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An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an advanced education program for 2 to 3 years following dental school, to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.

Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramics 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. Most bonded brackets can be placed with no discomfort. You can choose brackets that are clear or metallic colour. You can choose the colour of the ties that hold the wire in the brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.

Treatment time typically ranges from 12-30 months. Interceptive or early treatment can take as few as six months. This varies from patient to patient, depending on such factors as difficulty of the existing problem, age of the patient, certain physiological characteristics of the patient and probably most important patient cooperation during treatment. The success of orthodontic treatment is keynoted by cooperation. It is very important that all instructions be carefully and completely followed.

The main areas of concern include:

  • Wearing certain auxiliaries such as elastics and headgears as instructed (Note: headgear is not necessary for all patients)
  • Being present and on time for all appointments
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene
  • Minimizing appliance breakages
  • Immediate reporting of broken appliances

Poor cooperation in any of these areas can markedly lengthen treatment time and may detract from the end result.

Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child’s physician.

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.

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

No. 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 come in a variety of colors and patterns.

No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.

Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for regular cleanings and dental checkups.

Early treatment can guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position, reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth as well as boost self-esteem during critical development years.

Orthodontics improves function, force distribution and wear patterns on teeth. It increases the ability to keep teeth clean which promotes a better long term health of the teeth and gums and lastly, a more attractive smile.

Do you have?

  • Upper front teeth that protrude excessively over the lower teeth (overjet
  • Upper front teeth that cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deepbite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • Spaces between the teeth
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six years of age