Our Empress Walk Dental orthodontist utilize many different kinds of orthodontic appliances to treat our patients, including:


  • Most common form of orthodontic treatment due to the ability to treat patients of all ages and case complexities
  • Suitable for children, teens, and adults
  • Attached to the teeth using brackets, bands, and wires
  • Force teeth over time to go into a particular position
  • Come in metal, plastic, and ceramic varieties – metal is preferred for more complicated problems, and ceramic braces must be worn longer
  • Fixed braces can only be taken out by a dentist or orthodontist
  • “Inside braces” connect the braces to the back side of teeth rather than the front.
  • Usually worn from 1-3 years depending upon the patient’s needs
  • Can be used in combination with maxillofacial surgery in the most severe cases
  • Treatment plan is determined after an initial consultation with our Empress Walk Dental orthodontists, as each patient’s needs are different

Mouth Guards

  • Made of plastic
  • Typically worn during sports, especially contact sports
  • Protect the teeth, gums, and other fixed orthodontic appliances (like braces) from harm caused by physical contact
  • Can secure the tamporomandibular joint and aid in the prevention of joint injuries

Removable Appliances

  • Also known as retainers
  • Made of plastic and metal
  • Used as a followup treatment for patients who have had braces to keep the patient’s teeth from returning to their former positions
  • Worn on a nightly basis at the outset of treatment, and sometimes during the day as well
  • Can be worn for several years after having braces (or even for the rest of the patient’s life!)
  • May be difficult to get used to at first, but any soreness and pressure usually disappear within a couple of days
  • In some cases where the patient only needs to move one tooth or wants to close a small gap between their teeth, can be used instead of braces
  • Removable retainers can sometimes aid in improving certain speech problems or medical conditions
  • Tongue cage retainers/crib retainers have small metal bars that come down from the roof of the patient’s mouth in order to keep the tongue from slipping between the teeth when the patient is talking
  • Removable retainers can sometimes improve symptoms of TMJ problems, including issues such as malocclusion or teeth grinding, that result in ear aches, headaches, and jaw pain

Space Maintainers

  • Easy, affordable way to keep the teeth where they are supposed to be
  • Made of metal or plastic
  • Custom-created for each patient
  • Maintain natural teeth and jaw position by keeping the patient’s teeth from moving in any gaps that might exist due to premature loss of a baby tooth
  • Most often used for children, but can be used for adults too

Occlusal Splints

  • Also called bite guards, night guards, bite planes, or bite splints
  • Used both to modify the bite and to protect the teeth
  • Made of either soft/semi-hard plastic (night guards) or hard, hard-soft acrylic nylon, etc (bit splints)
  • The soft kind are more difficult to clean and adjust and will need replacement more often
  • Can help with pain caused by headaches, neck aches, and jaw issues
  • Night guards should only be worn at night according to the instructions of your Empress Walk Dental orthodontist
  • Not intended for use in athletics or other recreational pursuits – they are not strong enough to provide proper support

Clear Aligners

  • Made of clear plastic and customized to the shape of the patient’s mouth using specialized orthodontic technology
  • Don’t trap plaque or food particles in the mouth
  • Best used to treat adults with mild spacing issues
  • Not a good option for children or teenagers who are still growing
  • Can be taken out of the mouth in order to eat, drink, brush, floss, and/or attend important events
  • Come in sets of two, each worn for approximately 2 weeks at a time
  • As expensive as traditional braces or sometimes more expensive
  • Typical treatment length ranges from 9-24 months

Anterior Deprogrammers

  • Shaped like a mouth guard and made of plastic
  • Preferred for dealing with chronic/severe teeth grinding and/or clenching
  • Can be worn day and/or night
  • Can be worn on lower or upper teeth
  • Used to treat symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and bruxism (tooth grinding) and to relax jaw muscles, relieving pain
  • Can help alleviate muscle fatigue and curtail migraines and tension headaches

Palatal Expander

  • Typically used on children ages 8-10 years old
  • Used to expand a patient’s upper arch when the arch is too narrow to fit all of the permanent teeth
  • Not usually used for adults unless the adult is also having maxillofacial surgery as a part of their treatment because adults’ bones are no longer growing and therefore would be more difficult to treat this way
  • Typically covered by dental insurance
  • Reasonably affordable

Sleep Disorder Devices

  • Designed to help patients who suffer from sleep apnea or/and sleep more soundly and continuously through the night (snoring)
  • Also help reduce snoring by treating obstructive sleep apnea (a condition characterized by the patient’s airway being blocked due to collapse, a large tongue that falls back into the throat during sleep, or other causes)
  • Typically made of plastic or acrylic and worn over the teeth like any other orthodontic appliance
  • Can be used to stabilize the jaw and tongue to keep the patient’s airway open, to give the patient artificial muscle tone to impede the collapse of the patient’s airway, or to reposition the soft palate, lower jaw, and/or tongue to keep it in a certain position.
  • Custom-fitted for the individual patient so that they are comfortable to wear

Occlusal Equilibration

  • The preferred method of removing cusps of teeth that are situated too low or too high, which can inhibit proper jaw closure
  • Selectively reshapes the biting surfaces of some teeth and stabilizes teeth
  • Symptoms of patients who might be a candidate for occlusal equilibration include abnormal wear, breaking of restorations, and pain in areas like the shoulders, head, and/or jaw
  • Used when the upper jaw and the lower jaw do not match up properly
  • Can be taken care of in a single appointment most of the time, though more complicated situations may require multiple office visits to complete the work
  • Goal is to stabilize the bite and eliminate symptoms, including pain

How Long Will I Have to Wear My Orthodontic Appliance(s)?

Not all children (or indeed, all people) need braces. But for those who do, our Empress Walk Dental orthodontists typically recommend beginning treatment sometime between the ages of seven and 14 years old. In fact, the best time for someone to get braces is between the ages of 10 and 14 years old because the permanent teeth have been erupting, but the mouth and head are still growing, which means that the teeth will be easier to straighten.

Many of our young patients are treated for their malocclusions with space maintainers, braces, retainers, or some combination of these. Space maintainers are worn for a specified amount of time because they are essentially placeholders that keep the patient’s teeth from moving into open spaces where the patient is lacking a tooth, usually due to traumatic loss or extraction. The time a patient spends in fixed braces will vary according to their individual needs, but the average child or adolescent spends around 24 months wearing braces, and the average adult typically spends 28 months wearing them. As for retainers, our orthodontists advise our patients to wear them as long as they would like for their teeth to stay straight. Teeth have a tendency to move within the mouth over the years unless they are given a reason to remain where they are, which is where the retainer comes in.

The best time to treat malocclusions and other orthodontic issues is during childhood and adolescence simply because the teeth and mouth are still growing and therefore it is easier to alter their course. This does not mean, however, that adults cannot still benefit from orthodontic treatment. On the contrary, our orthodontists do work with plenty of adults to improve their overbites, underbites, jaw-joint disorders, crowded/crooked teeth, and incorrect jaw positions. The only caveat is that because adults have finished growing, it can take much longer to treat their problems, and treatments may be more expensive and more uncomfortable. In some cases, surgical intervention may be required to achieve the patient’s goals.

Adults who have healthy gums and teeth do not have much to worry about, but adults who are experiencing periodontal disease should be treated for that prior to beginning orthodontic treatment in order to avoid potential complications like tooth loss or gum damage. Our Empress Walk Dental dentists and orthodontists can help with both periodontal problems and orthodontic treatments at our comprehensive practice. This is more convenient for our patients, who appreciate that we are a “one-stop shop” for their dental and orthodontic needs.

How Long Will I Have to Wear My Orthodontic Appliance(s)?

Just as every patient is different, so too are the treatment plans for each patient. Therefore, it is impossible for us to tell you how long your treatment will last without first knowing the details of your situation and giving you a consultation. Several factors play into determining length of treatment, including the patient’s age (the older the patient, the longer the treatment), the complexity of the bite or spacing issue(s), etc. The average patient wears braces for a period of 1-3 years, and then a retainer for approximately 1 year after that to make sure the teeth don’t shift out of their new positions. In some cases, patients must use a retainer at night for the remainder of their lives in order to keep their teeth straight.

Those orthodontic devices that are designed to be worn only for short periods of time, such as occlusal splints associated with reconstructive oral surgery, mouth guards, etc., should only be worn for the specific purpose for which they were created (contact sports and other physical activity, oral surgery, etc.).

The length of time a patient will need to wear a sleep disorder appliance varies based on the progression of their disorder – the more severe the disorder, the longer the patient will remain in treatment. When you come in for your consultation, your Empress Walk Dental orthodontist will be happy to evaluate your current situation and recommend a treatment plan that will be a good fit for you.

If you have questions about orthodontic appliances or are ready to schedule your consultation at one of our convenient Toronto or North York locations, call Empress Walk Dental today at 416-250-8000!

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Our Office

5095 Yonge St, Unit A1, North York, ON M2N 6Z4


(416) 250-8000

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