Frequently asked questions

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion,” which means “bad bite.” The practice of orthodontics requires the professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances (braces) to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.

Why is orthodontics important?

Orthodontics can boost a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned, but an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important.

Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing and digestive difficulties. A “bad bite” can contribute to speech impairments, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries.

Who is an Orthodontic Specialist?

Your orthodontic specialist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontic specialists must first attend college, then complete a 4 year graduate program at a dental school in a university or other institution accredited by the Canadian Dental Association.

They must then successfully complete an additional residency program of at least two-three academic years of advanced education in orthodontics, again accredited by the CDA. 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.

What makes an orthodontic specialist different from a dentist?

Orthodontic specialists are the dental specialists who correct dental and facial irregularities, day in and day out. An orthodontic specialist is expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with the patient to help make sure the teeth stay in their new positions.

CAO members are uniquely qualified to correct “bad bites.” The Canadian Dental Association requires orthodontic specialists to have at least two years of post-doctoral, advanced specialty training in orthodontics in an accredited program, after graduation from college and then dental school.

What is the benefit of Orthodontics?

You already know that braces straighten teeth. But what you may not know is that a beautiful smile is just one of the benefits orthodontics has to offer. Bringing teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment not only produces a great smile, but a healthy one as well. Straight teeth simply function better and are easier to clean. And last but far from least is the increased confidence and self-esteem that a healthy smile provides.

This psychological benefit can be a significant factor in the decision to undergo treatment and is often listed as a patient’s #1 treatment goal. A beautiful smile is a pleasure to own and a pleasure to see.

So remember: an attractive smile is just the start. Improved oral health and general well-being are important treatment goals as well.

Who can benefit from orthodontics?

At one time, most people believed braces were “just for kids.” The fact is, that of the thousands of Canadians now in orthodontic treatment, more than one of every four is over 21.

Because the basic process involved in moving teeth is the same in adults as in children, orthodontic treatment can usually be successful at any age. The health of the teeth, the gums and the supporting bones will also determine the prospects for improvement.

So who can benefit? Most anyone, really. The truth is you’re never too old to be your best. Regardless of age, orthodontic treatment is always a change for the better.

When should my child first see an orthodontic specialist?

The AAO recommends that every child should see an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. In some cases, this could be as young as 2 or 3. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early rather than waiting until jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean a patient will avoid surgery or other more serious corrections later in life.

What is the best Treatment for you?

There are many treatment options these days, from clear aligners to modern braces. They each have their uses, but only an orthodontist has the specialized knowledge to identify and plan for all the variables in your mouth.

Orthodontists take your unique needs and wishes into consideration, too, when recommending the right treatment option for you. Orthodontists have knowledge of the full range of orthodontic appliances. They know what to use and when to use it because they work with these tools every day.

Is it ever too late for a person to get braces?

No. Because healthy teeth can be moved at any age, an orthodontic specialist can improve the smile of practically anyone – in fact, orthodontic specialists regularly treat patients in their 50s, 60s and older!

What about costs?

While it’s important to keep in mind the lifetime value that orthodontics offers, we know you have specific cost questions, so don’t be afraid to ask. You may discover the price tag is considerably lower than you ever thought. Cost, of course, depends on the nature of the problem. Many orthodontic problems require only limited treatment.

It is our mission to provide you with affordable, high quality treatment that fits your budget! We offer a variety of payment options to meet your needs. Please ask us about financing options, credit card payments. We thoroughly explain your options, so that we can accommodate your needs. We have an in-house payment plan.

How to clean Braces

Braces trap food very easily which promotes plaque formation. Plaque can lead to gum disease and enamel damage. With the daily use of effective oral hygiene techniques, plaque build-up can be prevented.

The foundation of good oral hygiene is effective brushing. This is done with a fluoridated tooth paste and a soft bristled brush. Brushing should be done after every meal and snack and should be done slowly and carefully. It is important to not only brush the braces but also brush both the inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth.

Step 1

Holding the brush straight against the braces, scrub in small circles 10 times.

Step 2

Holding the brush at an angle towards the chewing surface, scrub in small circles 10 times.

Step 3

This is the most important Step: Holding the brush to the gums as shown in the photo, scrub in small circles 10 times. Make sure that the gumline is also being cleaned.

Types of Retainers

There are two types of orthodontic retainers: fixed and removable. Removable retainers can be taken off to eat or brush your teeth. Fixed retainers are permanently glued to your teeth and should only be removed by your orthodontist. The following are some of the more common retainers in use.

Hawley Retainers
Hawley retainers consist of a plastic base that conforms to the shape of your mouth. This is connected to a wire that wraps around your teeth, keeping them in place.

Essix Retainers
Essix retainers are made of clear plastic. Some patients prefer Essix retainers because most people cannot tell you’re wearing one, but they don’t have the life span of Hawley retainers.

Bonded Retainers
Often called fixed or permanent retainers,  this is a customized wire that is bonded to the back of your teeth with a composite material. It should remain on your teeth for many years and should only be removed by an orthodontist.  This fixed wire will protect your  teeth as you get older.

Our team of experts will discuss with you the pros and cons of the above retainers and decide which one is best for you.

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