Common Questions About Orthodontics

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If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, you've come to the right place! The following are some of the most common questions our Member Orthodontists get from new patients.


What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

Why is orthodontic treatment important?

While many people think that the primary reason for orthodontic treatment is to correct crowded teeth and create a beautiful smile, an orthodontist is actually more concerned with the correct function of the bite.

A malocclusion, or bad bite, can cause serious problems for patients if left unchecked. Loss of tooth structure, joint problems, and even bone loss can occur if a malocclusion is not corrected.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Orthodontic appliances work mechanically to move teeth into correct alignment for proper bite function.

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more attractive smile
  • Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
  • Better function of the teeth
  • Increase in self-confidence
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
  • Better long term health of teeth and gums
  • Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
  • Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
  • Aid in optimizing other dental treatment

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in dentistry who has completed an advanced education program following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development. » Meet Our Member Orthodontists

Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist instead of a general dentist?

An orthodontist undergoes additional years of extensive training beyond dental school to become an expert at straightening teeth.

A dentist may see only a handful of cases a year amid drilling and filling. An orthodontist, however, only practices orthodontics and treats hundreds of cases a year.

An orthodontist doesn’t clean, fill, or extract teeth, or perform any of the routine procedures offered by your general dentist. So when it comes to the challenges and complexities of orthodontic treatment, most people prefer a specialist. » Meet Our Orthodontic Specialists

When should my child get an orthodontic exam?

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening by age seven. An early evaluation may simplify and correct more complicated problems that can occur as the child matures.

The doctor can also address thumb, finger, or tongue habits that can inhibit normal growth and function of the teeth.

Although orthodontics can work on a person of any age with healthy teeth and gums, the best window for treatment is while the patient is still growing. Pre-teens and teenagers are ideal for orthodontic treatment. » Learn More About Orthodontics for Children

Is it too late to have braces if I’m already an adult?

An adult of any age with healthy teeth and gums can enjoy the benefits of a functional bite and beautiful smile. Approximately 30% of our patients are adults.

We routinely put braces on patients in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and even in their 70’s. This number is increasing as more people see the benefits of affordable, orthodontic treatment.

What are some common signs that braces may be needed?

  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth (bucked teeth)
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (under bite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw pops, clicks or shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth

» View Orthodontic Treatment Options

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

The average treatment time for most cases is 18-24 months, but can vary based on individual complexities and patient compliance. » View Orthodontic Treatment Options

What types of orthodontic treatment do you offer?

BC Orthodontics Group certified specialists offers metal braces and the more aesthetically pleasing ceramic braces. We are also experts in using Invisalign® , Invisalign Teen®, and lingual braces for tooth and bite corrections.

» View Orthodontic Treatment Options

Do you use functional appliances?

Functional appliances help your jaws develop normally and help you achieve facial balance. Your orthodontist may use functional appliances if they are required to treat the patient’s orthodontic problem.

How often will I have appointments and how long will each appointment be?

In many cases, advances in technology have shortened treatment times and reduced the number of required visits. The average time between appointments is 8-10 weeks.

Your initial and final visits will be the longest, each lasting about an hour. Interim visits requiring bracket and wires adjustments usually last 15-30 minutes.

Do braces hurt?

Most patients feel some discomfort when they first get their braces, but it’s minimal and temporary. The soreness is caused by pressure from the braces as they start moving teeth.

Initially, you may want to take an over-the-counter, pain medication, but after the adjustment period, braces are comfortable. » Learn More About Pain Management for Orthodontics Patients

Will braces interfere with sports or playing a musical instrument?

We recommend appropriate mouth guard protection when playing sports. Softer means of protection are available for those playing musical instruments. » Learn More About Living With Braces

If I pierce my tongue now, will I need braces later?

People with tongue piercings develop the habit of pushing the stud up against their front teeth, causing a gap that needs to be closed with braces. Tongue piercings can also cause bleeding, infection, chipped teeth, and gum problems.

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

Absolutely, yes! You should continue to see your general dentist every four months for cleanings and dental checkups.

Are there foods I can’t eat while in treatment?

There are a few foods that should be avoided, including hard candies, hard vegetables, and sticky foods. Don’t chew on ice.

Because braces are bonded to the teeth, these foods can cause the bonds to break, resulting in unwanted appointments and delays in treatment. Extended treatment times are typically caused by excessive breakage. » Learn More About Eating with Braces

How much do braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

We don’t quote a standard price for braces because cases vary in time and complexity. For this reason, independent member specialists belonging to the BC Orthodontics Group have always offered a no-obligation initial orthodontic exam, x-rays and consultation.

This allows us to evaluate your bite without obligating you to start treatment. Individual offices offer finance plans with 0% interest, or if you want to lower your payments even further, we also offer longer term financing with interest. If you have dental insurance, we’ll help you get the maximum benefit allowable.

Don't see the answer to your question here? Contact a BC Orthodontic Group Practice near you for more information!

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