Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an orthodontist?
- When should I see an orthodontist?
- When should my child see an orthodontist?
- What are some signs that braces may be needed?
- What information should I bring to my first appointment?
- Do I need braces if my bite is off, even if my teeth are straight?
- What are Phase I and Phase II treatments?
- How do braces work?
- What happens during the first appointment at the orthodontist?
- How long does orthodontic treatment take?
- How long do I have to wear my retainers?
- How often will I have an appointment scheduled?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist that corrects problems with alignment of the teeth and jaws.
You should see an orthodontist if you have crooked teeth, jaws that don't line up, or a bite that feels off.
The Canadian Association of orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by the age of 7. Treatment if usually not necessary right away, but some teeth or jaw problems benefit from early orthodontic care.
Braces may be needed if the teeth are crooked/ spaced/ don't fit together properly, there is an underbite or overbite, or if the jaws don't line up.
You should bring your physician's and dentist's contact information, and any orthodontic insurance details.
Uneven bites can lead to tooth wear, gum problems, and jaw pain. Braces can be used to align your jaws and fix your bite.
More complex orthodontic problems are often treated in two phases. Phase I lines up the top and bottom jaws, and makes sure they are the correct size and shape. Phase II aligns the teeth and brings them into the correct working position.
Braces use flexible metal wires and brackets to gently and slowly move the teeth into their ideal positions.
The first visit will include pictures and an X-ray of your teeth and jaws, and an examination by a certified orthodontic specialist. The orthodontist will then review all of the findings with you, and let you know if orthodontic treatment is needed now or in the future.
Most limited or Phase I orthodontic treatment takes 6 months - 1 year, while most comprehensive or Phase II treatment takes 1.5 - 2.5 years.
Retainers should be worn every night for a minimum of 1 year after your treatment is complete, and preferably until you are done growing. After this, retainers should be worn 2 nights/week. Wearing retainers is the only way to ensure your teeth stay straight after orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic patients are usually seen every 1.5 - 2 months for the first half of their treatment, then every 4-5 weeks for second half of treatment.