You have questions about orthodontics, and we have answers! Read our frequently asked questions from our patients.
Why is Orthodontics important?
Orthodontic treatment offers many benefits, beyond an attractive smile and improved self-image. Aligning the teeth correctly allows for proper cleaning, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Aligning the teeth and jaws in a proper bite allows for an efficient chew which may reduce wear and tear on the teeth and jaw joints, reducing the risk of chewing difficulties, jaw pain, tooth wear and gum problems.
Do I need a referral to see an Orthodontist?
No. You may receive a referral from a general dentist or a pediodontist, but you can refer yourself or a family member to see an Orthodontist at any time.
At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
It is recommended that all children be screened for potential orthodontic problems by the age of 7. This does not mean that full treatment will start, but rather that potential problems can be planned for and dealt with according to the growth pattern and family history of the individual patient. Early treatment may mean a reduced requirement for surgery or more serious complications later.
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or metallic colour. You can choose the colour of the ties that hold the wire in brackets or have no ties at all. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be.
What are Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.
What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, esthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
What if I put off treatment?
The disadvantage of waiting for complete eruption of permanent teeth and having only one phase of treatment for someone with a jaw discrepancy is facing the possibility of a compromised result that may not be stable.
Will braces hurt?
Most patients experience discomfort for approximately one week after their braces are first inserted. This is because the mouth needs to adjust to the new hardware and the teeth need to adjust to the wire. Some discomfort may also be felt after the archwire is changed, but this is usually only for a few days. Dr. Gage can recommend a pain reliever as required. A softer diet than normal may also help.
How long will I have to wear braces?
The length of orthodontic treatment varies widely, according to each individual's situation. Treatment may begin with procedures other than full braces (ie. an appliance, removal of certain teeth) and may involve surgery. Treatment also varies according to patient compliance - the better our instructions are followed and teeth are kept clean and healthy, the faster the treatment will progress. Treatment times will be discussed with the patient prior to any treatment and we will keep you apprised of your progress as treatment progresses.
Will I still be able to play sports?
Yes, but it is recommended that a mouth guard is used to protect the teeth and braces when participating in any sporting activity. A mouth guard is an inexpensive way to ensure that your smile is protected. You may also consider Invisalign treatment if you play sports.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No, braces will not interfere with playing a musical instrument. There may be an initial period of adjustment. You may also consider Invisalign treatment if you play an instrument.
Why would I need braces if my teeth are straight?
Orthodontic treatment involves more than just creating a beautiful smile. Your teeth may be straight, but they may be fitting together poorly or your jaw may be growing such that teeth will not fit together in the future. By moving the teeth into a better fit between the upper and lower jaws, problems such as uneven wear of teeth, difficulty chewing, jaw pain, or gum problems can be avoided.
Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and orthodontic checkups.
Are retainers necessary?
Absolutely! A retainer is a device worn after braces are removed that holds the teeth in their desired place. This prevents your teeth from drifting while the bone around your teeth hardens and stabilizes the teeth in their new position. The longer you wear a retainer, the better your chances are that your teeth will remain in proper alignment. Retainers also provide assurance that your teeth will remain in alignment while your jaw continues to grow and develop.
Am I too old for Orthodontics?
Probably not! Many patients today, up to 25%, are adults who are correcting problems never treated when they were children. Treatment times may be longer or treatment procedures more involved versus children, but the rewards for patience and perseverance are a beautiful smile and functioning jaw.
How much will treatment cost?
The cost of orthodontic treatment varies greatly, according to each patient's specific case. Any costs associated with treatment will be clearly explained to you prior to treatment, and a no interest payment schedule can be arranged for your convenience.