Chris Ho Orthodontics




The answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) are meant to provide general information about orthodontics. The FAQ's do not provide specific advice about your own or your child's orthodontic condition and therefore should not be used as a substitute for visiting your orthodontist. For orthodontic advice, see your orthodontist.

  1. Q.How long does orthodontic treatment with braces take?

A. The average time to complete treatment with braces is about 18 to 24 months. A severe malocclusion could take longer than 24 months and a simple problem could take less than 18 months to complete.

Q. Do I need to have teeth extracted?
A. Not everyone requires to have teeth extracted before having braces. The decision to extract or not to extract depends on your facial profile, the amount of crowding present, the shape of your arches and the angulations of your front teeth.

Q. Is there much discomfort in having braces?
A. The actual process of placing braces on your teeth is usually not painful for most people. After a few hours, your teeth will feel the tension from the braces and you will feel discomfort for about two days before your teeth start to feel more comfortable. After a week or two, you and your teeth should become used to the braces.

Q. How often do I need to have my braces tightened?
A. Usually every 6 weeks is the average time. It may be possible to delay having your braces tightened if you are going away for an extended holiday - Ask your orthodontist. You must make sure that you keep your braces and teeth clean and not eat any foods that are likely to damage your braces. Once your braces are tightened, there may be discomfort for a day or so.

Q. Will braces leave marks on my teeth?
A. Braces themselves do not leave marks on your teeth. Insufficient time spent brushing your teeth or not brushing your teeth often enough to remove the food or sweet drinks around your braces will allow the bacteria to start attacking your teeth. Your mouth is full of bacteria which eat the food that you eat especially those foods and drinks having a high sugar and acid content. The bacteria multiplies very quickly and forms a white deposit called plaque on your teeth. The sugar in the food/drink is fermented by the bacteria inside the plaque and a strong acid is produced. The acid attacks your teeth straight away and starts removing the outer enamel layer of your teeth around your braces. This creates white marks on your teeth which can be quite obvious after your braces are removed. If the acid continues to attack your teeth after the white mark stage, a cavity forms which will then require a filling.

Q. How can I prevent marks from forming on my teeth?
A. Good toothbrushing habits are a number one priority. Flossing your teeth is also recommended. Each tooth should be brushed individually which will take you at least five minutes each time to clean your teeth around your braces. Your teeth should be cleaned immediately after each main meal which is at least three times a day. You must cut down on foods/drinks which are sticky and sweet as they contain lots of sugar which is used by the bacteria to produce an acid which attacks and leave white marks on your teeth. Soft drinks and sports drinks have a very high acid and sugar content which should be avoided. If you look after your teeth and watch what you eat and drink, you will have great looking teeth after your braces are removed. Use of a fluoride toothpaste and fluoride mouth rinse will also help to minimise tooth decay or formation of white marks on the teeth.

Q. What foods can damage my braces?
A. Basically, any foods which are very hard, crunchy and sticky are best avoided until your orthodontic treatment is completed. Your braces are lightly glued onto the surface of your teeth and may come off if you bite into some hard, crunchy and sticky. Your orthodontist will be able to provide you with a list of foods you should avoid.

Q. My friends have to wear retainers after the braces are removed. What are retainers and what do they do?
A. Retainers can be a removable plate (usually for the upper teeth) and a fixed metal bar glued behind your lower front teeth. After your teeth are straightened, the bone needs to firm up around the roots of your teeth. Your gums, which have been stretched, also need to get used to the new positions of your teeth. This process takes a long time. Removable retainers should be worn all the time for the first week except when eating and playing sports. After 1 week, your retainers should be worn every night until you have finished growing. Even after you have finished growing, teeth will continue to change when you age. The facts of life are that every part of your body changes with age. Therefore if you wish your teeth to stay reasonably aligned, you will need to consistently wear the retainers for many more years or over your life-time. Your orthodontist will provide specific instructions on the amount of time you need to wear your retainers.

Q. Will my teeth move after my braces are removed?
A. If your teeth were very crooked before having braces, your teeth will have a tendency to want to move back slightly which is called relapse. This is usually only a minor change and 90% to 95% of the correction is retained. Wearing your retainers well will help reduce the amount of relapse. Many people are not aware that teeth can move anytime whether or not they have had orthodontic treatment. This is especially true during the late teen period when active growth of the lower jaw is coming to an end. The most vulnerable teeth are those at the front. Throughout life, your bite can change adversely from various causes such as eruption of wisdom teeth, growth or maturational changes, mouth breathing, playing musical instruments and other oral habits. Very occasionally, tooth movements will be severe enough to merit a further short course of treatment to ensure a satisfactory result.

Q. Do I need to see my dentist during orthodontic treatment?
A. Definitely YES. You must see your dentist regularly for dental check-ups. Your dentist will be able to check for tooth decay and give your teeth a clean and fluoride treatment.

  1. Q.How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

A. Everyone's teeth are different and therefore the cost of treatment depends on what type of appliances are required to correct your teeth. A simple plate may cost a few hundred dollars compared to full braces which costs a few thousand dollars. This practice has a payment plan which allows you to pay off your orthodontic treatment by installments over the time you are having orthodontic treatment. This makes having orthodontic treatment more affordable.

Next Page