Frequently Asked Questions
Our specialists do nothing but straighten teeth and are experts at what they do. They have the extra training and experience to give you a great outcome with confidence.
Do I need to be referred by my dentist to have a consultation?
No, you do not, just give us a call and we’ll book you a complimentary initial consultation. Some of our patients are referred by their family dentist, but many are referred by friends and schedule a consultation themselves.
At what age should my child be seen by an orthodontist?
The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends every child have an orthodontic screening at age 7. In most cases, orthodontic treatment is not necessary until all the permanent teeth have erupted in the mouth (around age 12), however, there are some instances when early treatment is recommended.
How old is too old for braces?
It’s never too late to straighten your teeth and get the smile you’ve always wanted. Approximately 25% of our patients are adults!
Will my teeth straighten out as they grow in?
Teeth miracles happen, but this isn’t one of them. The space available for your front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases and with age and crookedness gets worse. In some cases it is important to provide treatment to correct problems before jaw growth has slowed, or these problems may lead to a need for surgery or extraction of teeth.
Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. We try to avoid tooth extraction, but in some cases it is the most appropriate treatment option.
How do I know if I need orthodontic treatment?
There are many reasons orthodontic treatment might be indicated. Usually it begins with a desire to straighten teeth and make your smile more beautiful, confident, and healthy. At your initial consultation, one of our doctors will evaluate your bite and position of the teeth. Treatment is recommended when the bite is malaligned and doesn’t allow the teeth to come together in a position that is healthy for the teeth, gums, and bones around the teeth. If there is previous bite related damage to teeth or jaw joints which creates difficulty with chewing or pain then treatment is certainly warranted.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Orthodontic treatment works with braces which produce light, continuous pressure gradually moving teeth into proper alignment. The wire creates a very light pressure on the teeth, and the natural, physiological process takes over causing the teeth to begin to move.
Invisalign treatment works on the same principle but with a series of clear aligners that apply pressure to the teeth to move them over time.
Do braces hurt?
It may come as a surprise but it does not hurt to place the bands and brackets on your teeth. Once your braces are in place and connected with the arch wires, it generally takes 8-12 hours to start feeling some discomfort. You may feel some soreness of your teeth for a couple of days after a new wire is placed. We recommend soft foods, Tylenol or Advil, and LOTS of ice cream for the first week!
How long will it take to complete treatment?
Every treatment plan is different and depends on the severity of your orthodontic problem. At your initial consultation, the doctor will explain the treatment and give a rough estimate of how long it will take. 96% of our patients are done within or BEFORE the estimated completion date. As a range, orthodontic treatment can take anywhere from 6-30 months.
How often will I have appointments?
Usually we see patients every 6-10 weeks but this can vary based on what point you are at in treatment. Overall, most patients find it easy to work appointments into their busy schedules.
Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
100% Yes!!! The most important part of orthodontic treatment is keeping up with excellent oral hygiene. Going to your dentist for regular checkups and cleaning is critical. Patients that struggle with oral hygiene may need to see their dentist more frequently.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No, they do not. You can play any sport while wearing braces. We do recommend you wear a mouth guard for all contact sports. In many cases of trauma our braces have actually saved teeth from being lost!
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
There have been a number of research studies related to orthodontics and musical instruments. A patient with braces playing a woodwind instrument may have a little more difficulty than a patient playing a brass instrument. Unless they are professional musician patients adapt very well to playing with braces after a week or two of practice. Some of them find that placing wax on the brackets is helpful during the initial adjustment period.
Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
The best rule of thumb is to avoid foods that are HARD, STICKY, or SWEET. Hard and crunchy things can break brackets which can slow things down. Sticky stuff can bend wires. Sweet, sugary foods are okay to have as a treat, as long as you brush well after you eat them.
What should I expect when my braces finally come off?
Braces come off way faster than they go on! We simply squeeze the braces and they pop off the teeth. Usually, there is no discomfort. After the braces come off, we polish off the glue and give you retainers to keep everything straight. Then you’re ready to flash your Shoreline smile everywhere you go!
What are retainers and why do I need to wear one?
Retainers are used to hold your teeth straight once you are finished with your braces or Invisalign treatment. Some are bonded behind your front teeth while others are removable. Different situations require different types of retainers. Teeth are part of the human body and we change as we age. We recommend that you wear their retainers, to some degree, indefinitely! Or, as long as you want to maintain their results.