert opinion.

At what age should my child first see an orthodontist?

People typically think of braces as being a part of adolescence, but you shouldn’t wait until your child is a teenager before taking them to an orthodontist. The guidelines from the American Association of Orthodontists, the largest professional orthodontic organization in the United States, recommend age 7 to be when children should first see an orthodontist.

Children don’t need to have lost all their baby teeth yet. The main purpose of a child seeing an orthodontist early is to anticipate future issues and begin preventive measures as needed in order to avoid more involved and expensive treatments later. Orthodontists can take advantage of a child’s developing facial structure to make room for teeth in narrow jaws or adjust issues with misaligned bites.

At what age does someone become too old for braces?

Never. At Gessel Orthodontics, we have plenty of adult patients, including some seniors. As long as the structure of gums and bone that supports teeth is healthy, anyone can get braces.

Will orthodontic treatment hurt?

There can be some soreness or discomfort associated with orthodontic treatment, particularly when a person first gets their braces put on or after an adjustment appointment, but this soreness typically only lasts a few days at most. Anesthesia is not needed for any procedures.

If any of my teeth are missing, can I still get braces?

Yes. In fact, orthodontic treatment can help correct dental problems caused by missing teeth and is often used to prepare the mouth before implant procedures.

How long will my orthodontic treatment last?

The length of orthodontic treatment depends on a number of factors, from how complex the problem to the chosen orthodontic device to how well the patient follows our instructions at home. Generally speaking, braces will be on a patient from 18 months to 3 years, but we can give each patient a more specific estimate during a consultation.

Some patients start orthodontic treatment before braces can be put on with a device such as a palate expander or a Herbst appliance. This phase of treatment usually lasts 12-14 months.

What sort of braces are there?

Patients generally have some freedom to choose which type of braces they will wear on their teeth. Teenagers tend to prefer metal braces because they can personalize them with different colored rubber bands (ligature ties). Adults tend to prefer less conspicuous options such as translucent braces, ceramic braces or behind-the-teeth (lingual) braces. Gessel Orthodontics also offers Invisalign, which is a system of transparent trays fitting directly over your teeth. We discuss the advantages and limitations of each choice with our patients during the consultation process.

How much do braces cost?

The cost of treatment depends on a number of factors. The complexity of the orthodontic problems is an important one. A patient with some crooked teeth will require less involved and less expensive treatment than someone with more severe issues. For all patients, our goal is to make orthodontic treatment affordable and accessible. Insurance is accepted at Gessel Orthodontics, and we also offer payment plans. See our financial page for more information.  




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