Health

Information about orthodontics.

_ Orthodontics.

Orthodontic treatment is a way of straightening or moving teeth, to improve the appearance of the teeth and how they work. It can also help to look after the long-term health of your teeth, gums and jaw joints, by spreading the biting pressure over all your teeth.

Why should I have orthodontic treatment?

Many people have crowded or crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment will straighten the teeth or move them into a better position. This can improve their appearance and the way the teeth bite together, while also making them easier to clean.

When the teeth don’t meet correctly, this can put strain on the muscles of the jaw, causing jaw and joint problems and sometimes headaches. Orthodontic treatment can help you to bite more evenly and reduce the strain.

At what age should I have orthodontic treatment?

The best time is generally during childhood, but adults can have orthodontic treatment too – and more and more are doing so. Age is less important than having the right number of teeth. In children it may be necessary to wait for enough teeth to come through before starting treatment.

What does it involve?

The most important thing is to have a full examination. This will usually involve looking at your teeth, taking x-rays and making plaster models of your teeth. Your dentist will then discuss what treatment is possible. Once you are sure you want to go ahead, the treatment can start as soon as you have enough permanent teeth.

What is a fixed brace?

Often, teeth need to be guided more accurately than they can be using a removable brace. So a fixed brace is used. This has brackets and bands which are temporarily stuck to the teeth. A flexible wire joins all the brackets and allows the teeth to be moved. You can’t take the appliance out yourself, so it is called a fixed appliance. Fixed braces are not always made of metal. Plastic and ceramic can be used, especially for adults.

What are ‘invisible braces’?

They are tough, clear plastic ‘aligners’ (moulds) that are used to straighten teeth. Several sets of specially moulded, slightly different aligners are made for each patient. Each set is worn for two weeks before being replaced with the next one. They are made from clear plastic, so they are nearly invisible. This means that no one need know you are straightening your teeth.

The aligners should be worn for 22 to 23 hours a day for the best results. They can be easily removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and for cleaning in between your teeth. You need to have all your adult teeth before you can have this treatment.

What is a functional brace?

It is sometimes possible to change the way the jaws grow, using a functional brace. This works by using the power of your jaw muscles and can help with certain types of problem.

What are elastics?

Sometimes delicate elastic bands are attached to a fixed brace to help move the teeth. Your orthodontist will tell you if you need elastics.

How long will it take?

The length of treatment depends on how severe the problem is, and it may take anything from a few months to two-and-a-half years. Most people can be treated in one to two years.

How long will it take?

The length of treatment depends on how severe the problem is, and it may take anything from a few months to two-and-a-half years. Most people can be treated in one to two years.

Can orthodontics damage my teeth?

Your teeth can be damaged if you don’t look after them properly during treatment. The braces themselves will not cause damage, but poor cleaning and too many sugary foods and drinks can cause permanent damage to your teeth. Brackets, wires and braces can trap food and cause more plaque than usual to build up. So you need to clean your teeth and appliance very thoroughly.

How do I care for my brace and teeth?

It is important to keep having your teeth checked by your dental team while you are having orthodontic treatment.

You also need to take extra care of your teeth and mouth:

▪️ Clean your teeth carefully every day, including between your teeth where you can. Braces are delicate and you need to make sure you clean them carefully so that they do not break.

▪️ Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. Avoid snacks and drinks containing sugars, and fizzy drinks. Also, sticky and hard foods may damage your brace.

▪️ Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day. Use a mouthwash if you need to. Your dental team may recommend a stronger fluoride toothpaste, or perhaps a fluoride gel or mouth rinse, for you to use.

What Foods Should be Avoided While Wearing Braces?

Masticating hard foods can lead to the breakage of braces. Once the braces stop adhering to the tooth surface it can become loose and does not serve the desired function. In general, soft foods are preferred over hard and crunchy foods.

Some foods which should be avoided are:

▪️ Hard foods: Foods that require an effort to bite into, such as bagels, hard rolls, apples and nuts, should be eaten after cutting them into smaller pieces.

▪️ Sticky foods: Foods which adhere to the tooth surface should be avoided as they tend to stick to the tooth surface for a longer period of time. Some examples include caramels, chewing gums, and candies.

▪️ Sugary and processed foods: Foods like candies and sugary beverages can promote demineralization and result in subsequent tooth caries.

▪️ Crunchy foods: Foods like popcorn and ice should be completely avoided during an orthodontic treatment as the force used to crush them inside the mouth can lead to the breakage of the braces.

Three of the more notable benefits of braces includes better oral health, a more attractive smile and increased confidence and self-esteem.

1. Improved appearanc.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of getting braces, and the one that people are most familiar with, is an improved appearance. Many of those who have crooked or overcrowded teeth are insecure about the appearance of their smile.

2. Promotes good oral health.

Most who consider braces understand the cosmetic benefits of having straighter teeth, but the improvement in a person’s oral health through braces treatment is less well known. Braces not only help you become more attractive, but they also work to promote good oral health by making it much easier to brush the harder-to-reach areas of teeth, which may even be impossible to do when teeth are misaligned. Many who struggle with overcrowded or crooked teeth are more susceptible to cavities, chipped teeth or gum complications, and the risk of these issues can be reduced through braces treatment.

3. Increased confidence.

The benefits of an improved appearance are certainly worth noting, and the reality is you are likely to be viewed as more attractive with straighter teeth. However, another reason many who go through braces treatment to fix an imperfection in their smile become more attractive is that they are able to exude more confidence daily. In other words, those who go through treatment find they are more confident and have higher self-esteem, which allows them to perform better in social situations or while at school or work.

_ Risks.

The principal risks in orthodontic treatment pertain to:

1. Periodontal Health.

The health of the bone and gums which support the teeth may be affected by orthodontic tooth movement if a condition already exists, and in some rare cases where a condition does not appear to exist. In general, orthodontic treatment lessens the possibility of tooth loss or gum infection due to misalignment of the teeth or jaws. Inflammation of the gums and loss of supporting bone can occur if bacterial plaque is not removed daily with good oral hygiene.

2. Root Shortening.

In some patients the length of the roots of the teeth may be shortened during orthodontic treatment. Some patients are prone to this happening, some are not. It is nearly impossible to predict susceptibility. Usually this shortening does not have significant consequences, but on very rare occasions it may become a threat to the longevity of the teeth involved.

3. Jaw Joints.

Occasionally patients may suffer pain or dysfunction in the jaw joints (TMJ). This may present as joint pain, headaches or ear problems. These problems may occur with or without orthodontic treatment. Any of the above noted symptoms should be reported to the orthodontist. Some patients are susceptible to TMJ problems and some are not. Numerous studies have shown that the movement of the teeth during orthodontic treatment is unrelated to the onset of TMJ problems. Just as for painful conditions in other joints, discomfort in TMJ can last from a few days to several weeks or longer.

References :

ORTHODONTICS/ https://westpointdental.co.uk/dental-treatments/orthodontics/

“Orthodontic treatment”, www.dentalhealth.org

“Taking Care of Your Teeth with Braces”, www.news-medical.net

“What Are the Benefits of Getting Braces?”, /www.aboutbraces.com

↑ “Risks & Benefits”, www.glenferrieorthodontics.com.au

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