Frequently Asked Questions
No, you can make your own initial appointment with an Orthodontist. However, your dentist may be the first to identify and inform you of the bite problems and refer you to the Orthodontist.
An attractive smile and improved self-image is not just the only benefit of orthodontic treatment. Bringing the teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment produces a bite that functions better and is easier to clean. This can help to reduce problems of tooth decay, gum disease, chewing and digestive difficulties, speech impairments, tooth loss and other dental injuries.
Most orthodontic patients experience some discomfort the first week after their braces are put on, and right after the braces are tightened due to movement of the teeth. You can use Tylenol or Advil to ease the discomfort if you are not allergic to these medications. Generally speaking, the new wires and procedures used in our office tend to be gentler than in the “old days”.
The general assumption is to wait to see an orthodontist until a child has all their permanent teeth. However, sometimes treatment would have been much easier if started earlier. In fact, some treatment options become lost once the jaw growth has slowed. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven.
The goal of early interceptive or Phase I treatment is to correct moderate to severe orthodontic problems early. Some common problems that may require early treatment are crowding, excessive spacing, ‘buck’ teeth, gummy smiles, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. When early treatment is called for, it can result in a number of benefits such as improved dental arch width, prevention of permanent teeth extraction, a reduction or elimination of the need for jaw surgery, a lower risk of trauma to ‘buck’ teeth, and the correction of harmful oral habits. An ideal time to do Phase I treatment is usually at 8-9 years old. However, in some cases treatment may be needed as early as 5 years of age.
Absolutely not! Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most or all their permanent teeth erupt. That is why an orthodontic screening exam can determine if Phase I is necessary for your child.
In most cases, yes. After the permanent teeth have erupted, treatment is usually necessary to complete the work that was started in the earlier phase. The objective is to position the permanent teeth in optimal function, comfort, esthetics, and long-term stability. This stage is called Phase II treatment and involves full braces.
The time needed to undergo orthodontic treatment will vary for each patient, and always depends on how much your jaw needs to change and how far your teeth must move. We are committed to making your treatment as swift and effective as possible. Treatment duration typically varies between 12 and 30 months.
Yes. It is recommended; however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and can be custom made at our office to fit over the braces.
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.
A retainer is a device worn full or part-time after braces have been removed. The retainer is designed to prevent your teeth from drifting or moving while the bone around your teeth hardens and stabilizes. The longer you wear your retainer, the better your chances that your teeth will not relapse. Committed retainer wear will provide assurance that your teeth will stay in reasonable alignment while your jaw continues to grow or develop. In the past, one to two years of retainer was often recommended. Long term studies have shown that teeth continue to shift throughout one’s life, whether they have had orthodontic treatment or not.
Teeth can be moved at any age! Many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children and can now experience the satisfaction of a perfect smile. Our office also offers esthetic choices such as clear ceramic braces as well as Invisalign. Just ask us for details.
The technical term for teeth that do not fit together correctly is 'malocclusion'. Most malocclusions are inherited; however, it is possible to acquire a bad bite from habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking. The premature loss of baby teeth or the extraction of adult teeth can cause the development of a malocclusion. Inherited malocclusions are usually caused by difference between the size of the teeth and the size of the jaw structure. Whether inherited or acquired, malocclusions affect not only the alignment of the teeth and jaws, but also the appearance of the face.
TMJ Dysfunction is a condition of the jaw that occurs when the Temporomandibular Joint is misaligned or malfunctioning in a way that subjects the joint to excess pressure. TMJ can seriously affect how your mouth works and often includes side effects such as neck and jaw pain, headaches, and difficulty chewing.
Costs vary depending on the severity and length of treatment. Today many dental policies include orthodontic benefits making orthodontic fees more affordable than ever before. In addition, our office offers flexible financing with the majority of the costs paid over the course of treatment. Before treatment starts, we will work together to structure a payment plan that can meet your individual needs.
No, the space available for the front teeth doesn’t increase as you grow. In fact, most of the time once permanent molars have erupted the space for the front teeth decreases over time.
It depends on where you are in treatment and what type of treatment is being performed. On average we see our patients every 4-12 weeks.
Yes, there are dietary restrictions when in braces. When you start your treatment, we will give you instructions on what foods should be avoided. In general, sticky foods should be avoided and hard foods. Foods that you have to tear with your teeth (apples, corn on the cob, bagels, meat on the bone) should be cut up into smaller pieces.
Yes! It’s important that you continue to have your dental checkups during your treatment. Your dentist will determine the cleaning intervals while in orthodontic treatment.