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Information About Orthodontics

You trust your heart to a cardiologist, your skin to a dermatologist and your knees to an orthopedist. When only the best will do, trust an orthodontist with their in-depth training and experience to treat you or your family. Before letting someone else treat you, call their office and ask the following questions:

    • What degrees or certificates do they have?
    • What specialty training do they have in orthodontics and how long was this training?
    • What sort of experience do they have and do they do other forms of treatment?

Your bite is a complex biological system. Its components include up to 32 teeth, upper and lower jaws, gums and muscles to make it all work. Your healthy bite is the orthodontist’s goal by making sure the separate elements are positioned for optimal performance. You enjoy the ability to bite, chew and speak well.

You may see six crooked front teeth. The orthodontist sees the cause of the crooked teeth in three dimensions. Orthodontists use their education, experience and expertise to delve deep to discover the root of your orthodontic problem. Armed with a diagnosis that takes all factors into account, orthodontists can plan your solution; one that delivers a healthy attractive smile and a lasting result.

There are many treatment options these days, from clear aligners to modern braces. They each have their uses, but only an orthodontist has the specialized knowledge to identify and plan for all the variables in your mouth. Orthodontists take your unique needs and wishes into consideration, too, when recommending the right treatment option for you. Orthodontists have knowledge of the full range of orthodontic appliances. They know what to use and when to use it because they work with these tools every day.

Orthodontics can boost a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned, but an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important.

Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing and digestive difficulties. A “bad bite” can contribute to speech impairments, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries.

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists is a professional association of educationally qualified orthodontic specialists dedicated to advancing the art and science of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, improving the health of the public by promoting quality orthodontic care, and supporting the successful practice of orthodontics.

In fact, the results are more than you can see!!

You already know that braces straighten teeth. But what you may not know is that a beautiful smile is just one of the benefits orthodontics has to offer. Bringing teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment not only produces a great smile, but a healthy one as well. Straight teeth simply function better and are easier to clean. And last but far from least is the increased confidence and self-esteem that a healthy smile provides. This psychological benefit can be a significant factor in the decision to undergo treatment and is often listed as a patient’s #1 treatment goal. A beautiful smile is a pleasure to own and a pleasure to see.

So remember: an attractive smile is just the start. Improved oral health and general well-being are important treatment goals as well.

It may be a new word to you. “Malocclusion” is a technical term for crooked, crowded or protruding teeth which do not fit together properly. Literally, the word means “bad bite.” Most malocclusions are inherited. These include crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth, cleft palate and a variety of irregularities of the jaws and face. Some malocclusions are acquired. They can be caused by thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, dental disease, premature loss of primary or permanent teeth, accidents or some medical problems. Left untreated, these orthodontic problems can become worse. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This may contribute to conditions that may cause tooth decay, eventual gum disease and tooth loss. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and excess stress of the supporting bone and gum tissue.

At one time, most people believed braces were “just for kids.” The fact is, that of the thousands of Canadians now in orthodontic treatment, more than one of every four is over 21. Because the basic process involved in moving teeth is the same in adults as in children, orthodontic treatment can usually be successful at any age. The health of the teeth, the gums and the supporting bones will also determine the prospects for improvement.

So who can benefit? Most anyone, really. The truth is you’re never too old to be your best. Regardless of age, orthodontic treatment is always a change for the better.

The AAO recommends that every child should see an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. In some cases, this could be as young as 2 or 3. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early rather than waiting until jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean a patient will avoid surgery or other more serious corrections later in life.

No. Because healthy teeth can be moved at any age, an orthodontic specialist can improve the smile of practically anyone – in fact, orthodontic specialists regularly treat patients in their 50s, 60s and older!

While it’s important to keep in mind the lifetime value that orthodontics offers, we know you have specific cost questions, so don’t be afraid to ask. You may discover the price tag is considerably lower than you ever thought. Cost, of course, depends on the nature of the problem. Many orthodontic problems require only limited treatment.

Your orthodontic specialist will be happy to discuss fees. He or she may offer payment plans to help meet individual financial needs. In addition, many dental insurance plans now include orthodontic benefits for just a few dollars a month.

It is wise for a consumer to investigate the value of any product or service. Most orthodontic patients will give it to you straight — orthodontics is one of the best investments they’ve ever made. Better self-esteem and better oral health are benefits that can last a lifetime.

Finding an orthodontic specialist for you or your child is really quite easy. You can call the Canadian Association of Orthodontists (416) 491-3186 or the American Association of Orthodontists at their toll-free number, 1-800-STRAIGHT. Upon request, the AAO will furnish you with more information on orthodontics. Your family dentist can also help with a recommendation and with more information on orthodontics. As you consider your options, keep in mind that members of the Canadian and American Associations of Orthodontists are orthodontic specialists. They have met the exacting standards of education and experience set by the Canadian and American Dental Associations and required by the AAO for membership. CAO/AAO membership is your assurance of quality care and the highest professional standards.