What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. Orthodontic treatment straightens your teeth so they look and function better. Braces or other appliances are used to put gentle pressure on your teeth to move them into the right positions.
What's the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?
It’s important to note that there are dentists that can perform orthodontics, but they are not considered specialists.
An orthodontist is a dentist who is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities and has received two to three academic years of advanced education in orthodontics and is accredited by the Canadian Dental Association and is a member of the Canadian Orthodontic Association.
This advanced training includes such diverse studies as genetics, embryology, human growth and development, and biophysics. Only dentists with this advanced specialty education can present themselves as orthodontic specialists. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve function.
Why do I need orthodontics?
Your bite is how your top and bottom teeth come together to maximize your ability to chew food and speak. The position of your teeth and jaws determines your bite. A malocclusion (or bad bite) occurs if your top and bottom teeth do not fit together properly. Missing, crooked, crowded or protruding teeth can contribute to a bad bite. Bad habits, such as thumb or finger sucking may also have an effect on your bite.
A bad bite can make it difficult to chew some foods and may cause some teeth to wear down. It may also cause muscle tension and pain. Teeth that stick out are more easily chipped or broken. Crowded and crooked teeth are harder to clean, therefore put you at risk of cavities and gum disease. Your smile and your health will be improved by fixing a bad bite.
What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of seven; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, with about one in every four orthodontic patients being over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
Do I need a dentist's referral to book an appointment?
While many of our patients are referred by their family dentist it is not a requirement and we are able to schedule an orthodontic consultation for your child at any time.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice, or use the online booking form to schedule your appointment. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.
How often will I need to schedule appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients with braces will be seen every 8 to 12 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
Can my teeth be straightened without braces?
Yes, we offer Invisalign aligners as an orthodontic treatment option that will straighten teeth similarly to braces.
What are the costs of orthodontic treatment?
Based on your needs and customized treatment plan, we’ll help you create a payment plan that fits your budget. We accept most major credit cards and insurance plans. If you have insurance that covers any portion of your orthodontic treatment, our office staff is always available to help you with insurance claims and paperwork.
How long will it take to complete my orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment time depends on each patient’s specific situation. In general, treatment time lasts from 9 months to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 months.
Is my child ready for orthodontic treatment?
If your child is not ready for orthodontic treatment, we will provide complimentary maintenance visits to monitor their growth and development. During this time will continue to take updated pictures, x-ray images, and will work with you to determine the perfect time to begin orthodontic treatment.
What are braces?
Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. Choose from metal or ceramic braces to start making a difference in your smile.
If I get braces or Invisalign, how long do I have to wear them?
The amount of time spent in braces will vary depending on the individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between six and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about 18 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces do not often hurt though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.
How can I take care of my teeth if I'm wearing braces or a retainer?
- ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
- If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep it safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
- Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
- During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities).
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).
- Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.