Frequently Asked Questions

To help prepare our new patients for treatment, The myOrthodontist Maple Ridge team offers these answers to the commonly asked questions about orthodontics, as well as a glossary of orthodontic terms.

General Questions

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of facial irregularities known as malocclusion.

Just like your family dentist, your orthodontist has completed dental school, but has also had 2 - 3 years of additional training (called a "residency"). During this residency, the orthodontist learns not only about placing braces on teeth, but also studies jaw growth and development. This extensive study allows orthodontists to determine developing bite problems at very early ages.

When should I see an orthodontist?

You should see an orthodontist if you are experiencing any teeth alignment or bite problems, or even if you simply have some questions about these issues.

Everyone’s teeth develop differently. An orthodontist can determine whether there is a problem, or if what you are experiencing is just normal variation in tooth development.

When should my child visit an orthodontist?

We recommend that by the age of 7, children should pay their first visit to the orthodontist. While it may seem unnecessary if your child does not seem to have bite or teeth alignment issues, these types of problems are not always immediately obvious, especially early on. An orthodontist can identify potential orthodontic problems early, and take steps to avoid their developing into full-blown problems.

If your child isn't ready for treatment, the orthodontist will monitor his or her growth and development on a regular basis. The sooner teeth alignment and bite issues can be addressed, the better!

What are some signs that braces may be needed?

Below are some of the more common signs that orthodontics may be needed:

  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Teeth are crowded or overlapped
  • The centers of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits that continue after 6 or 7 years of age
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth

>> Learn More about Common Bite Problems (Malocclusion)

What information should I bring to my first appointment?

To make your first visit to the orthodontist go as smoothly as possible, bring the following information and documents to your appointment:

  • Medical and dental history
  • Home address and phone number
  • Work phone number
  • Insurance information and insurance card
  • A list of your chief concerns
  • Any pertinent x-rays

Do I need braces if my teeth are straight, but my bite is off?

Orthodontics isn't only for straighter teeth and improved aesthetics. A good healthy bite helps eliminate other health problems in later years. It also helps save teeth from wearing.

What are Phase I and Phase II treatments?

Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (e.g., expander or partial braces) that happens before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. This kind of treatment can occur between the ages of 6 and 10, and is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth and to correct of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits.

Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces that are applied when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of 11 and 13.

How do braces work?

When force is applied to the roots of the teeth with your braces and wires, the cells in the bone and tissues surrounding the root are stimulated into action. Cells in the body called Osteoblasts and Osteoclasts respectively add and remove bone. Pressure at the bracket produces pressure and tension (pulling) at the root of the tooth, which causes tooth movement and remodeling of bone.

What will happen during my first orthodontic appointment?

During your first appointment, the orthodontist will start by getting to know you, and learning about your medical and dental history.

Next, she will carry out a thorough examination of your face, jaws, and teeth. This is typically followed by the taking of x-rays and molds of your teeth. These will function as records for you and your orthodontist to track your progress, and will help your orthodontist to diagnose problems that are not visible to the naked eye.

After your orthodontist has carefully studied the records she has taken during your first appointment, she will develop a treatment plan for you. The initial appointment typically takes about an hour. >> Learn More

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from 1 to 2 years. Actual treatment time can be affected by the rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary.

Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene, keeping regular appointments and good elastic wear are all important in keeping treatment time on schedule. >> Learn More

How long do I have to wear my retainers?

You will need to wear them full-time following the removal of your braces. Length of time will be dependent upon your individual treatment and the difficulty in holding the teeth in your corrected position.

Do braces hurt?

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires, your teeth may feel sore or tender for anywhere from 1 to 4 days. Your lips and cheeks may need 1 to 2 weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

How often will I have appointments scheduled?

It may take several appointments at the beginning to get treatment started. Once treatment is underway, appointments are usually 4 to 6 weeks apart.

Orthodontics FAQ Ridge Meadow BC

Invisalign Questions

How often must I wear my aligners?

You must wear your aligners for up to 22 hours daily. You may remove them for eating, drinking and regular oral hygiene.

Are there any restrictions to what I can eat while in treatment?

No. Unlike braces, you may eat whatever you like as long as you remove the aligners before eating. Prior to placing the aligners back on, it is important to brush your teeth and the aligners after you eat.

Will wearing the aligners affect my speech?

Like any orthodontic treatment, there is a short adjustment period. The more you speak with the aligners on, the quicker you will adjust.

Is there any discomfort with Invisalign® treatment?

There will be some pressure and minor discomfort for a day or two after each initial insertion. This is a sign that your teeth are moving sequentially into their final position.

Can I chew gum?

It is recommended that you remove your aligners prior to chewing gum as the gum will stick to the aligners.

Can I smoke with the aligners in?

We discourage smoking with aligners as the cigarette smoke will tend to discolor them.

How do I keep my aligners clean?

Brushing them with toothpaste will keep them fresh and clean.

How often do I see an orthodontist while wearing Invisalign®?

Regular office visits are every five to six weeks. This will ensure that your Invisalign treatment is progressing as planned.

What happens after my treatment is complete? Do I need retainers?

All orthodontic patients are instructed to wear their retainers at night indefinitely. Sleeping with your retainers in at night will ensure a healthy bite and maintain the new position of your teeth.

How long does Invisalign treatment take?

Treatment time varies depending on the severity of the misaligned teeth. Treatment time can be shorter than traditional braces, between six and 18 months.

Does Invisalign work for kids?

Yes, if their teeth, including second molars, have grown in completely.

Financial Questions

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

Orthodontic fees will vary depending on the complexity of the bite problem. Bites with more severe problems usually require additional treatment time (and additional fees) than less complicated bite issues do. Because of the variety of differences, each case is evaluated independently.

Fees can usually be estimated at the initial visit. During the consultation appointment, our staff will go over the fees in more detail and devise a payment plan that best meets your needs. >> Learn More

How does insurance work?

Each insurance company works differently. If you have orthodontic insurance, please bring your insurance information with you to your first appointment. From there, we will help you determine the coverage you have available, and direct bill your insurance provider.

Additionally, most insurance plans will not cover the whole cost of your orthodontic care. There may be a deductible clause, a dollar limit, and excluded services.

What payment options does myOrthodontist Maple Ridge offer?

Being sensitive to the fact that people have different needs when it comes to fulfilling their financial obligations, myOrthodontist Maple Ridge provides the following convenient payment options.

  • If full payment is made at the onset of treatment, we will offer a courtesy discount.
  • A down payment, followed by regular monthly payments, is offered with no interest, usually over a period of 12 to 20 months.
  • An additional courtesy discount is always offered when more than one member of the family begins treatment.

What methods of payment does myOrthodontist Maple Ridge accept?

We accept Interac, post-dated cheques, Visa, and MasterCard.

Glossary of Orthodontic Terms


An orthodontic adjustment is a progress evaluation appointment, during which your wires may be adjusted or changed.


An orthodontic appliance is anything that your orthodontist attaches to your teeth to move them, or to change the shape of your jaw.


An archwire is the metal wire that is attached to your brackets, in order to move your teeth.


Braces are dental appliances that produce a force on a tooth in a very specific, controlled manner and direction, in order to move the tooth into a better position.


A bracket, or a single brace, is attached to the front of the tooth. It is made of up 3 components: the wing, the slot, and the base. The slot is where the wire is placed. The wings help hold the wire in place in the slot, with a small rubber band. And the base is where the bracket is attached to the tooth.


The band is another part of the braces. it is used primarily on the back molars. It is made of stainless steel metal that wraps around the entire tooth and is held in place with special dental cement. Banding is the process of cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.


The chain is a stretchable plastic chain that is used to hold the archwires into the brackets.


During different points of your orthodontic treatment, small elastics, or rubber bands, are used as a gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or with jaw alignment.


The forsus is a spring-like appliance that creates an upward and backward force on the upper molars, similar to headgear. At the same time, it also pushes the lower teeth and jaw forward. Forsus springs are typically worn for 6 - 8 months, with adjustments every 6 - 8 weeks.

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst Appliance is used to correct Class 2 Malocclusion, where the upper jaw protrudes out too far over the lower jaw.


Taking an impression is the first step in making a model of your teeth. An impression is made when the patient bites into a tray filled with a rubber-type material. That material then hardens to create a mold of your teeth.


Invisalign technology uses computer scanners and virtual reality to move teeth gradually, using the construction of clear overlay retainer appliances. Invisalign appliances are nearly invisible, which makes them a great option for adults who want to improve the look of their smiles. They can only be used for relatively minor malocclusion, however. More extreme cases require standard braces.

Lip Bumper

This removable appliance is used in growing children to create and maintain spaces for the adult teeth to grow in.


The world Malocclusion is formed from the word “occlusion,” which refers to the “bite,” and “mal” which means bad, or incorrect. Therefore, malocclusion means “bad bite.”Class I malocclusion is when the upper and lower teeth are in the proper front-back position, but may have other problems (crowding, rotations, misalignment etc.). Class II malocclusion is when the upper teeth are too far ahead of the lower teeth (commonly referred to as an “overbite”). Class III malocclusion is when the lower teeth protrude forward over the upper teeth (commonly seen as an “underbite”).

Mouth Guard

A mouth guard is a device used to protect your mouth from injury when you are playing sports. Mouth guards are especially important for orthodontic patients.

Palatal Expander

A palatal expander is an appliance used to help widen your upper jaw or palate.


A fixed, or permanent, a retainer can greatly enhance the stability of your smile and bite. Fixed retainers are invisible because they are bonded to the backsides of your teeth. Removable retainers are appliances that your orthodontist will give you to wear after your braces have been removed. The removable retainer attaches to your upper jaw and/or lower teeth, and hold your teeth in the correct position while the bone around them adjusts to their new position.


A plastic or metal part that your orthodontist uses to create space for bands between your teeth.


This is a clear wax that is used to prevent your braces from irritating the inside of your mouth when your braces are first put in.

Book your first orthodontic consultation today at myOrthodontist Maple Ridge.