FAQs About Orthodontics

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists defines orthodontics as:

“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 professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances (braces) to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.”

Orthodontists are dentists who in addition to dental school, have also completed a 2-3 year specialty program in orthodontic treatment. With this advanced training, an orthodontist is able to specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of dental and facial irregularities. Moving teeth and aligning jaws is the only focus of an orthodontist’s practice.

The Canadian Association of Orthodontics recommends that children should see an orthodontist by age 7. Typically, at this age the adult teeth are starting to erupt and certain issues or problems can be identified. Sometimes these problems can be treated early, which can help to prevent bigger problems from developing later on.

It is recommended that patients with braces brush their teeth three times per day. This is because braces can trap food and plaque, which can ultimately lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Most patients find it easiest to remember and most comfortable to brush their teeth after each meal.

Remember the following:

- Brush teeth three (3) times a day. Check to see if all your teeth and brackets appear shiny.
- Brush for two (2) minutes each time.
- Floss your teeth once daily.

The length of orthodontic treatment depends on each individual case, and the orthodontist will consider many factors when determining expected length of treatment. . There is no ‘one size fits all’. After orthodontic treatment is complete, patients will need to wear a retainer as directed to maintain the alignment of their teeth.

The placement of brackets or clear aligner attachments on to your teeth does not hurt. After braces are first placed and following adjustment appointments, some patients experience pressure and mild discomfort. This typically only lasts for 1-2 days but during this time it is best to try eating soft foods and avoid anything hard or crunchy. You can also take over-the-counter pain medication, like Tylenol or Advil if needed.

Yes, it is essential that patients with braces continue to see their general dentist and hygienist for regular check-ups and cleanings to maintain healthy teeth and gums.