Have questions or concerns about orthodontic treatment? The following are some of the questions we hear most often at the office of Dr. Gary Levine Orthodontist. If you have a question that is not addressed here, contact us. We’ll be glad to help.
Q. Do you actually “tighten” braces?
A. No. There is often an increase in sensation of tightness after each appointment, usually due to having progressed to a larger wire.
Q. What does it mean when I have puffy, red gums and bleeding when I brush?
A. Usually due to inflammation of the gums, this condition is often associated with insufficient oral hygiene. The continued presence of food/plaque is what irritates the gum and causes bleeding. This can be prevented by brushing and flossing thoroughly.
Q. I have a space between my teeth since my last orthodontic appointment; should I be concerned?
A. You should always contact the office to report any tooth movement that doesn’t seem to be correct.
Q. At what age can I see an orthodontist?
A. Generally, an orthodontist can be contacted when the front upper and lower permanent front teeth have erupted into the mouth.
Q. Do I need a referral to see an orthodontist?
A. No, you do not need a referral from your dentist to see Dr. Levine.
Q. Do I still have to see my regular dentist for cleanings when I have braces?
A. Yes. It is still important to see your regular dentist for cleanings and to check for cavities or any other oral health issues, as they can be treated only by your regular dentist.
Q. How long does a typical braces appointment last?
A. Adjustments are typically booked for half an hour, depending on the phase of treatment.
Q. How often do I need to be seen when I have braces?
A. Appointments are usually scheduled at about six to ten week intervals, depending on what stage of treatment you are in. Typically, intervals are longer at the beginning and shorter near the end of treatment.
Q. I have heard that braces can leave permanent black marks on teeth. Is this true?
A. Permanent discolouration of teeth occurs only when the patient has failed to keep their teeth clean.
Q. Why do my teeth feel loose with braces?
A. Orthodontic treatment causes remodelling of the bone. This remodelling can at times give the sensation of the teeth feeling loose. This is temporary and the teeth firm up as the treatment progresses.
Q. Can I use whitening toothpaste while wearing braces?
A. No, the braces will prevent an even application of the whitening substance.
Q. Should I purchase an electric toothbrush or waterpik® for my braces?
A. While these tools are helpful, they’re not necessary to keeping your teeth clean.
Q. Will wisdom teeth crowd my teeth and push them out of place once they come in my mouth?
A. This is an older theory that has not been proven to be true. Wisdom teeth, however, are removed because there is not enough room for them to come into the mouth.
Q. If I have a problem can I just walk in, or do I need to book an appointment?
A. Yes, it is always best to call the office to address the problem. Sometimes information can be provided over the phone, thus saving you a trip to the office.
Q. Do you have a payment plan to pay for braces?
A. Yes, we do have payment plans without interest. We like to work out the best scenario possible for you so that treatment can be attainable.
Q. How can I pay for my account?
A. We accept Visa, MasterCard, debit, cash and cheques.
Q. How long will I have to wear my braces?
A. It depends on the severity of the problem, but most cases are completed in approximately 18 to 20 months.
Q. Do orthodontists still use headgear, the kind that has a wire that fits around the head?
A. Although historically headgear was an effective technique, there are procedures today that completely eliminate the need for headgear.
Q. What is considered an orthodontic emergency?
A. Trauma to the teeth or a wire poking into the cheek are considered emergencies in orthodontics.
Q. Am I limited in what I can eat when I have braces on?
A. Yes. A full set of instructions regarding care for your braces is provided at the time braces are placed, including how to brush and what foods to avoid.
Q. What do I do if I have a broken retainer?
A. If your retainer is lost or broken, please call the office as soon as you can to book an appointment and have it taken care of.
Q. I have a loose brace on my tooth; what should I do?
A. The loose bracket needs to be fixed, but is not an emergency. Please call the office to book an appointment to have it repaired.
Q. Is there a charge for a consultation to see you?
A. A consult involves a physical examination and preliminary diagnosis of the treatment plan. As well, you will be provided with information about professional fees and insurance coverage. A consultation typically lasts approximately 45 to 60 minutes and there is a cost of $30.00 for the visit.
Q. My friend has different braces than I do. Why is that?
A. There are a number of different bracketing systems available. Every orthodontist has their preference as to which one they use and which one would be best suited to each individual case.
Q. Once I’m done paying on my account does that mean the braces come off?
A. No, the payments and appointments do not coordinate together. Your total cost is your fee, even if you finish treatment earlier or later than anticipated.
Q. Once my braces come off do I need to wear my retainers?
A. Yes, always when teeth have been repositioned it is very important to wear a retainer. You will be given instructions as to how to care for your retainers and when to wear them. Typically after braces are removed you will be told to wear your retainers 24 hours a day except to eat and brush your teeth. This means wearing them during the night, as well. You will wear them “full-time” for the first three to six months. You will then be told to wear them just at night time every night and gradually you will be wearing them a couple of nights a week. Eventually, when the orthodontist is satisfied with the stability of the bite, you will be dismissed from the office and told you can still wear your retainers a couple of nights a week for as long as you feel you want to.
Q. I am confused by all the terminology involved with braces. What should I do?
A. Make sure you ask your orthodontic specialist any questions you may have. You should fully understand the process before your braces are applied.
Q. Do braces only work on children and young adults?
A. There was a time when braces were mostly worn by children in their early teens. As orthodontic treatment has changed, so has the age of people who get braces. Having braces is no longer limited to the early teen years. More and more adults, as well as younger children, are receiving orthodontic treatment.
Q. My teeth have been crooked for years. Why do I need orthodontic treatment now?
A. Orthodontic treatment can be done at any age and can create or restore good function. Teeth that work better feel better, too.
Q. Do I need to change my oral hygiene routine during orthodontic treatment?
A. Keeping your teeth and appliances clean will require a little more effort. It is important that you see your dentist every six months for cleaning when you have braces.
Q. Can I play sports while wearing braces?
A. Yes, but make sure you wear a protective mouthguard. Ask your orthodontic specialist to recommend the right kind of mouthguard.