Is this your first time having orthodontic treatment done? If so our dentists in Manitoba are sharing the answers to some of the most common questions we get asked about orthodontic treatments.
1. What is orthodontic treatment, and what does it include?
Some people have misaligned teeth or other dental irregularities that need to be treated with orthodontics. These problems could be caused by accidents or injuries, genetics, environmental factors, improper positioning of your jaw or teeth, or other elements.
Malocclusion is the overarching 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.
These problems can be fixed with orthodontic treatment, which may help make your teeth straighter. Treatment could involve several different approaches depending on your individual needs. There is a good chance your dentist will recommend one of the following options:
- Traditional metal braces
- Clear aligners
- Clear(ceramic) braces
2. Why do I need 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.
On the other hand, crooked teeth might increase your risk of developing cavities or gum disease. A misaligned jaw or bad bite may even cause jaw pain or headaches.
In addition to the functional aspects, some people have aesthetic concerns with the appearance of their smiles. Orthodontic treatment can help improve your smile, making it more symmetrical. When your treatment is over, you might feel more confident revealing your smile.
3. What is the best orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatments are very personal and are customized to each person's individual requirements and smile goals. The orthodontic treatment that is best for you will rely on various factors, including the nature of your malocclusion, your current oral health, and how much restorative dental work you’ve had done in the past.
Sometimes people will need to get braces to help correct their misalignment, while others might be able to use clear aligners. Your personal preference and budget can also play a role in your decision. Your orthodontist or dentist will be able to explain your options and the advantages and disadvantages of each type of orthodontic treatment.
4. What orthodontic treatment works the fastest?
Orthodontic treatment is an investment of time and money in achieving your smile goals. Braces or clear aligners can help fix the misalignment of teeth and jaw – and set you on the path 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 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.
- 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.
5. What’s the recommended age to get 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 will treatment be, and how much will it cost?
How long your treatment lasts will depend on a number of factors such as the nature of your orthodontic issue, the treatment option you and your orthodontist decide is best for you, your age, your general health, and your compliance with your custom 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. I don’t want traditional braces, are there other options?
Traditional braces aren’t the only type of braces people are using to straighten their teeth. From clear aligners or ceramic braces to lingual braces (which are attached to the back of your teeth), thanks to advances in orthodontic technology patients now have more treatment options than in decades 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 frequently will I need to visit my orthodontist during my treatment?
How often you’ll need to visit your orthodontist will depend on the treatment option you and your dentist or orthodontist have selected, whether you encounter any problems during your treatment as well as other factors.
Typically, with braces, you will have to see your dentist every 4 to 8 weeks throughout your treatment. These appointments can either be 20 minutes for checkups to make sure your elastics are in place and to make any needed adjustments or longer for initial and final appointments.
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 with 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, a 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 I have to change my oral hygiene routine during my treatment?
Everyone has to brush and floss their teeth every day to maintain excellent oral hygiene to prevent cavities, this goes double if you having orthodontic treatment done so you are able to maintain your oral health.
Because plaque and bacteria can get stuck between your teeth and braces or clear aligners, it’s essential to be proactive in brushing and flossing your teeth.
Carefully brush and floss around wires and brackets if you have braces, and avoid foods like popcorn, gum, or others that can damage your teeth or appliances.
For clear aligners, you’ll have to brush and floss every time you take your aligners out to eat or drink and only drink water while you have them in. This is because food and bacteria can get trapped between your clear aligners and teeth.
While it can have an immediate effect on your appearance, even more, concerning is that tooth decay and plaque buildup can flourish when trapped for hours behind clear aligners. Usually, your saliva would wash away some of the food particles, but this proves impossible with clear aligners, which fit snugly to your teeth.
It’s important to brush after each meal and floss once per day.