Frequently Asked Questions
Orthodontics is one of the specialties of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received an additional two to three years of training and a masters degree after becoming a dentist. Dr. Tan is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structures, and improve the function of your smile.
Any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist if you are looking to improve the look and feel of your smile. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist at age of seven, when the permanent teeth are starting to erupt. However, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens. About one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
Braces are used by your orthodontist to help you improve the look and feel of your smile. There are many different types of braces to choose from, including:
- Clear/ceramic braces
- Self-ligating braces (Damon braces)
- Invisible braces (Invisalign and Spark)
- Traditional metal braces
ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day. Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask Dr. Tan or your family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
When your orthodontic treatment is finished, a retainer is used to maintain the alignment of the teeth and bite. Retainers are made by taking a mold of your newly straightened teeth and fabricating the retainer out of wire and/or acrylic material. The retainer will fit precisely to your teeth to maintain all the work you’ve done to create your fabulous new smiles! We recommend in most cases, retainers must be worn for several years, if not indefinitely.
There are two types of retainers after braces: Fixed (wire) and removable. If you have a removable retainer, it should be removed to eat, clean your teeth, and during sports. Remember to keep the retainer in its case whenever it is not in your mouth. The retainer should be kept clean by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and water. You may also soak it in a retainer cleaner. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher as the heat will distort the retainer.
The amount of time spent in braces will vary and individual patient. Every smile has different needs and responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere from six to 30 months, but most treatments take about 18-22 months.
You may feel a small amount of discomfort for several days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new braces.
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. Please see our recommendations on Brushing and Flossing with braces.
Yes! It is very important to see your dentist at least once every 6 months for a check-up and cleaning. Occasionally, we will recommend that you see your dentist every 3 or 4 months. Dr. Tan and your dentist will work closely to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy while you’re in treatment.
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may need some adjustment when you first get your braces. Wearing braces should not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.