Frequently Asked Questions
When should I bring my child to see the orthodontist?
If you notice any irregularities with your child’s teeth or jaw, or if your child shows any of the following signs …
Early or late loss of baby teeth, difficulty chewing or biting, mouth breathing, thumb or finger sucking, crowded or crooked front teeth, protruding chin or receding chin, speech problems, lower front teeth biting into the roof of the mouth (deep bite), protruding front teeth, teeth that do not meet (open bite), grinding of teeth, asymmetry of the face, unwillingness to smile
We encourage early orthodontic assessment and interceptive orthodontic treatment in very specific mixed dentition cases when such treatment can be justified from the cost-benefit perspective. Ideally, you’d want to bring them for an orthodontic visit at around 7 years of age.
Can you be too old for orthodontic treatment?
There is no age restriction for having your teeth straightened. Any age group from 7 to 70 years qualifies for treatment as long as the teeth, gums and surrounding bone are healthy. Many adults benefit from a sound team approach when the dentist and orthodontist may work together to improve the environment for implants, restorations, bridges etc.
Are there Health advantages to adult orthodontic treatment?
Yes, straight teeth and correct jaw relationships enhance tooth cleaning and therefore reduce the tendency to gum disease and early tooth loss. A healthy bite also assists in less dental wear and tear necessitating expensive restorations.
Can teeth be straightened without using obvious braces?
Yes, we have a treatment using Invisalign and another using linguals. Both of these are less obvious than the normal silver appliances.
Can special needs patients get braces?
Good oral care is fundamentally important to overall health. Each case with special needs is assessed individually with the degree of any type of disability being taken into account. Realistic goals are set. Parents and caregivers are involved at all times with the oral hygiene and management of the oral health. Generally, satisfactory results can be attained.
Must foods be specially prepared when wearing braces?
No, not necessarily. All types of food can be eaten excepting hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods. Other foods e.g. meat, apples etc. must be finely cut to avoid excessively hard biting forces. Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils, or fingernails) can damage braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
Here are a few things to avoid:
Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
Crunchy foods: unpopped popcorn, ice, tortilla chips
Sticky foods: caramels, gum, toffees
Hard foods: nuts, candy, raw vegetables]
Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
How should I care for my teeth and orthodontics during treatment?
Information and compliance are essential!
To avoid decalcification, a reduction in the intake of fizzy high sugar drinks is essential. Cleaning aids include a variety of toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes, brushes glued onto handles of nailbrushes (handicapped patients), superfloss, floss threaders, waterpicks, plaque disclosing tablets or liquids, interdental toothbrushes and mirrors to magnify difficult areas.
Adults who have a history of gum disease should see their general dentist or periodontist more frequently during orthodontic treatment.
It is a good idea for patients with braces to have more frequent professional cleanings. Four cleanings a year is probably a good idea.
Keeping teeth and braces clean requires more precision and time; BUT … Clean healthy teeth also move more quickly!
Must I wear a mouth guard when doing contact sports?
Yes, mouth guards are vital to protect teeth, gums, cheeks, and lips.
In addition, they can prevent or minimize brain and neck injuries and jaw fractures with their absorbing attributes. Mouth guards should be worn for all the following sports types: Rugby, soccer, hockey, boxing, squash, basketball, martial arts, wrestling, skating, skateboarding, gymnastics, motor cross, skydiving, trampoline and horseback riding. Children and adults with braces are at a high risk of tearing and bruising their lips during contact sport due to the inherent sharp nature of the orthodontic appliances. Prefabricated “boil and bite” types of mouth guards can be modeled over the braces and teeth.
Custom fabricated mouth guards however generally fit better and can be adapted over braces to still allow the teeth to move. Mouth guard materials must be of an even thickness (± 2 mm) to be effective.
What are retainers, removable braces, and plates?
Made from plastic and wire. They are fitted around the teeth and use the palate or teeth for anchorage. Some are active (can gently move teeth) or passive (retainers). Retainers retain teeth in a stable position and protect against grinding, wear and tear etc.
Is banding painful?
The banding process itself is painless, however, It is common for tenderness to develop a few hours after the braces are first placed. This tenderness is your body’s response as your teeth begin to move. It will generally last 3-4 days and then subside. We recommend that Panado (Paracetamol) be taken immediately after the braces are placed and then one tablet 4 hourly for the first 3-4 days. This will keep any tenderness manageable.
When you attend a follow-up appointment to have your braces adjusted, you may experience minor tenderness for a day or two. However, it is rarely ever as much as when the braces were initially placed.
Some patients are more sensitive to the braces and may develop minor ulcerations. We provide our patients with wax when their braces are placed and we recommend placing the wax over the braces in the area of ulceration to prevent further rubbing from the braces. Most ulcers will resolve naturally in 7-10 days.
Is it normal for my teeth to feel loose?
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions.
What should i do if something comes loose?
Don’t panic if something comes loose. This does happen occasionally.
If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, and gently, push the irritating wire under the arch wire. If there’s irritation to the lips or mouth, place wax on the wire to reduce the annoyance.
Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. It is important to call even if you have a regular appointment soon, as there won’t always be time to make a repair without prior planning.
If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.