Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with diagnosis and treatment of crooked, irregular, protruding teeth & jaws resulting in improper bites and an unpleasant appearance.
Orthodontic treatment makes use of specialized techniques and appliances to correct any mal-alignment. Dental braces are one such treatment modality used in orthodontics.
What are the benefits of Orthodontic treatment?
Crooked and irregular teeth are hard to maintain that can result in decayed teeth, gum problems, etc.
Improper bites (malocclusion) can contribute to abnormal tooth wear, compromised chewing function, jaw joint pain (TMJ problems).
By placing a constant, gentle force in a careful and controlled manner, the orthodontic appliances (fixed or removable) slowly move teeth to a corrected position, while also working to improve dental health.
Who requires Orthodontic treatment?
Based on a full medical and dental history, clinical check-up, plaster models of your teeth, and special X-rays, an orthodontist can decide if a person requires orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic treatment is mostly advised in the following conditions:
• Spacing in between the teeth
• Crowding of teeth
• Black teeth’ or an overbite
• Under bite- the lower teeth are too forward or the upper teeth are too far back
• Open bite- space between the upper and lower front teeth when the back teeth bite together
It’s never too late...
The age between 7-14 years is considered best for this treatment because of maximum growth rate of jaw & skull bones. However, Adult Orthodontics is now gaining popularity with comparable success rates. Advances have made treatment more comfortable and successful than ever for people of all ages.
How is the treatment done?
In the first visit, the orthodontist does the initial assessment and makes plaster models of your teeth to keep track of the treatment progress.
The dentist will then thoroughly clean and dry your teeth. Next, he/she will apply the glue (bonding agent) to your teeth and attach the brackets.
Finally, the orthodontist will place the wire in the brackets and secure them with elastic bands if necessary.
Now a wide choice of braces is available for patients of all ages, such as:
• Ceramic Braces: tooth colored brackets for a more aesthetic appearance
• Lingual braces: placed on the inside of the teeth, close to the tongue
• Aligners: removable clear plastic appliances which fits over the teeth and moves them
It is not always necessary to extract teeth in all cases. Most of the patients are treated without extractions especially if treatment is started at an early stage.
Orthodontic treatment takes time and involves visits to the dentist on a regular basis. The amount of time depends on the age, the seriousness of the problem and the treatment technique used. Most people wear braces for about 1 to 1.5 years.
Once the braces are removed, a retainer is used to keep your teeth in the right place. They need to be worn all or part of the time as advised by the orthodontist
NOTE: Patients may feel some discomfort for a while when the braces are first put on and are adjusted. The orthodontist will give specific instructions to you to manage the same.
Also, the orthodontist gives specific instructions on taking care of the teeth and the braces during the course of the treatment that must be adhered to.