Frequently Asked Questions

At Smith Family Orthodontics, we believe that patient education is the key to a successful orthodontic experience! More than 4 million people in Canada and the United States are in the care of an orthodontic specialist and looking forward to a beautiful, healthy smile that’s good for life. The obvious potential reward is straighter teeth that are less prone to decay and injury. But just as important is the boost to self-confidence that a better smile can provide. As you prepare to make decisions about orthodontics, it’s very important to be armed with the facts. Our professional team is readily available to assist you with any questions or concerns. Listed below for your reference are commonly asked questions (click question to see the answer):

Q: Why is orthodontics important?

A: 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.

Q: What is orthodontics?

A: Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is ‘malocclusion,’ which means ‘bad bite.’ The practice of orthodontics requires the professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances (braces) to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.

Q: Who is an Orthodontic Specialist?

A: Your orthodontic specialist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontic specialists must first attend college, then complete a 4 year graduate program at a dental school in a university or other institution accredited by the Canadian Dental Association. They must then successfully complete an additional residency program of at least two to three academic years of advanced education in orthodontics, again accredited by the CDA. This advanced training includes such diverse studies as genetics, embryology, human growth and development, and biophysics. Only dentists with this advanced specialty education can present themselves as orthodontic specialists.

Q: What is the benefit of Orthodontics?

A: 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.

Q: Are you accepting new patients?

A: Yes, Smith Family Orthodontics continues to grow and accept new patients. Contact us to today.

Q: Who can benefit from orthodontics?

A: At one time, most people believed braces were ‘just for kids.’ The fact is, 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.

Q: When should my child first see an orthodontic specialist?

A: 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.

Q: Is it ever too late for a person to get braces?

A: 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!

Q: What makes an orthodontic specialist different from a dentist?

A: Orthodontic specialists are the dental specialists who correct dental and facial irregularities, day in and day out. An orthodontic specialist is an expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with the patient to help make sure the teeth stay in their new positions.

Q: What about costs?

A: It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until Dr. Smith has examined you during your Initial Consultation. At that time, our Treatment Coordinator will explain all of your options to you, along with the exact cost and financial options. If you have insurance, we will provide you with everything you will need to proceed with the pre-approval and claiming process.

Q: Should I ask to talk to present and/or former patients?

A: 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. Higher self-esteem and improved oral health are benefits that can last a lifetime.

Q: Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

A: No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves, particularly if you have a friend or family member coming to our office.

Q: Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

A: Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment. Our approach is to avoid extractions unless absolutely necessary. You will learn which options are available to you at your first appointment.

Q: How often will I have appointments?

A: Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 6 to 8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Q: Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

A: Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled 6 to 8 weeks apart, patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs, especially with out of town patients and patients with special requirements.

Q: Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

A: Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with the Receptionist before dropping off their child.

Q: Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

A: Yes! Regular check-ups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

Q: Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

A: Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

Q: What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

A: If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you during regular office hours. A loose bracket, broken wire, lost or broken retainer are all non-urgent emergencies and can usually wait until office hours.