Dental braces or orthodontia as they are formally known, are used to treat common teeth issues such as irregular spacing, misalignment, crookedness, overcrowding, protrusion among others. Patients who wear braces can achieve straight teeth which contributes to better self-esteem and an attractive smile. Dental braces can be worn by children, teenagers, and adults.
Dental braces are made of wires and brackets. The technology has evolved and now the wires used in dental braces are able to make slight tooth movements in an easy and less painful manner. If you have serious issues, your orthodontist may recommend using a mini dental implant that is attached to the bone on the side of your mouth so that the teeth can move backward and create more space in the mouth.
There are different kinds of braces to choose from today. The traditional metal braces are the most commonly used. You may also use ceramic braces which match the colour of your teeth or inside braces. Inside braces are designed in such a way that the brackets are attached on the back side of the teeth instead of the front. The other popular option is known as ‘invisible’aligners which are made with clear plastic aligners that are more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional metal braces. Your orthodontist will help you determine the type of braces that’s right for you.
Retainers are often used after removing your braces. They are orthodontic appliances which must be molded to fit the wearer. They are usually made of plastic and/or metal. The purpose of the retainer is to keep the teeth in place after using braces. The retainer can either be permanently attached to your lower teeth or be removable. Some patients can bypass wearing braces and use a retainer. For instance, if the patient wants to close a small gap between the teeth, this can be done simply by using a retainer.
Typically, a patient will have to wear braces for about two years. However, the treatment time varies from patient to patient depending on several factors such as the extent of their dental issue, their age and how cooperative one is with the treatment plan. If you adhere to your orthodontist’s instruction, you’ll get better outcomes and a shorter treatment period.
Crooked, crowded or misaligned teeth can be as a result of many factors. For instance, individuals who have extra teeth, a condition known as hyperdontia or supernumerary teeth, missing teeth or jaw function problems, are more likely to have crooked teeth. Habits like tongue thrusting and thumb-sucking can also contribute to crooked teeth.
Most people think of braces as a purely cosmetic procedure. However, nothing is further from the truth. It’s extremely hard to clean your teeth properly if they are crammed into your mouth. Poor cleaning can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. If you have alignment issues, they can sometimes affect your ability to speak and chew. It also causes your tooth enamel to wear and tear and you could develop serious jaw problems that could become painful over time.
Orthodontic treatments work best for individuals between ages 8 to 14. This is because the bone tissue is still growing and it’s easier to correct movement and spacing issues. However, this doesn’t mean that you should wait until the child is 8 to visit an orthodontist. Taking your child for consultation early enough, even before the age of 7 can help identify issues early and plan for the appropriate treatment that will be needed.
Orthodontic treatment is equally important for adults who are suffering from issues like crowding, spacing, malocclusion or misalignment. Adults will receive similar treatment with the only difference being the time it will take for them to see results. For adults, their teeth and bone tissue have stopped growing so it will take a longer time for them to see the results. In some cases, the corrections for adults cannot be achieved by using braces alone. One may require tooth extraction or maxillofacial surgery in order to achieve the desired goal.
It’s common to experience some slight pain and soreness after getting braces for the first time. When you go for the adjustments in follow up visits, you may also experience the same thing. Soreness occurs because of the archwires which must be tightened to encourage the teeth to move. You can take over the counter medication for pain relief on the day you receive your braces or after getting adjustments. After 3 to 5 days, the pain and soreness are likely to go away. If it lasts longer than a week, consult your orthodontist.