Orthodontic FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.

What is an Orthodontist?

An Orthodontist is a Board Certified Dental Specialist who has received three years of additional training and experience after four years of dental school. Your Orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your bite.

All Orthodontists are dentists but not all dentists are Orthodontists. In fact, only 6% of dentists are qualified to call themselves Orthodontists. After four years of dental school, our specialized training continues for 3 more years or 5000 additional hours and includes such diverse studies as genetics, embryology, human growth and development and biophysics. Put your trust in a Certified Orthodontic Specialist.

What's the best age to visit the Orthodontist?

If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. Many Orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early. Our national association recommends an orthodontic consultation at age 7. Sometimes, we can avoid surgery, or more serious corrections later if we start early. However, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of 21. In fact, Orthodontic specialists regularly treat patients in their 50s, 60s and older. Whether you are considering treatment for yourself or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the Orthodontist.

How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all permanent teeth around age 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Your child continues sucking his or her thumb after age five
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early treatment benefit my child?

Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.

Early treatment (Phase I) typically begins around age seven to nine. Phase II will begin at eleven or older. The goal of early treatment (Phase I) will be to correct certain habits or bite positions like severe overbite or underbite.

Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13, and by the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or jaw surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for more complicated orthodontics as an adult, leaving less chance of extraction or surgery in the future.

If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the Orthodontist, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Our team will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.

What are braces and aligners?

Braces and aligners are used by your Orthodontist to move teeth and help you improve the look and feel of your smile. Braces are glued directly on your teeth while aligners are removable. There are several different options to choose from in our office including:​

  • Self-ligating braces - in metal or ceramic (clear)
  • Invisalign clear aligners
  • Lingual (inside) braces 

If I get braces or aligners, how long do I have to wear them?

The amount of time spent in treatment will vary depending on the individual patient, because every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between 6 and 30 months, but most standard treatments take about two years.

Do braces or aligners hurt?

Braces and aligners do not often hurt though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth get used to your new appliance.

How can I take care of my teeth if I'm wearing braces, aligners, or a retainer?

  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Keep your aligners and retainers clean by brushing gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in retainer cleaner as instructed by your Orthodontist. Do not put your applicances  in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).

If I have braces or aligners, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your Orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

Will my braces or aligners interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?

Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your devices, but wearing braces or aligners will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.

How do I schedule my next appointment?

Simply call 204-940-7878 or email info@str8.ca our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.

Dr. Rana Shenkarow
Dr. Rachel Goldberg
(204) 940-7878