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 to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.
What is the benefit of Orthodontics?
You already know that braces straighten teeth but 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.
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 can contribute to speech impairments, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries.
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.
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 university then complete a four-year graduate program at an accredited dental school. They must then successfully complete an additional residency program of at least two-three academic years of advanced education in orthodontics. Only dentists with this advanced specialty education can present themselves as orthodontic specialists.
When should my child first see an Orthodontic Specialist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child should see an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. 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.
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 fees?
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.
Your orthodontic specialist will be happy to discuss fees. Payment plans may help meet individual financial needs. In addition, many dental insurance plans now include orthodontic benefits for just a few dollars a month. For more information on how to submit an orthodontic estimate to your insurance provider, please read our About Insurance page.
How often do you visit the Orthodontist when wearing braces?
Patients usually see the orthodontist every 6-8 weeks throughout the course of their treatment. At these appointments, the orthodontist may change the wires and adjust the braces or appliances in order to improve the occlusion and create a beautiful smile.
How do I deal with orthodontic emergencies?
The good news that there are few true orthodontic emergencies. It is normal for the teeth to be sore after the bonding of the fixed appliances and after adjustments but thankfully, a soft diet and/or over-the-counter analgesics (Tylenol or Advil) as prescribed help to relieve the discomfort. Il the wire of the braces poke the cheeks, patients may use orthodontic wax to relieve the irritation. Please see the Handling Orthodontic Emergencies document from the American Association of Orthodontistes on our Orthodontic Emergencies page.
For emergencies that require immediate attention, please call your dentist or the Ottawa Dental Society Emergency phone number: 613.523.4185.