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Family Life General Health

Braces Q&A


Everyday we get asked many great questions about braces and teeth. Your smile can affect how you feel about yourself and how others see you. Orthodontic treatment can improve the look of your smile and your self-confidence. Straight teeth are easier to clean and less likely to get tooth decay, gum disease or be injured.

What are Orthodontics and dental braces?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontics and dental braces will improve your smile and bite by straightening crooked and/or spaced teeth, as well as  positioning your lips and jaws to achieve an ideal facial balance.

At what age should I bring my child to see an Orthodontist for an assessment?

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that an Orthodontic assessment be done by the age of 7. At this age the Orthodontist can assess the alignment and bite for situations that require early intervention that can help avoid more serious correction later in life.

What’s the difference between an Orthodontist and a General Dentist?

Orthodontists are experts in straightening teeth and helping jaws develop properly in order to obtain a beautiful smile and functional bite. All Orthodontists are dentists who then spend an additional 2-3 years of post-graduate training, specializing in aligning teeth and jaws using braces, aligners,  and  special appliances. Since straightening teeth is the focus of their practice, Orthodontists are dedicated to perfecting your smile in an efficient and fun atmosphere. A dentist referral is not needed to see an orthodontist, and the costs of treatments are comparable.

What types of braces are available?

The main types of braces are:

  1. Fixed braces (metal/clear) – These are the most common type of braces and stay fixed in the mouth at all times with brackets glued to teeth linked with wires.
  2. Clear aligners:, such as Invisalign – These are a series of clear removable aligners that are worn in the mouth that gently moves your teeth with each aligner.
  3. Removable Appliances – A plastic plate with wires is worn on the upper jaw or lower jaw which is clipped onto certain teeth when it is put in the mouth. Special placement of the wires and/or plastic help achieve limited tooth movement and bite correction.

Will braces be painful?

The latest technology using light “space age” wires and state of the art, flexible plastics, will allow teeth to move with very light forces. However, after you see the Orthodontist for adjustments, your braces or aligners may make your mouth feel sore and uncomfortable for a day or two. Only rarely, are over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil , needed to help relieve the discomfort.

Is it ever too late for a person to get braces?

No. Anyone with healthy teeth and gums can undergo Orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth will move at any age – young or old. With Invisalign clear aligners, more adults are now undergoing treatment to obtain the healthy and beautiful smile they’ve always wanted.

By Dr. Mark Gwartz – Oakville Orthodontics 


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