Tag Archives: Interceptive Orthodontic

Common Questions About Braces

Here are the answers to some common questions about what it like to have braces

What is it like having braces?,
When you have braces, you will probably find your mouth sore for a few days. It can also be uncomfortable when the braces are tightened. However, most of the time you probably won’t even notice them.

Do braces hurt?
It can depend on which type you choose but usually modern braces will not hurt except for the first few days or when they are tightened.

While the manufacturers are always looking for ways to make them more comfortable, a little discomfort at the beginning is still common. You will be able to take some painkillers if necessary. The pain may be greater if you start orthodontic treatment when you are an adult.

Will it be embarrassing to wear braces?
Over 70% of teenagers wear braces and therefore most people have some experience of them so there is no need to feel embarrassed. If you start treatment when you are an adult, the proportion of people wearing braces is lower but you will still find most people supportive.

Will braces cause sores in my mouth?
Sometimes you might experience sores on your lips in the first few days. These can easily be rinsed in water or special solution and will usually heal within a week or so. You can also put wax on the braces to prevent the braces from rubbing and irritating the sore.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?
It varies a lot depending on exactly what changes need to happen in your mouth. When started young it may last a few months. From the age of 12, it can take a year or two and perhaps more for adults. However it depends very much on your personal situation and your orthodontists will be able to advise you.

Advertisements

What are Braces and How do They Work?

Braces are devices which are used to straighten teeth, correct bite problems and fix irregular teeth.

They are made of three basic parts:
– Brackets
– Bonding (or band)
– Arch wire

The bonding is used to fix the brackets to the teeth.

The arch wire goes through the brackets and is held in place with small rubber bands.

The brackets and arch wire work together to move the teeth into new positions to straighten the teeth.

The arch wire works by putting pressure on the brackets to help move the teeth into the desired new position.

When pressure is applied to your teeth like this, they loosen slightly from the gums. Bone grows in to support the tooth in its new position but this takes time so the process needs to be done slowly.

That’s why you may have to wear braces for about two years and adjustments are only made every few weeks.

The arch wires work because they want to keep their original shape and will exert a great deal of pressure to do this. It is the combination of this aim of the arch wire and the person’s body heat that puts pressure on the teeth.

Braces are not always enough on their own to complete the task so the orthodontist may also use rubber bands or other devices to help pull the teeth in the correct direction.

After you have finished with the braces, you may need to wear a Retainer for a few months to hold the teeth in position until the bone has fully grown into place.

Overcoming Problems with Braces

Most people get used to braces quickly and wear them for as long as they need to with no problems.

However, occasional problems can arise and taking the right steps enables you to resolve them quickly.

Here are some examples of problems that may arise.

Allergic Reaction: Some people can have an allergic reaction to the elastic or the metal used in braces. Alternative materials can normally be used so it is important to let your orthodontist know of any allergies.

Mouth Sores: There may be irritation due to some parts of the braces. This is more commons in the early stages but there are many products available such as oral rinses and dental wax that help heal sores quickly.

Build Up of Plaque: It is important to keep up your regular oral care routine of brushing and flossing to prevent food building up around braces as this can lead to build up of plaque which can cause tooth decay and bad breath.

Damaged Braces: Braces can be damaged if not cared for properly. Certain hard or sticky foods can cause damage as can mouth injuries when playing sports. If damage occurs frequently, it can mean the treatment takes longer.

Arch Wire Movement: If the arch wire becomes displaced, it can cause irritation and mouth ulcers. Dental wax helps but it is usually best to have the damage fixed by an orthodontist.

Discomfort: Pain and discomfort may occur after first installation and also after any adjustments but these usually pass quickly.

Adult Braces and Self esteem

A lot of effort is made to help teenagers feel better about having braces.

However as around 70% of teenagers need braces, it’s a very common experience.

Yet adults can also need braces and it is less common amongst their peers so adults often have more issues about what other people think of them when they go to work and to social events with braces.

Feedback suggests many men feel a bit geeky with braces while women often feel unattractive.

Of course, some adults don’t care what other people think but many do.

The fact is the braces may seem like a big deal for you, especially at first because they are in your mouth. However, most other people barely notice or may just mention it in passing.

Many adults wore braces as kids or have kids who are in braces.

They are likely to be sympathetic and may even admire you for taking action to improve your appearance.

Several high profile actors and musicians have also worn braces as adults and this makes it much easier.

Of course, you may need to be prepared to answer questions – especially when some people meet you for the first time. So you may need a plan for dealing with certain events such as important business meetings.

What Adult Orthodontic Treatment Feels Like

The early stages of orthodontic treatment can be a little harder for adult patients than for teenagers.

Teenagers have the benefit of getting treatment while they are still growing and their mouth is more flexible.

In some cases, adults will need to have teeth removed or will require surgery to expand their jaw to make room for moving the teeth. This may not be fun but anaesthetics and painkillers make this a short-term concern compared to the long-term benefits.

When the orthodontist actually puts in your braces, your mouth may be tender for a few days though this should clear up quickly.

Beyond that, the only time you are likely to notice your braces is when you have them tightened.

Some adults say that they feel like their teeth have come loose at the beginning.

The reason is that when you are older your teeth are more firmly anchored into your jaw.

The orthodontist needs to loosen the little filaments that anchor your teeth before the teeth will move.

This can mean your teeth feel loose. However, the feeling is no reason for concern. They will tighten again after the orthodontic treatment.

Beyond that, the basics of orthodontic treatment are the same at any age. Your mouth will feel tender for a few days after you first get the braces and you will experience some discomfort when your braces are tightened.

Common Questions About Orthodontics

How does orthodontics work?
The job of an orthodontist is to help fix crooked teeth and jaw problems so that your teeth are in the right place in your mouth.

This may require the orthodontist to take action that helps stretch your jaw or move your teeth so that everything fits properly.

One action they can take is using tools such as braces to push on your teeth so they move into the right place.

If your top jaw is too small, they may install an expander to make it grow wider. Your jaw can be stretched or widened or moved to change its shape.

There are various other steps they can take to move your teeth or expand your jaw so that your teeth all fit comfortably and correctly in your mouth.

At what age should I start orthodontic treatment?
You can get orthodontic treatment at any age from toddlers to old age. The best and least painful time for orthodontic treatment is usually when you are between about 8 to 14.

Between 8 and 9 is usually when the jaw is growing fastest and so is the best time to reshape your mouth.

Permanent teeth usually come in between age 12 or 14 and that is the best time to start full orthodontic treatment.

What happens if I wait until I am older for orthodontic treatment?
You can get braces at any age but as you get older the treatment takes longer and may hurt a bit more. Nevertheless the benefits are still significant.

Why Modern Teenagers Need Braces

Many teenagers wonder why they need to wear braces.

Is it all about cosmetics or is there something more important?

Back in the days of the cave men, teenagers were only two or three feet tall.

But over the last 10,000 years, people have got bigger. While our mouths have got a little bigger, our teeth got a lot bigger.

As a result, teeth no longer fit correctly into most people’s mouths.

While improving your smile is a great reason for getting braces, there are more important problems that can arise if you don’t deal with crooked teeth.

Digestion Problems: If your teeth are not straight, you will not be able to chew your food correctly and this can lead to stomach problems

Dental Problems: If you don’t deal with crooked teeth early on, your teeth will be hard to clean, and you will face gum problems and greater wear on your teeth.

Breathing problem: As you get older the roof of your mouth can sometimes partially block the air passages in your nose making you snore loudly. The risk of this can be reduced by having braces.

Truth is about 70% of teenagers need braces and therefore having braces will not make you feel different to most of your friends.

Why Adult Orthodontist Treatment is Different

One reason orthodontic treatment for adults is different is that, when you are older, it is harder to enlarge your mouth to get all of your teeth to fit.

When you are growing, your jaw is more flexible and the orthodontist can stretch your mouth so everything fits.

However, after you finish growing, your jaw hardens and it becomes difficult for an orthodontist to stretch it.

While you can have your jaw enlarged surgically, most adults opt to have their teeth straightened without this step.

This may mean you need to have some teeth removed to make everything fit. This may not have been necessary if the treatment had been done when you were still growing.

However, there are many benefits in having orthodontic treatment at any age.

In adult life, it can help your digestion and your general health as well as preventing dental problems.

The main difference is that orthodontic treatment when you are older can be a bit slower and even slightly more painful than for younger patients.

Why Orthodontic Treatment Does Not Work for All Adults

While a surprising number of adults benefit from orthodontic treatment, not all adults can take advantage.

It can depend on how well you have looked after your teeth and gums.

For example, gums may have receded so much that orthodontic treatment is not an option or roots may be very shallow if they have not been cared for properly.

Although the state of your mouth may mean that orthodontic treatment is not possible, the benefits of it can apply at any age and it is always worth checking the situation out with an orthodontist.

All orthodontists are trained how to treat adult patients but some specialize in this area.

An experienced orthodontist will know that adult treatment can take longer and may need to be more gentle than treatment earlier in life when someone is still growing.

Orthodontic services can be provided by any licensed dentist trained in orthodontics though most treatment is done by orthodontists.

A dentist must complete 2-3 years of additional training to earn a special qualification in orthodontics.

The Process of Getting Braces

If your doctor or orthodontist believes you need braces, they will start by examining your teeth visually.

They will then set up an appointment to take X-rays and make molds and impressions so that they have a clear record of how your mouth currently looks.

These records will help them establish the problem and what course of action to take.

A short time before you receive the braces, spacers are added into your mouth to make sure there is enough space for the bands.

An adhesive will be applied to the teeth to help the cement bond to the surface of the tooth.

In most cases the teeth will be banded and then brackets will be added.

The bracket will be applied with dental cement and light may be used and to help harden it. This may takes a few seconds for each tooth.

Molar bands may be needed to ensure the brackets stay in place.

Bands may also be needed if previous dental treatment such as fillings cause problems with attaching the bracket.

Once the brackets have been added, an archwire is threaded between them. This is fixed in place by ligatures, which may be elastic or metal.

Archwires are tightened frequently to help deliver the results required.

Brackets and or hooks may be added to the archwire for affixing the elastic.

Braces often use nickel-titanium archwires and temperature-sensitive materials. The archwire is flexible when cold and, when it is heated to body temperature, it stiffens and tries to retain its shape so this creates constant light pressure on the teeth.

There are now many different types of braces and the exact procedure may vary depending on the specific option you choose.