Many of Dr. Vick's first time orthodontic patients have a number of questions about treatment methods, procedures and how they will impact their everyday life and health. Here are 10 of the most commonly asked questions that Dr. Vick in Calgary has received from his patients.
1. What is orthodontic treatment, and what does it entail?
Orthodontic treatment helps people with dental irregularities, like crowded or misaligned teeth. These issues can be caused by accidents, injuries, improper position of teeth or jaw bones, environmental factors and more.
Malocclusion is the umbrella term for all of these issues, include crooked and crowded teeth, teeth with large gaps between them and impacted teeth.
The remedy for this is orthodontic treatment, which can help straighten your teeth. Treatment may involve a few different approaches depending on your needs. Your dentist will likely recommend one of these options:
- Traditional metal braces
- Clear(ceramic) braces
- Clear aligners
2. Why should I get orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment can help improv your bite and smile for the rest of your life. It can also impact your long-term oral health: straighter teeth are easy to brush, floss and keep generally clean.
In contract with this, crooked or crowded teeth are difficult to care for. A misaligned jaw can even cause headaches or pain.
On top of this, some people are worried about the way their crowded or gapped teeth look. Orthodontic treatment can help you improve the appearance of your smile by making it more symmetrical. By the end of your treatment, all self-consciousness should be gone as your reveal your new, straighter smile.
3. Which orthodontic treatment is the fastest?
Orthodontic treatment requires a time and monetary investment to achieving your oral health goals. Clear aligners, braces, and other treatment options can help set you on the path to a straighter smile and better oral health by fixing your malocclusions.
Here are some tips to ensure your orthodontic treatment goes as quickly and smoothly as possible:
- Care for your teeth. Not only is oral hygiene important, but so is ensuring your teeth receive the TLC they need as they undergo their change in alignment. This means no grinding or biting down hard, as this can cause extra pressure in addition to wear and tear.
- Attend your scheduled appointments with your orthodontist and/or dentist. These give them an opportunity to check in to make sure treatment is progressing as planned, with no obstacles, and to answer any questions and concerns.
- Follow your orthodontist or dentist's instructions and treatment plan on every aspect of your orthodontic care, from oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing to what you can and can’t eat during treatment, to how much you have to wear your appliance.
4. Which orthodontic treatment is the best?
Orthodontic treatment is tailored to the person it is targeting and customized to their needs and wants. The orthodontic treatment that will work the best for you will entirely depend on a number of factors including your current oral health, the severity of your malocclusion and how must dental work you have had done in the past.
While some people will need braces to help fix their misalignment, others may be able to use clear aligners. Personal preference and budget may also play into your decision. Your orthodontist can explain your options and the advantages and disadvantages of different types of braces, clear aligners and more.
5. What’s the ideal age for orthodontic treatment?
As a rule of thumb, the earlier in your life orthodontic treatment is able to begin, the quicker and more efficient it will be.
While traditional orthodontic treatment would begin between the ages of 12 and 14, orthodontic professionals now recognize that starting treatment even earlier than that can help resolve oral health issues more efficiently .
Depending on what your child's orthodontic issues are, this early treatment (called "interceptive treatment") can begin anywhere between 7 and 11 years of age.
That being said, many people wait until adulthood to begin orthodontic treatment. As long as your teeth are generally healthy, you could be a candidate for orthodontic treatment whatever your age! Just be aware that typically, orthodontic treatment for adults tends to take longer overall than it does for children.
6. How long does treatment last, and what will it cost?
The length of your treatment will depend on a few different factors. These include your age, your general health, how well you follow your treatment plan, the treatment option you and Dr. Vick decide will work best for you and the nature of your orthodontic issue.
The cost of your treatment will likewise depend on the length of your treatment, the severity of your oral health issue and the treatment option you have chosen. Dr. Vick or your dentist can help you weigh treatment options and financing opportunities.
7. If I don’t want traditional braces, what are my options?
Traditional metal braces aren't the only kind of braces that people use to straighten their teeth anymore. There are a whole host of options for you to choose from: from lingual braces which attach to the back of your teeth to ceramic braces and clear aligners. Patients have more choice than ever now when selecting their orthodontic treatment plan.
Depending on the nature of your orthodontic issue, you may also be able to use removable and transparent clear aligners to treat your malocclusion.
8. Can I drink pop while wearing braces?
Regardless of whether you have lingual, traditional, or ceramic braces in your mouth, Dr. Vick recommends avoiding soda. Drinks with carbonation acn stain your braces' metal brackets and the dyes in pop and juice can stain your teeth and erode them.
In addition, the large amount of sugar typically found in these drinks can lead to tooth decay, so in general we advise avoiding pop entirely, whether you are undergoing orthodontic treatment or not!
9. Will my oral hygiene routine need to change during treatment?
Everyone needs to brush and floss their teeth daily to encourage their oral health. This is even more the case when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Because bacteria and plaque can get stuck between your teeth and braces or clear aligners, it’s important to be diligent in brushing and flossing your teeth.
If you have braces, carefully brush and floss around your brackets and wires. Additionally, avoid foods like popcorn, gum and other foods that can damage your appliances or even your teeth.
For clear aligners, you’ll need to brush and floss each time you remove your aligners to eat or drink, and only drink water while you have them in. This is because food and bacteria can become trapped between your clear aligners and teeth.
While it can have an immediate effect on your appearance, even more concerning is that tooth decay and plaque buildup can flourish when trapped for hours behind clear aligners. Usually, your saliva would wash away some of the food particles, but this proves impossible with clear aligners, which fit snugly to your teeth.
While Undergoing clear aligner treatment, it is imperative that you brush and floss after every meal and before bed every day.
10. How often will I have to see an orthodontist while I’m being treated?
The frequency of your visits with Dr. Vick will depend on which treatment options are available to address your specific orthodontic issues, if your encounter obstacles midway through your treatment, as well as other factors.
Usually, braces will require you to visit Dr. Vick or your dentist every month or two months over the course of your treatment. These visits range form quick half-hour checkups, to long initial and final appointments.
For clear aligners, there are no elastics to adjust so you may be able to go longer between appointments, and see your orthodontist once every 6 to 10 weeks.