Orthodontic Treatment with Braces
Braces are an orthodontic treatment method used to help our patients achieve a straighter smile and better oral health.
Treatment with braces has many potential health benefits. It helps properly align your teeth so that biting, chewing and speaking is easier. In addition, straighter teeth are often easier to clean and are less likely to sustain uneven wear and tear over time.
As you or your child begin and progress through your braces treatment, we are committed to helping you feel at ease and providing a positive orthodontic experience.
We understand that starting an orthodontic journey can be a daunting experience, so we strive to answer all of your questions and address any concerns in a calm, friendly and inviting environment. We are committed to working at your pace and explaining each step of the process.
What Are Braces?
Braces are made up of brackets and wires that work together to gradually shift your teeth into their proper positions by applying constant, gentle pressure.
The Benefits of Straight Teeth
Although you may be considering braces for aesthetic reasons, it is important to understand the health benefits associated with braces. Straight teeth can help you effectively bite, chew and even speak.
Properly aligned teeth may also contribute to overall oral health, as they can be easier to brush, clean, and floss. The ability to take better care of your teeth through proper oral hygiene may help prevent future cavities and periodontal disease.
It's normal to feel anxious about undergoing orthodontic treatment. The team at myORTHODONTIST will be with you each step of the way to help things go according to plan and answer all your questions.
Determining If You Need Braces
There are a number of malocclusions (misalignments) of the teeth and jaws that can be treated (completely or partly) by braces. These include overbite, crossbite, overjet and crowded teeth.
Your orthodontist will perform a clinical examination of your mouth and jaw to determine the nature and severity of your orthodontic condition and recommend treatment accordingly.
- How old should my child be when they visit the orthodontist for the first time?
Often, orthodontic problems are easier to correct when they are detected and treated early.
For this reason, the Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should visit the orthodontist for the first time by the age of 7.
Some children may not need treatment until they are between the ages of 11 and 13, but since the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in around age 7, issues like crossbites, crowding and other problems can be evaluated and monitored at this early age.
- Can the orthodontist do anything to correct bite problems while a child still has their baby teeth?
In some cases, orthodontic problems can be significant enough to require intervention earlier than usual. This early stage of treatment is generally referred to as Phase I Orthodontic Treatment. Of course, if a young patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will monitor their growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.
- What does Phase I Treatment involve?
Phase I, otherwise known as early interceptive treatment, involves implementing limited types of orthodontic treatment (e.g., expanders or partial braces) before all the child's permanent teeth have erupted.
These types of treatment usually start between the ages of 6 and 10. We may recommend early treatment to make more space for developing teeth; correct crossbites, overbites or underbites; or to mitigate harmful oral habits.
- If my child has Phase I Treatment, will full braces still be necessary?
Most of the time, Phase I treatment is done in preparation for Phase II treatment. This means that it is quite likely that your child will eventually need full braces.
However, early treatment can make future orthodontic treatment significantly more efficient. It can help to regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, create space for permanent teeth to erupt correctly, prevent the need to extract permanent teeth, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumbsucking habits and help eliminate abnormal speech or swallowing problems.
Essentially, Phase I treatment can help make Phase II treatment easier on your child in the long run.
- What problems can develop at an early age?
A child may need orthodontic treatment at an early age for a variety of reasons. When treatment is initiated at a young age, the orthodontist can make efforts to guide the growth of the jaw (Dentofacial Orthopedics) and the emerging permanent teeth.
All of the following issues may be treated with early (Phase I) orthodontics:
- Trouble with chewing and breathing
- Late or early loss of baby teeth
- Crowded, loose or impacted teeth
- Upper and lower teeth that do not meet correctly
- Improper jaw alignment
- Tongue thrusting
- How long will I have to wear braces?
This is a very common question and for good reason! Having a time frame in mind can be very helpful in mentally preparing for your orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic treatment can take anywhere from 9 months to 5 years from start to finish. Most of the time, though, it lasts between 12 and 24 months.
The duration of your orthodontic treatment depends on the following factors:
The problem that is being corrected: The position of your teeth and the extent of the problem will affect the duration of treatment. Everyone is different!
If you’ve had Phase I treatment: Some teenagers or pre-teens have already undergone orthodontic treatment when they were younger (what’s called Phase I treatment). If you’ve had Phase I treatment, then you’ll probably have a bit of a head start!
How you care for your teeth and braces during treatment: The way you take care of your teeth and orthodontic appliances while you undergo treatment can affect how long it ends up taking. If you follow the care instructions your orthodontist gives you, you likely won’t need to wear your braces for longer than originally planned.
- What can I eat?
With braces, you’ll be able to safely and comfortably eat most of the foods you normally do, with some exceptions. For the most part, you’ll want to avoid the following:
- Hard foods: hard pretzels, nuts, chips, hard candy
- Chewy/sticky foods: gummy bears, taffy, gum, caramels
- Foods that you bite into: apples. corn on the cob, celery, carrots
- What does Phase II Treatment involve?
Phase II treatment — or comprehensive treatment — involves full braces that are applied only after all the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of 11 and 13.
- What are my treatment options?
Orthodontic treatment has advanced over the years. Today, there are a variety of treatment options you can choose from.
Here are a few options that teenagers and adults tend to go with:
- Coloured braces: Braces may be part of your life for the next couple of years. Why not have a little fun with them by adding some colour?
- Lingual braces: Lingual braces are placed on the backside of your teeth, meaning they are hidden from view most of the time. The result is that fewer people will know you’re wearing braces unless you tell them!
- Invisalign: Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. That means no wires and brackets! With Invisalign clear aligners, many people won't even notice that you’re straightening your teeth.
- How can orthodontic treatment be beneficial to adults?
A straight, healthy smile plays a significant role in life, both socially and in terms of your health.
Orthodontic treatment can have an enormous positive impact on your self-confidence. Some people find themselves smiling for pictures more, laughing more heartily or even speaking up and sharing their thoughts and opinions with more confidence, all because they feel more at ease with how their teeth look.
Orthodontic treatment can also have a positive effect on your overall health. Correctly aligned teeth are less prone to chipping or damage, and they’re also much easier to clean properly than misaligned teeth are. This can prevent problems like tooth decay, bad breath, gingivitis and gum disease.
A well-aligned bite also creates less strain on the jaw muscles and joints, making for easier chewing and better digestion.
And though orthodontic treatment may seem costly at the outset, over time, it can help you avoid more expensive dental procedures by proactively ensuring your smile is healthy.
- Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment has no age limit! In fact, many adults receive orthodontic treatment.
We treat adults, and even seniors, regularly. The basic biological process that allows teeth to move is essentially the same in all healthy individuals, no matter their age.
- How will having braces affect my day-to-day life?
For the most part, your braces will have little impact on your daily life. Once your teeth and mouth have adapted to your braces (they may feel a bit sensitive and tender at first), you’ll be able to go right back to your usual daily activities without any significant disruptions.
- What are my options for "low-profile" braces?
Lingual braces: Lingual braces are customized for each patient and are placed on the backside of your teeth, hiding them from view. Fewer people will know you’re wearing braces unless you tell them!
Invisalign: Invisalign clear, custom, removable aligners straighten your teeth without wires and brackets. Invisalign is a low-profile treatment, which means many people won't even notice that you’re straightening your teeth.