To better prepare our new patients for treatment, The Coquitlam team offers these answers to the most commonly asked questions about orthodontics, as well as a useful glossary of orthodontic terms.
An orthodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of facial irregularities known as malocclusion.
Just like your family dentist, your orthodontists has completed dental school, but has also had 2 - 3 years of additional training (called a "residency"). During this residency, the orthodontist learns not only about placing braces on teeth, he also studies jaw growth and development. This extensive study allows orthodontists to determine developing bite problems at very early ages.
You should see an orthodontist if you are experiencing any teeth alignment or bite problems, or even if you simply have some questions about these issues.
Everyone’s teeth develop differently. An orthodontist can determine whether there is a problem, or if what you are experiencing is just normal variation in tooth development.
Most specialists agree that around the age of 7, children should pay their first visit to the orthodontist. While it may seem unnecessary if your child does not seem to have bite or teeth alignment issues, these types of problems are not always immediately obvious, especially early on. An orthodontist can identify potential orthodontic problems early, and take steps to avoid their developing into full-blown problems.
If your child isn't ready for treatment, the orthodontist will monitor his or her growth and development on a regular basis. The sooner teeth alignment and bite issues can be addressed, the better!
Below are some of the more common signs that orthodontics may be needed:
To make your first visit to the orthodontist go as smoothly as possible, bring the following information and documents to your appointment:
Orthodontics isn't only for pretty teeth. A good healthy bite helps eliminate other health problems in later years. It also helps save teeth from wearing.
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (e.g.,expander or partial braces) that happens before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. This kind of treatment can occur between the ages of 6 and 10, and is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, and to correct of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits.
Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces that are applied when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of 11 and 13.
When force is applied to the roots of the teeth with your braces and wires, the cells in the bone and tissues surrounding the root are stimulated into action. Cells in the body called Osteoblasts and Osteoclasts respectively add and remove bone. Pressure at the bracket produces pressure and tension (pulling) at the root of the tooth, which causes tooth movement and remodeling of bone.
During your first appointment, the orthodontist will start by getting to know you, and learning about your medical and dental history.
Next, she will carry out a thorough examination of your face, jaws, and teeth. This is typically followed by the taking of x-rays and moulds of your teeth. These will function as records for you and your orthodontist to track your progress, and will help your orthodontist to diagnose problems that are not visible to the naked eye.
After your orthodontist has carefully studied the records she has taken during your first appointment, she will develop a treatment plan for you. The initial appointment typically takes about an hour. >> Learn More
Treatment times vary on a case by case basis, but the average time is from 1 to 2 years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary.
Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene, keeping regular appointments and good elastic wear are all important in keeping treatment time on schedule. >> Learn More
You will need to wear them full-time following removal of your braces. Length of time will be dependent upon your individual treatment and the difficulty in holding the teeth in your corrected position.
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires, your teeth may feel some sore or tender anywhere from 1 to 4 days. Your lips and cheeks may need 1 to 2 weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
It may take several appointments at the beginning to get treatment started. Once treatment is underway, appointments are usually 4 to 6 weeks apart.
You must wear your aligners for up to 22 hours daily. You may remove them for eating, drinking and regular oral hygiene.
No. Unlike braces, you may eat whatever you like as long as you remove the aligners before eating. Prior to placing the aligners back on, it is important to brush your teeth and the aligners after you eat.
Like any orthodontic treatment, there is a short adjustment period. The more you speak with the aligners on, the quicker you will adjust.
There will be some pressure and minor discomfort for a day or two after each initial insertion. This is a sign that your teeth are moving sequentially into their final position.
It is recommended that you remove your aligners prior to chewing gum as the gum will stick to the aligners.
We discourage smoking with aligners as the cigarette smoke will tend to discolor them.
Brushing them with toothpaste will keep them fresh and clean.
Regular office visits are every five to six weeks. This will ensure that your Invisalign treatment is progressing as planned.
All orthodontic patients are instructed to wear their retainers at night indefinitely. Sleeping with your retainers in at night will ensure a healthy bite and maintain the new position of your teeth.
Treatment time varies depending on the severity of the misaligned teeth. Treatment time can be shorter than traditional braces, between six and 18 months.
Yes, if their teeth, including second molars, have grown in completely.
Orthodontic fees will vary depending on the complexity of the bite problem. Bites with more severe problems usually require additional treatment time (and additional fees) than less complicated bites do. Because of the variety of differences, each case is evaluated independently.
Fees can usually be estimated at the initial visit. During the consultation appointment, our staff will go over the fees in more detail, and devise a payment plan that best meets your needs. >> Learn More
Each insurance company works differently. If you have orthodontic insurance, please bring your insurance information with you to your first appointment. From there, we will help you determine the coverage you have available, and direct bill your insurance provider.
Additionally, most insurance plans will not cover the whole cost of your orthodontic care. There may be a deductible clause, a dollar limit, and excluded services.
Being sensitive to the fact that people have different needs when it comes to fulfilling their financial obligations, Coquitlam Family Orthodontics provides the following convenient payment options.
We accept Interac, post-dated cheques, Visa, and MasterCard.
An orthodontic adjustment is a progress evaluation appointment, during which your your wires may be adjusted or changed.
An orthodontic appliance is anything that your orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move them, or to change the shape of your jaw.
An archwire is the metal wire that is attached to your brackets, in order to move your teeth.
Braces are dental appliances that produce a force on a tooth in a very specific, controlled manner and direction, in order to move the tooth into a better position.
A bracket, or a single brace, is attached to the front of the tooth. It is made of up 3 components: the wing, the slot, and the base. The slot is where the wire is placed. The wings helps hold the wire in place in the slot, with a small rubber band. And the base is where the bracket is attached to the tooth.
The band is another part of the braces. it is used primarily on the back molars. It is made of stainless steel metal that wraps around the entire tooth, and is held in place with special dental cement. Banding is the process of cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
The chain is a stretchable plastic chain that is used to hold the archwires into the brackets.
During different points of your orthodontic treatment, small elastics, or rubber bands, are used as a gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or with jaw alignment.
The forsus is a spring-like appliance that creates an upward and backward forced on the upper molars, similar to headgear. At the same time, it also pushes the lower teeth and jaw forward. Forsus springs are typically worn for 6 - 8 months, with adjustments every 6 - 8 weeks.
The Herbst Appliance is used to correct Class 2 Malocclusion, where the upper jaw protrudes out too far over the lower jaw.
Taking an impression is the first step in making a model of your teeth. An impression in made when the patient bites into a tray filled with a rubber-type material. That material then hardens to create a mold of your teeth.
Invisalign technology uses computer scanners and virtual reality to move teeth gradually, using the construction of clear overlay retainer appliances. Invisalign appliances are nearly invisible, which makes them a great option for adults who want to improve the look of their smiles. They can only be used for relatively minor malocclusion, however. More extreme cases require standard braces.
This removable appliance is used in growing children to create and maintain spaces for the adult teeth to grow in.
The world Malocclusion is formed from the word “occlusion,” which refers to the “bite,” and “mal” which means bad, or incorrect. Therefore, malocclusion means “bad bite.”Class I malocclusion is when the upper and lower teeth are in the proper front-back position, but may have other problems (crowding, rotations, misalignment etc.). Class II malocclusion is when the upper teeth are too far ahead of the lower teeth (commonly referred to as an “overbite”). Class III malocclusion is when the lower teeth protrude forward over the upper teeth (commonly seen as an “underbite”).
A mouth guard is a device used to protect your mouth from injury when you are playing sports. Mouth guards are especially important for orthodontic patients.
A palatal expander is an appliance used to help widen your upper jaw or palate.
A fixed, or permanent, retainer can greatly enhance the stability of your smile and bite. Fixed retainers are invisible because they are bonded to the back sides of your teeth. Removable retainers are appliances that your orthodontist will give you to wear after your braces have been removed. The removable retainer attaches to your upper jaw and/or lower teeth, and hold your teeth in the correct position while the bone around them adjusts to their new position.
A plastic or metal part that your orthodontist uses to create space for bands between your teeth.
This is a clear wax that is used to prevent your braces from irritating the inside of your mouth when your braces are first put in.
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