All About Dental Braces
Dental braces are wire-based devices used in orthodontics to align crowded and crooked teeth and jaws. It helps in positioning teeth based on the patient's bite maintaining the natural facial structure.
They also help accurately align teeth and jaws to produce an even bite and a fine natural smile. Dental Braces are also used to fix gaps between teeth.
Braces are generally recommended to people in their early teenage years for better results.
It is unnecessary to have braces for minor alignment or straightening since an alternative is available - a series of personalised & removable braces called clear aligners or "invisible braces."
These kinds of braces are mostly recommended to adults with minor corrections. This development in orthodontics has revolutionised the experience of having dental braces by making them more comfortable and less visible.
Why Dental Braces?
Braces are known for treating:
Overcrowded or crooked teeth
Gaps between teeth
Teeth alignment - vertical (overbite) or horizontal (over-jet)
Teeth alignment - (under-bite)
Uneven bite because of jaw misalignment
Precise alignment of your teeth and jaws can improve how you bite, chew, and speak, ultimately resulting in a better facial appearance.
Do Braces work on Adults?
Yes, although adults may need to wear them longer than teenagers or kids to deliver similar results. This is because the facial bones complete their growth around 18 – 22 years of age. Due to this, some problems may become hard to fix with just braces in adulthood.
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What are the risks involved?
Braces are a relatively safe procedure. However, you need to be aware of some short-term and long-term risks involved in the process.
Dental Braces create tiny gaps around teeth that promote bacteria-filled plaque deposits by trapping food particles in them. If the food particles stuck are ignored, then it can result in:
Permanent white stains on the outer enamel surface of the teeth due to lack of minerals
Cavities and Tooth Decay
Alongside short-term or minor issues, sometimes if not monitored well Dental braces can also result in Long-term risks like:
Permanent loss of tooth root length leading to less stable teeth. This happens when the new bone, which is laid behind the tooth to be restructured or straighten, dissolves. Although, only in rare cases, this causes any problems.
Loss of Results: You may witness a reverse effect if you do not follow the orthodontist's instructions precisely once the braces are removed. This generally happens when wearing a retainer post removal of your braces. You may notice that some of the corrections made while setting up your braces are fading away.
Points to remember while wearing a Braces
To amplify the results and reduce the risk of damage, you need to ensure that you are precisely following all the instructions given by your orthodontist. Some of the tips that we would suggest are;
Limit sugary and starchy foods and beverages, which extensively contribute to plaque development, tooth decay and sometimes even gum infections.
Check Out the Article on 10 Bad Foods & Beverages for Your Teeth
Brush softly and regularly, preferably post every meal; you can consider fluoride toothpaste with a soft-bristled brush. If brushing after every meal does not sound practical to you, you can go with rinsing with a mouthwash containing fluoride with antiplaque, antibacterial, and anti-gingivitis ingredients.
Floss daily between braces and under wires using a high-quality threader and consider rubbing it against both sides of each tooth. Be careful not to glide the floss into your gums, as it can bruise your gums. You can curve the floss to form a C shape at the tooth's base, allowing it to infiltrate and clean the gaps between your gums and your tooth.
Avoid having sticky foods like gum, chewy candies, caramel and sticky chocolate bars. They can pull off the braces' bands, wires and brackets and might end up hurting your gums.
Avoid hard or shelled foods — such as ice, nuts, hard candies, popcorn. Extreme jaw pressure requires cracking such items, which can sometimes result in breaking parts of your braces.
In some cases, tooth alignment problems appear when bones develop and can be adjusted before puberty. However, this tends to become apparent once the permanent teeth start growing through the gums.
Depending on the case, the orthodontist may suggest waiting until enough portion of the teeth has grown through the gums before affixing dental braces. The ideal age for wearing dental braces to get excellent results is around 8 and 14 years, as facial bones grow at an optimum rate and teeth are easier to align or straighten.
Your Dental Examination
Preparation for braces generally involves:
This is the first stage where an orthodontist examines your teeth and jaw structure to understand the case.
Position Determination using X-Ray reports:
To determine the position, nature and structure of teeth, an orthodontist will suggest you go through a series of X-Rays. The most common X-Ray is the panoramic one, also called an OPG which displays all the biting positions and if any teeth are still developing within the jaws. The second most commonly referred to is the Special head X-Rays, which helps identify the teeth' shape, size, position, and relationship with the jaws.
Bite Evaluation using Plaster models:
You will be biting tight into a soft material that remains on your teeth for a few minutes. The impression created from the tight bite is used by an orthodontist to evaluate your teeth and Jaw alignment when clenched. In some cases, this is scanned into a digital format for further evaluation to make complex treatment decisions.
Creating room by Tooth extraction:
In cases where the mouth is overcrowded, there may be limited or no room for all the teeth in the jaw. The orthodontist might recommend extracting one or more permanent teeth depending on the space so that the remaining teeth fit comfortably. This sets the teeth together better and allows sufficient cleaning space.
Once your orthodontist has examined, they develop a customised treatment plan that syncs with your case. This involves the use of fixed braces that are temporarily bonded with your teeth.
Braces Treatment Phases
Treatments involving dental braces is usually broken down into three phases:
Initial positioning of the clear aligners.
Application of a retainer after removing braces.
Phase 1: Initial positioning of the brackets and wires
Initial positioning of the braces comprises of the following components:
Brackets: Brackets are either affixed on the outer surfaces of the teeth or to the backside of teeth, which hides them and makes them harder to access. Brackets are generally made of ceramic and stainless steel and nowadays are much smaller and hardly noticeable.
Ring Bands: This component covers the molar teeth by encircling them. This is why before bands are applied, sufficient space is created by setting spacers which are rubber band like materials placed between the molar teeth. These bands are made of either stainless steel or titanium. Lastly, a tube (Buccal) is also attached to the band, ensuring that connecting wire is in place.
Arch-wire: This is a flexible wire that connects brackets and bands. The arch-wire is responsible to controls the alignment of the teeth.
Elastic ties: They are tiny metal rubber bands that ensure wires are secure to the shelves. In some scenarios, larger rubber bands are also used. Stretching elastics ties connecting the upper and lower jaws produce extra corrective pressure.
Headgear: Headgear is usually only worn at night, and it may be helpful in more complex cases. It is attached to headgear tubes to produce supplementary pressure that helps to hold and move teeth appropriately.
Temporary Anchorage Devices: TADs is an alternative to headgear and rubber bands; depending on the case, the orthodontist may recommend it to some patients. Temporary Anchorage Devices are tiny screws that are placed through the gums into the jawbone. It is used as an anchor to move the teeth by keeping the pressure constant.
Phase 2: Periodic adjustments
Once the braces are set on the teeth, an orthodontist adjusts them regularly by stiffing and bending the interconnecting wires. This gradually shifts them into new positions by applying light pressure on the teeth continuously.
The orthodontist may also use the tension between the jaws to maintain correct alignment. This tension is often generated using elastic bands that stretch between opposing teeth.
In this phase, teeth and jaws tend to be sore for the first week after adjustment. The pain in the initial days can be endured with regular painkillers. If the soreness persists, it is recommended that you notify your orthodontist before it turns worse.
Phase 3: Retainers
Post dental braces removal, the recently aligned teeth need time to stabilise. This stabilising period is known as 'The Retention Period'. This period ensures teeth do not shift back to their original positions by using a custom-made tool typically made of metal wires and plastic.
Dental Braces are highly effective in adjusting crooked teeth and aligning positioned jaws to enhance your bright smile. However, the end results entirely depend on the level of conscious care given to braces by the person wearing them.
For excellent results, the orthodontist's instructions must be obeyed precisely, especially during the last phase that is the retention period. It is observed that most of the people with braces become casual in the final phase by ignoring how vital retainers are in deciding if the treatment's outcome. It's highly imperative to wear the retainer as directed to retain the benefits gained from wearing braces.
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