How can I straighten my teeth at home?

We have been asked a lot, lately, about services, such as SmileDirectClub® and Invisalign®.  There seems to be an increasing demand for convenient, esthetic, and efficient ways of straightening one’s teeth.

Can I straighten my teeth from home? copy

Do I have to see a dentist or an orthodontist?

The answer is, yes.  At some point in your treatment you will have to see a dental professional.   This is for good cause:

  1. You are investing a lot in your smile
  2. Your smile (your teeth) is a part of your body and overall health
  3. Your teeth need to be evaluated periodically to monitor how your treatment is progressing
  4. There are steps dentists or orthodontists can take to to ensure your treatment is successful, and your smile is beautiful and healthy

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What is SmileDirectClub®?

According to their website, SmileDirectClub® “is for anyone who wants a smile they’ll absolutely love. We straighten and brighten most smiles gently, remotely, and in an average of 6 months for quick, clear confidence.”

They summarize the process in 3 steps:

  1. Obtain a 3D image of your teeth by booking a 3D scan at one of their SmileShops or get an at-home impression kit sent to you

    What is a SmileShop®?  A location where a 3D scan is taken of your current smile.  3D scans eliminate the need for traditional molds and are a fast, accurate way of capturing a 3D image of your teeth.  Our intra-oral Scanner is a complete digital imaging system that takes impressions of our patients mouths with extreme accuracy. The high quality images that the system provides will help us to diagnose issues more accurately and create a personalized treatment plan for you

  2. After your 3D smile is reviewed by a dental professional, your treatment plan (on average, 6 months) is created, and your invisible aligners (and whitening materials) are sent directly to you
  3. At the completion of treatment, you can order retainers to help maintain your results


What is the difference between Invisalign® and SmileDirectClub®?

The truth is, they’re essentially the same form of orthodontic treatment: instead of metal brackets and wires, they use a series of clear, removable aligners to straighten the teeth, close gaps, and improve your bite. These aligners are almost invisible when worn and can be taken out to eat, drink, brush, and floss, providing a number of conveniences and benefits.

Invisalign® and SmileDirectClub® are both name-brand products.  Our office uses clear aligners to provide a similar orthodontic treatment method without the branding.  Read more at What is Invisalign?


How do I choose between Invisalign®, SmileDirectClub®, or other clear aligners?

Treatment with our clear aligners is often cheaper, faster, and even more convenient than treatment with Invisalign® itself! Here are a few of the benefits of our clear aligners as compared to Invisalign®:

  • Customized Treatment: With Invisalign, we send your treatment plan to the Invisalign company, which then manufactures your aligners. Clear aligners allow us more control in the treatment process, allowing us to use our own manufacturer and control your treatment more directly.
  • Speed: Because of this increased control, we can often perform your treatment more quickly.
  • Quick Turnaround: We use a local lab for manufacturing clear aligners, which means you’ll get your aligners and start your treatment faster. Turnaround time for clear aligners is roughly 2 to 3 weeks, as opposed to 4 or 5 weeks with Invisalign.
  • Fewer Aligners: Because we control the process directly, we can often treat patients with fewer aligners using clear aligner treatment.
  • Cost: Clear aligners don’t have the same branding as Invisalign, so you’re paying less for a virtually identical form of treatment!

Invisalign Insurance

Schedule a Consultation with Your San Jose, CA Orthodontist

While both are excellent options for orthodontic treatment, clear aligners offer a number of advantages over both braces and Invisalign – and because it’s such a discreet form of treatment, it’s hugely popular with our adult orthodontic treatment patients. If you’re interested in learning more about how our clear aligners can revolutionize your own smile, we’d be thrilled to help. Call us today at (408) 266-8820 to learn more about clear aligners and orthodontic treatment in general, and if you’d like to get started on the path towards a brand new smile, just request an appointment online at our San Jose office. We can’t wait to hear from you!

*some information courtesy of

Do wisdom teeth cause your teeth to become crowded?

What we often hear from our adult patients is, “I had braces as a kid, and my teeth were straight.  My wisdom teeth came in, and, now, they are crooked.”  The belief that wisdom teeth cause the front teeth to become crowded by “pushing” them forward is a common one.

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Many patients are encouraged by their dental professionals to have their wisdom teeth (third molars) extracted to prevent future crowding.

Is there any validity to this theory?

In short, current research does not support the belief that wisdom teeth, alone, cause crowding of the teeth in front of them, or “push” on them enough to cause movement, nor that they contribute to the relapse after orthodontic treatment. The majority of peer reviewed research shows that even if people have their wisdom teeth removed, teeth (especially the lower front teeth) continue to crowd as we age. This is the case whether a person has had braces or not. Research has shown that teeth tend to drift forward throughout life, even in the absence of posterior teeth or molars.


The age that people stop wearing their retainers, many times, coincides with when the wisdom teeth first start to erupt.  Many adults report that they wore their retainers for only a year or so after they had their braces removed, but once the wisdom teeth became impacted (stuck below the gums), their teeth started to crowd. We have learned that without retention, teeth that were previously crowded will start to revert back towards their previous position.  Often wisdom tooth issues that arise at this age are correlated with the crowding that occurs during these years after retention is stopped. A long term use of your retainers is the only way to guarantee you will keep your teeth straight.  

If the wisdom teeth are not major contributors to increased dental crowding as we age, where does it come from?

Factors that may affect lower incisor crowding include dental (crown size, dental arch length loss, poor periodontal status and primary teeth loss), skeletal (growth of the jaws and malocclusion), and general (age and gender).



The take home message, and current standard of care, is that chances of future crowding, alone, does not warrant wisdom teeth be extracted.

There are a number of other reasons that may indicate the need for extracting these teeth, including the inability to properly clean these teeth, tooth decay, pericoronitis (inflammation of the gingiva around partially erupted third molars), and impacted positions that may cause damage to the surrounding jaw structures. Each person is an individual, and the decision to extract the third molars should be discussed with your dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon.

How do I fix the crowding without getting braces again?

Braces are still the most popular orthodontic treatment we offer – but they’re far from the only option. Invisalign (clear aligners) is an exciting alternative to braces that transforms your smile using clear, removable plastic aligners to straighten teeth instead of metal wires and brackets.  Clear aligners are discreet, convenient, and effective for orthodontic patients.  Read What’s the Difference Between Invisalign & Clear Aligners?  and read more about Invisalign at our website.




Is There a Benefit to Early Treatment?

Timing is everything – even when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment. “Early” treatment, also called “interceptive” treatment, means treatment that is performed while some baby teeth are still present.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, but no later than age 7. Why age 7? By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and the jaws, which in turn can provide a wealth of information. Orthodontists are trained to spot subtle problems even in young children.

There are generally three outcomes of an initial check-up:

1. No treatment is expected to be necessary.

2. Treatment may be needed in the future, so the child will be followed periodically while the face and jaws continue to grow.

3. There is a problem that lends itself to early treatment.

While there are many orthodontic problems that orthodontists agree are best treated after all permanent teeth have come in, early treatment can be in a patient’s best interests if their problem is one that could become more serious over time if left untreated. The goal of early treatment is to intercept the developing problem, eliminate the cause, guide the growth of facial and jaw bones, and provide adequate space for incoming permanent teeth. A patient may require a second course of treatment after all permanent teeth have come in to move those teeth into their best positions.

The kinds of problems orthodontists may recommend treating while a child still has some baby teeth include:

• Underbites – when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth

• Crossbites – when the jaw shifts to one side

• Very crowded teeth

• Excessively spaced teeth

• Extra or missing teeth

• Teeth that meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all

• Thumb-, finger-, or pacifier- sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth

Some of these orthodontic problems are inherited, while others may result from accidents, dental disease, or abnormal swallowing.

Early orthodontic treatment can take many forms. The orthodontist could prescribe a fixed or removable “appliance” – a device used to move teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold teeth in place in order to bring about desirable changes. Sometimes, no appliances are necessary.

Regardless of how treatment goals are reached, the bottom line is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult.

To give your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile, visit our San Jose office. No referral needed! We provide an initial consultation at no cost and with no obligation. We can alert you to potential problems and recommend treatment when it is most appropriate for your child.

Click here to request an appointment


How Much do Braces Cost?

So how much do braces cost? First, it’s necessary to identify the type of braces for you or your child and the duration of the treatment. This will help you understand your options in providing the very best care for your investment.

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The Right Age

When should my child get braces?  The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that children receive their first orthodontic screening by the age of seven years.

If your orthodontist identifies an incorrect bite or potential for crowding during the screening exam, he or she can sometimes take what is called “interceptive” action to prevent the problem from playing out or getting worse. This can include fitting a palatal expander or other appliance to ensure that the permanent teeth erupt in the right position. The exam might also highlight the need to control habits such as thumb-sucking, which can cause damage to a child’s mouth over time.

Types of Braces

The braces your orthodontist recommends will depend on you or your child’s particular problem. Types of braces include:

  • Traditional metal braces – Have color ties holding the wires to the brackets.
  • Damon® braces – They do not have color ties, as the brackets themselves hold the wires in place (the braces are self-ligating).
  • Invisalign® (or other clear or removable aligners) – Fit over the the teeth in a way that resembles a mouth guard.
  • Lingual braces – Instead of the brackets and wires being placed on the front of your teeth, they are placed behind the teeth.

In addition to appliances like an expander, your orthodontist might also recommend the use of an appliance to use in conjunction with braces to correct problems affecting you or your child’s natural bite.

Variations in Treatment Costs

Determining how much braces cost for kids depends on the type of braces you choose and the estimated length of time you or your child will need to wear them. According to the Consumer Guide for Dentistry, the cost of wearing braces ranges between $3,000 and $7,000 – with respect to the type of braces recommended – for the following reasons:

  1. With traditional braces the cost is driven by what the orthodontist will charge for the orthodontic treatment for your case, which includes multiple visits during the time it takes to straighten the teeth and correct the bite over a monthly or yearly period.
  2. Damon® Braces are typically more expensive, initially, due to the higher cost of materials used during your treatment.
  3. With Invisalign® (clear aligners), you will receive a number of aligners to use in a specific order, changing every week or couple of weeks. The cost is usually determined by the number of aligners needed to achieve the right result.
  4. Lingual Braces are a completely invisible braces solution. Instead of the brackets and wires being placed on the front of your teeth, they are placed behind the teeth. Due to the fact that you can’t see the braces at all, lingual braces are another orthodontic treatment type that is very popular among adults.

Ways to Pay

We never want costs to stand in the way of quality treatment, which is why we are dedicated to providing our patients with care that is both effective and affordable. Your treatment plan will include a breakdown of all applicable fees, and we will inform you of all costs before treatment is administered.

If you have insurance, it may cover a portion of the cost (if your insurance plan has orthodontic benefits).  The treatment is usually eligible for flexible savings account (FSA) reimbursement, too.

In addition, we are pleased to offer in-house financing options with little or no down payment and low monthly payments that make your treatment more affordable. If you can pay in advance for some or all of the treatment, this typically qualifies you for a discount. This flexible payment option allows you to pay for your treatment over a period of time so you can focus on what matters most – keeping your smile healthy!

You can read more at our website. If you have any questions about financing or payment, ask us! We will thoroughly explain your choices and work hard to accommodate you.

*some information courtesy of:


Meet Emelia

Please check out Emelia’s full bio at Meet our Staff


What is your name?


What is your job title?

Financial Coordinator

How long have you worked at Mashouf Orthodontics?

 13 years

How long have you lived in San Jose?

 27 years

What is your favorite cuisine/food?

 Mediterranean Cusine

If you had a dream job (or could start your own dream business), what would it be?

A doctor

What’s your favorite thing to do on weekends?

 Be with the people I love

What other languages do you know?

 Farsi and Assyrian

What are you passionate about?


What do you like on your pizza?

 Everything but sausage!

What’s the 1 piece of advice you would give others about life?

 Don’t give up & trust your self!

What’s the 1 dish you absolutely, positively will never, ever eat?

 Raw fish

Which sports team(s) do you root for?

 The Sharks

Do you cook? What’s your favorite recipe?

Baking cakes

Which superhuman power do you wish you had?

 The ability to make peace in the world

What are you currently watching on Netflix?

 I don’t watch Netflix, but I like The Voice

If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go?


Which way does your toilet paper hang on the wall – over or under?


How do I turn the expander? What can my child eat with an expander? How do I clean the expander?

    1. Have your child open as wide as possible
    2. Use adequate lighting (you can use the flashlight on your phone) to find the hole1-Comment-activer-appareil-dexpansion-etape-1-orthodontiste-Chamberland-Quebec
    3. Place the key in the hole and turn toward the back of the mouth until you can see the next hole2-Comment-activer-appareil-dexpansion-etape-2-Orthodontiste-Chamberland-Quebec
    4. Remove the key in a down-and-back direction5-Comment-activer-appareil-dexpansion-etape-5-orthodontiste-Chamberland-Quebec
    5. Try to make the adjustments at about the same time each day (usually at night around brushing time)
    6. Try not to skip any days of turning the expander.  If you cannot keep your scheduled appointment DO NOT continue to turn the expander until after you have spoken to your doctor

Diet and cleaning your expander:

  • For the first few days after receiving the expander your child can:
    • Adjust to the expander (before starting to turn)
    • Maintain a soft diet
    • With discomfort, use a mild, over-the-counter pain reliever (eg. children’s tylenol or motrin)
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods, like popcorn or caramels, that might dislodge the expander
  • Use a bristle (proxy) brush to clean between the wires and teethPZS034
  • If there is a part of the expander that feels rough to the cheek or tongue
    • Dry the area that feels rough/sharp
    • Roll a strip of wax into a ball & press the wax onto the dry area

Please call us if you have any questions.  We are happy to guide you over the phone or schedule an appointment to check your child’s expander.  

What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

Orthodontists and dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. Dentistry is a broad medical specialty that deals with the teeth, gum, nerves, and jaw, while orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on correcting bites, occlusion, and the straightness of teeth. One important difference is that all orthodontists like Drs. Cameron Mashouf, Kayhan Mashouf, & Shannon Hayashibara are dentists, but not all dentists are licensed orthodontists.

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How are they similar?

The main similarity between a dentist and orthodontist is that they both focus on oral care. They are both considered doctors, and deal with the teeth and gums.

How are they different?

An orthodontist requires additional schooling as a dental specialty; the situation is similar to a doctor who obtains additional schooling to become a surgeon. Another difference is that orthodontists specialize in helping patients with the alignment of their teeth, improving their bite, or fitting them for corrective braces and devices. If a patient has an overbite, a dentist will refer him or her to an orthodontist.

Dentists typically encourage good oral hygiene and provide services related to:

  • Tooth decay
  • Root canals
  • Gum disease
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Veneers
  • Teeth whitening

Orthodontists are dentists that specialize in the alignment of teeth, and provide services related to:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite


What an orthodontist can help with

Orthodontists help with crooked teeth, but they assist patients with other issues as well. These include overbites and underbites, crossbites, spaces between teeth, overcrowding of teeth, and the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Additional problems with the jaw also need to be treated by an orthodontist.

While a dentist may be trained to provide orthodontic care in addition to extractions, TMJ treatments, and fillings, trusting your smile to an orthodontist can better balance the different procedures you require.


To learn more about the difference between dentists and orthodontists, or to schedule an initial consultation with Drs. Cameron Mashouf, Kayhan Mashouf, & Shannon Hayashibara, please give our team at Mashouf Orthodontics a call (408) 266-8820 at our convenient Willow Glen office.

*information courtesy of: &

Meet Sienna

Please check out Sienna’s full bio at Meet our Staff 


What is your name? 

 Sienna Johnson

What is your job title? 

 Sterilization Technician & Administrative Assistant

How long have you worked at Mashouf Orthodontics? 

 Almost 2 years

How long have you lived in San Jose? 

 About 10 years

What is your favorite cuisine/food? 

 Mexican food!

If you had a dream job (or could start your own dream business), what would it be? 

 Anything that allows me to get creative and hands-on

What’s your favorite thing to do on weekends? 

 Bonfires at the beach with family & friends

What other languages do you know?

 No, I wish!

What are you passionate about? 

 I love music

What do you like on your pizza? 

 Every kind of meat!

What’s the 1 piece of advice you would give others about life? 

 Live life with no regrets

What is your dream car?

 A Jeep

What’s the 1 dish you absolutely, positively will never, ever eat?


Which sports team(s) do you root for?

 The Warriors!

Do you cook? What’s your favorite recipe?

 Yes. Shepherd’s pie.

Which superhuman power do you wish you had? 


What are you currently watching on Netflix?

 The Office… for the second time through

If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go?


Which way does your toilet paper hang on the wall – over or under?

 Over (of course)

Meet Kara

Please check out Kara’s full bio at Meet our Staff 


What is your name? 

Kara Michele Floriani

What is your job title? 

 Treatment Coordinator

How long have you worked at Mashouf Orthodontics? 

 6 years

How long have you lived in San Jose? 

 All my life (but I was born in Germany)

What is your favorite cuisine/food? 


If you had a dream job (or could start your own dream business), what would it be? 

A Physical Therapist

What’s your favorite thing to do on weekends? 

 Spend time with my son & husband

What other languages do you know?

 A little German

What are you passionate about? 

 Core power yoga, hiking, & any outdoor activities

What do you like on your pizza? 


What’s the 1 piece of advice you would give others about life? 

 Be kind!

What is your dream car?

 A Tesla

 Which sports team(s) do you root for?

 The Warriors & Steelers

Do you cook? What’s your favorite recipe?

 Yes. Chocolate chip cookies.

Which superhuman power do you wish you had? 

 The ability to see what people are thinking

What are you currently watching on Netflix?

 Survivor, The Voice, & Reality TV

If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go?


Which way does your toilet paper hang on the wall – over or under?


When Should My Child Get Braces?

The image of a teenager with braces is so common that it’s become something of a rite of passage – all over the country, people improve their smile with braces during their teen years. But for many parents, the specific point at which a child should get braces is unclear: 12? 13? 14? As your dedicated San Jose orthodontist, we at Mashouf Orthodontics wanted to throw a little light on the subject and answer the question of when your child should get braces – and it might be earlier than you think!

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When Kids Should Get Braces

So, when should your child get braces? The truth is, it all depends. Every child is different, and different kids will need orthodontic treatment at different times to best support their development and create a healthy smile. Some children will need early orthodontic treatment before the age of 10, while others may not need braces until 15.

But while the age of treatment varies, one thing remains constant: you should bring your child in for an orthodontic evaluation at age 7. Evaluating at this age lets us diagnose any problems that currently exist and also spot problems that may develop down the line, letting us monitor your child’s growth for the ideal time to get braces. We may or may not opt to start treatment at this early age, but evaluating at age 7 gives us the freedom to keep an eye on your child’s dental development and decide when is ideal to start treatment.

Schedule an Appointment with Your San Jose, CA Orthodontist

If you have a young child, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure you schedule their initial evaluation around their seventh birthday – but if your child is over age 7 and hasn’t received an evaluation, they should get one as soon as possible. At Mashouf Orthodontics, we’ve helped countless children develop a beautiful, healthy smile through orthodontic treatment, and we would be happy to make a recommendation for your child. Feel free to contact us to learn more about the orthodontic treatment process or schedule an appointment. Working together, we’ll help your child develop a gorgeous smile that they enjoy for a lifetime!

Read more from the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO)