A dentist usually recommends braces to improve a patient's "orofacial" appearance. Through orthodontic treatment, problems like crooked or crowded teeth, overbites or underbites, incorrect jaw position, and disorders of the jaw joints are corrected. If left untreated, these problems can result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.
When is the right time for braces?
Patients with orthodontic problems can benefit from treatment at nearly any age. An ideal time for placement of braces is between 10 and 14 years of age, while the head and mouth are still growing and teeth are more accessible to straightening. However, because any adjustments in facial appearance can be traumatic to a child during these sensitive years, parents should discuss the matter with their children before braces are applied.
And braces aren't just for kids. More and more adults are also wearing braces to correct minor problems and to improve their smiles.
How Long Do I Need to Wear Braces?
That depends upon your treatment plan. The more complicated your spacing or bite problem is, and the older you are, the longer the period of treatment, usually. Most patients can count on wearing full braces between 8 and 24 months, followed by the wearing of a retainer to set and align tissues surrounding straightened teeth.
Who Provides My Treatment?
At Smile Designer, your treatment will be provided by our board certified orthodontist, a specialist trained in the development, prevention and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite and jaws and related facial abnormalities.
What Kind of Braces Do I Need?
Your dentist will know what appliance is best for your particular problem, but you often have a choice. Braces generally come in three varieties: The most popular types are brackets that are either metal, ceramic or plastic that are bonded to teeth. Ceramic brackets are typically clear or tooth-colored and are far less noticeable than metal brackets. A new alternative to traditional braces is a series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners, commonly known as Invisalign. Not only are these braces invisible, but they also are removable so they won't trap food and plaque between your teeth like metal braces. You'll wear each aligner for about two weeks and only remove it for eating, brushing and flossing. This may be an option for adults with mild spacing problems. Invisible aligners are not appropriate for children and adolescents who are still waiting for permanent teeth.
Is Treatment Uncomfortable?
The interconnecting wires of traditional braces are tightened at each visit, bearing mild pressure on the brackets or bands to shift teeth or jaws gradually into a desired position. Your teeth and jaws may feel slightly sore after each visit, but the discomfort is brief. Keep in mind also that some teeth may need to be extracted to make room for teeth being shifted with braces and for proper jaw alignment. For patients with aligners, there may be some soreness as your mouth adjusts to each new plastic tray.
What About Home Care?
With braces, oral hygiene is more important than ever. Braces have tiny spaces where food particles and plaque more easily get trapped. Brush carefully after every meal with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and check your teeth in the mirror to make sure they're clean. Take time to floss between braces and under wires with the help of a floss threader. Have your teeth cleaned every six months to keep your gums and teeth healthy. Insufficient cleaning while wearing braces can cause enamel staining around brackets or bands.