What are the potential benefits of orthodontic treatment?
Besides leading to a more attractive smile, there are a variety of benefits for undergoing orthodontic treatment including: Improved wear patterns and force distribution of the teeth; Possible increase in self-confidence and reducing appearance-consciousness during crucial teenage and pre-teen development years; Increased ability to keep the teeth and gums clean; and Better overall teeth function.
What are the indications that braces may be required?
The mouth, jaw and teeth offer many clues that braces may be needed in the future. For example: Buck teeth or having the upper front teeth excessively protrude over the lower teeth; Overlapped or crowded teeth; Difficulty chewing food; Under-bite or having the upper front teeth situated inside or behind the lower front teeth; Thumb or finger sucking habits that continue past 6 or 7 years old.
Other indications include: Having the center of the upper and lower teeth not line up directly; When biting together, the upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth, resulting in a deep-bite; When biting together, the upper and lower teeth do not even touch, known as an open-bite; Spaces between the teeth; Teeth wearing excessively or unevenly and having the lower jaw shift from one side or the other when biting together.
When age should braces start or orthodontic treatments begin?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, it is recommended that a child receives a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than the age of 7 years. There are many reasons your child should undergo an orthodontic check-up at this age including:
Even though your childís teeth may seem straight, there may be an issue that only an orthodontist can detect. Orthodontists recognize subtle problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth while some baby teeth are still present. The orthodontist may discover that there is no concern with your childís bite; conversely, they may identify a developing issue but recommend monitoring your childís development and growth. If indicated, treatment will begin at the appropriate time for your child. In some cases, the orthodontist may find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.
Early treatment can give your orthodontist the opportunity to correct a variety of issues such as: improve the way the lips meet; guide jaw growth; improve appearance; lower the risk of trauma occurring to front teeth that protrude; correct oral habits that may be harmful; and guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position.
Additionally, early treatment may be helpful in preventing more serious problems from developing, which could make future treatment less complicated and shorter. In certain cases, the orthodontist will be able to attain results that may not be possible once the jaws and face have finished growing.
By having an orthodontic evaluation early, you will be giving your child the best opportunity for a gorgeous, healthy smile. Since patients differ in both their treatment needs and their physiological development, the main goal of the orthodontic visit is to provide every patient with the most appropriate treatment options at the ideal time.
What is Phase I Treatment? Phase II treatment?
Early interceptive treatment, known as Phase I, is limited orthodontic treatment, for example partial braces or an expander prior to all of the permanent teeth erupting. This kind of treatment can take place between the ages of 6 and 10 years old. Oftentimes this treatment is recommended to correct harmful oral habits, under-bites, over-bites, cross-bites and to make more space for developing teeth.
Comprehensive treatment or Phase II treatment involves full braces after all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Phase II treatment typically takes place between the ages of 11 years old and 13 years old.
Do adult patients benefit from orthodontics?
Approximately 20% to 25% of all orthodontic patients today are adults. Everyone desires a healthy and beautiful smile. Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age.
How does the process of orthodontic treatment work?
Braces utilize a gentle, steady pressure in order to gradually guide teeth into their correct positions. Tiny brackets are placed onto your teeth. Afterwards, an archwire is used that connects to the brackets. When the archwire is attached into your brackets, it wants to return to its original shape. As it does this, slight pressure is applied and this is what causes your teeth to move into their new positions.
What is the timeframe for orthodontic treatment?
Every patientís mouth is different; therefore, treatment times are based on a case-by-case basis. The average length of time people wear braces ranges from 1 to 2 years. Please remember that the length of treatment is also drastically influenced by patient compliance. Keeping your regular appointment schedules and maintaining good oral hygiene are vital for ensuring your treatment time stays on schedule.
Are braces painful?
Having the brackets and bands placed on your teeth does not hurt. However, once your braces are connected with the archwires, it is common to experience some soreness of your teeth for 1 to 4 days. Your cheeks and lips and tongue will also need to accommodate to all of the metal in your mouth. It may take a week or two to get used to having the braces on your teeth.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments or playing sports?
No, wearing braces will not interfere with playing musical instruments or playing sports. It is recommended that patients wear a mouth guard to protect their smiles when participating in any kind of sporting activity. Mouth guards are comfortable, inexpensive and available in a wide variety of patterns and colors. With musical instruments, there may be an initial period of adjustment. If you are experiencing any kind of discomfort, brace covers can be provided.
Should I still visit my family dentist while I have braces?
Yes, definitely. It is important to maintain your biannual visits to your family dentist every 6 months for your regular dental check-ups while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
My braces have recently been removed. What are the white or stained marks around where my braces were located?
Unfortunately, if you did not clean all of the plaque off of your teeth every time you ate some food, decalcification or white marks may be present. These white marks are the early stage of cavities. Actual cavities may occur and look like darker stained areas or holes in the enamel.
When you eat something, the bacteria in our mouths also get fed. These bacteria produce acids for at least 90 minutes when they eat. This acid attacks your enamel and causes the whitish acid burn marks that may develop into cavities. It also causes gingivitis or gum inflammation. Note that the area under the brace has been protected and does not show damage, since we use special glue that seals and prevents cavities under the tooth. We are unable to seal the entire tooth and this is where your great oral hygiene comes in!
Decalcification can happen to all patients, although, its prevalence increases dramatically when wearing braces since it is trickier to clean the teeth. To help our patients prevent decalcification during orthodontic treatment, the following procedures are recommended to our clients:
Educating patients to use a 0.5% fluoride rinse every day; Providing instructions to promote great oral hygiene such as healthy diet habits and brushing and rinsing after each meal; Using dental bonding agents that release fluoride; Minimizing the time that fixed braces are located on the teeth; Asking your dentist to apply fluoride every 6 months during active treatment in order to recharge the fluoride in the bonding agent. Fluoride toothpaste and fluoride rinse can help to re-mineralize shallow decalcification. Over time, the brownness or whiteness may disappear or diminish greatly.