Orthodontics Frequently Asked Questions

We answer some of the most frequently asked questions about orthodontics to help you get started with the right information.


Orthodontic Braces FAQs

Do braces hurt?
Braces themselves don’t hurt, but the adjustment period is known to cause some soreness in the teeth and jaw. This discomfort is a result of the mouth adjusting to the pressure, and the teeth beginning to shift into the optimal positions.

If you’re considering braces, don’t worry—you won’t be uncomfortable for long. The first few days of wearing your braces are notorious for being the worst of it. Soon, you’ll become accustomed to how your mouth feels while wearing them.

If needed, ibuprofen can be taken to help aid with any pain or discomfort you experience in the first few days. Remember to use caution when consuming these products, and only take the recommended dosage as listed on the bottle. Your orthodontist may also provide you with some wax, which can be applied to any brackets that irritate the inside of your mouth during the adjustment period. Your orthodontist will be able to advise and help you with the entire process, so make sure to keep them in the loop about any discomfort you may be experiencing.

During those first few days, try to stick to easy foods that won’t put too much stress on your teeth and jaw. Warm and cold soups, ice cream, mashed potatoes, smoothies, and milkshakes can all get you the nutrients you need without putting too much strain on you. Your orthodontist will also provide you with a list of braces-friendly foods and drinks that you can refer to if you’re stuck on what to eat that day.
How long do I have to wear braces for?
There are as many different treatment plans as there are patients. This means that there’s no single right answer to this question. Every patient’s teeth will adjust to the best position in their own time.

Treatment lengths will vary based on a variety of external factors, some that may be out of your orthodontist’s control. Though we will meticulously plan your treatment and the movement of each tooth, sometimes the teeth and jaw don’t always move in the ways they’re supposed to. Your orthodontist will be able to catch this as it’s happening during your check-ups, the only downside being that we may need to add some time to your treatment plan.

While no one wants their treatment to take longer than anticipated, there is a silver lining: more treatment time means your orthodontist is doing everything they can to make sure you get the perfect smile.

If you make sure to follow all of your orthodontist’s instructions closely and treat your braces and teeth well, you’re far more likely to complete treatment on time. Think of you and your orthodontist as a team working towards a common goal. Everyone has a role to play!

The length of treatment can range anywhere from 12 months to three years. How minor or severe a patient’s dental irregularities are will determine how much time they spend wearing braces. Severe crowding or large gaps can take longer to fix than a few crooked teeth. As long as you’re mindful of this, your treatment should fly by in no time!
Do I really need to brush my teeth more?
While it’s always important to keep your teeth and gums clean, maintaining your oral health becomes all the more crucial once your braces are bonded. Continuing your strict and effective oral hygiene routine during your treatment will undoubtedly contribute to how successful your treatment is and how good your teeth look once your braces come off!

Due to the fact that, with braces, the entire tooth is no longer exposed and is partially covered by brackets and wire, you have to take extra steps to avoid yellow staining. No one wants to finally have their braces off only to reveal yellow stains lurking beneath! This means extra brushing is in order.

Not only do you need to brush more, but you also need to brush your teeth properly. It helps to look in the mirror when you brush your teeth, mostly to make sure that you do not miss a bracket or tooth. Use your toothbrush gently and strategically to target all the hard-to-reach areas so you don’t experience any bacteria or tartar buildup. You should also brush your teeth after every meal and snack to avoid getting any food particles stuck in your braces. It sounds like a lot of work, but it will be worth the payoff once your new smile is revealed!

Remember that any food that gets trapped in your braces can quickly produce bacteria that may jeopardize your oral health. The last thing you want is a cavity while you’re in the middle of treatment, so make sure to be extra cautious about both the foods that you eat and how effectively you clean after you eat them!

If you don’t already floss, now is the time to start. Dental floss reaches certain areas and crevices in the mouth that a toothbrush simply can’t and is a great way to get anything and everything brushing may have missed. Your orthodontist will be able to demonstrate proper flossing and brushing techniques if needed.
Do I still need to see My orthodontist?
For the sake of maintaining dental hygiene throughout treatment, you will need to pay regular visits to your orthodontist for cleanings and check-ups. For optimal oral health, it’s important to visit your orthodontist every six months. Regular hygiene appointments are vital no matter the circumstances!

Braces can be difficult to clean all on your own, and regular cleanings will ensure that any harmful tartar or plaque that may be building up can be gotten rid of quickly. Remember: orthodontists are the only ones with the proper tools and skillset to thoroughly clean your teeth to a professional standard, and simply brushing and flossing regularly won’t be enough to maintain a lifetime of good oral health.

When you visit your orthodontist, you’re getting more than teeth cleaning. Your orthodontist will also perform a check-up, which includes making sure there aren’t any complications with your braces that could affect your treatment. Your orthodontist also screens for certain oral health issues that could affect you long term, so it’s important to attend appointments regularly.

Last but not least, you can use this time to ask your orthodontist any questions you may have about your orthodontic treatment. As time goes on, you may want some tips and tricks to help you out along the way, and make the treatment process easier.
How Do Braces Straighten My Teeth?
Orthodontic treatment works by applying constant but light pressure to the teeth in order to slowly shift them into place. Both the brackets and elastic bands that the orthodontist applies afterward will aid in this process.

To ensure the amount of pressure is correct and consistently changing enough to guide your teeth, the orthodontist will tighten your braces every so often. This tightening is always in increments and never drastic, giving your mouth ample opportunity to adjust to the new pressure.
Why Is It Important to Have Straight Teeth?
Patients could seek orthodontic treatment for cosmetic and/or medical reasons. A straight smile can be important socially, but even more important in a medical sense. Straight teeth are easier to clean, break down your food better, and don’t wear as easily.

You can avoid many oral health issues by straightening your teeth. Crooked teeth are more prone to cavities and tooth decay, as they’re harder to clean. Gum disease, periodontal disease, and even tooth loss can occur if the problems persist with no treatment.

When you look good, you feel good. Having a straight smile is perfect for making first impressions, going on dates, and can even convey confidence to your peers!
How Can I Make My Teenager Feel More Comfortable About Wearing Braces?
Sometimes there can be a stigma around wearing braces. Many teenagers feel self-conscious about their appearance when they first get them, as well as experiencing difficulty adjusting to their new braces-friendly diet and lifestyle.

The teenage years are already a difficult adjustment period in themselves, and adding braces to the mix can complicate the problem. As a parent, you have the opportunity to be a vital support for your teen as they get used to their braces and adjust to their treatment plan.

It’s important to remind your child that the entire treatment process will be short-lived with a huge payoff. Keep in mind that this will leave them with a perfect smile for life can help get them through a year or two of treatment as happily as possible.

Make sure your child knows they can always talk to you if they’re experiencing any discomfort or struggle with maintaining their braces. You can communicate with their orthodontist for more ways to help your child achieve their treatment goals and how you can be instrumental in that process.

You can also help your teenager by keeping your home stocked with braces-friendly foods and trying to incorporate them into family meals. While it’s okay to prepare a separate dish for them sometimes, you’ll want them to feel included so they don’t get discouraged.
How Long Do I Have to Wear My Retainers After Treatment?
Once your braces are off, your orthodontist will make a custom set of retainers for you. In most cases, you’ll only have to wear your retainers while sleeping. They’ll keep your new smile in place.

The length of time you’ll have to wear retainers varies for all patients, and your orthodontist will tell you what time frame will be best. These retainers can be either a fixed appliance that is bonded to the inside of your mouth or removable.
Why Are Retainers Important After Treatment?
Your teeth are set in bone, and the bone structure around your teeth is constantly changing and adapting. This is why some patients sometimes need orthodontic treatment later in life, after already having braces as a child or teenager. If they failed to wear their retainer afterward to properly maintain their smile, their teeth can shift back into their old places when there’s nothing holding them in their new ones.

Due to this bone constantly shifting, your new smile can shift if not kept in place. Remember to wear your retainer as prescribed to keep your smile perfectly intact!

Invisalign FAQs

How many hours a day do I need to wear my Invisalign?
In order for Invisalign treatment to work, patients must wear their aligners as much as possible. Wearing your aligners for at least 22 hours per day allows you to get the most out of your treatment, and helps you stay on track to finish your orthodontic journey on time.

If you wear your aligners for 22 hours a day, this leaves you two hours for necessary activities such as eating, cleaning your teeth and your aligners, and maybe even a quick morning coffee before you start your day. Remember that you can’t have dark-coloured beverages such as tea and coffee while wearing your aligners, as there’s a high chance the clear material will stain, and the heat from these beverages can cause them to warp.

Wearing your aligners for the recommended amount of time will ensure your teeth don’t shift or stray from your treatment plan and will keep your orthodontist happy!
What are the perks of Invisalign?
Patients often wonder what sets traditional metal braces and Invisalign apart. While Invisalign has many benefits across the board, the real benefits of the clear aligners will be specific to you and your experience wearing them.

What made you and your orthodontist decide the clear aligners were right for you? Did you have gaps in your teeth, a deep bite, or crowding you wanted to fix? Were you simply after a straighter, healthier smile? Whatever your reason may be, you’ll see the true value once they’ve solved a clear need. If you’ve been self-conscious about your smile for ages because of a gap between your two front teeth, or have had jaw pain and difficulty with eating and speaking due to jaw misalignment, suddenly having these problems melt away will be a dream come true, and the benefit you’ll want to tell everyone about.

Here are some other popular benefits that our patients rave about after treatment:

- Removable for eating, drinking, and cleaning
One of the best things about your clear aligners is that they can be removed for brief periods of time in order to eat, drink certain beverages, and brush and floss your teeth. This means there’s no food getting stuck in your aligners, and no stains cropping up on their surface. Just make sure you brush your teeth before putting them back in!

- Completely Invisible
Unless you disclose that you’re wearing clear aligners, many people won’t be able to tell just by looking at you. Invisalign is completely discreet and lets you show off your smile throughout your entire treatment.

- You Can View Your Treatment Plan in Full
One of the unique aspects of Invisalign treatment is the ability to view your treatment plan in full before you even start. Your orthodontist will take all the necessary x-rays and impressions, and construct your treatment plan from start to finish to show you what it will look like. You’ll be able to see your teeth and jaw at every stage and watch exactly how it will progress.
Does Invisalign hurt?
Much like braces, when you begin to wear your clear aligners you will experience some mild discomfort. Don’t worry, this is a normal part of the process as your teeth and jaw go through that initial adjustment period.

There are a few things you can do to help yourself get through this period. One of the top ways is to switch to your new set of aligners at night, before you go to sleep. Switching to a new set of aligners is where the majority of discomfort comes from, and if you’re able to sleep through the process you’ll be making it that much easier on yourself.

You can also make sure you’re wearing your Invisalign as much as possible: at least 22 hours per day. This will ensure that you’re adjusting to your aligners quickly. Wearing them at random intervals can cause unnecessary pain and discomfort.

Lastly, over-the-counter painkillers will help ease some soreness. Just make sure that everything you takeis used as directed and in the recommended dosage.
How many people use Invisalign?
With Invisalign being such a popular alternative to braces, the amount of people interested in this method of treatment is anything but small. Over six million people have decided to put Invisalign to the test, changing their smile and dental health for the better. As Invisalign becomes more readily available and endorsed by orthodontists across the board, the number of patients using this treatment method will only continue to grow.
How does Invisalign work?
Much like braces, Invisalign works by applying constant pressure to your teeth in order to guide them into better positions. They are created with advanced 3D technology so each aligner is specific to you and your custom treatment plan. You’ll slowly and consecutively switch them out as you progress through treatment, each set of aligners shifting your teeth a little bit more.

While fixed appliances and braces are permanently bonded inside your mouth, Invisalign involves constant switching from one aligner to the next to oblige your customized aligner sequence. You’ll switch aligners roughly every two weeks. Each aligner is slightly straighter than the current state of your teeth, so you’ll always experience slightly more pressure and progression in your plan.

The total number of aligners needed to finish treatment will be different for everybody. Every plan is unique! Some people may only need a few month’s worth of aligners, while others may need them for a year or more. It all depends on exactly why orthodontic treatment is necessary. Your orthodontist will be able to give you an idea of how many trays you’ll need, but circumstances can always change as your mouth adjusts.
How do I take care of my aligners?
If it’s important to take care of your teeth and gums before, during, and after treatment, it’s equally important to keep your Invisalign trays clean. When your clear aligners get build-up or debris trapped inside, this bacteria can damage your aligners and be harmful to your oral health.

There are a few different steps you can take to make sure your Invisalign aligners are kept clean. You can simply use a toothbrush and toothpaste to gently scrub your them clean, and rinse them off with lukewarm water. Never use hot water when cleaning, as this has the potential to permanently warp and disfigure your aligners.

There are also cleaning systems you can purchase directly from the Invisalign website. These cleaning systems are specifically designed for your trays and are available online or through your orthodontist.

Aside from cleaning, there are many other precautionary steps you can take while wearing your aligners to make sure they’re always out of harm’s way. Make sure you never eat or drink while wearing them so they always keep their shape, and make sure they’re always in a safe place when they’re not in use.
What if I lose or break an aligner?
Unfortunately, misplacing or damaging your aligners can happen from time to time. Because it’s so easy for your teeth to shift incorrectly if your aligners aren’t being worn for the recommended amount of time, it’s very important to let your orthodontist know immediately if something has happened to your trays. They’ll be able to work with you to make sure your treatment plan remains as unaffected as possible.

Depending on where you are in your treatment, your orthodontist can recommend a number of options. You may be able to wear your previous set of aligners to retain your smile. If you’re too far along, they may need to order a replacement set to make up for the ones lost or damaged. Lastly, if they think you can handle it, you may be able to start on your next set a little early. Remember to never make this decision for yourself, and always consult with your orthodontist when anything unexpected occurs throughout your orthodontic treatment journey.
What happens after treatment?
For anyone that has recently completed orthodontic treatment, a retainer will be the next step. After all that time and energy you’ve put into a successful treatment, you’ll want to take every measure possible to ensure you can show off your new smile for life. A retainer prevents your teeth from gradually shifting back and protects your investment.

Near the end of the Invisalign process, you’ll have a conversation with your orthodontist about what type of retainer will be right for you and what wear schedule you should follow to fit your needs.

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