Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in the treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Various appliances are used to correct these problems including braces, removable appliances and retainers.
An attractive smile and improved self image is just one of the benefits of Orthodontic treatment. Without treatment, Orthodontic problems may increase the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, bone loss, and other dental problems such as inappropriate wear of teeth and functional difficulties.
Malocclusion literally means “bad bite”. It is the technical term for teeth that do not fit together correctly. Inherited malocclusions typically result from discrepancies between the size of the teeth and the size of the jaw structure, or an imbalance in the sizes of the upper and lower jaws. Whether inherited or acquired, malocclusions affect not only the alignment of the teeth but also the appearance of the face.
Many Orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an Orthodontist by age 8 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child’s physician. In many patients, early treatment can achieve results that are unattainable once the face and jaws have finished growing. If the child is not ready for treatment, the orthodontist will put the patient on a recall program to check the child every six to twelve months to evaluate when treatment will be necessary.
About 35% of our Orthodontic patients today are adults. Many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children. Treatments have changed a great deal in the last few years. Braces are more comfortable and more effective than in the past. For some cases, virtually invisible techniques are available.
Braces include brackets, which are bonded directly to the teeth or sometimes attached to a band placed on a molar tooth, and arch wires that connect all the brackets. Unlike what most people think, it is the arch wire that does all the work — the brackets merely serve as attachment points to the teeth. The wires use a steady, gentle pressure to move teeth into their proper positions. Elastics are sometimes worn to help align the upper teeth with the lower teeth.
Attaching the braces to the teeth is not a painful process. No anaesthetic is required. During the first few days after you get your braces and after major adjustments, some discomfort can be expected, especially when chewing. You can use Tylenol or Ibuprofen to ease the discomfort.
Hard, crunchy and sticky foods can damage braces and should be avoided. Removing meat from bones and fruit from pits will reduce the risk of damage to braces. Softer foods will be needed at the beginning of orthodontic treatment and after each adjustment appointment.
Invisalign is a new technique that can be used for certain types of Orthodontic problems. Invisalign uses a series of nearly undetectable aligners instead of brackets and wires to straighten teeth. Each set of custom-made aligners is worn for about 2 weeks to gradually move the teeth. Total treatment times vary according to the severity of the problem.
Costs vary depending on the type of treatment and the time needed to correct the problem. The social and psychological benefits can last a lifetime, so Orthodontics is one of the best values in dentistry. Many dental insurance plans now include Plan C coverage which is for orthodontics. Please check with your plan administrator to find out if your coverage is for children only or adults as well. The percentage the insurance plan will reimburse you and the lifetime limit per person for Orthodontics varies with different insurance plans. This plan is negotiated for you by your employer. The Orthodontist will quote a total fee for treatment which is broken down as a records fee, an initial fee and monthly fees extended over the approximate active treatment time. The full treatment fee also includes one set of retainers and up to two years of retainer checks. When you pay us directly, you will get one receipt for yourself and a receipt for each insurance plan so you can be reimbursed.
Our office offers an attractive discount for those wishing to pay in full at the start of treatment and take advantage of the medical tax credit offered by CCRA (Revenue Canada) for medical and dental services paid in a 12 month period. Only expenses that are not paid for by an insurance company can be used for this tax credit. The majority of insurance companies will not reimburse your total limit for orthodontics up front. They will reimburse you over a period of months as indicated in your fee breakdown or treatment plan that we provided to the insurance company.
Once appointments for treatment are booked, the Orthodontist will prepare a written outline of the proposed treatment, with the fee breakdown, and mail it to your insurance company. After you have paid for your records and initial fee, mail your insurance receipt to your insurance company and they will reimburse you. We accept post-dated cheques or credit cards for the monthly fees. We will mail receipts to your home so you can mail the insurance receipt for reimbursement. Whenever you move, it is important to keep us informed of any change of address for our records and for insurance receipts.
Diagnostic “records” consist of models of the teeth, a panoramic x-ray, a cephlalometric x-ray, and photographs of the teeth and face. These are used by the orthodontist to study each individual case and arrive at a detailed treatment plan for that patient’s unique situation.
Proper oral hygiene is one of the patient’s main responsibilities and is especially important during Orthodontic treatment. The Certified Orthodontic Assistants will provide you with techniques on tooth brushing and how to care for your teeth and braces. We will also co-ordinate your adjustments with the oral hygiene appointments at your general dentist’s office every six months. In order to achieve the very best orthodontic result, a team effort on the part of the Orthodontist, the family dentist and the patient is essential.
The braces will be removed when the Orthodontist feels the active treatment is complete and you are ready to have the teeth retained in their new position with retainers. When you start Orthodontic treatment, you will be given an estimate of the length of time your treatment will take.
A retainer is worn to keep your teeth in the correct position once the braces have been removed. Retention is a very important part of your treatment as the teeth will move back towards their original position if the retainer is not worn as instructed. Our office uses traditional removable retainers, clear retainers and fixed invisible retainers. Retention and care of retainers will be discussed with the patient when the braces are removed.
Contact our office to book a 30-45 minute consultation with Dr. Hong or Dr. King. A few weeks before your appointment you will receive a welcome letter plus a personal and health questionnaire in the mail. Please complete the forms and bring them to your first appointment. The doctor will review your medical and dental history, establish the need for Orthodontic care and discuss your Orthodontic treatment goals. The doctor will carefully examine your teeth, jaws, and facial profile to determine the best time to begin Orthodontic treatment. If additional dental maturity is needed, we will schedule a recall program for our new patient.
Creating beautiful smiles and healthy, functional bites is what orthodontics is all about. We have the specialty training and expertise in this very exciting field of dentistry to help you reach your Orthodontic goals.
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