Many first-time orthodontic patients will have questions about different treatment methods and procedures, as well as how their treatment will affect their oral health. Here are ten frequently asked questions by patients to our British Columbia and Alberta dentists.
1. What is orthodontic treatment, and what does it entail?
Some patients have dental issues that necessitate orthodontic treatment. These can be caused by genetics, injuries or accidents, environmental factors, improper tooth or jaw positioning, or other factors.
Malocclusion refers to all of these irregularities, which include crooked or crowded teeth, teeth that are excessively spaced or have gaps between them, and impacted teeth.
Orthodontic treatment, which can help straighten your teeth, can help with this. Depending on your needs, treatment may include a variety of approaches. Your dentist will most likely recommend one of the following options:
- Traditional metal braces
- Clear(ceramic) braces
- Invisalign Clear Aligners
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 can mean you’ll be at a higher risk of developing gum disease or cavities. A bad bite or misaligned jaw can even cause headaches or jaw pain.
Aside from the functional aspects, some people are concerned about the appearance of their smiles. Orthodontic treatment can help you improve the symmetry of your smile. You may feel more confident in revealing it by the end of your treatment.
3. Which orthodontic treatment is the best?
Orthodontic treatment is highly personalized and tailored to each patient's specific needs and smile goals. Which orthodontic treatment is best for you will be determined by several factors, including the nature of your malocclusion, your current oral health, and the amount of restorative dental work you've previously had done.
While some people will require braces to correct their misalignment, others may be able to benefit from Invisalign Clear Aligners. Personal preference and budget constraints may also influence your decision. Your orthodontist can explain your options as well as the benefits and drawbacks of various types of braces, Invisalign Clear Aligners, and other orthodontic devices.
4. Which orthodontic treatment is the fastest?
Orthodontic treatment is a time and money investment in achieving your smile goals. Braces or Invisalign Clear Aligners can help correct tooth and jaw misalignment, putting you on the road to a straighter smile and better oral health.
Here are some tips to ensure your orthodontic treatment goes as quickly and smoothly as possible:
- Follow your orthodontist's or dentist's instructions and treatment plan for all aspects of your orthodontic care, from oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing to what you can and cannot eat during treatment to how long you must wear your appliance.
- Take good care of your teeth. Not only is oral hygiene important, but so is ensuring that your teeth receive the care they require as they adjust to their new alignment. This means no grinding or biting down hard, as this can result in extra pressure as well as wear and tear.
- Attend all of your orthodontist and/or dentist appointments. These allow them to check in to ensure that treatment is progressing as planned and without stumbling blocks, as well as to address any questions or concerns.
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.
Having said that, many people wait until they are adults to begin orthodontic treatment. Whatever your age, as long as your teeth are generally healthy, you could be a candidate for orthodontic treatment! Just keep in mind that orthodontic treatment for adults typically takes longer than it does for children.
6. How long does treatment last, and what will it cost?
The length of your treatment will be determined by several factors, including the nature of your orthodontic problem, the treatment option you and your orthodontist decide is best for you, your age, general health, and your compliance with your custom treatment plan.
The cost of your treatment will vary depending on the treatment option you choose, the severity of your orthodontic issue, the length of your treatment, and other factors. Your orthodontist or dentist can assist you in weighing treatment options and financing options.
7. If I don’t want traditional braces, what are my options?
Traditional braces aren't the only type of braces used to straighten teeth. Patients now have more treatment options than in the past thanks to advancements in orthodontic technology, which include Invisalign Clear Aligners or ceramic braces.
Depending on the nature of your orthodontic issue, you may also be able to use removable and transparent Invisalign Clear Aligners to treat your malocclusion.
8. How often will I have to see an orthodontist while I’m being treated?
The frequency with which you must see an orthodontist will be determined by the treatment option you and your orthodontist or dentist select, as well as whether you encounter any obstacles during treatment and other factors.
In general, you'll visit your dentist every 4 to 8 weeks for the duration of your treatment with braces. These appointments can last anywhere from 20 minutes for checkups to ensure your elastics are in place and to make any necessary adjustments to longer initial and final appointments.
For Invisalign 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?
We recommend avoiding carbonated drinks if you have metal or ceramic braces on your teeth. Carbonated drinks can stain the metal brackets of your teeth. The dyes in pop and even juices can stain your teeth and erode enamel.
Furthermore, the high sugar content of these drinks can cause tooth decay, so we recommend avoiding pop entirely, whether you are undergoing orthodontic treatment or not!
10. Will my oral hygiene routine need to change during treatment?
While everyone should brush and floss daily and practise good oral hygiene to avoid cavities, this is especially important if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment to ensure your oral health is preserved.
Brushing and flossing your teeth is essential because bacteria and plaque can become trapped between your teeth and braces or Invisalign Clear Aligners.
Brush and floss around wires and brackets carefully if you have braces, and avoid foods such as popcorn, gum, and others that can damage your teeth or appliances.
Brush and floss each time you remove your Invisalign Clear Aligners to eat or drink and drink only water while they are in. This is due to the possibility of food and bacteria becoming trapped between your Invisalign Clear Aligners and teeth.
While it can have an immediate impact on your appearance, tooth decay and plaque buildup can flourish when trapped for hours behind Invisalign Clear Aligners. Normally, saliva would wash away some of the food particles, but with Invisalign Clear Aligners, which fit snugly against your teeth, this is impossible.
It’s important to brush after each meal and floss once per day.