Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. General Orthodontic Questions

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in straightening teeth and correcting problems caused by teeth and jaw misalignment. To practice in Ontario, an Orthodontist must be a fully certified dentist, complete additional dental training and obtain a masters degree in dentistry.

Why do Orthodontic Problems Occur?

Many malocclusions (orthodontic problems) are inherited, but some are acquired. Inherited malocclusions include crowded teeth, gaps between teeth, extra or missing teeth, cleft palate and a wide variety of other irregularities of the jaws and teeth.

Acquired malocclusions might be caused by thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, the airway being restricted by tonsils and adenoids, an accident, dental disease or premature loss of primary teeth. Whether inherited or acquired, many of these problems affect not only alignment or teeth, but also facial development, appearance and long term dental health.

2. Pre-Treatment Questions

Do I need a Referral for Braces?

You do not need a referral from your dentist (or anyone else) to come in for a consultation or to be treated by us.

However, we encourage you to keep your dentist informed and to consider his or her opinion when choosing an orthodontist.

You are going to need to visit your dentist regularly throughout your treatment (every 3 to 6 months). We will also be maintaining close contact with your dentist to ensure that everything goes well. If you do not have a dentist, we can refer you to one in Ancaster or the Hamilton area.

Benefits of Braces

Orthodontic treatment has a number of benefits, such as:

◾Straighter, better positioned teeth
◾Improved appearance of the teeth, gums and face
◾A more attractive smile
◾Increased self confidence
◾Easier to clean teeth, leading to better long term health of the teeth and gums
◾Less tooth wear and longer lasting teeth
◾Better fitting teeth, making chewing easier
◾Improving tooth position prior to implants or bridges
◾Optimization for other dental treatment procedure

When to see an Orthodontist

If you recognize any of these signs in your child or yourself, it might be time to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist.
◾Early or late loss of baby teeth
◾Difficulty chewing or biting
◾Mouth breathing Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
◾Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
◾Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are recessed
◾Speech difficulty Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
◾Protruding teeth Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
◾Facial imbalance or asymmetry (features out of proportion to the rest of the face)
◾Grinding or clenching of teeth Inability to comfortably close lips

By age 7, enough permanent teeth have arrived for orthodontists to evaluate how the teeth and jaws meet, and to identify current or developing problems. If a problem is detected, the orthodontist and parents can discuss when treatment may be necessary. Treatment and growth often compliment each other. In some cases, the orthodontist takes advantage of a child’s growth to guide jaws and teeth into their ideal positions.

Am I too old for Orthodontics?

There is a large range in the ages of the adult patients we treat. Approximately 50% of our practice involves adult orthodontic treatment. Assuming that your gums, teeth and supporting bone are in good shape, you are never too old to begin treatment.

We have treated patients in their seventies; people who wanted to have orthodontic work done, but did not have the opportunity earlier.

Our initial diagnosis and x-rays will reveal if there any problems that will make your treatment complicated or impossible.

How long will Braces treatment take?

It can take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years to correct the position of your teeth. Typically, treatment takes between 6 and 18 months.

The time period varies based upon the complications of the case, the treatment method, the dedication of the patient and the body's response to treatment. Sometimes the teeth move easily, sometimes it takes a little longer.

Throughout their treatment, most people will only need appointments every six to eight weeks. The long gap between appointments, possible because of advances in modern orthodontics, gives your appliance time to operate, and ensures that you do not need to readjust your schedule too often to come in for your appointments.

After treatment is completed there will be yearly or bi-yearly check-ups.

Will Braces Hurt?

There may be a little discomfort when you first begin wearing your appliance or braces, but it should dissipate in a little while.

Your braces or appliance will be adjusted every 4 to 8 weeks. These adjustments normally involves renewed pressure on the teeth. This might cause some discomfort after each such appointment, but it should quickly fade.

If you are experiencing extreme discomfort or the discomfort persists after a few days, please consult us.

Are there ever complications?

Depending on your case, there may be minor risks involved in treatment. If there are any risks, we will discuss them with you during your initial consultation.

Before we begin treatment, we take specialized x-rays to evaluate the teeth, bone and jaw structures to ensure you are a good candidate for orthodontic treatment. We also stay in close contact with your dentist to ensure that any problems that may develop are caught and corrected immediately.

The most common complications/emergencies that occur during treatment are:
◾Lost or Damaged Appliances
◾A Bracket Comes Loose
◾A Damaged Appliance is Causing Pain
◾A Ligature Comes off the Braces
◾Irritation of the Lips or Cheeks
◾Sore Teeth

More information

Overall, orthodontic complications are extremely rare, and never life-threatening. If you have any questions or concerns during your treatment, do not hesitate to contact our knowledgeable staff members at 905.648.5844.

3. In-Treatment Questions

What to do when your brackets break?

Serious orthodontic emergencies are quite rare, but if they do it is important to call 911.

◾A serious face or mouth injury, or

◾A piece of the braces or of the appliance is inhaled or interferes with breathing.

These emergencies are extremely rare, but must be treated as soon as they occur.

However, smaller problems, such as lost or damaged appliances, do occur. You can contact our office if you are in pain due to a broken appliance, please contact Dr. Melissa Sander @  905-648-5844

Our patients have the security of knowing they have 24 hour emergency access during their care at our office.

How often should I see my Dentist during Treatment?

During orthodontic treatment you should continue to see your dentist on a regular basis.  More frequent cleanings and check-ups may be beneficial during treatment. This will help ensure that your teeth and gums stay clean and healthy, and minimize the chance of complications occurring.