Many of our first-time orthodontic patients will have questions for us about the various treatment methods and procedures under the orthodontic umbrella and how they will impact their oral health. Here are 10 of the most commonly-asked questions that our North York dentists get from our patients.
1. What is orthodontic treatment, and what does it entail?
Some of our patients have dental irregularities or misalignments that will require orthodontic treatment These may be caused by injuries, accidents genetics or environmental factors.
Malocclusion is the umbrella term for all of these irregularities, including crooked or crowded teeth, teeth that may be excessively spaced or have gaps between them, and impacted teeth.
The remedy for these health issues is orthodontic treatment, which can help to straighten out your teeth and move them to healthier positions in your mouth. Treatment may involve a few different approaches depending on your unique needs. A dentist is likely to recommend one of the following options:
- Clear aligners
- Traditional metal braces
- Clear(ceramic) braces
2. Why should I get orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment can help you achieve a healthier bite and a straighter smile. It can also impact your long-term oral health, as straighter teeth are easier to brush, floss and keep clean.
Conversely, crooked teeth may mean that you will be at a higher risk of developing cavities or gum disease. a bad bite or misaligned jaw may even cause pain in your jaw or headaches.
In addition to the functional aspects, some people have aesthetic concerns with the appearance of their smile. Orthodontic treatment can help improve your smile, making it more symmetrical. By the end of your treatment, you may feel more proud to reveal it.
3. Which orthodontic treatment is the best?
Orthodontic treatment is very personal, and is customized to an individual’s needs and smile goals. Which orthodontic treatment is best for you will depend on a number of factors, such as the nature of your malocclusion, your current oral health and how much restorative dental work you’ve had done previously.
While some people may need braces to help fix their misalignments, others may be able to use clear aligners to address their health issues. Personal preference and budget may also play into your concerns. Your orthodontist will be able to explain your treatment options as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
4. Which orthodontic treatment is the fastest?
Orthodontic treatments are an investment of both time and money in achieving your smile goals. CLear aligners and braces can help to fix misalignments of your teeth and jaws, setting you on a path towards a straighter smile.
Here are some tips to ensure your orthodontic treatment goes as quickly and smoothly as possible:
- Attend your scheduled appointments with your orthodontist and/or dentist. These give them an opportunity to check in to make sure treatment is progressing as planned, with no obstacles, and to answer any questions and concerns.
- Follow your orthodontist or dentist's instructions and treatment plan on every aspect of your orthodontic care, from oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing to what you can and can’t eat during treatment, to how much you have to wear your appliance.
- Care for your teeth. Not only is oral hygiene important, but so is ensuring your teeth receive the TLC they need as they undergo their change in alignment. This means no grinding or biting down hard, as this can cause extra pressure in addition to wear and tear.
5. What’s the ideal age for orthodontic treatment?
In general, the earlier orthodontic treatment can commence, the more efficient it will be.
Where traditionally, orthodontic treatment would begin when patients were 12 to 14 years of age, it’s now recognized that early treatment can be key in resolving orthodontic issues efficiently.
Depending on your child’s orthodontic issue, interceptive treatment may begin between 7 to 11 years old.
That being said, many people wait until adulthood to begin orthodontic treatment. As long as your teeth are generally healthy, you could be a candidate for orthodontic treatment whatever your age! Just be aware that typically, orthodontic treatment for adults tends to take longer overall than it does for children.
6. How long does treatment last, and what will it cost?
The length of time that your treatment lasts will depend on a number of factors, such as the nature of your orthodontist issue, the treatment option that you and your orthodontist decide is right for you, your overall health and the degree to which you are compliant with your treatment plan.
Costs will vary depending on the treatment option chosen, the severity of your orthodontic issue, the duration of your treatment and other factors. Your orthodontist or dentist can help you weigh treatment options and financing opportunities.
7. If I don’t want traditional braces, what are my options?
Traditional braces are not the only kind of orthodontic treatment that people use to straighten their teeth. From clear aligners and ceramic braces to lingual braces and more, advanced in orthodontic technology means that patients have much more selection when it comes to treatment options than they have in the past.
Depending on the nature of your orthodontic issue, you may also be able to use removable and transparent clear aligners to treat your malocclusion.
8. How often will I have to see an orthodontist while I’m being treated?
How often you’ll need to see an orthodontist will depend on the treatment option you and your orthodontist or dentist choose, whether you encounter any obstacles during treatment, and other factors.
In general, when it comes to braces, you will see your dentist every 4 to 8 weeks throughout the duration of your treatment. These appointments will range form about 20 minutes for checkups to make sure your elastics have stayed in place, to longer initial and final appoinements.
For clear aligners, there are no elastics to adjust so you may be able to go longer between appointments, and see your orthodontist once every 6 to 10 weeks.
9. Can I drink pop while wearing braces?
Whether you have metal, ceramic or lingual braces on your teeth, we recommend avoiding pop as drinks with carbonation can stain the metal brackets of your teeth. The dyes in pop and even in juices can also stain your tooth surfaces and erode enamel.
In addition, the large amount of sugar typically found in these drinks can lead to tooth decay, so in general we advise avoiding pop entirely, whether you are undergoing orthodontic treatment or not!
10. Will my oral hygiene routine need to change during treatment?
While everyone needs to brush and floss daily and maintain excellent oral hygiene to prevent cavities, this goes double if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment so you can make sure you preserve your oral health.
Because bacteria and plaque can get stuck between your teeth and braces or clear aligners, it’s important to be diligent in brushing and flossing your teeth.
You will need to carefully brush around your wires and brackets if you have braces, avoiding foods like popcorn and gum that may damage either your teeth or your appliances.
When it comes to clear aligners, you will need to brush and floss your teeth each time your remove your aligners to eat or drink. and, while you have them in your mouth, you will need to drink only water. This is to help avoid the buildup of food debris and bacteria that may otherwise before trapped between your aligners and your teeth.
While you may notice an immediate effect on your appearance from this buildup, even more concerning is the tooth decay and plaque buildup that occurs and causes damage to your smile while trapped behind your clear aligners. Without clear aligners, your saliva would wash away this debris, but this natural process is blocked by the aligners.
It’s important to brush after each meal and floss once per day.