What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the specialty branch of dentistry that treats “malocclusions”, which means “bad bites”. It focuses entirely on treating patients by diagnosing the problem, preventing its appearance or correcting it.It treats kids depending on the case, adolescents and adults. The practice of orthodontics requires skills in listening to the patient’s complaint, combining it to the orthodontic knowledge and ultimately, treating him accordingly. The achievement of facial balance and good occlusion are best accomplished by an orthodontist.


Who is an orthodontist?

To become an orthodontist, one has to accomplish five years of dental school, followed by three full-time years of orthodontic residency. Be aware of the fact that some dentists treat malocclusions as well, even though they haven’t gone through specialty. An orthodontist is able to treat the patients case by case and know exactly the origin of the malocclusion. He has knowledge in topics such as growth and development, genetics, biomechanics, and anatomy; as well as clinical skills in the design, application and control of braces and removable appliances.


Am I a candidate for orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontics improves the esthetics of the smile by aligning the teeth and fixing the relationship between the upper and lower teeth. This bad relationship can be due to a dentalmisalignment or jaws deformity. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, you feel about it, the way you chew and clean your teeth. So, if you don’t feel good, consult an orthodontist for advice!


Why should I treat my malocclusion?

According to studies done by the American Association of Orthodontists, it is better to be treated because if not, in case of:

  • Crowded teeth, it is more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may result in tooth cavity and/or gum disease.
  • Protruding teethwhen upper teeth are more forward or inclined than normal, it is more susceptible to get fractured if the patient falls, for example.
  • Crossbites, it is more probable to have abnormal growth of the jaws and uneven tooth wear.
  • Openbites, it will leave the patient with tongue-thrusting habits and speech problems.

What benefits do I get from orthodontic treatment?

  • More attractive smile
  • Better function of the teeth and better chewing
  • Increase in self-confidence
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Better long term health of teeth and gums
  • Possible decrease in temporomandibular joint problems and clenching
  • Reduce the risk of injury of extremely proclined front teeth
  • Aid in accomplishing and facilitating other dental treatments

What are some signs, I should be aware of, where braces may be needed?

  • Upper front teeth excessively protruded over the lower teeth
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together called “deep bite”
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth called “underbite”
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together, space between the upper and lower teethcalled “open bite”
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years’ old
  • Difficulty of chewing and eating
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together with presence of facial asymmetry
  • Spaces between the teeth.

When should I begin my orthodontic treatment?

Consult an orthodontist as early as possible. Which means around the age of 7, if the parents feel that their kid might be in the “malocclusions to be treated category”. Why the age of 7? This is the age of the beginning of the eruption of the permanent teeth in the place of the “baby” teeth. It is also the age before puberty, when the orthodontist can have an effect on growth, if needed. Most of the times, an early intervention, is done to prevent the need for future treatment or at least reduce its complexity, eliminate the need for extractions and gain a better overall result.

This does not mean that all children need treatment at this age, but it is important to assess each individual case to determine who could benefit from early intervention. Please remember, however, that orthodontic treatment is not only limited to children, with about 1/3 of patients treated being adults.

Why is it better to do a consultation at the age of 7?

By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing parameters that can be evaluated by the orthodontist to decide if an early treatment is necessary or not. The amount of space needed, the presence of a growth problem, the presence of a crossbite, the genetically absence of teeth, can all be assessed during this time.Also, health related problems like sleep deprivation, lack of focusing, difficulty of breathing can be noticed and parents will be advised to let their kid be seen by an ENT specialist or a sleep apnea expert.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

“Braces”is the commercial name of the whole system. The system uses continuous and low pressure forces to gradually move teeth into proper position. The “brackets” that areplaced on your teeth and the “archwire”that is introduced to connect each bracket, are its main components. The teeth will move and end up taking the desired alignment, with the shape of the archwire.


Can I do orthodontic treatment if I am an adult?

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and about a third of the patients treated by Dr. Bouserhal are adults. The biological process involved in tooth movement is the same in both adults and children. The health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone is very important to the success of orthodontic treatment in adults as well as children. Because an adult’s bones are no longer growing, certain extreme corrections involving the maxillo-facial bones cannot be accomplished with braces alone. Sometimes, adult orthodontic treatment may have to be combined with the efforts of an orthognathic surgeon to achieve the final result.

How long will my orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment times vary depending on the case’s difficulty. The average time is from 1 to 3 years. The growth of the patient’s jaws and faceshould be taken into account as well, because at times, we need to wait for teeth to erupt, for example, to be able to proceed with the treatment. Furthermore, some individuals respond faster to treatment than others.

The patient and his compliance play a big role in the treatment length. Taking good care of the braces, his oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in maintaining treatment time on schedule.

After the braces’ removal, Dr. Bouserhal recommends his patients to wear retainers to maintain the teeth in their new position. Retainers should be worn as long as the patient wants his teeth to remain straight. Changes can take place any time, they are considered as a normal aging process, that is why some appear even after years of treatment.

Will my braces hurt?

The placement of brackets and appliances for your teeth will not hurt. We connect the brackets to wires, and this is what usually might make you feel some soreness of your teeth for1 to 4 days. You will be given clear wax to cover your braces and protect yourself. Good news! Feeling some pain means your teeth are moving and will be straight in no time!

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

It is extremely important to see your general dentist every 6 months for cleanings and dental checkups. Having braces on will increase the probability of having cavities.