Frequently Asked Questions
Questions from the patient
How do I know if my child is in need of orthodontic treatment?
It is usually difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Also, there are some problems that look intimidating and complex which will resolve on their own. Asking your general dentist is a good reference, but we are your best resource since orthodontics is all we do. We would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.
Do I need a dentistís referral to schedule an appointment with an orthodontic office?
No, you do not need a referral from your dentist. We would be happy to schedule an initial visit for you.
What are the early symptoms of orthodontic problems?
Although determining if treatment is necessary is difficult for you to assess, the following symptoms may help in prompting you to seek our orthodontic advice.
Ask your child to open their mouth, and let you look at their teeth. If you see any signs of crooked teeth, gaps between your child's teeth or overlapping teeth, your child may need orthodontic treatment.
Ask your child to bite all the way down, but keeping their lips open so you can see their teeth. Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? All these are indicators for potential orthodontic treatment.
Look at the alignment of your child's jaw. Does the jaw shift off center when your child bites down? If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, your child may have a skeletal problem, which requires early orthodontic intervention.
These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.
What age should my child be seen by an orthodontist?
The Canadian and American Associations of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age 7-9. Early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early corrective action and aid in the correction of more difficult treatment later.
Can you be too old for braces?
No, age is not a factor, only the health of your gums and bone which support your teeth. About 30% of our orthodontic patients are adults and that number is still growing!
Will it hurt?
Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule, braces make your teeth sore for a few days. This soreness can be relieved with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Today's braces are smaller, more comfortable and use technology that reduces the discomfort. We use the latest in braces and the highest quality of orthodontic materials in order to reduce discomfort and treatment time.
Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth ?
Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, esthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.
Questions about the treatment
What is Phase I (Interceptive Treatment) and Phase II treatment?
Phase I or Interceptive Treatment usually starts while the child has most of their baby teeth and a few of their permanent front incisors. This stage in development is usually about the age of 9. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept a moderate or severe orthodontic problem early in order to reduce or eliminate it. These problems include skeletal dysplasia, crossbites and crowding. Phase I treatment takes advantage of the early growth spurt and turns a difficult orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This helps reduce the need for extractions or surgery and delivers better long term results and treatment options. The vast majority of Phase I patients require a Phase II treatment in order to achieve an ideal bite.
Phase II treatment usually occurs a number of years later. Usually we are waiting for 12-16 more permanent teeth to erupt before Phase II begins. This most commonly occurs at the age of 11 to 13. The goal of Phase II treatment is to achieve an ideal occlusion with all of the permanent teeth.
What is Full or Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment?
This is another name for orthodontic treatment in the permanent dentition at any age.
Does everyone need a Phase I treatment?
Absolutely not. Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most if not all of their permanent teeth erupt.
Can I wait on Phase I/Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment until my child is older?
This is not recommended. If your child needs Phase I treatment this usually means that your child has a difficult problem that requires attention now. If no orthodontic action is taken, treatment options become limited, more difficult, and the long-term stability may be compromised. In addition, it may lead to extractions, oral surgery and increased costs.
What is the length or duration of orthodontic treatment?
Braces may be on between 6 months to 36 months, or longer depending on the age of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patient's cooperation, and the degree of movement possible.