Frequently asked questions

A beautiful and healthy smile is not the only goal of an orthodontic treatment. A significant benefit of orthodontics is an increase in confidence and self-esteem provided by a healthy smile.
Why see an orthodontist?

Having a beautiful smile helps build confidence and self-esteem. It is life changing! Having a healthy smile is just as important. Crooked and crowded teeth can be most unattractive, but can also lead to cavities, gum disease and bone loss. Other bite issues can make it very difficult to chew properly and lead to early, irreversible tooth wear.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

An Orthodontist is a specialist who is highly educated in the areas of diagnosis, prevention and treatment of teeth and jaw position issues.

In order to become an Orthodontist, a person must first complete 3 years of undergraduate university education. Once accepted into an accredited Dental school, and additional 4 years of study is required to become a Dentist. After a minimum of 1 year practicing general dentistry, a Dentist must successfully complete an additional 3 years of advanced Orthodontic education in an accredited, full-time, university program. These post graduate programs accept only 3-4 candidates from roughly 150 applicants each year. This totals 11 years of education after high school. In order to become licensed as a certified specialist in Orthodontics by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, the orthodontic candidate must demonstrate knowledge, expertise and proficiency in providing consistent, high-quality orthodontic care.

At what age should orthodontic treatment begin?

A child’s first orthodontic examination should be at age 7. This gives Dr. Steiman an opportunity to start monitoring your child’s growth and development and recommend treatment at the ideal time. Most adolescent orthodontic patients begin treatment between the ages of 10-12 in both boys and girls. However, many specific problems involving certain teeth or jaw growth require treatment to start between the ages of 7-9. That means that treatment could begin even with some baby teeth still present.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?

Phase I treatment, or early interceptive treatment, focuses primarily on specific teeth concerns or jaw growth problems. This often includes unusually late erupting teeth, cross-bites, large overbites, underbites or a narrow upper jaw. Thumb sucking or tongue habit correction is another area of phase I treatment since it often leads to problems with the teeth and jaws. Treatment of these types of issues are most successful when performed before age 10.

Phase II treatment is more comprehensive and focuses primarily on all the teeth in both jaws. Once the jaw growth issues are corrected, a beautiful, healthy smile can be created that functions ideally. Successful Phase I treatment often leads to simpler Phase II treatment. Sometimes, Phase II treatment may even be avoided.

Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?

Anyone can have a beautiful, healthy smile at any age. With Invisalign, most of the barriers to treatment have been eliminated for adults. Roughly half of the patients at Steiman Smiles Orthodontics are adults with an average age of 43 years old.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

The treatment time varies on the difficulty in creating a beautiful, healthy smile. The average time for full upper and lower treatment is about 20-24 months. Factors such as oral hygiene, attendance for appointments, cooperation and device breakages play a significant role in treatment time.

Does orthodontic treatment hurt?

When teeth move for the first time, they will likely be sore for the first 2-4 days. This soreness can last up to 7 days in more sensitive patients. After a brace adjustment or insertion of a new aligner, the teeth may be sore for a couple of hours. This discomfort resembles a dull ache, not a painful pinch. Soft foods and pain relievers, such as Advil and Tylenol, are recommended during any soreness episodes.

Does orthodontics interfere with playing a musical instrument or sports?

Absolutely NOT! There may be a brief period for lips and cheeks to get used to braces or aligners, but they should not get in the way of playing any musical instrument. Steiman Smiles Orthodontics provides complimentary sports guards to our patients who choose braces for their treatment. Our sports guards allow the teeth to continue moving even while the mouthguard is being worn.

It is perfectly fine to wear aligners as mouth guards for sports or while playing any musical instrument. A sports guard can even be worn over the aligners if desired.

Should I see my general dentist while I am having orthodontic treatment?

Dr. Steiman strongly recommends that his patients continue to visit their family dentist every 6-9 months for regular check-ups and cleanings. More frequent cleaning visits may be needed for patients struggling with proper oral hygiene during treatment. Dr. Steiman will ask your dentist to take certain x-rays periodically so that he can monitor the health and positions of some teeth.